This article and interview were originally published on Jadaliyya.com.
On March 15, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa declared a three-month emergency rule and invited armed forces of Saudi Arabia and other Arab states of the Persian Gulf to help quash two months of growing anti-government protests in the country.
Since the start of the protests and the deadly government crackdown in Bahrain, more than twenty-one people have been killed and up to one-hundred others are still missing
Last Monday, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa praised the Saudi-led force and said: “Bahrain is bigger and stronger today than ever.”
In comparison, the protests in Saudi Arabia have thus far been sporadic, small in scale and immediately quelled by security forces. Nonetheless, Saudi King Abdullah has announced a 93 billion dollar handout package including loans and an in government salaries in what appears to be an attempt to stave off a wave of protests that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Sharam Aghamir of Pacifica Radio flagship station, KPFA’s Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, spoke with Toby Jones, a historian of the modern Middle East at Rutgers University about the unrest and protests, the ruling class and the subaltern groups in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.