Al Hamer did not say how many GCC troops arrived and from which
countries, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the foreign forces would not participate in missions to
control rising Shi'ite unrest in Bahrain.
"Their mission will be limited to protecting vital facilities, such as
oil, electricity and water installations, and financial and banking
facilities," Al Hamer said.
This marked the first time in nearly a decade that the GCC sent troops
to help a member. In 2002, the GCC sent about 8,000 troops to protect Kuwait
from neighboring Iraq.
"The deployment of military units stems from the principle of common
destiny bonding GCC member states," Bahrain's military said.
Opposition sources said virtually all of the GCC troops were comprised
of Saudi nationals. They said they were accompanied by at least 150 main
battle tanks and armored personnel carriers.
"We consider that any military force or military equipment crossing the
boundaries of Bahrain — from air, sea or land — an occupation and a
conspiracy against the people of Bahrain," an opposition statement said.
The United Arab Emirates said it sent 500 troops to Bahrain. No further
details were reported.
"The move is in response to a request from Bahrain for assistance and to
contribute toward maintaining security and stability," UAE Deputy Foreign
Minister Anwar Gergash said.
The Shi'ite unrest was said to have virtually paralyzed Bahrain,
regarded as the financial center of the region and home of the U.S. Navy's
Fifth Fleet. So far, Saudi Arabia has led the drive within the GCC to
protect the regime of King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa.
"What we are witnessing in Manama is no peaceful protest," Bahraini
Prime Minister Khalifa Min Salman Al Khalifa said. "It's wanton, gangster
style takeover of people's lives."
Saudi Arabia has confirmed the arrival of the GCC force. Riyad also led
a lobbying effort that resulted in a GCC pledge of $10 billion in aid to
"This is not an invasion of a country," White House spokesman Jay Carney
said in Washington. "We urge the government of Bahrain, as we have
repeatedly, as well as other GCC countries, to exercise restraint."