BAHRAIN & SAUDI ARABIA
Elfagr.org reports that Bahraini political activist Mohammed al-Shihabi is warning of a Saudi-American scheme "in collaboration with the Al Khalifa government to control Bahrain completely." Al-Shihabi cites the Bahraini king's recent visit to Saudi Arabia (which has deployed at least 1,000 soldiers to quell the unrest in the small kingdom) as well as a statement from Saudi Arabia's king that Saudi security comes from Bahrain's security.
Whether accurate or not, the notion of Bahrain currently being controlled by the far more powerful Saudi Arabia is widely believed to be true throughout Bahrain. King Hamad is perceived as weak, and having sold out the country to Saudi Arabia. Given the repression of Bahrain's Shiites, who comprise at least 70 percent of the population and are shut out of sensitive military and government positions, by a Sunni royal family, it is not unreasonable for Bahraini citizens to be concerned about Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia's interest in crushing Bahraini dissenters.
"Our king is a tartoor," a young Bahraini activist told me, using an Arabic word meaning a pawn, stooge or a follower. "He is a like a cute puppy who cannot protect you," the activist said.
TECHNOLOGY AND CONTENT
The Alexandria International Book Fair will take place in the Egyptian port city from October 3rd-16th. This year's theme is "Technology and Content in the Information Age."
SYRIA AND LEBANON
The Syrian Revolution Facebook group grinds on in its attempt to bring down the regime. The group's page is loaded with clips said to be from recent protests in Daraa and outside Damascus calling for the execution of Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, during a meeting with Lebanese former Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss, Assad said that the "painful events' of recent months are over, and that stability has been returned to Syria. A statement from the president's office said that Assad is "concerned about the safety of the Syrian people." The UN estimates that at least 2,700 Syrians have died in the uprising since the middle of March.