Opposition sources and witnesses said they determined the presence of
Saudi nationals in the Bahrain security forces. They said the Sunni regime
of King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa employed scores of Saudi soldiers as
well as equipment in an effort to quell Shi'ite protests.
"We could detect them through their accents and behavior, and they are
clearly not locals," an opposition source said.
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At one point, the sources said, the Saudis were given command of
anti-riot and security units in Manama. They said the Saudis were believed
to have entered Bahrain in early February and were accompanied by U.S.-origin
armored personnel carriers and main battle tanks.
The U.S. embassy in Manama has not confirmed the reports of the use of
American weapons in the crackdown of the Shi'ite unrest. But the sources
said Hamad was believed to have been warned by the State Department to
remove all military units from Manama as well as U.S. weapons and combat
Saudi Arabia was said to be the strongest ally of Bahrain. The Saudi
leadership has warned the Shi'ite opposition in Bahrain to end its protests
and instead engage in a dialogue with the government in Manama.
"The Saudis see Bahrain as part of their sphere of influence," the
source said. "They are ready to openly fight in the streets here."