Bahrain from the Twentieth Century to the Arab Spring by Miriam Joyce (auth.)

Political Freedom

By Miriam Joyce (auth.)

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1 According to Political Resident Bernard Burrows, both the foreign secretary and the Permanent Undersecretary Sir Harold Caccia were passengers in his car. As a result of interference by the large angry crowd that had gathered on the route to Manama, the cars had to travel slowly. 2 Embarrassed by how these British dignitaries were greeted, Belgrave complained about the activities of CNU. He reported that those rabble-rousers received considerable support from President Abdul Gamal Nasser’s Egypt, where Arab nationalism was continuing to spread.

As a result, the British sought Arabicspeaking recruits from outside the shaikhdom. Egyptian recruits were available, but, fearing Egyptian leader Nasser’s influence, Manama did not wish to employ them. Bahrain turned to Iraq for assistance, and a group of Iraqis joined the Bahraini police force. 15 Nevertheless, guided by its government, the Iranian press continued to claim that Bahrain belonged to Iran. British Ambassador in Tehran Roger Stevens suggested that although Britain’s presence in the Gulf prevented an Iranian advance into Bahrain, the presence of HMG also prevented Saudi domination of the Gulf’s southern shore.

Although the British had no recent evidence of disloyalty within the Bahrain Defense Force, Stirling said that HMG had advised the Bahraini Ruler against maintaining such a force because an armed force without a clear mission was inviting trouble for the ruling family. 37 US Ambassador Stoltzfus visited Bahrain in April 1972, where he met with the Ruler, Shaikh Isa, and his Foreign Minister, Shaikh Mubarak. Although Shaikh Isa was not concerned about the publicity focused on MIDEASTFOR, Foreign Minister Mubarak complained that publicity about the stationing agreement was not good for Bahrain and suggested that if the publicity continued, Washington ought to consider an alternative arrangement for MIDEASTFOR.

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