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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?