Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs
Through his committee role, Bin-Huwail is arguably the voice of the Parliament on foreign policy & national security issues. Bin-Huwail was an MP in the previous Parliament and his strong performance in the 2014 elections proves his local popularity. Bin-Huwail is a loyalist and consensual MP and head of the Independents’ Bloc in the previous Parliament.
Bin-Huwail is not given to speaking out and when he does go on record – for example; in the context of his Defence Committee role – his comments usually favour the authorities and the security forces. However, Bin-Huwail was one of the 23 MPs who voted in support of interrogating the Health Minister over issues raised in the Audit report in spring 2015.
After a relatively quietist start to the 2014 Parliament, in mid-April Bin-Huwail submitted a number of private bills related to education, health and commercial standards and became increasingly vocal on foreign policy issues, defending the GGC role in regional stability. However, Bin-Huwail has reportedly endured a period of prolonged illness during the first half of 2015.
ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Policing & regional security
Iran: Bin-Huwail on 24 July condemned statements by the Iranian leadership concerning Bahrain. He praised the Interior Ministry’s comments regarding Iran’s interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs. He urged greater GCC efforts to implement the Gulf Union proposal, in order to thwart Iran’s efforts. Bin-Huwail on 28 Aug said that Iran acted as the “gate to facilitate the movement of international terrorism”.
Terrorism: Bin-Huwail’s Defence Committee on 28 July condemned the recent attack in Sitra which killed 2 policemen. Bin-Huwail called for urgent action to implement GCC proposals for a Gulf Union to guarantee mutual security.
Bin-Huwail on 29 Aug strongly condemned the Al-Karranah bombing which killed one policeman. He called it an “open war on behalf of Iran”.
Security: Bin-Huwail in a 31 July statement emphasized the strength of Bahrain’s national unity and reiterated the determination of the authorities not to talk to terrorists. He categorized recent US statements as representing interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Affiliation: Al-Wasat newspaper on 4 Oct signaled that a new parliamentary bloc was likely to be established at the beginning of the new parliamentary term, consisting of MPs Al-Asoumi, Bu-Ali, Qaratah, Al-Bakri, Al-Maarifi, Al-Noaimi, Al-Hammadi, Bin-Huwail and Turki.
Defence Committee: According to Al-Watan newspaper on 6 Oct, Bin-Huwail is standing for continuing his chairmanship of this Committee in the coming parliamentary term, although the report noted that Bin-Huwail had been enduring health problems and was undergoing treatment during the previous term. Although Abdulrahman Bumjaid is reportedly contesting the chairmanship, it is said that the majority of Committee members support Bin-Huwail’s tenure.
ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Housing, services & infrastructure
Housing: During the 24 February parliamentary session Bin-Huwail requested from the Housing Minister a “clear timetable for housing projects in the Southern Governorate and the phases of implementation”. However, he praised the efforts of the Housing Ministry to address the crisis in housing provision.
Electricity: On 4 May Bin-Huwail tabled a formal question for the Energy Ministry about the number of power cuts in recent years.
Standards of living, health & education
Education: During the 24 March open debate on Bahraini teachers Bin-Huwail praised the Education Ministry’s successes in recruiting Bahraini teachers.
Gas cylinders: Bin-Huwail on 9 April asked the Ministry of Commerce about enforcing standards to guarantee the safety of gas cylinders sold to the public. Bin-Huwail noted incidences of price manipulation and avoidance of safety standards.
Health services: Bin-Huwail strongly praised the Prime Minister on 14 April for the agreement to upgrade health services in Riffa.
Health: Bin-Huwail on 18 April put forward a private bill for a public hospital for rehabilitation from serious afflictions. He said that this would reduce the pressure on existing facilities.
Agriculture: Bin-Huwail on 16 April called for agricultural methods to be taught in government schools, in preparation for the establishment of an agriculture faculty at the University of Bahrain.
