A day after it deployed foreign troops (including troops from Saudi Arabia), the ruling family in Bahrain has declared martial law, and instructed the soldiers and foreign fighters on the streets to “take all measures” to fight rebellion against its autocratic rule.
A standoff also appears to be worsening between the two key regional protagonists – Saudi Arabia and Iran – both of whom have accused each other of using the Arab world’s smallest state as an arena for their broader agendas.
The latest events seem to mark a new phase in the crisis that has paralysed the tiny kingdom since January. Demonstrators have drawn strength from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that saw autocratic regimes toppled by popular protests. However, unlike in either place, Bahrain’s protests have taken on a strong sectarian dimension.
Bahrain declares martial law as protesters clash with troops
Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer, has been charged with leaking information to New York Times reporter James Risen. While the Justice Department document doesn’t state the nature of the leak, it is presumed to relate to Risen’s book “State of War,” which covers the CIA’s covert spy war with Iran. Romenesko, AP.
• An elderly American, Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi, rode a horse over a mountain range to escape Iran after officials confiscated his passport. • The King of Saudi Arabia advised Obama to “implant computer chips in Guantanamo” detainees, “like horses.” Did you know that Stefano DiMera was king of Saudi Arabia? • The EU plotted to boycott Ahmadinejad at his own presidential inauguration. Iranian agents entered warzones via the Red Crecsent. The medical organization denies it. • Reuters sums up early reactions from pundits. Most agree that the leaks are unprecedented and will frustrate diplomatic links with certain countries and people. A British think tankee believes that nothing seismic will happen to Earthly geopolitcs because the really secret stuff hasn’t and probably won’t get leaked. Millions of people already had access to these cables. • Editorials from newspapers about their ‘decision’ to publish the leaks have begun appearing! Here’s Le Monde’s. Of the outlets involved, the New York Times again seems quite resentful at being unable to ignore the scoops Wikileaks feeds it. Compare to The Guardian’s exultations. • This is actually “a moment of American strength” in the making. Take it away, Bill Kristol.
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