|Bahrain Pro democracy protest, Image:Flickr|
In a recent news by Reuters, Saudi Arabia has sent troops into Bahrain on Monday to help calm down the protests going over there for weeks by the Shi’ite Muslim majority, a move which opponents of the Sunni ruling family on the island consider it as an invasion and a declaration of war.
Shia and Sunni are two separate Muslim communities both following the rites and rituals of Islam. There is a difference among them, but that difference is not religious, but political.The Sunni community believes that the first four caliphs, Prophet Mohammed’s successors, rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. Shiites,other hand believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed.
Expert Analysts consider this as a dangerous move for Saudi Arabia itself as its own minority Shiite community might get inspired and start protest in its Eastern Province which is also the centre of the oil industry. A day after mainly Shi’ite protesters overran police and blocked roads, about 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain to protect their government facilities, a Saudi official source said, as quoted by the Reuters. “They are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that would guard the government installations,” the source said, referring to the six-member bloc that maintains military and economic policy in the world’s top oil-exporting region.
This action is being monitored closely by the western powers as Bahrain is a key ally of US and is very important for them due to its interest in gulf. Bahrain is also the home to 5th naval fleet of the US. Bahraini opposition groups including the largest Shi’ite party Wefaq said the move was an attack on defenceless citizens, as quoted by the Reuters. “We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation,” they said in a statement.
Bahrain is experiencing a protest similar to Egypt and Tunisia which inspired the people there, it is considered to be its worst unrest since the 1990s. Most of the nations in gulf are Sunni and any military decision taken by them on Bahrain protesters may be misunderstood by the Shiites community as a direct humiliation and assault on them. Any conflict which involves two religions or two groups of same religion is always sensitive and may take a damaging shape, as sentiments and misunderstanding spread more quickly and vastly than the fire of explosion.