Bahraini PM Dies while Undergoing Treatment in US
Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa of Bahrain has died. A member of the royal family, the prince was 84 and was being treated for an undisclosed illness at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. Khalifa was born in 1935 – he would have turned 85 on November 24. He was the second son of Salman ibn Hamad al Khalifa, who, in 1942, became hakim, or leader, of Bahrain, at the time a British protectorate, and Salman’s second wife, Mouza bint Hamad Al Khalifa. Khalifa climbed the ladder of governmental authority in the protectorate until he was empowered with prime ministerial duties in 1970. His brother, Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the country’s first emir, appointed him prime minister of a newly independent Bahrain in 1971. Khalifa was seen as a hardliner and the one behind the crackdown on protesters during the 2011 Arab Spring – the royal family adheres to Sunni Islam while the majority of Bahrainis are Shi’ites, with Iran once having laid claim to the Gulf island. King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa has declared a week of mourning, during which the national flag will be flown at half-staff.