Bahrain and Kuwait - the supposed Shia 'fifth column' for Iran
The monarchy in Bahrain say there should be a dialogue once peace is restored, as if saying “let’s all have a nice talk together, you know, once I’m finished having more of you killed to try to frighten any of you who’re still alive by then into backing down” was the most reasonable thing in the world; and has copied Mubarak’s line of pretending to mourn for the dead, as if they had nothing whatsoever to do with ordering them killed.
The British and French government had been arming and training Bahrain's police and military. In Bahrain those police have murdered democracy protesters, then murdered the mourners at the funeral. The UK and French governments have suspended arms sales. Don’t expect that suspension to last longer than media coverage does.
Bahrain is seen by both the Saudi monarchy and it’s allies as being too close to and too similar to Saudi Arabia to allow it’s government to be toppled &ndash (not to mention the US fifth fleet being based there); though I hope the protesters succeed in toppling it.
Bahrain also has a Sunni elite and a Shia majority – one of the causes of the protests as the Shia majority feel excluded from the best jobs. To the simple minded Pentagon planners and the Saudi monarchy, all Shia are seen as potential fifth columnists for the Iranians. (They even managed to make this a self-fulfilling prophecy in Iraq by driving the Iraqi nationalist and anti-Iranian Al Sadr and his Medhi army into the arms of the Iranians). Saudi Arabia also has a large Shia minority in provinces which contain significant amounts of it’s oil reserves.
In Kuwait demonstrations by migrant workers who have lived and worked there for years and decades, demanding citizenship and chanting “we are Kuwaiti” may also spread to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Emirates who rely almost entirely on migrant workers – including Pakistanis, Phillipinos and Palestinians.
Libya and the US, France and UK - Why Bahrainis being shot leaves western governments “concerned” while Libyans being shot makes them “horrified”
Britain and France were also arming and training the forces of Gadaffi's regime in Libya - plus providing SAS training for the Libyan military , since he took the hint at Saddam’s overthrow and renounced WMDs and terrorism – and much more importantly started giving US and British oil firms contracts again. Despite the synthetic outrage over the release of Megrahi (who was almost certainly innocent of any involvement in the Lockerbie bombing and fitted up in a jury-less show trial) American oil firms were back in Libya in 2004, five years before BP.
The reconciliation between Libya and the US and it’s allies is far from perfect though, partly because the US government continues the dodgy claims about Megrahi, but even more because Gadaffi has been demanding that his government keep a higher share of oil profits – and even suggesting the possibility of nationalisation (which was enough to get the CIA and MI6 to overthrow Mossadeq in Iran when he did the same in 1953).
That may be why British foreign secretary William Hague called the Libyan military shooting protesters dead by the dozen “horrifying”, while similar murders on a similar scale by Mubarak’s police and those of Bahrain’s monarchy only made him and Hillary Clinton “deeply concerned” rather than horrified.
The fact that the British government approved sales of sniper rifles to Libya and that many of the dead protesters there are being killed by Libyan military snipers may also have something to do with it
UPDATE: Sky news has reported that only a small number of sniper rifles were approved for export to Libya by the British government and that these were in storage, for display purposes only and had the firing pins removed.