Bahrain

Bahrain (Listeni /bɑːˈrn/), officially Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرين‎ Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn, English: Kingdom of the Two Seas), is a small island country with approximately 1,234,596 inhabitants (2010), located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf and ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. While Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands, the largest (Bahrain Island) is 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide.

Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain via the King Fahd Causeway, which was officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.

Bahrain is known for its oil and pearls. The country is the home of many large structures such as the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour and other skyscrapers, and proposes to build the 1,022 m (3,353 ft) high supertall Murjan Tower. The Qal’at al-Bahrain (The Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun) has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[8] The Bahrain International Circuit is the race course where the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place.

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History

Main article: History of Bahrain

Pre-Islamic

Asia in 600 AD, showing the Persian Empire in Sassanid era before the Arab conquest.

Bahrain is the Arabic term for “two seas“, referring to the freshwater springs that are found within the salty seas surrounding it. Bahrain has been inhabited since ancient times. Its strategic location in the Persian Gulf has brought rule and influence from the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and the Arabs, under whom the island became Islamic. Bahrain may have been associated with Dilmun which is mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations.[9]

During its history it was called by different names such as Awal, then Mishmahig, when it was a part of the Persian Empire. From the 6th to 3rd century BC, Bahrain was included in Persian Empire by Achaemenian dynasty.[10] From the 3rd century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Bahrain was controlled by two other Persian dynasties of Parthians and Sassanids. By about 250 BC, the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under its control and extended its influence as far as Oman.

Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons in the southern coast of Persian Gulf.[11] In the 3rd century AD, the Sassanids succeeded the Parthians and held the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later. Ardashir, the first ruler of the Sassanian dynasty marched forward on Oman and Bahrain, and defeated Sanatruq.[9] At this time, Bahrain incorporated the southern Sassanid province covering the Persian Gulf’s southern shore plus the archipelago of Bahrain.[12]

The southern province of the Sassanid Empire was subdivided into the three districts of Haggar (now al-Hafuf province, Saudi Arabia), Batan Ardashir (now al-Qatif province, Saudi Arabia), and Mishmahig (which in Middle-Persian/Pahlavi means “ewe-fish“).[9] Until Bahrain adopted Islam in 629 AD, it was a center of Nestorian Christianity.[9] Early Islamic sources describe it as being inhabited by members of the Abdul Qays, Tamim, and Bakr tribes, worshiping the idol Awal.

Islamic conversion and Portuguese control

In 899 AD, a millenarian Ismaili sect, the Qarmatians, seized the country and sought to create a utopian society based on reason and the distribution of all property evenly among the initiates. The Qarmatians caused disruption throughout the Islamic world; they collected tribute from the caliph in Baghdad, and in 930 AD sacked Mecca and Medina, bringing the sacred Black Stone back to their base in Ahsa, in medieval Bahrain where it was held to ransom. According to the historian Al-Juwayni, the Stone was returned twenty-two years later, in 951, under mysterious circumstances; wrapped in a sack, it was thrown into the Friday mosque of Kufa accompanied by a note saying “By command we took it, and by command we have brought it back.” The Black Stone’s abduction and removal caused further damage, breaking the stone into seven pieces.[9][13][14]

The Qarmatians were defeated in 976 AD by the Abbasids.[15] The final end of the Qarmatians came at the hand of the Arab Uyunid dynasty of al-Hasa, who took over the entire Bahrain region in 1076.[16] They controlled the Bahrain islands until 1235, when the islands were briefly occupied by the ruler of Fars. In 1253, the Bedouin Usfurids brought down the Uyunid dynasty and gained control over eastern Arabia, including the islands of Bahrain. In 1330, the islands became tributary to the rulers of Hormuz,[17] though locally the islands were controlled by the Shi’ite Jarwanid dynasty of Qatif.[18]

Until the late Middle Ages, “Bahrain” referred to the larger historical region of Bahrain that included Ahsa, Qatif (both now within the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia) and the Awal Islands (now the Bahrain Islands). The region stretched from Basrah[disambiguation needed] to the Strait of Hormuz in Oman. This was Iqlīm al-Bahrayn “Bahrayn Province”. The exact date at which the term “Bahrain” began to refer solely to the Awal archipelago is unknown.[19] In the mid-15th century, the islands came under the rule of the Jabrids, a Bedouin dynasty that was also based in al-Ahsa and ruled most of eastern Arabia.

The Portuguese invaded Bahrain in 1521 in alliance with Hormuz, seizing it from the Jabrid ruler Migrin ibn Zamil, who was killed in battle. Portuguese rule lasted for nearly 80 years, during which they depended mostly on Sunni Persian governors.[20] The Portuguese were expelled from the islands in 1602 by Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, who instituted Shi’ism as the official religion in Bahrain.[21] The Iranian rulers retained sovereignty over the islands, with some interruptions, for nearly two centuries. For most of that period, they resorted to governing Bahrain indirectly, either through Bushehr or through immigrant Sunni Arab clans, such as the Huwala, who where returning to Arabian side of the Gulf from the Persian territories in the north, namely Lar[disambiguation needed] and Bushehr (whence the name, Hawilah, “the returnees”).[20][22][23] During this period, the islands suffered two serious invasions by the Ibadhis of Oman in 1717 and 1738.[24][25] In 1753, the Huwala clan of Al Madhkur invaded Bahrain on behalf of the Iranians, restoring direct Iranian rule.[26]

Origin of the Bani Utbah tribe

Coat of arms of Bahrain.svgThis article is part of the series on:

History of Bahrain

Ancient Bahrain
Dilmun
Tylos and Mishmahig
Awal
Historical region
Islam in Bahrain
Al-Ala’a Al-Hadrami
Qarmatians
Usfurid dynasty
Jarwanid dynasty
Jabrid dynasty
Portuguese occupation
Muqrin ibn Zamil
Antonio Correia
Safavid hegemony (1602-1717)
1717 Oman invasion of Bahrain
Al Khalifa and
the British Protectorate
1783 Al Khalifa invasion of Bahrain
Perpetual Truce of Peace
and Friendship (1861)
First Oil Well (1932)
20th Century Bahrain
National Union Committee
March 1965 Intifada
State Security Law era
1981 coup d’état attempt
Uprising 1994-2000
2000s in Bahrain
Topical
Military history of Bahrain
Timeline of Bahrain history

The Al Bin Ali tribe are the original descendants of the Bani Utbah tribe being that they are the only tribe to carry the last name Al-Utbi in Bahraini palm garden ownership documents as early as the year 1699–1111 Hijri.[27] They are specifically descendants of their great-grandfather Ali Al-Utbi who is a descendant of their great-grandfather Utbah hence the name Bani Utbah, which means sons of Utbah. Utbah is the great-grandfather of the Bani Utbah which is a section of Khafaf from Bani Sulaim bin Mansoor from Mudhar from Adnan. The plural word for Al-Utbi is Utub and the name of the tribe is Bani Utbah.

In 1783, Nasr Al-Madhkur lost the islands of Bahrain to the Bani Utbah tribe to which Shaikh Isa Bin Tarif, Chief of Al Bin Ali belongs. Shaikh Isa Bin Tarif was a descendant of the original uttoobee conquerors of Bahrain[28] This took place after the defeat of Nasr Al-Madhkur to the Bani Utbah in the battle of Zubarah that took place in the year 1782 between the Al Bin Ali from the Bani Utbah tribe and the army of Nasr Al-Madhkur, ruler of Bahrain and Bushire. Zubarah was originally the center of power of the Bani Utbah in which the Al Bin Ali Tribe in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and U.A.E derives from. The Al Bin Ali were the Arabs that were occupying Zubarah,[29] they were the original dominant group of Zubarah.[30]

The islands of Bahrain were not new to the Bani Utbah, they were always connected to this island, whether by settling in it during summer season or by purchasing date palm gardens. The Al Bin Ali were a politically important group that moved backwards and forwards between Qatar and Bahrain.[30] The Bani Utbah had been present in the banks of Bahrain in the 17th century.[31] During that time, they started purchasing date palm gardens in Bahrain. One of the documents which belongs to Shaikh Salama Bin Saif Al Utbi, one of the Shaikh’s of the Al Bin Ali, backs this statement about the presence of the Bani Utbah in Bahrain in the 17th century. It states that Mariam Bint Ahmed Al Sindi, a Shia woman, sold a palm garden in the island of Sitra at Bahrain to Shaikh Salama Bin Saif Al Utbi in the year 1699–1111 Hijri: before the arrival of Al-Khalifa to Bahrain by more than 90 years.[32]

