This blog keeps track of significant developments inside Bahrain’s Parliament

 

MPs approve ban on members of dissolved political societies – 20 Feb 2018

MPs during their 20 February weekly session approved a proposal to ban members of banned political societies from registering as candidates in parliamentary elections. The sponsors of the proposal, including Parliament Deputy Chairman Ali al-Aradi, questioned: “How could traitors be allowed into Parliament. The Council of Representatives [CoR] is not a suitable place for terrorists. We desire a nationalist, honourable opposition, not a terrorist opposition which commits crimes.”

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Getting to know Iran’s proxies in the region: This series looks at radical Iran-linked organizations and militants in order to better understand the threat they pose. See here for a link to the entire series of Citizens for Bahrain dossiers on Militancy in Bahrain.

Summary: What was the IFLB?

The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain (IFLB) was announced by its founder Hadi al-Mudarrisi soon after the success of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 “Islamic revolution” in Iran. Hadi al-Mudarrisi was an Iraqi exile who had lived in Bahrain throughout most of the 1970s. He founded a number of religious establishments, through which he advanced the teachings of Ayatollah Mohammed al-Shirazi who advocated the creation of Shia Islamic states across the Muslim world. Hence, those affiliated with Mudarrisi were known as the Shirazi movement, which was particularly popular among urban Bahraini Shia of Iranian origin (known as the Ajam community).

From the outset the IFLB was known to be funded and supported by Tehran and members in Bahrain began organizing political demonstrations and politicizing religious festivals. As tensions between Iran and the Gulf States increased with the commencement of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, Tehran used the IFLB to stage a coup attempt in late 1981, including sending Iran-trained commandos from other Arab states to militarily support this enterprise.

Although the coup attempt quickly dissolved into farce and was uncovered before it even began, Hadi al-Mudarrisi and IFLB’s membership would go on to have a long record of seeking to destabilize Bahrain and establish an Islamic state. From 2001 King Hamad’s amnesty allowed many exiles to return and saw others released from jail. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was a prominent Shirazi exile and former member of the IFLB who became active in radicalizing young people over the coming years. The Islamic Amal Society, led by Mohammed al-Mahfoudh, became the formal political framework for the Shirazi movement and Hadi al-Mudarrisi was recognized as Amal’s spiritual leader. However, it proved to be a relatively minor entity which failed to win parliamentary seats in elections. Amal was closed down in 2012 after becoming one of the opposition entities inciting rioting and radical activity to bring down the political system.

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How did the National Action Charter transform Bahrain?

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“…Justice is the basis of government. Equality, rule of law, liberty, security, peace, education, social solidarity and equal opportunity are all core principles of society…” NAC.

February 14 2001 marked a new chapter for Bahrain. The constitutional referendum represented a cornerstone for promoting social, economic and political freedoms, following a period of political turbulence during the 1990’s.

The late Emir, Sheikh Isa, died in March 1999 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sheikh Hamad Bin-Isa Al Khalifa. In the 14 February 2001 referendum on the new constitution – the National Action Charter (NAC) - Bahrainis strongly backed proposals to transform the country into a Constitutional Monarchy with an elected Parliament and independent judiciary - 98.4% voted in support of the new NAC constitution.   

Parliamentary & political life

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Investment in infrastructure

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Discovering Bahrain’s economy

A series of articles looking at different aspects of the Bahraini economy: What is Bahrain’s business model built on? How is Bahrain’s economy evolving? What are the principle opportunities in Bahrain’s economy?

A series of massive infrastructure projects are under way in Bahrain, designed to underpin the Kingdom’s strategy of moving away from dependence on oil revenues. 

Indeed, $32 billion is being invested in a number of signature projects intended to upgrade Bahrain’s infrastructure and facilitate a greatly enhanced and more dynamic private sector which can act as the motor for the nation’s future prosperity.

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