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By Miriam Joyce (auth.)

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Sample text

Finally, after successful legal action brought by members of Parliament, on June 13, 1961, the three imprisoned Bahrainis were released from St. 23 Earlier, in 1959, the living conditions of members of the British military serving in Bahrain came to the attention of the political resident in the Gulf, George Middleton. He called attention to the Air Force personnel stationed in the shaikhdom, who lived on an air base that operated 24 hours a day and, therefore, required three work shifts. The station’s buildings were “appallingly run-down and shabby” and needed considerable maintenance.

Bahraini shaikhs stressed the importance of Saudi economic support, underlining the fact that Manama’s oil resources were dwindling. At the same time, Bahrain was engaged in increasing its capacity to refine oil. 57 Bahrain required additional income. Defense Minister Prince Hamad wished to improve his country’s defenses, but Bahrain’s limited resources were used for necessary social and health programs. Concerned about the growing strength of communist groups in both Aden and Iraq, Prince Hamad was interested in a recent US government coastal survey report of the Gulf.

2 Britain’s last Political Resident in Bahrain, Sir Geoffrey Arthur, later wrote: “We have kept Arab and Persian apart. What happens when we leave? It seems easy: Saudi Arabia and Iran must agree. ”3 In June 1970, the President’s NSC Persian Gulf Review Group advised that it was unwise to rely totally on Saudi-Iranian cooperation. Hence, the Americans looked at what sort of presence Washington ought to develop in the Gulf. 4 At the same time, the group considered the small American naval force, MIDEASTFOR, which since 1949 had been based in Bahrain after the British provided Washington with access to the Royal Navy’s Bahraini base.

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