Rising power of Bani Utbah

After the Bani Utbah gained power in 1783, the Al Bin Ali had a practically independent status in Bahrain as a self governed tribe. They used a flag with four red and three white stripes, called the Al-Sulami flag[33] in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Eastern province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was raised on their ships during wartime and in the pearl season and on special occasions such as weddings and during Eid and in the “Ardha of war”.[34] Al Bin Ali were known for their courage, persistence, and abundant wealth.[35]

Later, different Arab family clans and tribes mostly from Qatar moved to Bahrain to settle there since the Persian sovereignty there had come to an end with the fall of the Zand Dynasty of Persia.  These families and tribes included the Al Khalifa, Al-Ma’awdah, Al-Fadhil, Al-Mannai, Al-Noaimi, Al-Sulaiti, Al-Sadah, Al-Thawadi, and other families and tribes.

Most of these tribes settled in Muharraq, the capital of Bahrain and the center of power at that time since the Al Bin Ali lived there. There is still a neighborhood in Muharraq city named Al Bin Ali. It is the oldest and biggest neighborhood in Muharraq, members of this tribe lived in this area for more than three centuries.[citation needed]

Al Khalifa ascendancy to Bahrain and their treaties with the British

Fourteen years later after gaining power of Bani Utbah, the Al Khalifa family moved to Bahrain in 1797 as settlers in Jaww, and later moved to Riffa. They were originally from Kuwait but had left it in 1766. According to a tradition preserved by the Al-Sabah family, the reason why the ancestors of their section and those of the Al-Khalifa section came to Kuwait was that they had been expelled by the Turks from Umm Qasr upon Khor Zubair, an earlier seat from which they had been accustomed to prey as brigands upon the caravans of Basra and as pirates upon the shipping of the Shatt Al Arab.[36]

In the early 19th century, Bahrain was invaded by both the Omanis and the Al Sauds, and in 1802 it was governed by a twelve year old child, when the Omani ruler Sayyid Sultan installed his son, Salim, as Governor in the Arad Fort.[37]

In 1820, the Al Khalifa rule to Bahrain became active, but it was buttressed when it entered into a treaty relationship with Britain, which was by then the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf. This treaty granted the Al Khalifa the title of Rulers of Bahrain.

In 1830 Sheikh Abdul Al Khalifeh declared dependence to the Iranian Government as the Egyptian Mohammad Pasha who took away Arabian Peninsula from Vahhabis on behalf of the Ottoman Empire wanted to know if the people of Bahrain are not in allegiance with Iran, they would ruled by him.

In 1860 the Government of Al Khalifeh repeated the same assertion when the British were trying to overpower Bahrain. Sheikh Mohammad Ben Khalifeh at that time wrote a letter to Nasseredin Shah of Iran declaring himself and his brother and all of members of Al Khalifeh and the people of Bahrain to be of Iranian subjects, and in another letter to the Iranian Foreign Minster, Sheikh Mohammad demanded from the Government of Iran to be directly guided and protected in the face of British pressure.

Later on, when the pressure of Colonel Sir Lewis Pelly increased on Al Khalifeh, Sheikh Mohammad requested military assistance from Iran, but the Government of Iran at that time did not had the ability to protect Bahrain from the British aggression. Therefore, the Government of British India eventually overpowered Bahrain and Colonel Pelly in May 1861 signed an agreement with Sheikh Mohammad and later with his brother Sheikh Ali that placed Bahrain under British rule and protection.

When the British forces galloped in Bahrain, they noticed that Sheikh Mohammad ben Khalifeh had hoisted Iranian Flags all over Bahrain’s towers and forts. The British representatives in 1868 signed another agreement with the rulers of Al Khalifeh to the effect Bahrain joined the British protectorate territories in the Persian Gulf.

This treaty was similar to those entered into by the British Government with the other Persian Gulf principalities. It specified that the ruler could not dispose of any of his territory except to the United Kingdom and could not enter into relationships with any foreign government without British consent. In return the British promised to protect Bahrain from all aggression by sea and to lend support in case of land attack. More importantly the British promised to support the rule of the Al Khalifa in Bahrain, securing its unstable position as rulers of the country.

Other agreements of 1880 and 1892 completed ultimately the protectorate status of Bahrain to the British. So Bahrain, which was practically separated from Iran in 1783 but would namely confirm her allegiance to Iran, was practically, namely and officially separated from Iran between the years of 1868 and 1892 for the last time.

According to SOAS academic, Nelida Fuccaro:

From this perspective state building under the Al Khalifa shayks should not be considered exclusively as the result of Britain’s informal empire in the Persian Gulf. In fact, it was a long process of strategic negotiation with different sections of the local population in order to establish a pre-eminence of their particularly artistic Sunni/Bedouin tradition of family rule.
—Nelida Fuccaro, Persians and the space in the city in Bahrain 1869–1937[38]

The unrest of people of Bahrain in fact began when the Britain colonialism officially established her ultimate and complete dominance over this territory in 1892. The first revolt and widespread uprising took place in the month of March 1895 against Sheikh Essa Ben Ali the then ruler of Al Khalifeh. Sheikh Essa was the first ruler of Al Khalifeh who was ruling on that land without any relations with Iran. SIR Arnold Wilson, the political representative of Britain in The Persian Gulf (the writer of book” The Persian Gulf”), arrived in Bahrain from Masghat at this time. The extent of this uprising developed further and some of the protesters were killed by the British forces.

Peace and trade brought a new prosperity. Bahrain was no longer dependent upon pearling, and by the mid-19th century it became the pre-eminent trading centre in the Persian Gulf, overtaking rivals Basra, Kuwait, and finally in the 1870s, Muscat.[39] At the same time, Bahrain’s socio-economic development began to diverge from the rest of the Persian Gulf: it transformed itself from a tribal trading centre in to a modern state.[40] This process was spurred by the attraction of large numbers of Persian, Huwala, and Indian merchant families who set up businesses on the island, making it the hub of a web of trade routes across the Persian Gulf, Persia and the Indian sub-continent. A contemporary account of Manama in 1862 found:

Mixed with the indigenous population [of Manamah] are numerous strangers and settlers, some of whom have been established here for many generations back, attracted from other lands by the profits of either commerce or the pearl fishery, and still retaining more or less the physiognomy and garb of their native countries. Thus the gay-coloured dress of the southern Persian, the saffron-stained vest of Oman, the white robe of Nejed, and the striped gown of Bagdad, are often to be seen mingling with the light garments of Bahreyn, its blue and red turban, its white silk-fringed cloth worn Banian fashion round the waist, and its frock-like overall; while a small but unmistakable colony of Indians, merchants by profession, and mainly from Guzerat, Cutch, and their vicinity, keep up here all their peculiarities of costume and manner, and live among the motley crowd, ‘among them, but not of them’.
WG Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–3)[41]

Palgrave’s description of Manama’s coffee houses in the mid-19th century portrays them as cosmopolitan venues in contrast to what he describes as the ‘closely knit and bigoted universe of central Arabia’.[41] Palgrave describes a people with an open – even urbane – outlook: “Of religious controversy I have never heard one word. In short, instead of Zelators and fanatics, camel-drivers and Bedouins, we have at Bahrain [Manama] something like ‘men of the world, who know the world like men’ a great relief to the mind; certainly it was so to mine.”[41]

The great trading families that emerged during this period have been compared to the Borgias and Medicis[41] and their great wealth – long before the oil wealth the region would later be renowned for – gave them extensive power, and among the most prominent were the Persian Al Safar family, who held the position of Native Agents of Britain in 19th Century.[41] The Al Safar enjoyed an ‘exceptionally close’[41] relationship with the Al Khalifa clan from 1869, although the al-Khalifa never intermarried with them – it has been speculated that this could be related to political reasons (to limit the Safars’ influence with the ruling family) and possibly for religious reasons (because the Safars were Shia).

