Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
|Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
حمد بن عيسى آل خليفة
formerly Emir of the State of Bahrain
|Reign||6 March 1999 – present (14 years, 276 days on throne)|
|Coronation||14 February 2002|
|Predecessor||Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa|
|Heir apparent||Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa|
|Prime Ministers||Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa|
|Spouse||Sabika bint Ibrahim (1968–present)
Sheia bint Hassan Al-Khrayyesh Al-Ajmi
|Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Khalifa bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Najla bint Hamad Al Khalifa
Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Faisal bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Sultan bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Hessa bint Hamad Al Khalifa
Nura bint Hamad Al Khalifa
Munira bint Hamad Al Khalifa
Reema bint Hamad Al Khalifa
|House||House of Khalifa|
|Father||Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa|
|Mother||Hessa bint Salman Al Khalifa|
28 January 1950 |
Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa (Arabic: حمد بن عيسى بن سلمان آل خليفة Ḥamad bin ʿĪsā bin Salmān ʾĀl Ḫalīfah; born 28 January 1950) is the King of Bahrain (since 14 February 2002), having previously been its Emir (from 6 March 1999). He is the son of Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the previous Emir. The country has been run by the al-Khalifa dynasty since 1783.
Early life and education
After attending Manama secondary school in Bahrain, Hamad was sent to England to attend Applegarth College in Godalming, Surrey before taking a place at The Leys School in Cambridge. Hamad then underwent military training, first with the British Army at Mons Officer Cadet School at Aldershot in Hampshire, graduating in September 1968. Four years later in June 1972 Hamad attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, graduating the following June with a degree in leadership.
Hamad was designated as heir apparent by his father on 27 June 1964. In 1968, he was appointed as the chairman of the irrigation council and Manama municipal council. He was commissioned into the Bahrain National Guard on 16 February 1968 and appointed as its commander the same year, remaining in that post until 1969 when he was appointed as the commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force. In 1970, Hamad became the head of the Bahraini department of defence and the vice-chairman of the administrative council, remaining in both offices until 1971. From 1971 to 1988 he was the minister of state for defence.
In October 1977, Hamad started learning to fly helicopters, successfully completing the training in January 1978. He then worked to establish the Bahrain Amiri Air Force, which came into being in 1987 when the defence force air wing was reconstituted as an air force.
On the death of his father Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Hamad became Emir of Bahrain on 6 March 1999. As Emir, Hamad brought several political reforms to Bahrain. These included the release of all political prisoners, the dissolution of the State Security Court and the abolition of the 1974 Decree on State Security Measures. Additionally, many Bahraini citizens were permitted to return after several years in exile overseas. In 2002, he declared himself king. He enjoys wide executive authorities which include appointing the prime minister and his ministers, commanding the army, chairing the Higher Judicial Council, appointing the parliament's upper half and dissolving its elected lower half.(p. 15)
After Hamad took power in 1999, he focused on attaining stability in a nation riddled with profound tensions after the 1990s uprising. The King succeeded in improving the living standards and in making Bahrain a financial hub. During the period 2003–2010 the majority Shi'ite community accused his government of corruption, discrimination in housing and jobs, recruiting foreigners in military service and bringing Sunni tribes from Asia to change the demographic composition of the nation.
Although King Hamad's reign has seen the admittance of Shi'ites into positions in the government, there have still been calls for a more equitable distribution of positions and jobs. The Al Khalifa family lead a large number of ministerial and governmental posts including Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain Economic Development Board and Supreme Council for Women. Also, the vast majority of significant positions in the Bahrain Defence Force are filled with Sunnis, who account for around a third of the population. King Hamad claims that he is giving an equal chance to all Bahrainis regardless of their sect.
In October 2010, Hamad's government accused 24 Shi'ite Bahraini citizens of forming a terrorist cell linked to Iran and trained in Syria for overthrowing the regime and planning terrorist attacks. Opposition parties denounced the accusations and described it as propaganda. After a few weeks, tension rose again after controversial Bahraini parliamentary election, 2010 when the main opposition bloc Al Wefaq National Islamic Society with secularist National Democratic Action Society (Waad) complained that the election system is unfair and that aims to reduce the number of opposition chairs in the parliament, although the first party won nearly 40% of the available seats.
