Beirut, Lebanon-While defending the ruling dynasty and suppressing the opposition, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Khalifa, who served as prime minister of the government of Bahrain for nearly 50 years, passed away on Wednesday. He was 84 years old.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency said that he died at the Mayo Clinic in the United States without revealing details. (The main campus of the clinic is in Rochester, Minnesota.) He had at least two heart attacks and had undergone heart surgery before.
When Prince Khalifa, the brother of the former monarch of Bahrain and the uncle of the current King Hamad bin Issa Khalifa, died, he was the longest-term prime minister in the world. Since the country̵
During those years, Bahrain experienced stable economic development and formed a close alliance with the United States. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain. Bahrain is an island country with 1.5 million people in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Prince Khalifa served a long time in the head of the government of Bahrain. When he was asked this question in 2012, he told a reporter from the German magazine Der Spiegel: “So what?”
He said: “Democracy systems are very different.” “Why can’t we be different?”
In the same interview, he criticized the Arab Spring uprising that broke out in 2011, including the uprising in Bahrain.
He said: “This is not the’Arab Spring’.” “Spring is connected with flowers, happy people and love, not death, chaos and destruction.”
Bahrain is shaken by occasional outbreaks of popular dissatisfaction, most of which are Shia Muslims, who accuse Sunni Muslim rulers of systemic discrimination.
On Wednesday night, Bahrain announced that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Khalifa, the king’s eldest son, would become the new prime minister. Prince Salman, 51, is also the deputy commander of the Bahraini army.
Prince Khalifa is the son of the Khalifa dynasty and has ruled Bahrain since 1783, including during its time as a British protectorate, before gaining independence in 1971.
His father, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa) ruled Bahrain from 1942 to 1961, while the Prince Caliph covered him and studied government affairs.
The brother of the Prince Caliph, Sheikh Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa (Sheikh Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa) took power in 1961 and continued to serve as the emirate of Bahrain after independence. When his brother was the diplomatic and ceremonial head of state, Prince Khalifa became prime minister, which allowed him to oversee the government and the economy.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 frightened the leaders of Bahrain. They feared that their revolutionary Shia ideology would take root in their Shia population and challenge its rule. Bahrain said that in the 1980s, it thwarted two pro-Iranian coup attempts.
In the 1990s, Shiites in Bahrain stepped forward to demand economic development and political reforms. Sheikh al-Khalifa advocated locking down thousands of people to quell the unrest.
With the development of Bahrain’s economy, the prince caliph is plagued by corruption allegations.
An American diplomat wrote in a telegram issued by WikiLeaks in 2004: “I believe that Sheikh Khalifa is not entirely negative.” “Although it is certainly corrupt, he has built many modern Bahrain. .”
The diplomat called the Prince Caliph a “traditional Arab” and predicted that his conservatism would make him “a drag on the pace of reform.”
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Human Rights and Democracy, an opposition human rights monitor, said in a statement on Wednesday that Prince Khalifa “left a legacy of abuse and power “.
In 2017, Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt to cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, and boycotted the small neighboring Gulf country, accusing it of interfering in the affairs of other countries and supporting terrorism. The Qatari denies these allegations.
Last month, Bahrain agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, making it the fourth Arab country to do so.
Prince Khalifa’s health has been declining over the years, and he left Bahrain in August for a country called “private foreign visits” by the government at the time.
The National News Agency said his nephew announced a week of condolences. Prince Khalifa’s body will be buried after returning from abroad.