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Bahrain lies at the epicentre of Gulf security and any violent upheaval in Bahrain would have enormous geopolitical consequences. Global economic stability depends on the uninterrupted export of crude oil from the Gulf to markets around the world – a job that historically has been assigned to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King, formerly Emir, of Bahrain. Born January 1950.
The acting president of the independent Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Maryam al Khawaja (whose father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the 2011 democracy demonstrations) said she was ‘very disappointed’ by the comments, made by the EU’s Catherine Ashton, not generally known for her familiarity with Middle Eastern affairs. Ms al Khawaja said that ‘The regime barely received a slap on the wrist’ from the EU.
The US based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) was altogether more forthright in its criticism of the Bahraini government. In its June 2013 report, entitled ‘Interfere. Restrict and Control,’ HRW noted that ‘Since independence from Britain in 1971, social, cultural, and sports clubs, as well as civil and professional organizations, have been pivotal in shaping political debate.
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In the space of 10 pages the Profile covers the following:
- Political structure
- Main cities
- Languages spoken
- Industry and manufacturing
- Financial markets
- Banking and insurance
- Dress codes
- Entry requirements
- Health (for visitors)
- Credit cards
- Public holidays
- Working hours
- Social customs and useful tips
- Getting there
- Getting about
To purchase your copy of the World of Information Profile and Overview of Bahrain: CLICK HERE
Official name: Al Mamlakah al Bahrayn (Kingdom of Bahrain)
Head of State: King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa (ruler since Mar 1999; King since 14 Feb 2002)
Head of government: Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa (from 1971; re-appointed Oct 2010)
Ruling party: There is no ruling party
Area: 676 square km (35 islands)
Population: 1.20 million (2014)* (1,234,571; 2010 census figure)
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Bahraini dinar (BD) = 1,000 fils
Exchange rate: BD0.38 per US$ (fixed) (Jul 2014)
GDP per capita: US$28,272 (2014)*
GDP real growth: 4.75% (2014)
GDP: US$33.86 billion (2014)
Unemployment: 4.06% (2014)*
Inflation: 2.50% (2014)
Natural gas production: 16.90 billion cum (2014)
Balance of trade: US$7.27 billion (2013)*
* estimated figure