Introduction 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 and 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.

Bahrain has been inhabited since ancient times and has even been proposed as the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden[citation needed]. Its strategic location in the Persian Gulf has brought rule and influence from the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, and finally the Arabs, under whom the island became Muslim. Bahrain was in ancient times known as Dilmun, later under its Greek name Tylos[4], then as Awal, and then by the Persian name Mishmahig, when it was a part of the Persian Empire.

The islands of Bahrain, positioned in the middle south of the Persian Gulf, have attracted the attention of invaders throughout history. Bahrain is Arabic for "two seas", referring to the sweet water springs that can be found within the salty sea surrounding it[5]

A strategic position between East and West, fertile lands, fresh water, and pearl diving made Bahrain long a center of urban settlement. Pearl diving was the main economy until cultured pearls were invented in early twentieth century and more when oil was discovered in 1930s. About 2300 BC, Bahrain became a centre of one of the ancient empires trading between Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and the Indus Valley (now in Pakistan and India). This was the civilization of Dilmun (sometimes transliterated Telmun) that was linked to the Sumerian Civilization in the third millennium BC. Bahrain became part of the Babylonian empire about 600 BC. Historical records referred to Bahrain with names such as the "Life of Eternity", "Paradise", and Eden. Bahrain was also called the "Pearl of the Persian Gulf".

Until Bahrain adopted Islam in 629 AD, it was a centre for Nestorian Christianity[6]. Early Islamic sources describe it as being inhabited by members of the Abdul Qays, Tamim, and Bakr tribes. In 899, a millenarian Ismaili sect, the Qarmatians, seized hold of the country and sought to create a utopian society based on reason and the distribution of all property evenly among the initiates. The Qarmatians caused disruption throughout the Islamic world: they collected tribute from the caliph in Baghdad; and in 930 sacked Mecca and Medina, bringing the sacred Black Stone back to Bahrain where it was held to ransom. They were defeated in 976 by the Abbasids.[7] The final end of the Qarmatians came at the hand of the Arab Uyunid dynasty of al-Hasa, who took over the entire Bahrain region in 1076.[8] They controlled the Bahrain islands until 1235, when the islands were briefly occupied by the ruler of Fars. In 1253, the bedouin Usfurids brought down the Uyunid dynasty and gained control over eastern Arabia, including the islands of Bahrain. In 1330, the islands became tributary to the rulers of Hormuz.[9]

Until the late Middle Ages, "Bahrain" referred to the larger historical region of Bahrain that included Ahsa, Qatif (both now within the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia) and the Awal (now the Bahrain) Islands. The region stretched from Basrah to the Strait of Hormuz in Oman. This was Iqlīm al-Bahrayn "Bahrayn Province." The exact date at which the term "Bahrain" began to refer solely to the Awal archipeligo is unknown.[10]

In the mid-15th century, the islands came under the rule of the Jabrids, a bedouin dynasty that was also based in al-Ahsa and ruled most of eastern Arabia. The Portuguese invaded Bahrain in 1521, siezing it from the Jabrid ruler Migrin ibn Zamil, who was killed in battle.[11] From the sixteenth century to 1743, control of Bahrain drifted between the Portuguese and the Iranians. In 1717, the Omanis also briefly controlled the islands.[12]

In 1783, the al-Khalifa family invaded and took control of Bahrain, ending Persian control, and establishing an independent emirate.[13]. In 1845, a section of the Dawasir tribe, originating in southern Nejd settled in Bahrain.[14] The Al Khalifa at times extended their authority to the northern shores of Qatar and the area of Dammam on the Arabian coast.

After the Saudis conquered al-Hasa and Qatif in 1796, the Al Khalifa briefly became their tributaries.[15] After the Saudis re-established their power in the region in the 19th century, they attempted again to bring the emirate of Bahrain under their control, resulting in many battles and skirmishes between the two dynasties.[16] This, however, was opposed by the British, who by that time had become highly influential in the Gulf, viewing it as essential to their control of India.[17] Brtain's policy in the Gulf at this time stipulated "uncompromosing opposition" to the Saudis in Bahrain. In 1859, a British naval squadron was sent to protect the islands, and the British resident in the Persian Gulf notified the Saudi ruler Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud that it viewed Bahrain as an "independent emirate." In 1861, the British imposed a protection treaty on the emir of Bahrain, ending Saudi efforts to bring the islands under their sphere of influence.[18] The country remained a British protectorate until 1971. The population of the island at the time was estimated to be less than 10,000 persons.[citation needed]

Oil was discovered in 1932 and brought rapid modernization to Bahrain. Bahrain was the first place to find oil in the whole region. It also made relations with the United Kingdom closer, evidenced by the British moving more bases there. British influence would continue to grow as the country developed, culminating with the appointment of Charles Belgrave as an advisor[19]; Belgrave established modern education systems in Bahrain[20].

