A military court today sentenced four Shiite demonstrators to death, and handed life sentences to three more, for the deaths of two policemen. Rights activists say the detainees were tortured and denied legal rights.
The remarks by Bahrain's king reflect an effort to pin his country's recent Shiite-led protests on interference by the Gulf states' regional adversary, Iran.
After security forces assaulted demonstrators in Bahrain's Pearl Square last week, 100,000 protesters rose up with even stronger demands yesterday. As the situation escalates, Obama must do more than denounce violence. The US must urge Bahrain to empower its crippled parliament.
The Bahrain protests go beyond the sectarian prism of Sunni versus Shiite. The ruling Al Khalifa family has been unable to provide Bahrainis the kind of interest-free loans and medical care that some of their neighbors have enjoyed.
Bahrain, a tiny island nation flanked by Saudi Arabia and Iran, showed its willingness today to use force to stymie growing calls for reform. At least three protesters were reported dead in an overnight raid.