Bahrain



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Bahrain Introduction 2008




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In 1783, the 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. 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. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa, after coming to power in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations with the Shia community. Shia political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shia political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.


NOTE: The information regarding Bahrain on this page is re-published from the 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bahrain Introduction 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bahrain Introduction Issues 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.