Bahrain has politically come a long way since King Hamad came to the throne in 1999. His new constitution – the National Action Charter – was popularly approved by more than 98% of Bahrainis. This charter enshrined King Hamad’s vision that Bahrain was to be a Constitutional Monarchy, centred around a two-chamber Parliament.

 

Over the next 15 years the elected house of Parliament – the Chamber of Deputies – has progressively become a more significant element of the legislative and decision-making process in Bahrain. The 2012 constitutional amendments took this even further. The main effect of these amendments was to significantly increase the powers of elected MPs.

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Bahraini police once again the victims of terrorism

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On 28 July Bahrain has endured the single worst terrorist atrocity in the Kingdom for well over a year, with two policemen dead and several fatally injured, following an explosion in Sitra. The details of this incident are still unclear, but for Bahrainis this shocking attack falls into an inescapable context:

This attack occurred only two days after a shipment of weapons and explosives was impounded arriving from Iran and during a period when several car loads of bomb-making materials have been discovered on the causeway between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

In each case those involved had links to Iran and had received training from Iran. Elements of the terrorist organization, Al-Ashtar Brigades were also recently arrested and were found to have received support from Iran, with the group’s leaders still sitting in Tehran.

On 14 July a militant was killed in Al-Eker while trying to plant a bomb to ambush policemen. During late 2013 and early 2014 there were several similar incidents where militants were killed and injured while manufacturing and transporting bombs.

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Bahrainis say no to Iranian interference

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The seizure on 25 July of a boatload of weapons and explosives of Iranian origin headed for Bahrain is just another page on the long chapters of Iran’s history of interference in Bahrain. Over recent months, several shipments of weapons were impounded, coming from Iran, for militants trained by Iran, seeking to implement Iran’s hostile policy objectives through terrorism.

 

Over past decades Bahrain has endured a number of attempts supported by Iran to overthrow the monarchy and replace it with an Islamic republic. Starting with the 1981 coup attempt - and continuing with the 2011 unrest when Iran mobilized its media to attack Bahrain; aided militants; and incited hatred through provocative official statements. 

 

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 On 22 July, Iain Lindsay, the outgoing British Ambassador to Bahrain, expressed his sorrow at leaving Bahrain after four years of service. He noted how many British citizens saw Bahrain as a “second home”, with many hundreds of them settling down and having children and even grandchildren in the Kingdom. “Bahrain should be proud that people from differing cultural and religious backgrounds prefer to live here rather than in other states,” Lindsay said.

Iain Lindsay has overseen an important period for British-Bahraini relations and he will be widely missedby many Bahrainis. Citizens for Bahrain wishes him well as he continues his diplomatic career.

Below are some of the notable quotes from Ambassador Iain Lindsay’s press conference:

Reforms

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