Middle East :: Bahrain

Introduction ::Bahrain

    In 1783, the Sunni Al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has become an international banking center. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. The Sunni-led government has struggled to manage relations with its large Shia-majority population. In early 2011, amid Arab uprisings elsewhere in the region, the Bahraini Government confronted similar protests at home with police and military action. The aftermath led to modest reforms, though continued dissatisfaction by Bahraini oppositionists with the extent of the reforms, has led to a broader dialogue between government officials, political societies, and legislators.

Geography ::Bahrain

People and Society ::Bahrain

Government ::Bahrain

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
    conventional short form: Bahrain
    local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
    local short form: Al Bahrayn
    former: Dilmun, State of Bahrain
    constitutional monarchy
    name: Manama
    geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Asamah (Capital), Janubiyah (Southern), Muharraq, Shamaliyah (Northern), Wasat (Central)
    note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor
    15 August 1971 (from the UK)
    National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection
    adopted 14 February 2002
    mixed legal system of Islamic law, English common law, Egyptian civil, criminal, and commercial codes; customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    20 years of age; universal; note - Bahraini Cabinet in May 2011 endorsed a draft law lowering eligibility to 18 years
    chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa Al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
    head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman Al-Khalifa (since 1971); First Deputy Prime Minister SALMAN bin Hamad Al Khalifa (since 11 March 2013); Deputy Prime Ministers ALI bin Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Jawad bin Salim al-ARAIDH, KHALID bin Abdallah Al Khalifa, MUHAMMAD bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
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    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
    bicameral National Assembly consists of the Shura Council or Consultative Council (40 members appointed by the King) and the Council of Representatives or Chamber of Deputies (40 seats; members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Council of Representatives - last held in two rounds on 23 and 30 October 2010 (next election to be held in 2014); byelections to fill 18 vacated seats held in two rounds on 24 September and 1 October 2011
    election results: Council of Representatives (2010) - percent of vote by society - NA; seats by society - Wifaq (Shia) 18, Asalah (Sunni Salafi) 3, Minbar (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) 2, independents 17; Council of Representatives byelection for 18 seats vacated by Wifaq (2011) - seats by society - independent Sunni 8, independent Shia 8, other 2; note - Bahrain has societies rather than parties
    highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of a chairman and 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of a president and 6 members)
    note - the judiciary of Bahrain is divided into the civil law and sharia law courts
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation and Constitutional Court judges appointed by royal decree and serve for a specified tenure
    subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; middle and lower civil courts; higher and lower shariah courts, and the High Shariah Court of Appeal
    note: political parties are prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law
    Arab Islamic Center Society [Ahmad Sanad AL-BENALI]
    Constitutional Gathering Society
    Islamic Asalah [Abd al-Halim MURAD]
    Islamic Saff Society [Abdullah Khalil BU GHAMAR]
    Islamic Shura Society
    Movement of National Justice Society [Muhi al-Din KHAN]
    National Action Charter Society [Muhammad AL-BUAYNAYN]
    National Dialogue Society
    National Islamic Minbar [Ali AHMAD]
    National Unity Gathering [Abdullah AL-HUWAYHI]
    National Democratic Action Society [Ibrahim SHARIF]
    National Democratic Assembly [Hasan AL-ALI]
    National Fraternity Society [Musa AL-ANSARI]
    National Progressive Tribune [Abd al-Nabi SALMAN]
    Unitary National Democratic Assemblage [Fadhil ABBAS]
    Wifaq National Islamic Society [Ali SALMAN]
    Al-Fatih Awakening
    14 February Revolution Youth Coalition
    Bahrain Islamic Freedom Movement [Said SHIHABI]
    Haqq Movement [Hasan MUSHAYMA]
    Islamic Amal [Muhammad Ali AL-MAHFUDH]
    Khalas [Abd al-Rauf AL-SHAYIB]
    Wafa Islamic Society [Abd al-Wahab HUSAYN]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Huda Azra Ibrahim NUNU
    chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111
    FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas C. KRAJESKI
    embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama
    mailing address: PSC 451, Box 660, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
    telephone: [973] 1724-2700
    FAX: [973] 1727-0547
    red, the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated band (five white points) on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam
    note: until 2002 the flag had eight white points, but this was reduced to five to avoid confusion with the Qatari flag
    name: "Bahrainona" (Our Bahrain)

    lyrics/music: unknown
    note: adopted 1971; although Mohamed Sudqi AYYASH wrote the original lyrics, they were changed in 2002 following the transformation of Bahrain from an emirate to a kingdom

