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             As an Island sitting in the middle of the Persian .
             Gulf, amidst all the turmoil, Bahrain has remained an oasis in the Gulf. Bahrain has a long history of being ruled by the Al-Khalifa regime. Possessing minimal oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining, and has transformed itself into an international banking center. .
             After more than 150 years of British presence and protection, Bahrain gained full independence on August 15, 1971. The agreement granting independence contained no provisions for the British defense in an emergency, but it did not provide for consultation. British authorities hoped that Bahrain, the most economically and socially advanced of the small gulf states, might take the lead in federation similar to that of the UAE, but Bahrain opted for complete independence. Shaykh Isa ibn Salmon Al-Khalifa, leader of the Al-Khalifa since the death of his father in 1961, became the newly independent country's first amir and continued as the hereditary ruler in 1993.
             Order of Al-Khalifa.
             The constitution designates the amir supreme commander of the armed forces. In 1977, Isa ibn Salomon chose his eldest son and heir apparent, Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa, to be minister of defense and commander in chief of the Bahrain Defense Force ( BDF).
             In 1988 the former chief of staff, Major General Khalifa Ibn Ahmad Al-Khalifa, was named minister of defense, but Hamad ibn Isa retained the position of commander in chief in 1993. Other members of the Al-Khalifa in prominent military positions include the new chief of staff. Brigadier General Abd Allah ibn Salomon Al-Khalifa, as well as the assistant chief of staff for operations, the chief of naval staff, and the commander of the Air Force. As in other Gulf States, the ruling family keeps a tight hold on important positions in the national security structure.
             Britain has recognized the Al-Khalifa tribal order.

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