"The soldiers themselves appear to hail from the Saudi Arabian National
Guard, possibly constituting a military police unit rather than paramilitary
forces of the Saudi Ministry of Interior," the report, titled "Bahrain's
Crisis: Saudi Forces Intervene," said.
Over the last three years, the United States has been training and
equipping SANG in a program reported at nearly $10 billion. The program was
meant to turn the nearly 100,000-member force into a veritable military
under the direct control of Abdullah.
The SANG deployment in Bahrain was said to include U.S.-origin
light-armored vehicles and other platforms. The Saudis have reinforced
Bahrain's meager army in the crackdown on the Shi'ite opposition.
Henderson, regarded as an expert on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region,
asserted that the SANG deployment would elicit an Iranian response. He said
Riyad was concerned over unrest among the reported two million Shi'ites in
"Riyad has two fears: that unrest among Bahraini Shi'ites will spread to
Saudi Arabia's own two million Shi'ites, and that any political concessions
won by Bahraini Shi'ites will be demanded also by their Saudi brethren," the