have approached Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asian states to lend diplomatic support—and potentially military assistance in some cases—to help stifle a majority Shiite revolt in Sunni-led Bahrain.Saudi officials said their campaign was broad. "There are many elements of this initiative," said a Saudi official. "All the major Muslim states are willing to commit to this issue if need be and asked by Saudi leadership."
U.S. officials working with Saudi Arabia acknowledged in recent days Riyadh's frustration with Washington's policies.The chief of the Saudi National Security Council, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud, asked Pakistan's powerful generals to lend support for the operation in Bahrain, according to Pakistani, U.S. and Saudi officials briefed on the meetings.Prince Bandar—who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington for more than two decades—told the Pakistani generals that the U.S. shouldn't be counted on to restore stability across the Middle East or protect Pakistan's interests in South Asia, these officials say.
The official said any potential Pakistani troops could be integrated into the 4,000-man force of mostly Saudi soldiers that deployed to Bahrain in March to defend the ruling Khalifa family against the popular domestic uprising against its rule. But Saudi officials said the current force is adequate, and no formal request for troops has yet been made.
Prince Bandar's stops included Russia, China, Pakistan and Malaysia. Bandar was the deal-maker in the Saudi-Chinese intermediate range missile sale in the 1980s that provided Riyadh with its now aging missile force.Riyad also seeks to exploit Pakistani's expertise in missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have already developed an array of defense and military relations. But the discussions in Riyad to expand strategic ties reflect the kingdom's concerns over its deteriorating relations with the United States. Relations between Riyadh and Washington have deteriorated sharply as the Saudis have lost faith in American commitments to stand by their friends.
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