"Bahrain's security forces are the backbone of the Al Khalifa regime, now facing unprecedented unrest after overnight shootings. But large numbers of their personnel are recruited from other countries, including Jordan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Tanks and troops from Saudi Arabia were also reported to have been deployed in support of Bahraini forces.
Precise numbers are a closely guarded secret, but in recent years the Manama government has made a concerted effort to recruit non-native Sunni Muslims as part of an attempt to swing the demographic balance against the Shia majority – who make up around 65% of the population of 1 million.
Bahrainis often complain that the riot police and special forces do not speak the local dialect, or in the case of Baluchis from Pakistan, do not speak Arabic at all and are reviled as mercenaries. Officers are typically Bahrainis, Syrians or Jordanians. Iraqi Ba'athists who served in Saddam Hussein's security forces were recruited after the US-led invasion in 2003. Only the police employs Bahraini Shias."