Bahrain’s trade with India saw the cultural influence of the subcontinent grow dramatically, with styles of dress, cuisine, and education all showing a marked Indian influence. According to Exeter University’s James Onley “In these and countless other ways, eastern Arabia’s ports and people were as much a part of the Indian Ocean world as they were a part of the Arab world.”[41]

In 1911 a group of merchants of Bahrain, demanded the restriction of the British influence in Bahrain. The leaders of this movement were arrested and exiled to India. In 1923 the British deposed Sheikh Issa Ben Ali with accused of opposing Britain and set up a permanent representative in Bahrain. This coincided with renewal of Iran` claim over the ownership of Bahrain and Sheikh Essa had been accused of welcoming this development. Also the attachment shown by the People of Bahrain towards the renewal of ownership’s claim by Iran caused concern for Britain. To remedy these problems, Britain dispatched one of the most experienced colonial officers, Sir Charles Belgrave as an advisor to the Emir of Bahrain in 1926. His harsh measures caused to intensify the increasing aversion of people towards him and resulted eventually in his expulsion from Bahrain in 1957. Belgrave’s colonial undertakings were not limited to the violent deeds against the people of Bahrain but a series of dastardly initiatives, which included deiranisation of Bahrain and The Persian Gulf, and the he proposal to change the name of Persian Gulf in 1937 which did not take place but carried out by Abdul Karim Ghasim, the dictator of Baghdad.

In 1927 Reza Shah in a letter to the Allied Nations Community demanded the return of Bahrain. Britain believed that weakened domination over Bahrain would cause her to lose control all over the Persian Gulf, and so decided to bring under control at any cost the uprisings of people of Bahrain. To achieve this the British elements encouraged conflicts between Shiite and Sunni in Bahrain.

Bahrain underwent a period of major social reform between 1926 and 1957, under the de facto rule of Charles Belgrave, the British advisor to Shaikh Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa (1872-1942). The country’s first modern school was established in 1919, with the opening of the Al-Hiddaya Boys School, while the Arab Persian Gulf’s first girls’ school opened in 1928. The American Mission Hospital, established by the Dutch Reform Church, began work in 1903. Other reforms include the abolition of slavery, while the pearl diving industry developed at a rapid pace.

These reforms were often opposed vigorously by powerful groups within Bahrain including sections within the ruling family, tribal forces, the religious authorities and merchants. In order to counter conservatives, the British removed the Emir, Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, replacing him with his son in 1923. Some Sunni tribes such as the al Dossari were forcibly removed from Bahrain and sent to mainland Arabia, while clerical opponents of social reforms were exiled to Saudi and Iran, and the heads of some merchant and notable families were likewise exiled. Britain’s interest in pushing Bahrain’s development was motivated by concerns about Saudi-Wahabbi and Iranian ambitions.

Discovery of petroleum

Oil was discovered in 1932 and brought rapid modernization to Bahrain. This discovery made relations with the United Kingdom closer, as evidenced by the British establishing more bases there. British influence would continue to grow as the country developed, culminating with the appointment of Charles Belgrave as an advisor;[41] Belgrave established modern education systems in Bahrain.[41] After World War II, increasing anti-British sentiment spread throughout the Arab World and led to riots in Bahrain. The riots focused on the Jewish community, which counted among its members distinguished writers and singers, accountants, engineers and middle managers working for the Oil Company, textile merchants with business all over the peninsula, and free professionals.

In 1948, following rising hostilities and looting,[42] most members of Bahrain’s Jewish community abandoned their properties and evacuated to Bombay, later settling in Israel (Pardes Hanna-Karkur) and the United Kingdom. As of 2008, 37 Jews remained in the country.[42] The issue of compensation was never settled. In 1960, the United Kingdom put Bahrain’s future to international arbitration and requested that the United Nations Secretary-General take on this responsibility.

In 1927 Reza Shah in a letter to the Allied Nations Community demanded the return of Bahrain. Britain knew well that her weakened domination over Bahrain would be equal to loose control all over the Persian Gulf, decided to bring under control at any cost the uprisings of people of Bahrain. To achieve this the British elements encouraged conflicts between Shiite and Sunni in Bahrain.

The Iranian tendency in the uprising of this period was to such an extent that forced the Members of Parliament of Iran to pass a bill in the November of 1957, to the effect to announce Bahrain as the Fourteenth province of Iran, and two empty seats were considered for the representatives of this province. This action was detrimental for Iran as it caused numerous problems in the international relations, specially with some United Nations bodies, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and numbers of Arab countries and provided a big excuse for Iraqi extremist to extent anti Iranian campaign in the region. This action was against the people of Bahrain as not only caused an increase sense of precaution of Britain and the Government of Bahrain towards the Iranian connection of Bahrain’s people uprisings, but forced the freedom loving people of Bahrain from expressing any Iranian tendency in order to avoid accusation o f dependency to “the expansionist policies of Iran in the Persian Gulf”, which at time was being propagated intensely against her deserving rights in the Persian Gulf.

At this time, Britain set out to change the demographic face of Bahrain. This policy of “deiranisation” in Bahrain consisted of importing a large number of different Arabs and others from British colonies as labourers into Bahrain. At the same time it is noteworthy that the demonstrations of year 1956 forced the rulers of Al Khalifeh to leave Manama (The capital of modern Bahrain) and reside in the village of Refae Al Gharbi and only Sunni Arab servitors as their bodyguards were allowed to live in that village.

However the Government of Al Khalifeh is considered a flexible and liberal Government to compare to all the Arab Governments of the Persian Gulf, especially in comparison to the Governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and to the dictatorship of Iraq. The reason for this flexibility should be looked into the following two nokteh: Firstly, the Arabs of Al Khalifeh (Bani Atub) found themselves from the beginning of their arrival among Iranians and could never do away with this notion of “Unwanted guests”, secondly the synthesis of population of Bahrain has been and is different the region Emirates.

While the other Emirates have been tribal communities, which have grown around the dominating tribe, Bahrain has been an urban society from the ancient times like the societies of Iran and Mesopotamia. For this reason the rulers of Bahrain have not been able to deprive every members of society from taking part in the affairs of the country.

In 1965, Iran began dialogues with Britain in anticipation to determine her borders in the Persian Gulf. It was not long enough that the endurance of these talks became impossible as both parties realised with the existing extensive differences over borders and territory in the region; including the dispute relating to the dominion of Bahrain, the determination of maritime borders between the northern and southern countries of the Persian Gulf is not feasible.

At the same time Malek Faisal, the King of Saudi Arabia arrived in Iran, which included the creation of Islamic Conference; and the decision to determine the maritime borders of the two countries. In return, it was agreed that Shah of Iran would visit Saudi Arabia in 1967. A week before this visit, the Saudis received Sheikh Essa Ben Salman Al Khalifeh, the Emir of Bahrain as a head of state in Riyadh. This caused the cancellation of Shah’s visit and the relation between the two countries tarnished severely. The mediation by Sultan Hasan, the king of Morocco repatriated the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Eventually Iran and Britain agreed that the matter of Dominion of Bahrain to put to international judgment and requested the United Nations General Secretary to take on this responsibility.

Iran was trying hard so that the destiny of Bahrain would be determined through a referendum. Britain was sternly opposed to this and the Government of Bahrain was not in any way prepared to accept such a referendum. The reason for opposing was that the Government of Al Khalifeh saw the legal concept of holding such a referendum would be to negate the 150 years of his rule in Bahrain. Finally Iran and Britain agreed to instead of holding Referendum, to request United Nations through conducting a Plebiscite (opinion poll) in Bahrain, to determine the political future of that territory. Outant The then General Secretary of the United Nations, in reply to the letters of Iran and Britain in the month declared in the month of March 1970, his readiness to fulfil this mission and Sinior Vittorio Winspere Guicciardi the Manager of The United Nation office in Geneva was put in charge to execute the task. Guicciardi and his colleagues entered in Bahrain and began the task of conducting the Plebiscite on 30 March 1970. This mission continued more than two weeks and during this period Guicciardi conducted meetings with the leaders of different groups and classes of people of Bahrain and finally surrounded his report no. 9772 to the General Secretary of the United Nations. Clause 57 of this report indicates: (the result of investigation has convinced me that the absolute majority of people of Bahrain demand that their territory to be officially recognised as an independent country with complete soverngnity and freedom of choosing relations with other nations.)

