Bahrain’s membership of the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with its geographical proximity to Iran, has at times put the country in a difficult political and security situation.1 Bahrain was affected by unrest in 2011,2 and in 2015 joined the Saudi-led coalition against the Houtis in Yemen.3 The country also reportedly experiences attacks on its own soil, mainly attributed by the government to Shi’ite opposition groups allegedly backed by Iran.4 Different types of weapons and ammunition held by militants in Bahrain also appear to originate from illicit Iranian transfers.5
In terms of weapons and ammunition management, Bahrain plans to reform its 1976 Explosives, Weapons and Ammunition Law to establish tougher punishments and make it more restrictive.6 Bahrain has received regional assistance from the Small Arms Survey to strengthen the country’s capacity to combat the illicit trade in and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.7
1 “Bahrain,” World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), updated May 30, 2023, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/bahrain/#introduction.
2 “Bahrain Conflict Alert,” International Crisis Group, April 16, 2012, https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/bahrain/bahrain-conflict-alert.
3 “Bahrain,” Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated January 31, 2018, https://www.rulac.org/browse/countries/bahrain.
4 Maha El Dahan and William Maclean, “Bahrain Says Foils Arms Smuggling Bid, Recalls Iran Envoy,” Reuters, July 25, 2015, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bahrain-iran-idUSKCN0PZ0HD20150725.
5 Tim Michetti, A Guide to Illicit Iranian Weapon Transfers (Washington, DC: Atlantic Council, 2020), https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/A-Guide-to-Illicit-Iranian-Weapon-Transfers-in-the-Gulf.pdf.
6 “Tougher Law on Weapons to Ensure Punishment in Bahrain,” Zawya, July 14, 2019, https://www.zawya.com/en/legal/tougher-law-on-weapons-to-ensure-punishment-in-bahrain-c0a66mnz.
7 “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022, https://a-map.gichd.org.
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Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, no accidental explosions have been reported in Bahrain.
Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021, https://smallarmssurvey.org/database/unplanned-explosions-munitions-sites-uems.
Cases of diversion
Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Bahrain.
Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Bahrain.
No needs have been identified for Bahrain.