After World War II, increasing anti-British sentiment spread throughout the Arab World and in Bahrain led to riots. The riots focused on the Jewish community which counted among its members distinguished writers and singers, accountants, engineers and middle managers working for the Oil Company, textile merchants with business all over the peninsula [Jews were not allowed to settle permanently in Saudi Arabia], and free professionals. Following the events of 1947, most of the members of Bahrain's Jewish community abandoned their properties and evacuated to Bombay and later settled in Palestine (later Israel - Tel Aviv's Pardes Chana neighborhood) and the United Kingdom. As of 2007 there were 36 Jews remaining in the country. The issue of compensation was never settled.

In 1960, the United Kingdom put Bahrain's future to international arbitration and requested that the United Nations Secretary-General take on this responsibility. In 1970, Iran laid claim to Bahrain and the other Persian Gulf islands. However, in an agreement with the United Kingdom it agreed to "not pursue" its claims on Bahrain if its other claims were realized. The following plebiscite saw Bahrainis confirm their Arab identity and independence from Britain. Bahrain to this day remains a member of the Arab League and Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

The British withdrew from Bahrain on December 16, 1971, making Bahrain an independent emirate[21]. The oil boom of the 1970s greatly benefited Bahrain, but its downturn was felt badly. However, the country had already begun to diversify its economy, and had benefited from the Lebanese civil war that began in the 1970s; Bahrain replaced Beirut as the Middle East's financial hub as Lebanon's large banking sector was driven out of the country by the war[22].

After the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Bahraini Shī'a fundamentalists in 1981 orchestrated a failed coup attempt under the auspices of a front organization, the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain. The coup would have installed a Shī'a cleric exiled in Iran, Hujjatu l-Islām Hādī al-Mudarrisī, as supreme leader heading a theocratic government. [23]

In 1994, a wave of rioting by disaffected Shīa Islamists was sparked by women's participation in a sporting event. The Kingdom was badly affected by sporadic violence during the mid-1990s in which over forty people were killed in violence between the government and cleric-led opposition[24].

In March 1999, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah succeeded his father as head of state and instituted elections for parliament, gave women the right to vote, and released all political prisoners. These moves were described by Amnesty International as representing an "historic period of human rights."[25] The country was declared a kingdom in 2002. It formerly was considered a State and officially called a "Kingdom."

Geography Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 26 00 N, 50 33 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 665 sq km
land: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 161 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Terrain: mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Natural resources: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls
Land use: arable land: 2.82%
permanent crops: 5.63%
other: 91.55% (2005)
Irrigated land: 40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 0.1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.3 cu km/yr (40%/3%/57%)
per capita: 411 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; dust storms
Environment - current issues: desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources, groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean

ahrain is a constitutional monarchy headed by the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; the head of government is the Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman al Khalifa, who presides over a cabinet of twenty-three members [26]. Bahrain has a bicameral legislature with a lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, elected by universal suffrage and the upper house, the Shura Council, appointed by the king. Both houses have forty members. The inaugural elections were held in 2002, with parliamentarians serving four year terms; the first round of voting in the 2006 parliamentary election took place on 25 November 2006, and second round run-offs were decided on 2 December 2006[27].

The opening up of politics has seen big gains for both Shīa and Sunnī Islamists in elections, which has given them a parliamentary platform to pursue their policies. This has meant that what are termed "morality issues" have moved further up the political agenda with parties launching campaigns to impose bans on female mannequins displaying lingerie in shop windows[28], sorcery, and the hanging of underwear on washing lines[29], as well as change the building by laws to fit one-way glass to houses to prevent residents being able to see out[30]. Analysts of democratization in the Middle East cite the Islamists' references to respect for human rights in their justification for these programmes as evidence that these groups can serve as a progressive force in the region.

Islamist parties have been particularly critical of the government's readiness to sign international treaties such as the United Nation's International Convention on Civil and Political Rights[31]. At a parliamentary session in June 2006 to discuss ratification of the Convention, Sheikh Adel Mouwda, the former leader of salafist party, Asalah, explained the party's objections: "The convention has been tailored by our enemies, God kill them all, to serve their needs and protect their interests rather than ours. This why we have eyes from the American Embassy watching us during our sessions, to ensure things are swinging their way" [32].