The report of Guicciardi was surrounded to the Security Council of the United Nations and in the meeting of 11th May 1970 was discussed. Following the ratification of this report, the mentioned resolution of Security Council was conveyed to the Governments of Iran and Britain. The Governments of Iran reported the result of the mission and the resolution of the United Nations to the two assemblies (The lower and upper houses of Parliaments). The report of The Government was ratified by Iranian National Assembly (Mjles-e Shoray-e Melli) in 14th of May, and by Iranian Senate (Majles-e Sena) on 18th of May.

The oil boom of the 1970s greatly benefited Bahrain, but its downturn hurt. However, the country had already begun to diversify its economy, and had benefited from the Lebanese Civil War that began in the 1970s; Bahrain replaced Beirut as the Middle East’s financial hub as Lebanon‘s large banking sector was driven out of the country by the war.[43] After the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Bahraini Shī’a fundamentalists in 1981 orchestrated a failed coup attempt under the auspices of a front organization, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain. The coup would have installed a Shī’a cleric exiled in Iran, Hujjatu l-Islām Hādī al-Mudarrisī, as supreme leader heading a theocratic government.[44] In 1994, a wave of rioting by disaffected Shīa Islamists was sparked by women’s participation in a sporting event.

During the mid-1990s, the Kingdom was badly affected by sporadic violence between the government and the cleric-led opposition in which over forty people were killed.[45] In March 1999, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah succeeded his father as head of state and instituted elections for parliament, gave women the right to vote, and released all political prisoners. These moves were described by Amnesty International as representing an “historic period of human rights”.[46] As part of the adoption of the National Action Charter on February 14, 2002, Bahrain changed its formal name from the State (dawla) of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Bahrain. [47]

Politics

Bahrain

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Main article: Politics of Bahrain

The Bahrain Royal Flight (Boeing 747SP).

Bahrain is an absolute monarchy headed by the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the head of government is the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman al Khalifa, who presides over a cabinet of twenty-five members, where 80% of its members are from the royal family. Bahrain has a bicameral legislature with a lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, elected by universal suffrage and an upper house, the Shura Council, appointed by the king. Both houses have forty members. The first round of voting in the 2006 parliamentary election took place on 25 November 2006, and in the second round Islamists hailed a huge election victory.[48]

The opening up of politics has seen big gains for both Shīa and Sunnī Islamists in elections, which have given them a parliamentary platform to pursue their policies. This has meant parties launching campaigns to impose bans on female mannequins displaying lingerie in shop windows,[49] and the hanging of underwear on washing lines.[50]

Analysts of democratization in the Middle East cite the Islamists’ references to respect for human rights in their justification for these programmes as evidence that these groups can serve as a progressive force in the region. Islamist parties have been particularly critical of the government’s readiness to sign international treaties such as the United Nation’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.[51] At a parliamentary session in June 2006 to discuss ratification of the Convention, Sheikh Adel Mouwda, the former leader of salafist party, Asalah, explained the party’s objections: “The convention has been tailored by our enemies, God kill them all, to serve their needs and protect their interests rather than ours. This why we have eyes from the American Embassy watching us during our sessions, to ensure things are swinging their way“.[52]

Both Sunnī and Shī’a Islamists suffered a setback in March 2006 when 20 municipal councillors, most of whom represented religious parties, went missing in Bangkok on an unscheduled stopover when returning from a conference in Malaysia.[53] After the missing councillors eventually arrived in Bahrain they defended their stay at the Radisson Hotel in Bangkok, telling journalists it was a “fact-finding mission”, and explaining: “We benefited a lot from the trip to Thailand because we saw how they managed their transport, landscaping and roads“.[54] Bahraini liberals have responded to the growing power of religious parties by organizing themselves to campaign through civil society in order to defend basic personal freedoms from being legislated away. In November 2005, al Muntada, a grouping of liberal academics, launched “We Have A Right“, a campaign to explain to the public why personal freedoms matter and why they need to be defended.

Women’s rights

Women’s political rights in Bahrain saw an important step forward when women were granted the right to vote and stand in national elections for the first time in the 2002 election. However, no women were elected to office in that year’s polls and instead Shī’a and Sunnī Islamists dominated the election, collectively winning a majority of seats. In response to the failure of women candidates, six were appointed to the Shura Council, which also includes representatives of the Kingdom’s indigenous Jewish and Christian communities. The country’s first female cabinet minister was appointed in 2004 when Dr. Nada Haffadh became Minister of Health, while the quasi-governmental women’s group, the Supreme Council for Women, trained female candidates to take part in the 2006 general election. When Bahrain was elected to head the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 it appointed lawyer and women’s rights activist Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa as the President of the United Nations General Assembly,[55] only the third woman in history to head the world body.[56] The king recently created the Supreme Judicial Council[57] to regulate the country’s courts and institutionalize the separation of the administrative and judicial branches of government;[58] the leader of this court is Mohammed Humaidan.

On 11–12 November 2005, Bahrain hosted the Forum for the Future, bringing together leaders from the Middle East and G8 countries to discuss political and economic reform in the region.[59] The near total dominance of religious parties in elections has given a new prominence to clerics within the political system, with the most senior Shia religious leader, Sheikh Isa Qassim, playing what’s regarded as an extremely important role; according to one academic paper, “In fact, it seems that few decisions can be arrived at in Al Wefaq – and in the whole country, for that matter – without prior consultation with Isa Qassim, ranging from questions with regard to the planned codification of the personal status law to participation in elections.[60] In 2007, Al Wefaq-backed parliamentary investigations are credited with forcing the government to remove ministers who had frequently clashed with MPs: the Minister of Health, Dr Nada Haffadh (who was also Bahrain’s first ever female cabinet minister) and the Minister of Information, Dr Mohammed Abdul Gaffar.[61]

2011 Bahraini protests

The major Bahraini citizen protests are occurring currently, following some and coincident with other Arab world protests in succession of 2010–2011 democracy demonstrations. The protesters selected 14 February as a day of protest to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter.[62]

On February 18 2011 the Guardian reported: ‘Five people are believed to have been killed and scores injured after Bahraini security forces raided thousands in a peaceful protest in Pearl Square in the early hours of Thursday morning.’ [63] The situation is currently active and changing.

Governorates

For further information, see Decree-Law establishing governoratesPDF (732 KB) from the Bahrain official website.

Bahrain is split into five governorates. These governorates are:

Map Governorates
Governorates of Bahrain.svg
1. Capital Governorate
2. Central Governorate
3. Muharraq Governorate
4. Northern Governorate
5. Southern Governorate

Economy

Main article: Economy of Bahrain

Sunset at the King Fahd Causeway

In a region experiencing an oil boom, Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia found in January 2006.[64] Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East according to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal, and is tenth freest overall in the world.[65]

In 2008, Bahrain was named the world’s fastest growing financial center by the City of London’s Global Financial Centres Index.[64][64] Bahrain’s banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, have benefited from the regional boom.[64] In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP.

Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing fortunes of oil since 1985, for example, during and following the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990–91. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to multinational firms. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from imported crude oil. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. In 2004, Bahrain signed the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which will reduce certain barriers to trade between the two nations.[66]

Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2008, the jobless figure was a 4%,[67] but women are over represented at 85% of the total.[68] Bahrain in 2007 became the first Arab country to institute unemployment benefits as part of a series of labour reforms instigated under Minister of Labour, Dr. Majeed Al Alawi.[69]

Geography

Main article: Geography of Bahrain

Desert landscape in Bahrain

Bahrain is a generally flat and arid archipelago, consisting of a low desert plain rising gently to a low central escarpment, in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. The highest point is the 134 m (440 ft) Jabal ad Dukhan. Bahrain has a total area of 665 km2 (257 sq mi), which is slightly larger than the Isle of Man, though it is smaller than the nearby King Fahd International Airport near Dammam, Saudi Arabia (780 km2 (301 sq mi)).

