Like perpetual war? No? Then stay out of Bahrain.
The small kingdom in the Persian Gulf has seen no small amount of turmoil since the Arab Spring in 2011. A Shiite-majority Sunni-governed country, Bahrain promises to undergo internal power struggles similar to those in Iraq. It also looks to be a battleground in the greater Sunni/Shiite rift between their respective power centers, Saudi Arabia and Iran. We’re already seeing some terrorist attacks by Iranian-linked groups.
Unfortunately, this all could easily become America’s problem. Beyond another Mid-East stabilization project/intervention excuse, Bahrain is also home to a major U.S. naval base near Juffair.
I’ll spare you the lengthy, in-depth analysis in favor of a quick possible sequence of consequences. U.S. invades Bahrain and invariably sides with the Saudi-backed powers that be, ensuring a long insurgency by the Shiite-majority population. This increased military presence could easily spark a war with an already-twitchy Iran. As if that weren’t bad enough, think of the implications of taking on one side of a bitter regional power struggle. The potential end result of a Bahraini intervention? Another generation of war.
Is Bahrain just another battlefield in the greater, continuing Arab Spring? Or is it a future smoking crater senselessly claiming thousands more American lives? We had better start thinking long and hard about it right now.