Middle East Online

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Bahrain prime minister has died

Bahrain’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa has died, the royal palace announced on Wednesday on Twitter.

Bahrain’s state-run news agency announced his death, saying he had been receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic, without elaborating.

Prince Khalifa’s power and wealth could be seen everywhere in this small nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet. His official portrait hung for decades on walls alongside the country’s ruler. He had his own private island where he met foreign dignitaries, complete with a marina and a park that had peacocks and gazelle roam its grounds.

The prince represented an older style of Gulf leadership, one that granted patronage and favours for support of the Sunni Al Khalifa family.

Though less powerful and frailer in recent years, his machinations still drew attention in the kingdom as a new generation now jostles for power.

“Khalifa bin Salman represented the old guard in more ways than just age and seniority,” said Kristin Smith Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Washington-based Arab Gulf States Institute. “He represented an old social understanding rooted in royal privilege and expressed through personal patronage.” Source