As an archipelago of thirty-three islands, Bahrain does not share a land boundary with another country but does have a 161 km (100 mi) coastline and claims a further 22 km (12 nmi) of territorial sea and a 44 km (24 nmi) contiguous zone. Bahrain’s largest islands are Bahrain Island, Muharraq Island, Umm an Nasan, and Sitrah. Bahrain has mild winters and very hot, humid summers. Bahrain’s natural resources include large quantities of oil and natural gas as well as fish stocks. Arable land constitutes only 2.82%[1] of the total area.

Desert constitutes 92% of Bahrain, and periodic droughts and dust storms are the main natural hazards for Bahrainis. Environmental issues facing Bahrain include desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, distribution stations, and illegal land reclamation at places such as Tubli Bay. The agricultural and domestic sectors’ over-utilization of the Dammam Aquifer, the principal aquifer in Bahrain, has led to its salinization by adjacent brackish and saline water bodies.[citation needed]

Climate

Bahrain is an island located east of the mainland of Saudi Arabia. Jabal ad Dukhan is the highest point in Bahrain with hills up to 134 m (440 ft) above sea level. The Zagros Mountains in Iraq cause low level winds to be directed toward Bahrain. The dust storms from Iraq and Saudi Arabia create fine dust particles easily transported by northwesterly winds which cause reduced visibility in the months of June and July.

The summer is very hot and dry because the Persian Gulf provides little moisture. Seas around Bahrain are very shallow, heat up quickly in the summer, and produce high humidity, especially at night. Summer temperatures may reach more than 40 °C (104 °F) under the right conditions. Rainfall in Bahrain is minimal and irregular. Rainfalls mostly occur in winter, with a recorded maximum of 71.8 mm (2.83 in).[70]

[hide]Climate data for Manama
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.0
(68)
21.2
(70.2)
24.7
(76.5)
29.2
(84.6)
34.1
(93.4)
36.4
(97.5)
37.9
(100.2)
38.0
(100.4)
36.5
(97.7)
33.1
(91.6)
27.8
(82)
22.3
(72.1)
30.1
(86.2)
Average low °C (°F) 14.1
(57.4)
14.9
(58.8)
17.8
(64)
21.5
(70.7)
26.0
(78.8)
28.8
(83.8)
30.4
(86.7)
30.5
(86.9)
28.6
(83.5)
25.5
(77.9)
21.2
(70.2)
16.2
(61.2)
23.0
(73.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 14.6
(0.575)
16.0
(0.63)
13.9
(0.547)
10.0
(0.394)
1.1
(0.043)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.5
(0.02)
3.8
(0.15)
10.9
(0.429)
70.8
(2.787)
Avg. precipitation days 2.0 1.9 1.9 1.4 0.2 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.7 1.7 9.9
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) [71]

Demographics

Religion in Bahrain
religion percent[1]
Islam 81.2%
Christianity 9%
Other 9.8%

In 2010, Bahrain’s population grew to 1.234 million, out of which more than 666,172 (54%) were non-nationals[5], up from 1.05 million (517,000 non-nationals) in 2008.[72] Though majority of the population is ethnically Arab, a sizable number of people from South Asia live in the country. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indian nationals lived in Bahrain, making them the single largest expatriate community in the country.[73]

The official religion of Bahrain is Islam, which the majority of the population practices. However, due to an influx of immigrants and guest workers from non-Muslim countries, such as India, Philippines and Sri Lanka,[74] the overall percentage of Muslims in the country has declined in recent years. According to the 2001 census, 81.2% of Bahrain’s population was Muslim, 9% were Christian, and 9.8% practiced Hinduism and other religions.[1] There are no official figures for the proportion of Shia and Sunni among the Muslims of Bahrain. Unofficial sources, such as the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, estimate it to be approximately 33% Sunni and 66% Shia.[74][75]

A Financial Times article published on 31 May 1983 found that “Bahrain is a polyglot state, both religiously and racially. Leaving aside the temporary immigrants of the past ten years, there are at least eight or nine communities on the island“. The present communities may be classified as:

Community↓ Description↓
Afro-Arabs Descendants of black African slaves from East Africa
Ajam Ethnic Persians from Shia and Sunni faith
Baharna Shia Arabs divided between those indigenous to the islands, and the Hassawis hailing from the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.
Bahraini Jews A small Jewish community; and a miscellaneous grouping
Banyan (Bania) Indians who traded with Bahrain and settled before the age of oil[76] (formerly known as the Hunood or Banyan, Arabic: البونيان‎)
Tribals Sunni Arab Bedouin tribes allied to the Al-Khalifa including the Utoob tribes, Dawasir, Al Nuaim, Al Mannai etc.
Howala Descendants of Sunni Arabs who migrated to Persia and returned later on, although some of them are originally Persians [77][78]
Najdis (also called Hadhar) Non-tribal urban Sunni Arabs from Najd in central Arabia. These are families whose ancestors were pearl divers, traders, etc. An example is the Al Gosaibi family.

Culture

Bahrain is sometimes described as “Middle East lite” because it combines modern infrastructure with a Persian Gulf identity and, unlike other countries in the region, its prosperity is not solely a reflection of the size of its oil wealth, but is also related to the creation of an indigenous middle class. This unique socioeconomic development in the Persian Gulf has meant that Bahrain is generally more liberal than its neighbours. While Islam is the main religion, Bahrainis have been known for their tolerance, and churches, Hindu temples, Sikh Gurdwara and a Jewish synagogue can be found alongside mosques. The country is home to several communities that have faced persecution elsewhere.

It is too early to say whether political liberalisation under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has augmented or undermined Bahrain’s traditional pluralism. The new political space for Shia and Sunni Islamists has meant that they are now more able to pursue programmes that often seek to directly confront this pluralism, yet political reforms have encouraged an opposite trend for society to become more self critical with more willingness to examine previous social taboos.

In common with the rest of the Muslim world, Bahrain does not recognise women’s rights nor LGBT rights.

Another facet of the new openness is Bahrain’s status as the most prolific book publisher in the Arab world, with 132 books published in 2005 for a population of 700,000. In comparison, the average for the entire Arab world is seven books published per one million people in 2005, according to the United Nations Development Programme.[79] Ali Bahar is the most famous singer in Bahrain. He performs his music with his Band Al-Ekhwa (The Brothers).

 

Language and religion

Arabic is the official language of Bahrain though English is widely used. Bahrani Arabic is the most widely spoken language. Bahrain’s primary religion is Islam.

Formula One and other motorsports events

Bahrain has a Formula One race-track, hosting the first Gulf Air Grand Prix on 4 April 2004, the first for an Arab country. This was followed by the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2005. Bahrain has successfully hosted the opening Grand Prix of the 2006 season on 12 March. Both the above races were won by Fernando Alonso of Renault. The 2007 event took place on April 13, 14th and 15th [80]

In 2006, Bahrain also hosted its inaugural Australian V8 Supercar event dubbed the “Desert 400“.[citation needed] The V8s will return every November to the Sakhir circuit. The Bahrain International Circuit also features a full length drag strip, and the Bahrain Drag Racing Club has organised invitational events featuring some of Europe’s top drag racing teams[citation needed] to try and raise the profile of the sport in the Middle East.

Holidays

On 1 September 2006, Bahrain changed its weekend from being Thursdays and Fridays to Fridays and Saturdays, in order to have a day of the weekend shared with the rest of the world. Other non-regular holidays are listed below:

Date↓ English name↓ Local (Arabic) name↓ Description↓
1 January New Year’s Day رأس السنة الميلادية The Gregorian New Year’s Day, celebrated by most parts of the world.
1 May Labour Day يوم العمال
16 December National Day اليوم الوطني National Day, Accession Day for the late Amir Sh. Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa
17 December Accession Day يوم الجلوس
1st Muharram Islamic New Year رأس السنة الهجرية Islamic New Year (also known as: Hijri New Year).
9th, 10th Muharram Day of Ashura عاشوراء Commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.
12th Rabiul Awwal Prophet Muhammad’s birthday المولد النبوي Commemorates Prophet Muhammad‘s birthday, celebrated in most parts of the Muslim world.
1st, 2nd, 3rd Shawwal Little Feast عيد الفطر Commemorates end of Ramadan.
9th Zulhijjah Arafat Day يوم عرفة
10th, 11th, 12th Zulhijjah Feast of the Sacrifice عيد الأضحى Commemorates Ibrahim‘s willingness to sacrifice his son. Also known as the Big Feast (celebrated from the 10th to 13th).