Both Sunnī and Shī'a Islamists suffered a setback in March 2006 when 20 municipal councillors, most of whom represented religious parties, went missing in Bangkok on an unscheduled stopover when returning from a conference in Malaysia[33]. After the missing councillors eventually arrived in Bahrain they defended their stay at the Radisson Hotel in Bangkok, telling journalists it was a "fact-finding mission", and explaining: "We benefited a lot from the trip to Thailand because we saw how they managed their transport, landscaping and roads." [34]

Bahraini liberals have responded to the growing power of religious parties by organizing themselves to campaign through civil society in order to defend basic personal freedoms from being legislated away. In November 2005, al Muntada, a grouping of liberal academics, launched "We Have A Right", a campaign to explain to the public why personal freedoms matter and why they need to be defended.

Women's political rights in Bahrain saw an important step forward when women were granted the right to vote and stand in national elections for the first time in the 2002 election. However, no women were elected to office in that year’s polls and instead Shī'a and Sunnī Islamists dominated the election, collectively winning a majority of seats. In response to the failure of women candidates, six were appointed to the Shura Council, which also includes representatives of the Kingdom’s indigenous Jewish and Christian communities. The country's first female cabinet minister was appointed in 2004 when Dr. Nada Haffadh became Minister of Health, while the quasi-governmental women's group, the Supreme Council for Women, trained female candidates to take part in the 2006 general election. When Bahrain was elected to head the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 it appointed lawyer and women's rights activist Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa as the President of the United Nations General Assembly [35], only the third woman in history to head the world body[36].

The king recently created the Supreme Judicial Council[37] to regulate the country's courts and institutionalize the separation of the administrative and judicial branches of government[38]; the leader of this court is Mohammed Humaidan.

On 11–12 November 2005, Bahrain hosted the Forum for the Future bringing together leaders from the Middle East and G8 countries to discuss political and economic reform in the region. [39]

The near total dominance of religious parties in elections has given a new prominence to clerics within the political system, with the most senior Shia religious leader, Sheikh Isa Qassim, playing what’s regarded as an extremely important role; according to one academic paper, “In fact, it seems that few decisions can be arrived at in Al Wefaq – and in the whole country, for that matter – without prior consultation with Isa Qassim, ranging from questions with regard to the planned codification of the personal status law to participation in elections.”[40]

In 2007, Al Wefaq-backed parliamentary investigations are credited with forcing the government to remove ministers who had frequently clashed with MPs: the Minister of Health, Dr Nada Haffadh (who was also Bahrain’s first ever female cabinet minister) and the Minister of Information, Dr Mohammed Abdulghaffar

People Population: 708,573
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.9% (male 96,217/female 94,275)
15-64 years: 69.5% (male 284,662/female 207,555)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 13,451/female 12,413) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 29.7 years
male: 32.7 years
female: 26.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.392% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 17.53 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.021 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.372 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.084 male(s)/female
total population: 1.255 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 16.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.68 years
male: 72.18 years
female: 77.25 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.57 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups: Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% (2001 census)
Religions: Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)
Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.5%
male: 88.6%
female: 83.6% (2001 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Manama
geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 5 governorates; Asamah, Janubiyah, Muharraq, Shamaliyah, Wasat
note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor
Independence: 15 August 1971 (from UK)
National holiday: National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection
Constitution: adopted 14 February 2002
Legal system: based on Islamic law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman al-Khalifa (since 1971); Deputy Prime Ministers ALI bin Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, MUHAMMAD bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, Jawad al-ARAIDH
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the Consultative Council (40 members appointed by the King) and the Council of Representatives or Chamber of Deputies (40 seats; members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of Representatives - last held November-December 2006 (next election to be held in 2010)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - al Wifaq (Shia) 17, al Asala (Sunni Salafi) 5, al Minbar (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) 7, independents 11; note - seats by party as of February 2007 - al Wifaq 17, al Asala 8, al Minbar 7, al Mustaqbal (Moderate Sunni pro-government) 4, unassociated independents (all Sunni) 3, independent affiliated with al Wifaq (Sunni oppositionist) 1
Judicial branch: High Civil Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders: political parties prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law
Political pressure groups and leaders: Shi'a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97 and have recently engaged in protests with occasional low-level violence; protests related to a host of issues, including the 2002 constitution, elections, unemployment, and release of detainees; Sunni Islamist legislators support a greater role for Shari'a in daily life; several small leftist and other groups are active
International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nasir bin Muhammad al-BALUSHI
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador J. Adam ERELI
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: PSC 451, Box 660, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 1724-2700
FAX: [973] 1727-0547
Flag description: red, the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated band (five white points) on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam

Bahrain is sometimes described as the "Middle East lite"[55] a country that mixes modern infrastructure with a Gulf identity, but unlike other countries in the region its prosperity is not solely a reflection of the size of its oil wealth, but also related to the creation of an indigenous middle class. This unique socioeconomic development in the Persian Gulf has meant that Bahrain is generally more liberal than its neighbours. While Islam is the main religion, Bahrainis have been known for their tolerance, and alongside mosques can be found churches, a Hindu temple, a Sikh Gurdwara and a Jewish synagogue. The country is home to several communities that have faced persecution elsewhere.

