Incredible news: Bahrain thrilled by royal nepotism

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Sheikh Khalifa: rising son of the deputy prime minister and grandson of the prime minister

Bahrain recently joined Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt in calling for the Qatari broadcaster, al-Jazeera, to be shut down. But a more obvious candidate for closure would surely be the Bahraini government’s official mouthpiece, the misleadingly-named Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

Whatever you think of al-Jazeera’s politics, it does provide actual news — unlike BNA which serves no real purpose other than to assure Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family that they are universally loved.

Over the last few days BNA has spared no effort reporting favourable reactions to a blatant act of nepotism: a royal decree which appointed Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa as governor of Bahrain’s Southern Governorate.

Sheikh Khalifa happens to be to son of the deputy prime minister, Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, and grandson of the prime minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who in turn is the uncle of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Since the announcement, messages of congratulation have been swirling around in Bahrain — not only congratulating Sheikh Khalifa on his appointment but also congratulating the prime minister and deputy prime minister on having a son/grandson worthy of becoming governor.

These messages — or “cables”, as BNA prefers to call them — are what passes for news in Bahrain. A quick check on Google shows BNA has published no fewer than 22 separate stories about them since Sunday. Furthermore, BNA highlights the flood of cables as the top item in its summary of headlines from Bahraini newspapers over the past 24 hours.

Prime Minister receives more congratulatory cables
Bahrain News Agency-8 Aug 2017
His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has received more congratulatory cables from senior officials, ministers, dignitaries and citizens …

HRH Prime Minister congratulated by SLRB’s President
Bahrain News Agency-20 hours ago
The SLRB’s President expressed delight in the royal confidence vested in HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali. He wished him success in his new post, praising his …

Premier congratulated by Omani ambassador
Bahrain News Agency-22 hours ago
The Omani ambassador wished HRH the Premier abundant health to continue the development march in Bahrain and HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al …

HRH Premier congratulated by HM King’s Advisor
Bahrain News Agency-20 hours ago
Al-Mannai took pride in the royal confidence vested in HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali, praying to God Almighty to bless HRH Prime Minister abundant good health …

HRH Premier congratulated by Muharraq Governor
Bahrain News Agency-20 hours ago
The Governor wished HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali success in his new post, praying to Almighty God to bless HRH Premier with good health and happiness to …

Premier congratulated by King’s Advisor
Bahrain News Agency-19 hours ago
… Saleh bin Isa bin Hindi Al Mennai on the appointment of his grandson Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa by a royal decree as Southern Governor.

HRH Premier congratulated by HH Shaikha Thajiba bint Salman
Bahrain News Agency-20 hours ago
HH Shaikha Thajiba bint Salman expressed delight in the royal confidence vested in HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali. She wished him success in his mission and …

SCYS First Deputy Chairman congratulates Southern Governor
Bahrain News Agency-21 hours ago
… Hamad Al Khalifa sent a cable of congratulations to Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa on his appointment as Southern Governor by a royal decree.

HRH Premier congratulated by Palestinian ambassador
Bahrain News Agency-9 Aug 2017
The royal trust proves HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali’s competence, dedication and loyalty, thus following in the footsteps of HRH Premier, the ambassador said.

Prime Minister congratulated by deputy premier
Bahrain News Agency-8 Aug 2017
… Jawad bin Salim Al-Arayyed, on the appointment of his grandson, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, by a royal decree, as Southern Governor.

Premier congratulated by Muharraq Charity Society
Bahrain News Agency-9 Aug 2017
… of congratulations from Chairman of Muharraq Charity Society, Salah Bu-Hassan, on the appointment of his grandson, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al …

HRH Premier congratulated
Bahrain News Agency-7 Aug 2017
Humaidan hailed the royal trust which, he said, reflects Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa’s competence, dedication and loyalty to the …

Premier congratulated on grandson appointment
Bahrain News Agency-7 Aug 2017
… Charter Society Ahmed Juma’a on the issuance of a royal decree appointing his grandson Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa as Southern …

Southern Governor congratulated by Electricity, Water minister
Bahrain News Agency-8 Aug 2017
Manama, Aug. 8 (BNA): His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa the Governor of the Southern Governorate has received a cable of …

HRH Premier congratulated by Sunni Endowments chairman
Bahrain News Agency-8 Aug 2017
… Sunni Endowments Council, Dr. Rashid bin Mohammed Al Hajeri,on the appointment of His Royal Highness’s grandson, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa …

HRH Premier congratulated by Speaker
Bahrain News Agency-6 Aug 2017
Al-Mulla said the royal confidence in HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa reflects his national efforts in serving the homeland, wishing him success in …

Southern Governor congratulated by Sunni Endowments chairman Bahrain News Agency-8 Aug 2017 Manama, Aug. 8 (BNA): His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa the Governor of the Southern Governorate has received a cable of …

Southern Governor congratulated by Shura Chairman
Bahrain News Agency-6 Aug 2017
Manama, Aug. 6 (BNA): HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has received a cable of congratulations from Shura Council Chairman Ali bin …

Deputy Premier congratulated by Shura Chairman
Bahrain News Agency-6 Aug 2017
… of congratulations from Shura Council Chairman Ali bin Saleh Al-Saleh on the appointment, by a royal decree, of his son, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa, …

Newly appointed Southern Governor congratulated by Speaker
Bahrain News Agency-6 Aug 2017
Manama, Aug. 6 (BNA): HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa has received a cable of congratulations from Council of Representatives Speaker Ahmed …

Deputy Premier congratulated by Speaker
Bahrain News Agency-6 Aug 2017
… Representatives Speaker Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla marking the appointment, by a royal decree, of his son, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, …

Not to be forgotten in all this is the “cable” sent by Sheikh Khalifa to King Hamad, thanking him for the appointment as governor. “The governor took pride in the royal confidence vested in him that will give the opportunity to participate in the national development process, vowing loyalty to the royal leadership and to work with dedication and sincerity to serve the homeland,” BNA reports.

Originally published at al-bab.com.

Former Middle East editor of the Guardian. Website: www.al-bab.com. Author of 'Arabs Without God'.

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