On 14 February 2011, the tenth anniversary of a referendum in favour of the National Action Charter, and ninth anniversary of writing Constitution of 2002, Bahrain was rocked by protests inspired by the Arab Spring and coordinated by a Facebook page named "Day of Rage in Bahrain", a page that was liked by tens of thousands just one week after its creation. The Bahrain government responded with what has been described as a "brutal" crackdown on the protests, including violations of human rights that caused anger. Later on, demonstrators demanded Hamad to step down. As a result of this "massive" crackdown, Foreign Policy Magazine classified him as rank 3 out of 8 of "America's Unsavory Allies" calling him "one of the bad guys the U.S. still supports".
On 11 February, King Hamad ordered that 1,000 Bahraini dinars (approximately US$2,667) be given to "each family" to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the National Action Charter referendum. Agence France-Presse linked the BD1,000 payments to the 14 February demonstration plans.
On 15 February 2011, Hamad apologized for the deaths of two demonstrators on a rare TV speech and urged to investigate the incident. Two days later, four protesters were killed and hundreds wounded when protesters were attacked in Pearl Roundabout at 3:00 am local time. The Pearl Roundabout was evacuated and encircled by the Bahraini army. Two days later, Prince Salman, Hamad's son, ordered the withdrawal of army troops from there after death of another protester by live ammunition next to Pearl roundabout. Later on, Hamad showed restraint while demonstrations against him continued for several weeks.
During the peak of the Bahraini uprising in mid March 2011, Hamad declared State of National Safety for three months just after Salman summoned Peninsula Shield Force troops to enter Bahrain. Saudi Arabia deployed about 1,000 troops with armored support, and the United Arab Emirates deployed about 500 police officers. Opposition parties reacted strongly, calling it an "occupation". Hamad, however, claimed that he deployed the troops to "protect infrastructure and to secure key installations". After this step, the country's economy suffered losses estimated at billions. Also, the security situation deteriorated in areas that people were demonstrating against him. While dozens of deaths were announced including five whom died in custody due to torture.
On 1 June 2011, protests erupted across Shia-dominated areas of Bahrain to demand Hamad's resignation and to end martial law as he announced that state of emergency was officially lifted.
In June 2011 Hamad commissioned the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by respected human rights lawyer M. Cherif Bassiouni to look into the events surrounding the unrest. The establishment of the BICI was praised by Barack Obama and the international community as a step towards establishing responsibility and accountability for the events of the 2011–2012 Bahraini uprising. The BICI reported its findings in November 2011 and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “commend[ed] King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa’s initiative in commissioning it”. In August 2012, Amnesty International stated that "the government’s response has only scratched the surface of these issues. Reforms have been piecemeal, perhaps aiming to appease Bahrain’s international partners, and have failed to provide real accountability and justice for the victims."
Relations with the British royal family
Hamad was invited to the royal wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton. He declined amidst protests by human rights activists who had pledged to disrupt his stay in Britain because of his violent response to demonstrators. Earlier in 2005, he was the only sovereign head of state to attend the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles.