Military

Main article: Military of Bahrain

The kingdom has a small but well equipped military called the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF). The BDF is primarily equipped with United States equipment, such as the F16 Fighting Falcon, F5 Freedom Fighter, UH60 Blackhawk, M60A3 tanks, and the ex-USS Jack Williams, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate renamed the RBNS Sabha. The Government of Bahrain has a cooperative agreement with the United States Military and has provided the United States a base in Juffair since the early 1990s. This is the home of the headquarters for Commander, United States Naval Forces Central Command (COMUSNAVCENT) / United States Fifth Fleet (COMFIFTHFLT), and about 1500 United States and coalition military personnel.[81]

Education

Main article: Education in Bahrain

Students at the University of Bahrain, wearing the traditional garb

At the beginning of the 20th century, Qur’anic schools (Kuttab) were the only form of education in Bahrain. They were traditional schools aimed at teaching children and youth the reading of the Qur’an. After World War I, Bahrain became open to western influences, and a demand for modern educational institutions appeared. 1919 marked the beginning of modern public school system in Bahrain when Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia School for boys was opened in Muharraq. In 1926, the Education Committee opened the second public school for boys in Manama, and in 1928 the first public school for girls was opened in Muharraq.

In 2004 King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa introduced a project that uses Information Communication Technology (ICT) to support K–12 education in Bahrain. This project is named King Hamad Schools of Future. The objective of this project is to connect and link all schools within the kingdom with the internet. In addition to British intermediate schools, the island is served by the Bahrain School (BS). The BS is a United States Department of Defense school that provides a K-12 curriculum including International Baccalaureate offerings. There are also private schools that offer either the IB Diploma Programme or UK A-Levels.

In 2007, St. Christopher’s School Bahrain became the first school in Bahrain to offer a choice of IB or A-Levels for students. Numerous international educational institutions and schools have established links to Bahrain. A few prominent institutions are DePaul University, Bentley College, Ernst & Young Training Institute, NYIT and Birla Institute of Technology International Centre (See also: List of universities in Bahrain). Schooling is paid for by the government. Primary and secondary attendance is high, although it is not compulsory.

Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrain Nationals returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain has been established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the King Abdulaziz University College of Health Sciences; operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health, trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics. The national action charter, passed in 2001, paved the way for the formation of private universities. The first few private universities were Ahlia University situated in Manama and University College of Bahrain, Saar. In 2005, The Royal University for Women (RUW) was established. RUW is the first private, purpose-built, international University in the Kingdom of Bahrain dedicated solely to educating women. The University of London External has appointed MCG as the regional representative office in Bahrain for distance learning programs. MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country. Institutes have also been opened which educate Asian students, such as the Pakistan Urdu School, Bahrain, the Indian School, Bahrain.

Tourism

Main article: Tourism in Bahrain

A 123 m (404 ft) high fountain off the coast of Manama. The mechanism is contained in a barge, anchored to the seabed.

Bahrain is a tourist destination with over eight million tourists a year. Most of the visitors are from the surrounding Arab states but there is an increasing number of tourists from outside the region due to a growing awareness of the kingdom’s heritage and its higher profile with regards to the Bahrain International F1 Circuit[citation needed]. The Lonely Planet describes Bahrain as “an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf“,[82] because of its authentic Arab heritage and reputation as liberal and modern.

The kingdom combines Arab culture, gulf glitz and the archaeological legacy of five thousand years of civilization. The island is home to castles including Qalat Al Bahrain which has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Bahrain National Museum has artifacts from the country’s history dating back to the island’s first human inhabitatants 9000 years ago.

See also

Main article: Outline of Bahrain

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  71. ^ “World Weather Information Service – Bahrain/Manama”. http://worldweather.wmo.int/051/c00220.htm.
  72. ^ “Bahrain witnesses population explosion”. Arabianbusiness.com. 2008-02-27. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/512344-bahrain-witnesses-population-explosion. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  73. ^ “290,000 Indians in Bahrain”. Gulf-daily-news.com. 2008-07-05. http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=222148. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  74. ^ a b Bahrain’s crown prince to visit India[dead link] Overseas Indian, 8 March 2007
  75. ^ “The Restless Shia of Bahrain « Far Outliers”. Faroutliers.wordpress.com. 2006-10-23. http://faroutliers.wordpress.com/2006/10/23/the-restless-shia-of-bahrain/. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  76. ^ «البونيان» تاريخ طويل يمتد في وسط المنامة باسم «ليتل إنديا», Alwasat Newspaper[dead link]
  77. ^ Rentz, “al- Baḥrayn.”: “A good number of the Sunnīs of Baḥrayn are Arabs or the descendants of Arabs onze resident on the Persian coast; such are known as Huwala.”
  78. ^ Rentz, G. “al- Kawāsim.” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2008. Brill Online. 15 March 2008 [6]
  79. ^ Bahrain tops publishing sector among Arab states Gulf News, 4 January 2006
  80. ^ “Bahrain International Circuit”. Bahraingp.com.bh. http://www.bahraingp.com.bh/. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  81. ^ United States Navy Central Command web site
  82. ^ Bahrain, Destination Guide Lonely Planet

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Husni Mubarak

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak (Arabic: محمد حسني سيد مبارك‎, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [mæˈħæmːæd ˈħosni ˈsæjːed moˈbɑːɾˤɑk], Muḥammad Ḥusnī Sayyid Mubārak; born 4 May 1928)[1] served as the fourth President of Egypt, from 1981 to 2011.

Mubarak was appointed Vice President of Egypt in 1975, and assumed the presidency on 14 October 1981, following the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat. The length of his presidency made him Egypt‘s longest-serving ruler since Muhammad Ali Pasha.[2] Before he entered politics, Mubarak was a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force, serving as its commander from 1972 to 1975 and rising to the rank of air chief marshal.

During 18 days of protests beginning on 25 January 2011, demonstrators called for Mubarak’s resignation.[3] On February 11th, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had resigned as president and transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.[4][5] On that day Mubarak and his family left the presidential palace in Cairo and moved to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.[6][5]

Early life and the Egyptian Air Force

Mubarak was born on 4 May 1928,[1] in Kafr-El-Meselha, Monufia Governorate, Egypt. Upon completion of high school, he joined the Egyptian Military Academy, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Military Sciences in 1949.[citation needed] On 2 February 1949, Mubarak left the Military Academy and joined the Air Force Academy, gaining his commission as a pilot officer on 13 March 1950[7] and eventually receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Sciences. Hosni Mubarak is married to Suzanne Mubarak, and has two sons: Alaa and Gamal.

As an Egyptian Air Force officer, Mubarak served in various formations and units, including two years when he served in a Spitfire fighter squadron.[7] Some time in the 1950s, he returned to the Air Force Academy, this time as an instructor, remaining there until early 1959.[7] From February 1959 to June 1961, Mubarak undertook further training in the Soviet Union, attending a Soviet pilot training school in Moscow and another at Kant Air Base, near Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan (then a Soviet republic), an airfield that is today home to the Russian 5th Air Army‘s 999th Air Base.

Mubarak undertook training on the Ilyushin Il-28 and Tupolev Tu-16 jet bomber, and then joined the Frunze Military Academy in 1964. On his return to Egypt, Mubarak served in wing and then base commander appointments, taking up command of the Cairo West Air Base in October 1966 before briefly commanding the Beni Suef Air Base.[7] In November 1967 Mubarak became the Air Force Academy’s commander[8] and two years later he became Chief of Staff for the Egyptian Air Force.

