Friday, April 15, 2011
Sunni/Shiite Civil War Feared As Pakistan Prepares To Send Troops To Saudi Arabia
Pakistan is prepared to move two army divisions into Saudi Arabia to protect the kingdom in the event of any outbreak of trouble, such as what has happened in Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and other Middle East and North African nations, informed sources say in a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
It also is ready to help recruit ex-Pakistani military personnel for Bahrain's national guard, the sources report.
The sources said the decision was reached reluctantly, but it puts Sunni Islam-majority Pakistan alongside other Sunni Muslim partners, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in a move that apparently is intended to assure that Sunni Islam remains dominant in the Arab world.
The perception is that the influence of Shiite Islam-dominated Iran is on the rise.
Ironically, Pakistan and Iran have had a history of close political, economic and military relations. Their relationship was so close that Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, known as the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, provided nuclear assistance to Iran.
Given Iran's nuclear ambitions, sources say the alignment of nuclear-armed Pakistan with a broad Sunni Muslim bloc of countries by offering the two army divisions to Saudi Arabia is designed to blunt the "emerging Shiite crescent in the Middle East."
As a further show of support to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has organized and recruited some 1,000 ex-army personnel for service in the national guard of Bahrain.
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa recently requested troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to put down increasingly violent demonstrations by the Shiites, who make up some 70 percent of the population. Saudi Arabia and the UAE each recently sent some 1,000 troops and logistical support to Bahrain.
Khalifa and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz accuse Iran of fomenting the demonstrations with the idea of taking over the island country between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
"The recent political upheaval in the Arab world from North Africa and now engulfing the Gulf region monarchial kingdoms has shaken the very fundamentals of the underpinnings of United States security framework in the Gulf region," according to Subhash Kapila of the South Asia Analysis Group.
"The United States security architecture in the Gulf region rested on the continuance of existing autocratic U.S.-friendly monarchies presiding over the oil riches of this region," he said.
"Herein emerges Pakistan army's strategic indispensability and strategic utility to both the United States and Saudi Arabia in securing the status-quo in the Gulf region for all of them," he added.