You have to hand it to Art Cashin, who was waaay ahead of most of the media in identifying Bahrain as the key pivot country to watch in the Gulf. Since hs’been so ontop of it — here he was back in mid-February — his commentary continues to be worth reading.
Here he is on the latest chess move from the Saudis:
A Chess Move In Bahrain? – Along with many others, we were a little surprised and concerned when Saudi Arabia moved troops into Bahrain. Was the Middle East teapot about to boil over?
In retrospect, an interesting chess game may be going on. It was widely assumed that Iran has covert operatives working among the Shiite majority in Bahrain. The ultimate goal being to spark massive unrest in Bahrain which would/could quickly spill over into the Saudi Shiite group in the eastern, oil producing section of Saudi Arabia. The end result could give Iran operative dominance of the Persian Gulf displacing Saudi Arabia.
There is now some thinking that the Saudi troop move was a pre-emptive strike. The Iranians might have been within days of springing their trap. The Saudi move may have caught the Iranians a day or two short.
Now the Saudi/Bahrain team may announce a huge reform/social relief package that could placate the Shiite populace for months or even years. King Abdullah is scheduled to speak at 2:00 p.m. local time (7:00 a.m. EDT).
As for that speech. Well, it wasn’t a huge reform package. In fact, the king doubled down on conservative policies. But he did announce even more financial aide, so maybe there’s something to that.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.