In a March 5 briefing to Bahraini newspaper editors, Rashid, a former
military chief of staff, said the kingdom's security forces must be
expanded, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the opposition campaign against the Sunni regime has
harmed every facet of society, particularly the business sector.
"The victims of the unfortunate incidents is a big loss to the nation
and the events have already taken their toll on citizens, business leaders,
merchants and even owners of small shops," Rashid said.
Crown Prince Salman, the son of the king, has sought to launch a
dialogue with the Shi'ite opposition. But the opposition, which Manama
believes has been influenced by Iran, was demanding immediate democratic
reforms, an investigation of the shooting of protesters as well as new
"Those who put forward their demands in a way to cause damage to others
will definitely lose sympathizers," Rashid said. "In view of our national
responsibility, we are keen to deal with the situation with a plenty of calm
to avoid any confrontation, despite provocative practices."
The interior minister said security forces have been on high alert.
Rashid said units have been deployed in some communities to prevent clashes.
A survey by Bahrain's Akhbar Al Khaleej daily reported that industrial
production has been reduced by up to 90 percent amid the unrest. Sales were
said to have dropped by up to 60 percent.