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Monday, March 21, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Qatar, other Gulf states deploy troops to Bahrain

ABU DHABI — The Gulf Cooperation Council intends to send additional troops and military assets to Bahrain to counter the Shi'ite revolt.


Officials said Qatar has become the fourth GCC member to send troops to Bahrain. They said Qatar was deploying several hundred troops to work alongside those from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Kuwait has decided not to send forces to Bahrain.

"Additional GCC troops will also arrive in the kingdom to support its forces," Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said.

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[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 regional force.

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."

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