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Background: In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa, after coming to power in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations with the Shi'a community. Shi'a political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shi'a political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence. Source: CIA—The World Factbook)
Security Assistance Funding: (Source: 2009 Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign Operations)
($ in thousands)
|Account||FY 2007||FY2007||FY 2008||FY 2008||FY2009|
Direct Commercial Sales: (Source: 2007 Section 655 Report)
In FY 2007, the Department of State authorized the export of defense articles and services valued at $13,394,558.