[On March 20, Bahrain announced that it had foiled a plot to
undermine the security of GCC states. Bahrain's King Hamad, who made the
announcement, did not elaborate.]
About 5,000 GCC soldiers are said to have been sent to Bahrain this month to help the Sunni kingdom battle rising Shi'ite unrest. Officials said
the last of 500 UAE troops arrived in Bahrain on March 18 amid Manama's
crackdown on the Shi'ite opposition.
Khalid said up to four GCC states were sending military contingents to
protect strategic assets, including oil facilities. He said the foreign
troops would operate under the umbrella of the GCC's Peninsula Shield
For its part, Qatar has acknowledged the arrival of troops in Bahrain. A
senior military commander said the Qatari troops were subject to the GCC
chain of command.
"The duty of the Qatari troops participating in the Peninsula Shield
force is to contribute towards restoring order and security [in Bahrain],"
Qatar Army Col. Abdullah Al Hajri said. "As a Qatari force we are receiving
our orders from the head of the Peninsula Shield force. There are no Qatari
forces outside the Peninsula Shield in Bahrain."