Economy ::Bahrain

    Bahrain has taken great strides in diversifying its economy and its highly developed communication and transport facilities make Bahrain home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. As part of its diversification plans, Bahrain implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in August 2006, the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Bahrain's economy, however, continues to depend heavily on oil. Petroleum production and refining account for more than 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP. Other major economic activities are production of aluminum - Bahrain's second biggest export after oil - finance, and construction. Bahrain competes with Malaysia as a worldwide center for Islamic banking and continues to seek new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. In 2011 and 2012, Bahrain experienced economic setbacks as a result of domestic unrest, however, several factors indicate that the economy is beginning to recover, such as the return of the formula one race and tourist cruise ships to Bahrain. Economic policies aimed at restoring confidence in Bahrain's economy, such as the suspension of an expatriate labor tax and frequent bailouts of Gulf Air, will make Bahrain's foremost long-term economic challenges - youth unemployment and the growth of government debt - more difficult to address.
    $33.63 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $32.39 billion (2011 est.)
    $31.72 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $27.03 billion (2012 est.)
    3.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    2.1% (2011 est.)
    4.7% (2010 est.)
    $29,200 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    $28,700 (2011 est.)
    $28,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    31.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    29.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    30.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 42.4%
    government consumption: 14.2%
    investment in fixed capital: 20.4%
    investment in inventories: 0.5%
    exports of goods and services: 84.6%
    imports of goods and services: -62.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 0.4%
    industry: 51.3%
    services: 48.4% (2012 est.)
    fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
    petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, Islamic and offshore banking, insurance, ship repairing, tourism
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    country comparison to the world: 151
    note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 1%
    industry: 79%
    services: 20% (1997 est.)
    15% (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $8.378 billion
    expenditures: $8.675 billion (2012 est.)
    31% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    -1.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    54.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    47.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    2.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    -0.4% (2011 est.)
    6.3% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    6.83% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $7.777 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    $7.013 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $24.38 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $21.64 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $24.31 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    $20.78 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $17.15 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    $20.43 billion (31 December 2010)
    $16.93 billion (31 December 2009)
    $2.846 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    $3.247 billion (2011 est.)
    $21.4 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    $19.91 billion (2011 est.)
    petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
    Saudi Arabia 3%, India 2.2%, UAE 2%, South Korea 1.9% (2012)
    $15.17 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    $12.11 billion (2011 est.)
    crude oil, machinery, chemicals
    Saudi Arabia 26.8%, US 9.7%, China 9.6%, Japan 6.4%, India 4.9%, France 4.7% (2012)
    $4.853 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $4.245 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $27.12 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $27.04 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $16.87 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $15.94 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $10.02 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    $8.777 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Bahraini dinars (BHD) per US dollar -
    0.376 (2012 est.)
    0.376 (2011 est.)
    0.376 (2010 est.)
    0.376 (2009)
    0.376 (2008)

Energy ::Bahrain

Communications ::Bahrain

    276,500 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    1.694 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    general assessment: modern system
    domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones
    international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth station - 1 (2007)
    state-run Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) operates 5 terrestrial TV networks and several radio stations; satellite TV systems provide access to international broadcasts; 1 private FM station directs broadcasts to Indian listeners; radio and TV broadcasts from countries in the region are available (2007)
    47,727 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    419,500 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 122

Transportation ::Bahrain

Military ::Bahrain

Transnational Issues ::Bahrain

    current situation: Bahrain is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; unskilled and domestic workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Eritrea migrate willingly to Bahrain, but some face conditions of forced labor through the withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, nonpayment, threats, and abuse; many Bahraini labor recruitment agencies and some employers charge foreign workers exorbitant fees that make them vulnerable to forced labor and debt bondage; domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to forced labor and sexual exploitation because they are not protected under labor laws; women from Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, China, Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern European countries are forced into prostitution in Bahrain
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Bahrain does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has made few discernible efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenses; cases of unpaid or withheld wages, passport retention, and other abuses - common indicators of trafficking - are treated as labor disputes and taken to civil court rather than criminal court; the government has made no indication of taking steps to institute a formal trafficking victim identification procedure and referral mechanism, resulting in the majority of victims seeking shelter at their embassies or the NGO-operated trafficking shelter; most victims have not filed lawsuits against employers because of a distrust of the legal system or a fear of reprisals (2013)