Good governance & public finance
Minister interrogation: Bin-Huwail on 4 May told the media that the specially-formed committee had agreed on interrogating the Health Minister and the matter was now one for Parliament. However, Bin-Huwail said that he “expected a number of surprises” during the parliamentary session. During the 5 May parliamentary session an insufficient number of MPs voted in support of interrogating the Health Minister (23 supported, below the 2/3 quota of 27 MPs).Bin-Huwail voted in favour of the interrogation.
MPs’ benefits: On 12 May, Parliament voted to delay two weeks the vote on modifying retirement payments for MPs. Bin-Huwail said that “those who have done well in their work and served their country deserve to be acknowledged… Bahrain went through a crisis and the terrorism of the criminal Al-Wefaq society shouldn’t be forgotten. The previous (2011 by-election) MPs were cruelly targeted and now some of them are sitting at home living on nothing. We should not abandon them.” The Chairman ordered the “criminal” reference to be struck from the record.
Debt ceiling: According to Al-Watan on 14 May Bin-Huwail was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.
Budget: Bin-Huwail on 18 May said that the Budget must “cover the ceiling of needs for services”. He noted the growing needs of Bahraini families and the various requirements for services across Bahrain’s constituencies.
Policing & regional security
Defence Committee: Bin-Huwail on 18 February welcomed comments by King Hamad praising the role of Bahrain’s Defence Forces. Bin-Huwail praised the role of the Interior Ministry and the security forces in guaranteeing security and stability, while “exerting maximum levels of restraint”.
Bin-Huwail on 9 April said his Committee had discussed proposals for guaranteeing the registration and safety of small shipping. He said that the Committee also discussed Bahrain’s membership of international treaties restricting the use of certain weapons and proposed updated passport regulations.
On 29 April Bin-Huwail’s Committee completed its review of planned amendments to legislation concerning registration of births and deaths.
Bin-Huwail on 6 May said that his Committee had discussed proposals for preventing heavy vehicles from using main roads during peak periods. His Committee also discussed accession to a treaty for limiting the use of conventional weapons.
On 14 May Bin-Huwail’s Committee discussed the proposal sponsored by Ali al-Aradi for keeping heavy vehicles off major roads during peak times. The Committee recommended for approval the proposed inclusion of Bahrain in an international treaty for banning the use for certain forms of weapons. The Committee also discussed Jamal Dawoud’s proposal for a race track for young people to drive their cars on.
Ex-Military restrictions: In the 24 February vote preventing former army personnel from taking military jobs overseas, Bin-Huwail observed that his Committee had studied the proposals in meetings with Defence Ministry officials.
Yemen crisis: During the 31 March debate Bin-Huwail praised the “honorable” Saudi position on Yemen which “cuts off the hand that does wrong to the Arab nations”. Bin-Huwail on 16 April praised GCC diplomacy for achieving regional security. He praised the UN Security Council resolution on Yemen. Bin-Huwail warned that Iran’s and Russia’s provision of arms could trigger an arms race.
Security: On 5 April Bin-Huwail in a press statement welcomed the recent visit of the Interior Minister to the National Assembly to discuss security issues. Bin-Huwail on 12 April opened a meeting between the Bahrain Foreign Minister and MPs. Bin-Huwail praised the role of the Minister along with the King and Arab leaders in working to preserve regional security.
During an 8 April forum Bin-Huwail discussed his proposal for criminalizing the photography of the security forces. He noted that such materials were used by terrorists against security personnel and by foreign agencies for spying.
US statement: Bin-Huwail condemned the recent US statement concerning Nabeel Rajab’s detention as “unacceptable and ignorant interference” in Bahraini affairs, condemning the “double standards” of US foreign policy as being responsible for the “chaos, violence and terrorism” in the region.
Egypt security: Following joint Egyptian-Bahraini military exercises on 22 April, Bin-Huwail stressed the importance of combined training to ensure greater coordination between the two nations and the Arab world.