Mubarak became Commander of the Air Force and Egyptian Deputy Minister of Defence in 1972. In the following year his military career reached its pinnacle when he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal in recognition of service during the October War of 1973.[7][9] Mubarak has been credited in some publications for Egypt’s initial strong performance in the 1973 war against Israel.[10]

Vice President of Egypt

 

Mubarak meeting with Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran

In April 1975, Mubarak was appointed by Sadat as Vice President of the Egyptian republic. In this position, he loyally served Sadat’s policies. He took part in government consultations that dealt with the future disengagement of forces agreement with Israel.[11]

As part of his support for Sadat’s policies, he went in early September 1975 on a mission to Riyadh and Damascus, in order to convince the Saudi and Syrian governments to accept the disengagement agreement signed with the Israeli government (“Sinai II”), but was refused a meeting by the Syrian president.[12][13]

In addition, Mubarak was sent by Sadat to numerous meetings with foreign leaders.[14] Mubarak’s political significance as Vice-President can be seen from the fact that at a conversation held on 23 June 1975 between Foreign Minister Fahmy and US Ambassador Hermann Eilts, Fahmy said to Eilts that “Mobarek [sic] is, for the time being at least, likely to be a regular participant in all sensitive meetings” and he advised the Ambassador not to antagonize Mubarak, as he was Sadat’s personal choice.[15]

President of Egypt

Following the assassination of President Sadat in October, 1981 by a Jihad cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli,[16] Hosni Mubarak became the President of the Arabic Republic of Egypt, and the Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP). He was the longest serving President of Egypt, his term lasting 29 years.

Egypt’s return to the Arab League

 

Mubarak in Berlin in 1989

Egypt is the only state in the history of the Arab League to have had its membership of the League suspended, due to President Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel. However, in 1989, eight years after Sadat’s assassination, Egypt was re-admitted as a full member, and the League’s headquarters were relocated to their original location in Cairo.[17]

Wars and the monetary gain from the Gulf War of 1991

Egypt was a member of the allied coalition in the 1991 Gulf War, and Egyptian infantry were some of the first to land in Saudi Arabia to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Reports that sums as large as $500,000 per soldier were paid or debt forgiven were published in the news media. The Economist cites: The programme worked like a charm: a textbook case, says the IMF. In fact, luck was on Hosni Mubarak’s side; when the US was hunting for a military alliance to force Iraq out of Kuwait, Egypt’s president joined without hesitation. After the war, his reward was that America, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Europe forgave Egypt around $14 billion of debt.[18]

Assassination attempts

According to the BBC, Mubarak has survived six assassination attempts.[17] In June 1995 there was an alleged assassination attempt involving noxious gases and Egyptian Islamic Jihad while he was in Ethiopia for a conference of the Organization of African Unity.[19] Upon return Mubarak is said to have authorized bombings on Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya which by 1999 saw 20,000 persons placed in detention related to the revolutionary Islamic organizations.[citation needed] He was also reportedly injured by a knife-wielding assailant in Port Said in September 1999.[20]

Stance on the invasion of Iraq in 2003

 

George W. Bush and Mubarak, 2002

President Mubarak spoke out against the 2003 Iraq War, arguing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should have been resolved first. He also claimed that the war would cause “100 Bin Ladens.”[21] However, as President he did not support an immediate US pull out from Iraq as he believes it will lead to probable chaos.[22]

Changing economic scene

This article does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2011)

In July 2004 Mubarak accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Atef Ebeid[23] and most of the cabinet. He then appointed Ahmed Nazif as the new Prime Minister. The new cabinet was generally viewed with optimism. Economic conditions were starting to improve considerably after a period of stagnation. The new cabinet headed by Ahmed Nazif had some success in overcoming the grim economic situation. The Egyptian stock market had the greatest percentage increase of all emerging markets for the fiscal year 2004/2005. However, unemployment persisted and Mubarak came under criticism for favoring big business and privatization as opposed to workers’ rights. All this was a consequence of the wide use of privatization policy, by selling shares in most public sector companies, but it was widely believed that this reserve of previously nationalized capitals would end soon, leaving Nazif’s government broke.

2005 elections

President Mubarak has been re-elected by majority votes in a referendum for successive terms on four occasions: in 1987, 1993, 1999. The referendum in itself and its results are of questionable validity[who?]. No one could run against the President due to a restriction in the Egyptian constitution in which the People’s Assembly played the main role in electing the President of the Republic.

After increased domestic and international pressure for democratic reform in Egypt, Mubarak asked the largely rubber stamp[citation needed] parliament on 26 February 2005 to amend the constitution to allow multi-candidate presidential elections by September 2005[citation needed]. Previously[when?], Mubarak secured his position by having himself nominated by parliament, then confirmed without opposition in a referendum.

The September 2005 ballot was therefore a multiple candidate election rather than a referendum, but the electoral institutions, and security apparatus remain under the control of the President. The official state media, including the three government newspapers and state television also express views identical to the official line taken by Mubarak. In recent years however, there has been a steady growth in independent news outlets, especially independent newspapers which occasionally criticize the President and his family severely[citation needed]. Satellite channels beaming from Egypt such as the Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network for example, also exhibit relative openness as exhibited in their flagship program Al Qahira Al Yawm. In the last few years however, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has been somewhat successful in turning things around. According to the List of countries by Human Development Index Egypt ranks 111th out of 177 countries, and rates 0.702 on the index.

On 28 July 2005, Mubarak announced his candidacy, as he had been widely expected to do. The election which was scheduled for 7 September 2005 involved mass rigging activities, according to civil organizations that observed the elections.[24] Reports[citation needed] have shown that Mubarak’s party used government vehicles to take public employees to vote for him. Votes were bought for Mubarak in poor suburbs and rural areas. It was also reported that thousands of illegal votes were allowed for Mubarak from citizens who were not registered to vote. On 8 September 2005, Ayman Nour, a dissident and candidate for the El-Ghad Party (“Tomorrow party”), contested the election results, and demanded a repeat of the election.

In a move widely seen as political persecution, Nour was convicted of forgery and sentenced to five years at hard labor on 24 December 2005.[25] On the day of Nour’s guilty verdict and sentencing, the White House Press Secretary released the following statement denouncing the government’s action:

“The United States is deeply troubled by the conviction today of Egyptian politician Ayman Nour by an Egyptian court. The conviction of Dr. Nour, the runner-up in Egypt’s 2005 presidential elections, calls into question Egypt’s commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We are also disturbed by reports that Mr. Nour’s health has seriously declined due to the hunger strike on which he has embarked in protest of the conditions of his trial and detention. The United States calls upon the Egyptian government to act under the laws of Egypt in the spirit of its professed desire for increased political openness and dialogue within Egyptian society, and out of humanitarian concern, to release Mr. Nour from detention.”[26]

According to Reporters Without Borders; Egyptian media ranks 133 out of 168 in freedom of the press,[27] showing an improvement of 10 places from 2005.

Corruption

While in office, political corruption in the Mubarak administration’s Ministry of Interior rose dramatically, due to the increased power over the institutional system that is necessary to secure the prolonged presidency.[clarification needed] Such corruption has led to the imprisonment of political figures and young activists without trials,[28] illegal undocumented hidden detention facilities,[29][30] and rejecting universities, mosques, newspapers staff members based on political inclination.[31] On a personnel level, each individual officer is allowed to violate citizens’ privacy in his area using unconditioned arrests due to the emergency law.