It is too early to say whether political liberalisation under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has augmented or undermined Bahrain's traditional pluralism. The new political space for Shia and Sunni Islamists has meant that they are now in a much stronger position to pursue programmes that often seek to directly confront this pluralism, yet at the same time political reforms have encouraged an opposite trend for society to become more self critical with a greater willingness in general to examine previous social taboos. It is now common to find public seminars on once unheard of subjects such as marital problems and sex[57] and child abuse[58]. Another facet of the new openness is Bahrain's status as the most prolific book publisher in the Arab world, with 132 books published in 2005 for a population of 700,000. In comparison, the average for the entire Arab world is seven books published per one million people in 2005, according to the United Nations Development Programme. [59]

Ali Bahar is the most famous singer in Bahrain. He performs his music with his Band Al-Ekhwa (The Brothers).

On October 20, 2005, it was reported that Michael Jackson intended to leave the United States permanently in order to seek a new life in Bahrain. Jackson has reportedly told friends that he feels "increasingly Bahraini"[60]after buying a former PM's mansion in Sanad, and is now seeking another property by the seashore. Jackson reportedly moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2006. Other celebrities associated with the Kingdom include singer Shakira and Grand Prix driver Jenson Button, who owns property there.

In Manama lies the new district of Juffair, predominantly built on reclaimed land. This is the location of the U.S. Naval Support Activity. The concentration of restaurants, bars and nightlife make this area a magnet for U.S. service members and Saudi weekend visitors.

Economy Economy - overview: With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production and refining account for over 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, over 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP (exclusive of allied industries), underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. Aluminum is Bahrain's second major export after oil. Other major segments of Bahrain's economy are the financial and construction sectors. Bahrain is focused on Islamic banking and is competing on an international scale with Malaysia as a worldwide banking center. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil. As part of this effort, in August 2006 Bahrain and the US implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Continued strong growth hinges on Bahrain's ability to acquire new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are long-term economic problems.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $24.61 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $16.89 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $34,700 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 43.6%
services: 56% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 363,000
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 1%
industry: 79%
services: 20% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 17.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $6.048 billion
expenditures: $5.082 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 28.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
Industries: petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, Islamic and offshore banking, insurance, ship repairing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 5.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 8.187 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 7.614 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 184,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 31,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 235,500 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 216,300 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 124.6 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 10.27 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 10.27 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 88.26 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $2.009 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $13.16 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports - partners: Saudi Arabia 3.2%, US 3%, Japan 2.3% (2006)
Imports: $9.784 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 37.2%, Japan 6.8%, US 6.2%, UK 6.1%, Germany 6%, UAE 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $103.9 million; note - $50 million annually since 1992 from the UAE and Kuwait (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $3.474 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $7.692 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $11.55 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $6.039 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $21.12 billion (2006)
Currency (code): Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Currency code: BHD
Exchange rates: Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.376 (2007), 0.376 (2006), 0.376 (2005), 0.376 (2004), 0.376 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 193,300 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 898,900 (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system
domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones
international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 1 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 338,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (1997)
Televisions: 275,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .bh
Internet hosts: 2,413 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 157,300 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 3 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 20 km; oil 52 km (2007)
Roadways: total: 3,498 km
paved: 2,768 km
unpaved: 730 km (2003)
Merchant marine: total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 220,264 GRT/314,289 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 1, container 2, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Kuwait 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Mina' Salman, Sitrah
Military Military branches: Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Naval Force, Air Force, National Guard
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 202,126
females age 18-49: 151,734 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 161,372
females age 18-49: 125,488 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 6,013
females age 18-49: 5,852 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.5% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Bahrain is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly to work as laborers or domestic servants, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude when faced with exorbitant recruitment and transportation fees, withholding of their passports, restrictions on their movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse; women from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Morocco, and Thailand are also trafficked to Bahrain for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor
tier rating: Tier 3 - Bahrain made no discernable progress in preventing trafficking in 2006; the government failed to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and did not report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking offenses, despite reports of a substantial problem of involutary servitude and trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation