Britain’s Prince Charles inaugurated the Naval Support Facility (NSF) in the Bahrain, marking the 200th anniversary of mutual relations with the Arab kingdom. The UK plans to make the £30-million base its second busiest center of operations for the Royal Navy after Portsmouth, allowing its warships to resupply and undergo repair in the region without having to return to the UK.
In a visit to London last month, Bahrain’s monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah called for closer ties between the two kingdoms as he met with Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Theresa May and other British officials.
The repressive Al Khalifah regime is under international pressure to end its years-long crackdown on a popular uprising. Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country on February 14, 2011. The protesters demand that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the regime’s crackdown.