First UK base in Bahrain

Britain has begun construction work of its first permanent military base in the Middle East since 1971 in Bahrain.

The news agency reported that the Bahraini “Construction work at the headquarters of the British Navy facilities in the Kingdom of Bahrain” began Saturday, October 31. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Bahrain Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa attended ceremony.

Hammond wrote on his page in Twitter Saturday that “the work begins today on the new Royal Navy base at Salman port in Bahrain, a symbol of lasting commitment to the security of Britain and the Gulf.”

As last year, British Defence Secretary Michael Falcon considered that the new rule in Bahrain, “will enable Britain to send more and larger ships to promote stability in the Gulf.”

The construction of the base will cost 19 million euros, will be the completion of the construction work in 2016.

Britain has withdrawn from bases in the Gulf in 1971 in a move that led to the independence of Bahrain, Qatar and the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.

It is noteworthy that Bahrain hosts the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy.

But one exiled member of the Bahraini parliament told Middle East Eye that he had concerns about the legality of the base, since the project had not been discussed in parliament.

“There is a big question mark over the constitutionality of the project,” said Jawad Fairooz, an opposition activist now based in London to Middle East Eye.

According to Article 37 of Bahrain’s 2002 constitution, any treaties “relating to state territory, natural resources [or] rights of sovereignty” must be made after consultation with the parliament rather than being handed down by the king as decrees.

However, according to Fairooz, the Bahraini parliament had as yet not been consulted on the project.