Interview with Colin Cavell, former assistant professor of the University of Bahrain from Seattle about the House of Saud's strategic initiative to take over the security of Bahrain leaving Al Khalifa with internal political control only; and his perspective of the role of the US in this matter.
Reading between the lines, what do you make of the proposed merger between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? Is it a plan for shoring up the embattled and repressive regime in Bahrain?
Cavell: It indicates that the Khalifas are abdicating their responsibility for the nation's security.
It shows that they are, as I have alleged in the past, a mere satrapy of Saudi Arabia. They are an appendage. And King Abdullah is very worried - him and the House of Saud are worried that the Crown Prince may make a separate deal with the US.
But most importantly this indicates that the democratic movement is very strong in Bahrain; it has the House of Saud very scared; and it is motivating him to think that well if we have some sort of security union, we can push our sectarian argument even further.
But that argument of course has failed because you've got over three quarters of the population in Bahrain who are against the monarchy in Bahrain and as well you have numerous demonstrations already occurring in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia, which indicates that the movement for democracy is spreading and has the House of Saud extremely worried.
You referred to the US there… Some activists that we've been speaking to are saying that this move by Saudi Arabia could not have been made without the consent and approval of the US and some went even further saying that this was an order given by the US to Saudi Arabia.
What do you think about the US' role in the measure that has been adopted?
Cavell: Well, from my perspective, the US, should Barack Obama be reelected in November is going to push for further authorization of these autocratic regimes because the main goal is to maintain hegemonic hegemony in the Middle East. And they cannot do that if these hated autocratic regimes stay in power.
Now, this does not mean they're going to bring fully fledged democracy to the region. It just means that they want to change these leaders to indicate that there is some change going on. And they cannot do that if the Khalifas and the House of Saud and all the other hated monarchs stay in power.
So this is a move primarily by Saudi Arabia to try to protect itself; to try to prevent the US from making a separate deal with the crown prince.
So, basically a merger with Bahrain, a tiny Persian Gulf island, and Saudi Arabia its much larger neighbor, in practice what should we expect of this proposed marriage? Do you think Bahrain will lose a significant part of its independence to the much larger side?
Cavell: Of course. Their independence is merely a paper one in reality. The House of Saud are the actual rulers of Bahrain and by abdicating their responsibility for security matters, the Khalifas, all they need to do now is abdicate their bodies and get out of the country.
Because the people are strong; they are demanding self-rule, which is the bedrock of their movement and they're determined to get self-rule.
So if the House of Saud thinks it can stifle this democratic movement by putting further controls over the military situation in Bahrain, they are dead wrong.