The abrupt U-turn suggests that the US, which has been largely silent over the past month, still wields influence over the tiny kingdom despite its acquiescence to Saudi interests there.
Arab leaders threatened by the region's uprisings may have finally hit on a tactic that can undermine popular support for protesters: playing on religious and national divides.
Bahraini activists and locals describe midnight arrests, disappearances, beatings at checkpoints, and denial of medical care – all aimed at deflating the country's pro-democracy protest movement.
A Russian circus artist performs with his snake during the dress rehearsal of the Miracle and Mirage show of the Russian water circus at Budapest's Grand Circus.
Syria makes rare concessions, but fires on protesters in Deraa. NATO takes control of implementing the no-fly zone over Libya as rebels struggle to retake Ajdabiya. Saleh looks to be stepping down (really). Bahrain's Shiites vow to defy protest ban.
Three oiled rock hopper penguins on the island chain of Tristan da Cunha. Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory. The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world's most isolated communities.
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.
People pull a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 weighing 210 tons during an attempt to break the world record at Hong Kong's Airport. The Civil Aviation Department and the aviation industry will jointly organize an aircraft pull event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of aviation development in Hong Kong.
People smeared with coloured powder celebrate Holi, also known as the festival of colours, at a university in Calcutta, India. The traditional event heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.
The intervention of Saudi forces has escalated tensions between Bahrain's protesters and the country's Sunni rulers, leaving at least one dead and drawing criticism from Iran.