In a royal decree published Jan. 6, Bahraini King Hamad bin Essa Al-Khalifah eliminated Bahrain’s Ministry of Defense and restructured the command hierarchy of the kingdom’s military. Military branches in Bahrain are the Defense Forces: Ground Force (including Air Defense), Navy, Air Force and National Guard.
The decree places the military under the direct control of the king.The new structure also made the crown prince second-in-command, and Sheikh Khalifah bin Ahmed Al-Khalifah, will move from minister of defense to the position of general commander, the military’s executive commander and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifah, will take over the military’s administration as the state minister for defense affairs.
Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy and the Parliament can question Cabinet members about the affairs of their ministries, but now with the cancellation of the Ministry of Defense, legislators cannot question political and armament policies of the military because the king places the military under his direct control , which makes it constitutionally immune to scrutiny or questioning by the parliament.
This also raises the question of control of armed and security forces by Democratic civilian authorities, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa became second-in-command with the rank of General.
Bahrain is an important GCC Member State, a key U.S. ally in the region, and serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
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