Schengen visas: Bin-Huwail on 12 May supported the proposal for obliging the Government to lobby for Bahrainis to be exempt from the Schengen visa. Bin-Huwail noted the troubles of those travelling for treatment abroad in obtaining these visas.
Rights, freedoms & religion
Pork: Bin-Huwail on 23 March proposed banning pork imports , saying that eating pork was forbidden and Bahrain is a country abiding by the principles of Shari’ah.
Media: On 30 March Bin-Huwail stressed to the French Ambassador the need for efforts to ensure the accuracy of information being circulated abroad about Bahrain.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Private members’ bills: During the 7 April parliamentary session MPs voted to commit the Government to a time limit for implementing proposals submitted by MPs and agreed on by Parliament. Bin-Huwail urged the Government to quickly implement the proposals it agreed with. Bin-Huwail said that it was untrue that the proposal infringed on the Government’s business.
- Standards of living, health & education – 6
- Housing & services – 4
- Policing & regional security – 8
- Good governance & public finance – 4
- Economy & employment – 4
- Supporting constituents & youth – 3
- Rights & freedoms – 3
- Constructive Parliament role – 5
- Public visibility – 4
- Progressive/reformist credentials – 4
Results of 2014 elections – 7th Southern
Areas covered: Nuwaidrat, West Riffa, Rawdhah
Housing blocks: 746, 748, 902, 904, 906, 908, 912, 920, 924, 926, 928, 930, 932
Registered voters: 8,304; Percentage first round voter turnout: 80.8%
First round vote:
Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – 2938 (45.4%); Ahmed al-Dossary – 2775 (42.8%); Anwar al-Mohammed – 765 (11.8%)
Second round vote:
Abdullah Bin-Huwail (MP) – 3540 (59.3%)
Ahmed al-Dossary – 2432 (40.7%)
Profile of election campaign: Abdullah Ali Jabir Bin-Huwail
This campaign has come in almost exactly as people predicted, with standing MP Bin Huwail as the winner. Abdullah Bin-Huwail, is popular locally and well-known at a national level, having headed the “Independents Bloc” in Parliament. Another MP, Ahmed al-Mulla, changed his electoral address (to 10th Southern) to avoid standing in the same constituency as Bin-Huwail. Bin-Huwail told the media: “The boycott has failed. The nation is ready to participate and decide its own destiny”. Bin-Huwail said that he had decided to continue as an independent because “the independent bloc has proved its role in advancing numerous issues in the 2010 Parliament”.
The 7th Southern district is one of the more diverse areas in southern Bahrain. It is effectively a new constituency, given the extent of the new borders, which encompass Sunni Riffa and Shia Nuwaidrat. Many people from this area work for the army. This area is known for its tribal ties.
Know your deputy: Profiles of other Bahrain MPs
Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital
Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital
Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital
Deputy-Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital
Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters
Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital
Osamah al-Khajah – 7th Capital
Shaikh Majid al-Asfour – 8th Capital
Mohammed Jaffar Milad – 9th Capital
Nabil al-Balooshi – 10th Capital
Ali Bufarsan – 1st Muharraq
Head of Committee for Youth and Sports
Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq
Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq
Isa al-Kooheji – 4th Muharraq
Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters
Mohammed al-Jowder – 5th Muharraq
Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq
Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq
Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq
Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern
Deputy Head of the Committee for Women and Children
Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern
Deputy Head of Committee for Youth and Sports
Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern
Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern
Deputy Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment
Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern
Deputy Head of Parliament
Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern
Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern
Head of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters
Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern
Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern
Deputy Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People
Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern
Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People
Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern
Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment
Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern
Head of the Committee for Women and Children
Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern
Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern
Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern
Second Deputy Head of Parliament
Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Services
Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern
Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters
Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern
Head of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs
Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern
Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern
Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern
Head of Parliament