Hamad has four wives and has had in total twelve children; seven sons and five daughters:
- He married his first wife, Sabika bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, at Rifa’a on 9 October 1968. She is Bahraini and together they have three sons and one daughter:
- His second wife, Sheia bint Hassan Al Khrayyesh Al Ajmi from Kuwait. Together they have two sons:
- His third wife, a daughter of Shaikh Faisal bin Muhammad bin Shuraim Al Marri, with whom he has one son and two daughters:
- Faisal bin Hamad Al Khalifa (12 February 1991 – 12 January 2006), died in a car accident
- Noura bint Hamad Al Khalifa (born 6 November 1993)
- Munira bint Hamad Al Khalifa (born 15 July 1995)
- His fourth wife, a daughter of Jabor Al Naimi, with whom he has one son and two daughters:
- Sultan bin Hamad Al Khalifa
- Hessa bint Hamad Al Khalifa
- Rima bint Hamad Al Khalifa
Titles and styles
|Monarchical styles of
The King of Bahrain
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
- 28 January 1950 – 16 December 1961: Al Malik (King) Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- 16 December 1961 – 27 June 1964: His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- 27 June 1964 – 6 March 1999: His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Heir Apparent of Bahrain
- 6 March 1999 – 14 February 2002: His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain
- 14 February 2002 – present: His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Honours and awards
King Hamad has received numerous honours, for example:
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Jordan (1 February 1967)
- Order of the Two Rivers, 1st class (Iraq, 22 February 1969)
- Order of Muhammad (Morocco, 16 October 1970)
- Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance (Jordan, 1 September 1972)
- Collar of the Order of the Republic (Egypt) (24 January 1973)
- Revoked: Collar of the Order of the Crown (Iran, 28 April 1973)
- Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud (Saudi Arabia, 4 April 1976)
- Star of the Republic of Indonesia, 1st class (8 October 1977)
- Order of the Republic of Mauritania, 1st class (4 April 1978)
- Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (UK, 15 February 1979)
- Grand Conqueror of Libya, 1st class (1 September 1979)
- Order of Zayed of the UAE (2 February 2005)
- Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (2006)
- Order of the Republic of the Yemen, 1st class (25 March 2010)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog of Denmark (4 February 2011)
- Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit of France
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (4 December 1981)
- "Country Profiles Bahrain" The Arab Center for the Development of the Rule of Law and Integrity Retrieved 1 December 2010
- "Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States". Bahrain Embassy. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "Bahrain mourns death of king's mother". Gulf News. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- "HM the King". Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Government of Bahrain. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- "The Al-Khalifa Dynasty". Royal Ark.
- Bahrain: Promising human rights reform must continue (pdf). Amnesty International. 13 March 2001. Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "(Report). Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. 23 November 2011". BICI. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "Ministry of Interior". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "MoJ Ministers and Undersecretaries' Names". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "MoF Welcome Message". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "MoC Organisation Chart". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "MoFA Organizational Structure". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "BEDB Directors". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Supreme Council for Women". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "International Religious Freedom Report for 2011". US Department of State. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Law, Bill (6 April 2011). "Police Brutality Turns Bahrain Into 'Island of Fear'. Crossing Continents (via BBC News). Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Press release (30 March 2011). "USA Emphatic Support to Saudi Arabia". Zayd Alisa (via Scoop). Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Cockburn, Patrick (18 March 2011). "The Footage That Reveals the Brutal Truth About Bahrain's Crackdown – Seven Protest Leaders Arrested as Video Clip Highlights Regime's Ruthless Grip on Power". The Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "Bahrain Mourners Call for End to Monarchy – Mood of Defiance Against Entire Ruling System After Brutal Attack on Pearl Roundabout Protest Camp That Left at Least Five Dead". The Guardian (London). 18 February 2011. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Uri Friedman (28 October 2011). "America's Unsavory Allies". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Bahrains king gifts 3000 every family". France 24. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- Bux turnbull (21 February 2011). "5-killed-as-bahrain-cops-fire-111237". UK Mirror. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Andrew Malcolm (2 July 2011). "Jay Carney says vacationing Obama welcomes new democratic dialogue in Bahrain". Los Angeles Times.
- "Bahrain – Alistair Burt welcomes independent commission". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 30 June 2001.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton (23 November 2011). "Release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Report". U.S. Department of State.
- "Urgent action: Bahraini activist sentenced to three years". Amnesty International. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- "Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Muslim leaders invited to royal wedding". The Times of India. 26 April 2011.
- "King of Bahrain lunches with Queen as human rights storm rages". Daily Telegraph. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah.|
- The Monarchy – official website of the Bahrain Embassy
- The New Amir of Bahrain: Marching Sideways, Abdulhadi Khalaf, Civil Society, Volume 9, Issue 100, April 2000
- PDF (227 KB), Abdulhadi Khalaf, Fourth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting, European University Institute, March 2003
- Generational change and elite-driven reforms in the Kingdom of Bahrain. (Sir William Luce Fellowship Paper No. 7) Dr. Steven Wright (2006) Institute for Middle East and Islamic Studies, University of Durham, (PDF Format)
- Bahrian: The Royals rule, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2005
- An Arab exception: Reform in Bahrain The Economist, 29 July 2004 (requires subscription)
- Genealogy of the Al-Khalifa Dynasty, Page 10 – The Royal Ark
Hamad bin Isa Al KhalifaBorn: 28 January 1950
Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa
|King of Bahrain
Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa