In 2018, Bahrain had a population of approximately 1.6 million people. The economy is largely based on oil and gas production, financial services and manufacturing. Arabic is the official language although other languages such as English and Farsi are also spoken. According to extrareference, Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy with an executive branch headed by the King who is elected by popular vote for a life term. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral parliament (the Council of Representatives and the Shura Council). In terms of foreign relations, Bahrain maintains diplomatic ties with over 100 countries around the world and has close ties with its neighbors in the Gulf region such as Kuwait and Qatar. The government also works closely with international organizations such as the United Nations, Arab League, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Bahrain. According to Countryaah.com, Manama is the capital city of Bahrain, a country located in Western Asia. Bahrain was one of the three countries removed during the year from the EU’s list of non-cooperating countries in taxes.
- According to Abbreviationfinder: BHR is an three letter acronym for Bahrain.
In February, activist Nabil Rajab was sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing the war in Yemen on Twitter. He is already serving a two-year prison sentence for “spreading rumors and false information” and being government-critical in various TV interviews. For his role in the democracy protests in 2011, he also had to sit in prison for two years.
In March, 116 people were arrested for links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, where they were part of a terrorist cell and received training in, among others, Iran. The state news agency BNA says the authorities managed to avert several attacks through the arrest. Large quantities of weapons and explosives must have been seized. Oppositionists in Bahrain are usually accused of allying with Iran.
During the summer, the World Heritage Committee met in the capital Manama to agree on the UN agency UNESCO’s annual list of places that are considered particularly outstanding and worthy of protection.
History. – Like the other states of the Arabian Peninsula, Bahrain experienced a condition of substantial stability for decades, although in the small kingdom ruled by the al-Khalīfa there were fragilities mainly linked to the ethnic-religious composition of its population. About 65% of this was of Shiite faith and had always lived in a condition of discrimination in the political and working, public and private spheres. This had historically posed a series of problems to internal security, but not such as to jeopardize national stability, which was nevertheless profoundly marked by the onset of the Arab springs in the Middle East region.
Beyond the claims of greater social equality and democracy, the deepest causes of popular uprisings were in fact attributable to the sectarian factor. Despite pressure from reformist groups and oppositions, and despite the same assurances of monarch Ḥamad ibn ῾Īsā bin Salmān al-Khalīfa – in power since 2002 – in wanting to promote a more reformist agenda, the riots on the island continued. At the same time, the repression and restoration of order wanted by the ruling house continued thanks also to the help of the troops of the Peninsula shield force – the joint army of the Gulf Cooperation Council – who were able to contain the revolutionary demands by crystallizing the status quo of events. The conflicting political demands – on the one hand the conciliatory pressures of the international community, on the other the restorative pressures of the neighboring allied monarchies – prevented the al-Khalifas from promoting a real process of national reconciliation.
On the international level, in addition to the solid relations – also due to family and cultural ties – with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrain improved bilateral relations with the neighboring Qaṭar, after having resolved some territorial disputes, while he continued to consider Irān a threat to national security. The Islamic Republic was in fact considered a destabilizing force and responsible for having influenced the revolutionary actions of the Shiite majority. Also in order to contain the Iranian presence in the area, al-Manāma strengthened its relations with Washington over the years, so much so that it hosted the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in its territorial waters.
Unlike other similar contexts in the Middle East region, however, the United States took a much more cautious attitude towards the Bahraini population by never officially proposing support for the rioters as it did in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Architecture. – From a geographical point of view, the kingdom coincides with a small island in the Gulf connected to Dhahran and Dammam, in Saudi Arabia, by a long bridge, the King Fahd causeway, very busy especially on weekends. Open, tolerant and liberal, the capital al-Manāma, like the other major cities of the Gulf, is in great expansion and in search of its recognizable contemporary architectural image. Among the protagonists of its skyline it is the Bahrain world trade center (2004-08), made up of a pair of sharply tapered towers designed by WS Atkins & Partners, in whose structure some large wind turbines are integrated. Also noteworthy is the National theater (2012) designed by the French group Architecture-Studio, overlooking the sea with its aerial canopy.