Bahrain. According to Countryaah, Bahrain Independence Day is December 16. Bahrain’s King Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa offered Iraq’s Saddam Hussein a sanctuary in Bahrain on March 19. The offer came after the US declared that a country escape would be the only way for Saddam Hussein to avoid war. Iraqi government officials rejected the proposal.
2,000 young people, many of them masked, took part in violent riots on New Year’s Eve 2002 in the capital of Manama’s tourist district. More than 40 people were arrested. According to some reports, young people were Shi’a Muslims from villages near Manama who protested against tourists’ expulsions.
Shia group on US terror list
The United States places a Bahraini Shia organization, Saraya al-Mukhtar, on its terror list. The organization is accused of having planned terrorist attacks against American soldiers in Bahrain and of having links to the influential Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The decision entails, in particular, the exclusion of Saraya al-Mukhtar from using the US banking system.
The Prime Minister dies
Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has died in a US hospital at the age of 84. One week of national mourning is announced. He was the longest-serving prime minister in the world since independence in 1971. In connection with the Arab Spring of 2011, protesters demanded his resignation. He himself denied that he was a brake on reform demands, but the revolt was crushed by security forces and the Sunni royal house has since thwarted popular demands, especially from the Shiite majority. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa becomes new Prime Minister. He is 51 years old, educated in both the United States and the United Kingdom and has previously been Deputy Prime Minister.