In 2010, Transparency International‘s Corruption Perceptions Index report assessed Egypt with a CPI score of 3.1, based on perceptions of the degree of corruption from business people and country analysts, with 10 being very clean and 0 being highly corrupt. Egypt ranked 98th out of the 178 countries included in the report.[32]

Emergency law rule

Egypt is a semi-presidential republic under Emergency Law (Law No. 162 of 1958)[33] and has been since 1967, except for an 18-month break in 1980s (which ended with the assassination of Sadat). Under the law, police powers are extended, constitutional rights suspended and censorship is legalized.[34] The law sharply circumscribes any non-governmental political activity: street demonstrations, non-approved political organizations, and unregistered financial donations are formally banned. Some 17,000 people are detained under the law, and estimates of political prisoners run as high as 30,000.[35] Under that “state of emergency”, the government has the right to imprison individuals for any period of time, and for virtually no reason, thus keeping them in prisons without trials for any period. The government continues the claim that opposition groups like the Muslim Brotherhood could come into power in Egypt if the current government did not forgo parliamentary elections, confiscate the group’s main financiers’ possessions, and detain group figureheads, actions which are virtually impossible without emergency law and judicial-system independence prevention.[36] Pro-democracy advocates in Egypt argue that this goes against the principles of democracy, which include a citizen‘s right to a fair trial and their right to vote for whichever candidate and/or party they deem fit to run their country.[citation needed]

Presidential succession

In 2009, US Ambassador Margaret Scobey reported uncertainty regarding presidential succession, stating “Despite incessant whispered discussions, no one in Egypt has any certainty about who will eventually succeed Mubarak nor under what circumstances.”[37] She listed likely candidates, saying, “The most likely contender is presidential son Gamal Mubarak (whose profile is ever-increasing at the ruling party); some suggest that intelligence chief Omar Suleiman might seek the office, or dark horse Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa might run. Mubarak’s ideal of a strong but fair leader would seem to discount Gamal Mubarak to some degree, given Gamal’s lack of military experience, and may explain Mubarak’s hands off approach to the succession question.”[37] President Mubarak and his son have denied this, “saying [that] a multi-candidate electoral system introduced in 2005 has made the political process more transparent.”[38] Nigerian Tribune journalist Abiodun Awolaja described a would-be succession by Gamal Mubarak as a “hereditary pseudo-monarchy“.[39] Ambassador Scobey summarised Mubarak’s vision of the presidential succession, stating, “Indeed, he seems to be trusting to God and the ubiquitous military and civilian security services to ensure an orderly transition.”[37]

 

Gamal Mubarak, son of Hosni Mubarak

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Hosni Mubarak is generally supportive of Israel. As he has been involved intensely in the Arab League, he has supported Arab efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the region. The current position of the League is that which was endorsed at the Beirut Summit, on 28 March 2002. At the summit the league adopted the Arab Peace Initiative,[40] a Saudi-inspired peace plan for the Arab–Israeli conflict. The initiative offered full normalization of the relations with Israel. In exchange, Israel was demanded to withdraw from all occupied territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as a “just solution” for the Palestinian refugees. The Peace Initiative was again endorsed at 2007 in the Riyadh Summit. In July 2007, the Arab League sent a mission, consisting of the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers, to Israel to promote the initiative.

 

1 September 2010. During Middle East negotiations, Mubarak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel look at their watches to see if it is officially sunset; during Ramadan, Muslims fast until sunset.

On 19 June 2008, the Egypt-brokered “lull” or pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas went into effect.[41] The term “lull” is a translation of the Arabic term Tahdia.[42] According to The New York Times, neither side fully respected the terms of the cease-fire.[43]

The agreement required Hamas to end rocket attacks on Israel and to enforce the lull throughout Gaza. In exchange, Hamas expected the blockade to end, commerce in Gaza to resume, and truck shipments to be restored to 2005 levels, which was between 500 and 600 trucks per day.[43][44] Israel tied easing of the blockade to a reduction in rocket fire and gradually re-opened supply lines and permitted around 90 daily truck shipments to enter Gaza, up from around 70 per day.[45] Hamas criticized Israel for its continued blockade[46] while Israel accused Hamas of continued weapons smuggling via tunnels to Egypt and pointed to continued rocket attacks.[43]

However, when conflict again ensued during the Gaza War, Egypt’s foreign minister stated that Hamas had brought it upon itself.

In 2009, Mubarak’s government banned the Cairo Anti-war Conference, which has criticised his lack of action against Israel.[47]

Protests and resignation

 

Massive protests centered on Cairo’s Tahrir Square led to Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011.

Mass protests against Mubarak erupted in Cairo and other Egyptian cities on 25 January 2011. On 1 February, Mubarak announced he would not contest the presidential election due in September. He also promised constitutional reform.[48] This did not satisfy the majority of protesters as they expected Mubarak to depart immediately.[49] The demonstrations continued and on 2 February, violent clashes occurred between pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak protestors.[50] On 10 February, contrary to rumours,[51] Mubarak asserted that he would not resign until the September election, though he would be delegating responsibilities to Vice President Omar Suleiman. The next day, Suleiman announced Mubarak’s resignation.[4] The announcement sparked cheers, flag-waving, and celebrations from protesters around Egypt.

A few hours prior to the resignation announcement, reports surfaced suggesting Mubarak and his immediate family had left Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh.

Reports and speculations about condition following resignation

Since his resignation, Mubarak did not make any media appearance, which led to some speculations about his real condition. Some reports claimed that he went into coma.[52]

Political and military posts

  • Chairman of the Non-aligned Movement
  • Re-elected for a fifth term of office (2005)
  • Chairman of the G-15 (1998 & 2002)
  • Re-elected for a fourth term of office (1999)
  • Chairman of the Arab Summit since June (1996)
  • Chairman of the OAU (1993–94)
  • Re-elected for a third term of office (1993)
  • Chairman of the OAU (1989–90)
  • Re-elected for a second term of office (1987)
  • President of the National Democratic Party (1982)
  • President of the Republic (1981)
  • Vice-President of the National Democratic Party (NDP) (1979)
  • Vice-President of the Arab Republic of Egypt (1975)
  • Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General / Air Marshal (1974)
  • Commander of the Air Force and Deputy Minister of Defense (1972)
  • Chief of Staff of the Air Force (1969)
  • Director of the Air Force Academy (1968)
  • Commander of Cairo West Air Base (1964)
  • Joined Frunze Military Academy, USSR (1964)
  • Lecturer in Air Force Academy (1952–59)

Wealth

In February 2011, the media reported on the wealth of the Mubarak family. ABC News indicated that experts believed the personal wealth of Mubarak and his family to be between US$40 billion and $70 billion founded on military contracts made during his time as an air force officer.[53] Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported that Mubarak and his family might be worth up to $70 billion due to corruption, kickbacks and legitimate business activities. The money was said to be spread out in various bank accounts at home and abroad, including Switzerland and Britain, and also invested in foreign property. The newspaper admitted, however, that some of the information regarding the family’s wealth might be ten years old.[54] According to Newsweek, however, these allegations are poorly substantiated and lack credibility.[55]

On February 12, the government of Switzerland announced that it was freezing the Swiss bank accounts of Mubarak and his family. However, the Swiss government did not give any more information about the amount of wealth in the accounts.[56]

Illness

In the summer of 2010, the media speculated “Egypt is on the cusp of dramatic change,” because Mubarak was thought to be afflicted by cancer, and because of the scheduled 2011 presidential election. While intelligence sources suggested that he suffered from oesophageal cancer,[57] stomach or pancreatic cancer, it was denied by Egyptian authorities.[58][59] Speculation about his ill health flared up with his abdication on February 11, 2011.[60] According to Egyptian media, Mubarak’s condition worsened after he went into exile in Sharm el-Sheikh. Mubarak was reportedly depressed, refused to take medications, and was slipping in and out of conciousness. According to the source, an unnamed Egyptian security official, “Mubarak wants to be left alone and die in his homeland”. The source also denied that Mubarak was writing his memoirs, stating that he was in a state of almost complete unconciousness.[61] After his February 2011 resignation Egypt’s ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry reported that his personal sources said Mubarak “is possibly in somewhat of bad health”, while several Egyptian and a Saudi Arabian newspapers reported that Mubarak was near death and in a coma.[62]

Awards

Mubarak was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award in 1995.[63]

Monument

A monument to Hosni Mubarak was erected in 2007 in Xırdalan (Azerbaijan).[64] The Azerbaijani Musavat party has advocated the demolition of the statue.

Popular culture

Mubarak is ranked 20th on Parade Magazines 2009 World’s Worst Dictators list.[65] He, as other presidents before him, has frequently been the target of jokes by the Egyptian people for many years before his resignation.[66][67][68][69][70] He was heavily featured in Episodes 82 and 83 (July 2009) of satirical podcast The Bugle. After news emerged that a man was jailed for writing a poem that insulted Mubarak, hosts Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver challenged the show’s listeners to write a verse or haiku that was more insulting than the original. Zaltzman later said he did not have the courage to go to Egypt after insulting its leader.[71]

SOURCE  :

http://www.wikipedia.org

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosni_Mubarak

 

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