The Bahraini regime has used the military option before. On Feb. 17, the military deployed immediately after a police crackdown in Manama’s Pearl Square and was able to calm down the situation for a while by encircling the area with tanks. If Bahrain indeed has requested Saudi intervention this time, the implication is that the Bahraini military is not confident in its ability to contain the unrest now. Riyadh’s decision to send forces to Manama could be taken for this reason, since wider spread of Shiite unrest from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia would aggravate the already existing protests among Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite population. Saudi military intervention in Bahrain is also not unprecedented; Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain in 1994 when Riyadh determined that Shiite unrest threatened the al-Khalifa regime.