Sources in the Gulf region report that Iran is preparing for a possible attack by Israel and/or the United States on one or more of its nuclear production units by stockpiling arms and munitions with its proxy militias in Kuwait and Bahrain.
Earlier this month the tiny Kingdom of Bahrain announced the arrest of 23 men whom it accused of wanting to commit acts of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the government. Bahrain may well be the smallest of Arab countries yet it contributes greatly to the overall security of the Gulf region and the Middle East. Among other things Bahrain serves as the regional headquarters to the US Navy fleet operating in the Persian Gulf.
Strategically located at about halfway up the important sea lanes in the Gulf and through which most of the world’s oil is carried from extraction sites to refineries aboard super tankers, the island nation of Bahrain is linked to the Saudi Arabian mainland by a 15-mile (24 km) causeway over the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. The causeway takes one into Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, where the largest Saudi oil fields are located. Saudi’s Eastern Province is largely Shiite.
Bahrain’s population of 729,000 is composed of 70 percent of Shiites and the rest are Sunni. The Sunnis hold all the top positions of power in the country, from the king on down to every major office. The Shiites, who generally feel they are treated as second-rate citizens, relate to their coreligionists in the nearby Islamic Republic. Iran periodically likes to remind the Bahrainis that their island used to belong to Iran and that the Iranians have not forgotten that.
This is a part of the world where tensions run high and conflicts can easily ignite, particularly given that all the ingredients for an explosive situation are present: oil, religion and politics.