The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies has published Issue No. 2 of Volume 4 of its “Derasat” journal which discussed a number of strategic issues of concern to the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf region.
In a leading article titled “The National Charter: Vision of a King and the Future of a Kingdom”, Chairman of Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said that “In the midst of rapidly unfolding developments and regional security challenges, the Kingdom of Bahrain celebrated the 17th anniversary of the National Action Charter (NAC) as a milestone in the history of Bahrain and the region. As a comprehensive document that reflects the vision of a king and the future of a country, NAC covers the basic principles of society, guaranteeing of individual freedoms, people’s right to participation in public affairs and economic needs and requirements. The Charter is a fully-fledged national project that meets the aspirations of the people of Bahrain. Following the approval of the Charter in a public referendum, the country’s constitution was amended, Bahrain was declared as a constitutional monarchy and bi-chamber parliamentary and municipal elections were restored. Furthermore, constitutional institutions have been established, including the constitutional court, judiciary, the national audit office. NAC guarantees the protection of public freedoms, allows the establishment of political societies, encourages the work of non-government organizations (NGOs), promotes the empowerment of women through encouraging political participation, providing social and family welfare as well as allowing them to assume the highest positions at home and abroad. The NAC was followed by a long list of reforms and achievements in the areas of basic services and the launching of initiatives at various levels.
He pointed out that this year’s NAC anniversary celebrations has a special taste as it coincides with the Kingdom’s celebrations of the “Achievement Centennial” in many areas of development such as education, the judiciary, the municipal system and police as part of a comprehensive and balanced renaissance. The celebrations also coincide with the tenth anniversary of the launching of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 which will enable the Kingdom to continue its march towards the future with confidence and determination.
The Kingdom of Bahrain had successfully overcome many challenges. In the economic sphere, despite limited natural resources and low oil prices, the country’s strategy of investing in people, diversification of sources of income, attracting quality investments and new economic activities have all yielded significant economic results. Bahrain is currently the fastest growing economy in the Gulf region and unemployment dropped below 4%. As a result, Bahrain’s position as a financial and business hub has been enhanced.
As for the internal security, the Kingdom of Bahrain continues its efforts with military partners and allies to combat the threats of terrorism. The security services have been successful in thwarting many terrorist plots, arresting terrorist cell members that were trained in Iranian Revolutionary Guard camps and have received support from the Qatari regime.
In an important move, the British parliament approved late last year a government decision to designate clandestine cells and groups responsible for bombings and killings in the Kingdom of Bahrain as terrorist organizations.
In an interview with Bahrain News Agency (BNA). the US ambassador said that “Bahrain has been a stalwart partner in fighting terrorism and has itself been a victim of terrorism directed from outside the country”. He pointed out that since the establishment of the Wilayat al-Faqih regime, Iran has been following an expansionist plan for interference in other countries by wicked means such as forming armed terrorist militias, interference in the affairs of other countries and using the media to sow strife in the region. In the meantime, Qatar continued to support terrorist groups to gain influence in the region.
On the other hand, the Arab moderate states developed a strategic vision to confront these threats. It was clear that deterrence and pressure were the way to confront the Iranian threat, while Qatar was ignored and ostracized.
In the “Studies” section of the Journal, Director of Strategic and International Studies Program at Derasat Dr. Ashraf Keshk discussed the topic of the “Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition” as the main study of the issue. The study concluded that, although the Islamic coalition is not classified as a traditional defense alliance such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), it has the necessary mechanisms to act as such alliances do. The focus of the main effort of the coalition will be the Islamic countries, which were the targets of the vast majority of terrorist attacks. The coalition comprises forty-one countries led by Saudi Arabia which has extensive experience in combatting terrorism, as well as regional and global leverage. The coalition also enjoys the support of the international community. All of these factors support the role and objectives of the coalition. The study explained that such coalitions continue to exist as long as the purpose for which they were established continued, and also may be linked to the balance between regional and international powers. A coalition may also continue to exist if it is formed in accordance with a charter that contains a clear structure with specific obligations on the part of member states. To succeed, a coalition must have well-defined strategies for dealing with changing future security threats.
The “Dossier” section of this issue is titled “The Arabian Gulf and Regional Conflicts” and includes contributions by a group of academics, each in his field of specialization. Dr. Mustafa Alawi discussed the conflict in Yemen and its impact on the security of the Gulf and the region. Dr. Nurhan Shaikh discussed the Russian-American rivalry in Syria and its regional implications. Samir Salha discussed the topic of “Turkey and regional conflicts, opportunities and challenges: the cases of Syria and Iraq”. Dr. Mohamed Ashoor discussed “The international regional conflict in the Horn of Africa and its impact on the regional security of the Gulf states”.
The “Regional File” included two articles. The first by Dr. Moataz Salameh on the latest developments in the role of the Gulf in Iraq and its importance in maintaining Gulf and regional security. The second was by researcher at Derasat, Mr. Abdul Aziz Al-Dosari, on the impact of international sanctions on the Iranian oil sector. The new issue of “Derasat” included reviews of a number of the latest books, strategic reports and conferences presented by assistant researchers at the Center.
“Derasat” (Studies) is a semi-annual specialized journal. Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Center. Editor: Dr. Ashraf Kushk. Derasat focuses on publishing political, international, economic, security and energy studies and analyzes of strategic importance to the Gulf and Arab regions.