"Bahrain is forgotten now, and it was forgotten when the Arab Spring started, because what is happening in Bahrain is not the result of the regime's rule only. It is the result of the joint collaboration, interests and political unity of more than one country. Bahrain's allies (Great Britain and the United States) do not want to interfere in what is taking place because Bahrain has been a good ally for them in the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries (which besides Bahrain include Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) also cannot allow Bahrain to have more democracy and freedom because it will pressure other countries to do the same, and they do not want that. So, basically Bahrain has not been forgotten ... but, in fact, it had been deliberately wiped out from the media coverage for political reasons." / Lamees Dhaif
Al Khalifa ascendancy to Bahrain and their treaties with the British
Inhabited since ancient times, Bahrain occupies a strategic location in the Persian Gulf. The Al Khalifa family moved to Bahrain in 1797. Originally, they lived in Umm Qasr where they preyed on the caravans of Basra and pirated ships. In 1820, the Al Khalifa tribe were recognized by Great Britain as the rulers of Bahrain after signing a treaty relationship. Eventually the Government of British India overpowered Bahrain when the Persians refused to protect it. Colonel Pelly signed a new treaty with Al Khalifas placing Bahrain under British rule and protection. Following the Qatari–Bahraini War in 1868, British representatives signed another agreement with the Al Khalifas. It specified that the ruler could not dispose of any of his territory except to the United Kingdom and could not enter into relationships with any foreign government without British consent. The British promised to support the rule of the Al Khalifa in Bahrain, securing its unstable position as rulers of the country. Other agreements in 1880 and 1892 sealed the protectorate status of Bahrain to the British. Unrest amongst the people of Bahrain began when Britain officially established complete dominance over the territory in 1892. The first revolt and widespread uprising took place in March 1895. In 1926, Charles Belgrave a British operating as an "adviser" to the ruler became the de facto ruler. At the same time, the pearl diving industry developed at a rapid pace. In 1927, Rezā Shāh, then Shah of Iran, demanded the return of Bahrain in a letter to the League of Nations. A move that prompted Belgrave to undertake harsh measures including encouraging conflicts between Shia and Sunni Muslims in order to bring down the uprisings and limit the Iranian influence.
The discovery of oil in 1932 by the Bahrain Petroleum Company brought rapid modernisation to Bahrain. Relations with the United Kingdom became closer, as evidenced by the British Royal Navy moving its entire Middle Eastern command from Bushehr in Iran to Bahrain in 1935. After World War II, increasing anti-British sentiment spread throughout the Arab World and led to riots in Bahrain. The riots focused on the Jewish community. On 15 August 1971, Bahrain declared independence and signed a new treaty of friendship with the United Kingdom. Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa became the Emir of Bahrain in 1999. On 14 February 2002, Bahrain changed its formal name from the State of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Human rights state deteriorated in the period between 1975 and 2001 which saw wide range repression. The country participated in military action against the Taliban in October 2001. As a result, in November of that year, US president George W. Bush's administration designated Bahrain as a "major non-NATO ally".
Inspired by the regional Arab Spring, large protests started in Bahrain in early 2011. The government initially allowed protests following a pre-dawn raid on protesters camped in Pearl Roundabout. A month later it requested security assistance from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries and declared a three month state of emergency. Thousands of protesters marched to the Saudi embassy in Manama denouncing the GCC intervention, while clashes between security officers using shotgun and demonstrators took place in various locations. The government then launched a crackdown on opposition that included conducting thousands of arrests. Almost daily clashes between protesters and security forces led to dozens of deaths. More than 60 people have died including protesters and police, 3,000 arrested, 4,500 people sacked in almost 20 months of political turmoil in the strategic island nation. Protests, sometimes staged by opposition parties, are ongoing. Bahrain is relatively poor when compared to its oil-rich Gulf neighbors; its oil has "virtually dried up" and it depends on banking and the tourism sector. Bahrain hosts the United States Naval Support Activity Bahrain, the home of the US Fifth Fleet; the US Department of Defense considers the location critical to its attempts to counter Iranian military power in the region.