Saudi Arabia on Sunday said it stands ready "with all its capabilities" to shore up Bahrain's ruling royal family if a standoff with the Shiite-led opposition is not resolved soon, underscoring the kingdom's deep concern about its neighbor's ongoing political crisis.
Sunni-led Saudi Arabia props up Bahrain's al-Khalifa family with cash and has long sought to prevent the tiny Persian Gulf state - with its majority Shiite population - from falling into Iran's orbit. With dwindling oil resources, Bahrain relies heavily on Saudi Arabia for money and security.
It was unclear whether the Saudi comments indicated that the country was contemplating possible action in Bahrain or were merely meant to express growing anxiety among Saudi leaders. But some regional experts have long warned that a concerted Shiite challenge to the monarchy in Bahrain might prompt intervention from Saudi Arabia, which has its own restive Shiite minority population. The two countries are connected by a causeway.
The Saudi comments came as an uneasy calm prevailed in Bahrain's capital Sunday. Protesters pitched tents and held a peaceful demonstration at a central square as opposition leaders continued to rebuff the crown prince's invitation to engage in dialogue. >>>
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