Fact File: Bahrain

 

Among the nations of the Arab Spring, Bahrain is an unusual case.

The base of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and the only Gulf state to be caught up in the pro-democracy uprisings, the fate of this tiny island is of keen interest to the rest of the world - and still hangs in the balance.

While uprisings in Tunisa, Egypt and Libya have ousted autocratic regimes, the Bahraini authorities have retained power since the February 2011 ‘Day of Rage’ with a mixture of concessions to reform and force. In the latter, they are aided by their powerful neighbour Saudi Arabia, another Sunni-ruled state, with reason to fear the growing confidence of a Shiite majority.

Amnesty International have questioned the government’s commitment to democratic reform, pointing to the plight of hunger-striking activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and poet Ayat al-Gormezi, but the ruling Al Khalifa family enjoy the continued support of foreign governments.

Britain has demonstrated particular loyalty to its former protectorate. The 2012 Formula One Grand Prix (held in Bahrain since 2004) went ahead despite a backdrop of protest, the British government continues to sanction arms exports to the area and the King of Bahrain apparently remains on the Queen’s invite list. He has RSVP-ed to attend the Diamond Jubilee lunch at Windsor Castle.

The Numbers

256 sq miles – Area of the island kingdom of Bahrain - or about the size of South London. Source: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1783 – The year the Khalifah family, members of the Bani Utbah tribe defeated Nasr Al-Madhkur to become rulers of Bahrain. Source: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1971 – The year H.R.H. Prince Khalifa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the current king’s uncle, was appointed prime minister. Source: Kingdom of Bahrain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

35 – Estimated number of deaths during the February-March 2011 protests, including five security officers. Source: Amnesty International

4000 – Estimated number of protestors dismissed from their jobs for taking part in anti-government protests. Source: Amnesty International

Further Reading

Human Rights in Bahrain, Amnesty International, 2012

Bahrain – an uprising on the verge of revolution, Robert Fisk, The Independent, 2012

Britain’s craven silence over Bahrain stinks of hypocrisy, Emmanuel Stoakes, The Independent, 2012

Witness to an Uprising: Expelled from Bahrain for posting to Facebook, Tony Mitchell, the Atlantic, 2012

Ali Hasan: The 11 year-old feeling the wrath of Bahrain's regime, Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, 2012

Timeline

650AD – the Arabian Peninsuala including Bahrain comes under the rule of the followers of the prophet Mohammed

1783 – The Al-Khalifa family take Bahrain from Persia

1820 – Bahrain becomes a British protectorate

1932 – Bahrain becomes the first Gulf country to discover petroleum

1971 – Bahrain announces its independence from the UK

1996 – A spate of anti-government protests culminate in the bombing of hotels and restaurants. Over a thousand people are detained without trial.

2011 – A February Day of Rage sparks off anti-government protests

July 2012 - Bahrain's Interior Minister is entertained at the Foreign Office on the same day as 20 countries issue a UN statement expressing concern about human rights in Bahrain.

 

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery assistants required across Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

SEN 1:1 Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...

SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week