Supreme Defence Council (Bahrain)
The Supreme Defense Council (SDC) (Arabic:مجلس الدفاع الأعلى) is Bahrain's highest defense authority and is responsible for making highest level of decisions regarding defense and security. It consist of 14 members drawn entirely from the Al Khalifa ruling family. It is headed by the King, who is also the Supreme Commander of Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) and it includes: the Crown Prince (king's eldest son), the Prime Minister (king's uncle), the Royal Court Minister and ten senior officials from the Al Khalifa family such as the Commander-in-Chief of BDF, and the heads of certain government agencies, such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Interior, Minister of Defence and Director of the National Security Agency (NSA).(p16)
The Supreme Defense Council was founded on 8 December 1973 and was led by the current prime minister, Khalifa ibn Salman Al Khalifa, a position he held until his nephew, Hamad (current king) took over from the passed Amir on 6 March 1999.
In November 2011, Khalifa bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the king's cousin, and then the director of the country's National Security Agency (NSA), was appointed at the position of Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council, after a governmental commission of inquiry report confirmed the use of torture by NSA which led to the death of a co-founder and board member of the independent Alwasat daily newspaper.(p245) This move was criticized by Ali Salman, the head of Al Wefaq main opposition party, who called it "a promotion for someone who should have been punished according to the recommendation's of BICI".
The Council is headed by the king, who has the authority to appoint its members. The members are:
- The Commander-in-Chief of Bahrain Defense Force
- Deputy Commander-in-chief of Bahrain Defense Force.
- Director of the NSA.
- Ministers of:
- Royal Court
- National Guard
- National Economy
- Foreign Affairs
- Council of Ministers Affairs
Relation with Bandargate scandal
According to Al Bandar report issued by Salah Albandar in 2006 when he was working as consultant for the government, the Supreme Council is the creator and supervisor of a secret plan that classifies Shia as a main threat to the royal family. The plan allegedly aims to marginalize Shia in all positions.
- Staff writer. "BCHR:Nabeel Rajab's participation in congress breifing [sic] Religious Freedom for Shi’a in Bahrain". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Staff writer (9 March 2009). "Bahrain: Dangerous Statistics and Facts about the National Security Apparatus". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (Report). Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. 23 November 2011. http://files.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdf.
- Bahrain News Agency: King Chiars Supreme Defence Council meeting, 27 February 2011, Retrieved 4 March 2012
- Bahrain's PM CV, Retrieved 4 March 2012
- "Royal Decree No 47 of the Year 2011 on the Appointment of the Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council". Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 28 November 2011.
- الجزيرة:سلمان:إقالة رئيس الأمن الوطني إدانة أم تكريم؟ (in Arabic). 29 November 2011.