The Kingdom of Bahrain, located on a number of
islands in the Persian Gulf, like its neighbors, bases
its economy on oil and gas extraction. The power rests
with the Khalifa Sunni Muslim family, despite the fact
that a majority of the residents are Shiites. Many of
them feel discriminated against, and the regime has
periodically resorted to harsh methods to keep the
Shiite-dominated opposition in check. In the spring of
2011, the royal family managed to quell regime-critical
protests only after troops from neighboring countries
within the cooperative organization GCC came to the
Brief profiles of Bahrain, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Bahrain ("two seas" in Arabic) consists of
about thirty islands in the Persian Gulf, between the
coast of Saudi Arabia and the peninsula of Qatar. Only
six of the islands are inhabited.
The main island of Bahrain, which occupies more than
four fifths of the country's surface, is 5 km long and
at its widest 2.5 km. It consists mostly of barren
desert with salt marsh at the far south. Along the
northern coast there is cultivable land. There is a
great lack of surface water and the fresh water that is
below the ground is often mixed with salt water.
Bahrain is flat - the highest point reaches just 135
meters above sea level. A bridge connects Bahrain with
Bahrain's climate is hot and humidity is high. In
summer, it is often 40 degrees or more in the shade.
The most common wind, shamal (nordan), is
humid and blows from the northwest during the summer. A
hot, dry southwest wind known as qaws occurs
especially in the spring and draws in sand over mainly
the southern part of Bahrain.
In winter, when the extremely low rainfall falls, the
daytime temperature stays between 20 and 25 degrees.
693 km2 (2018)
Swedish +2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of inhabitants
Manama 398,000 (2014 estimate)
Other major cities
Jabal al-Dukhan (135 m asl)
Tweet leads to jail
A person is sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the king via
Twitter. The convicted was arrested along with three others in October.
Protests and crowds are banned
The government bans all protests and public gatherings. Earlier this month, a
police officer was killed and one seriously injured by an explosion charge in
connection with demonstrations against the government in the city of al-Akr a
few miles south of Manama.
Human rights activist is sentenced to prison
A well-known human rights activist, Nabil Rajab, is sentenced to three years
in prison for participating in "illegal meetings". Rajab was one of the
organizers of the protests in 2011. The sentence is reduced a few months later
to two years.
Regime critics end hunger strike
The regime critic Abdulhadi al-Khawaja (see June 2011) ends
a hunger strike that lasts for a couple of months, partly because he is forcibly
fed in prison and partly because he thinks he has achieved his goal: to draw the
world's attention to the protest movement in Bahrain.
Protest against Formula One competition
Protests are being held in Manama ahead of the country hosting the Formula 1
Grand Prix competitions. The protesters, including many foreign activists,
demand that the competitions be canceled because of Bahrain's human rights
violations. The competition is held as planned, under heavy police surveillance
and without any major disturbances.
The demonstrations continue
In mid-February, protesters gathered in the city for the anniversary of the
riot at Pärltorget. They are met by tear gas from security forces.