FOREIGN RELATIONS OF BAHRAIN
Since the independence in 1971, Bahrain has maintained friendly relations with most of its neighbors and with the world community. Bahrain plays a modest, moderating role in the regional politics and adheres to the views of the Arab League. The goal of this organization is to safeguard the interests of the 22 arab countries that conforms the league, in which Bahrain is the smallest country of it. In 1981 Bahrain and five other Arab gulf states formed the Gulf Cooperation Council , this regional bloc has led to freer trading and closer economic and defense ties between the countries members, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. After the liberation of Kuwait, Bahrain and the United States strengthened their already good ties by signing a ten-year agreement in 1991, which granted American forces access to Bahraini facilities and allowed the U.S. to pre-position war material for future crises. In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush designated Bahrain as a major non-NATO ally. With the decline of Iraq as a regional powerbroker, Bahrain has begun taking steps to improve relations with Iran and increase regional harmony. These efforts have included encouraging Bahrain-Iran trade, which have engaged in many joint economic ventures. However, Iran has been severely critical of Bahrain hosting the US navy Fifth Fleet within the Persian Gulf. In 2006, Bahrain was elected head of the United Nations General Assembly, and used the honour to appoint Haya Rashid Al Khalifa as the Assembly's president, making her the first Middle East woman and only the third woman in history to take over the post. According to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, Bahrain has the freest economy in the Middle East and is number twelve overall in the world.
The protests in Bahrain started on February 14, and were initially aimed for achieving greater political freedom and respect for human rights. The Shiite...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document