Saturday, May 14, 2011

Whatever Floats Your Boat

In what should make for an interesting next week, Iranian political activists from the Islamic Revolution Supporters Society have organized a "solidarity flotilla" supposedly to set sail for Bahrain from Bushehr on Monday, May 16.

The Iranian Ahl al-Bayt News Agency reports that the head of the Supporters Society and organizer of the flotilla, Mehdi Eghrarian, says "the move is aimed at condemning the brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters in Bahrain. Eghrarian pointed out that the ship will be named after Bahraini poetess, Ayat al-Ghermezi who was raped and killed by Saudi-backed regime forces." Nice.

And according to this Bloomberg report,
The group aims to hold talks with members of Bahrain’s parliament and meet with the families of Bahrainis killed in anti-government protests if the [Bahraini] government allows it to enter.
I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and say they're not getting in. One former Bahraini MP has already declared the flotilla an "act of war," and a prominent Sunni imam is quoted in the state Gulf Daily News as saying, "If this aid flotilla from Iran sails to Bahrain, I can tell there will be war in the Gulf." And one can't imagine the government's opinion is any more moderate.

Assuming this turns out anything like the doomed Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza last year, get prepared to see Saudi special forces rappelling down ropes from hovering helicopters and taking out about 15 of the flotilla-goers.

The most ironic thing, of course, is that when Kuwait balked at sending a ground force into Bahrain as part of the GCC Peninsula Shield, it perfunctorily sent instead a naval detachment to protect Bahraini waters, which at the time seemed rather ridiculous. So, as it turns out, either the Kuwaitis are clairvoyant geniuses, or they're very unhappy right now.

If anything good can come of this, it is that the U.S. government may finally appreciate the unsustainability of the present situation in Bahrain, which if not directly its own doing has certainly been enabled by its continued silence. And all it will have taken is a violent naval confrontation in the Persian Gulf between a newly-revitalized GCC and provocative Iran. Who says American policymakers can't take a hint?

No comments:

Post a Comment