Not willing to deal fairly with its citizens, the ruling family of Bahrain has invited the GCC to send in troops to kill people in the streets more effectively. Saudi Arabia is particularly concerned that the contagion of freedom should not cross the bridge.
This is a fatal mistake. If you try to sit on an exploding land mine, you will lose. Saudi Arabia may indeed be able to keep its friends in power in Bahrain but it will not be a quick one-shot deal. There will be civil war as we see in Libya and the opposition if suppressed will just go underground and become much more effective and dangerous. Of course from the rebels point of view, the opposition will become much more effective and welcome.
I was in Saudi Arabia from 1983 to 1985 and thought then that the royal family spent a lot of effort on preserving the status quo. The next generation seems more than ready to throw off the yoke. Seeing rebellion succeed in the Arab world and seeing the ruthless suppression in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will just fan the flames. The royal families have lost the consent of the governed and the facade of “benevolent dictator” is tarnished.
One thing I remember seeing in Saudi Arabia was work on a “storm sewer system” in a land with one shower per year. Interestingly, the “storm sewer” had two channel in rectangular cross-section. It was actually an underground divided highway with nodes at the air-port and the palaces. We thought at the time it would be handy for quick exits should the need arise. They have been able to keep the lid on until this year. The pressure is very high now.
see also Al Jazeera’s report