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National Liberation Front (Bahrain)


organization advocating political reform in bahrain.

Following a general strike in Bahrain in the summer of 1954, liberal reformers from both the Shiʿite and Sunni communities organized a Higher Executive Committee (HEC) to press demands for an elected popular assembly, an appellate court, and the right to form trade unions. Protracted negotiations between the ruler, Shaykh Sulman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the HEC led to the official recognition of a Committee of National Unity in return for the HEC's agreement to stop calling for a parliament. Radical activists based in the industrial labor force responded by forming a succession of clandestine organizations, which called for more fundamental changes in Bahrain's political and economic structure.

Out of these groupings in the late 1960s emerged the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf, from which the Popular Front in Bahrain split off in 1974. More militant workers then formed the National Liberation Front (Bahrain) to press for the creation of a nonexploitative, egalitarian social order. Police cracked down on the organization after the National Assembly was dissolved in 1975. The National Liberation Front (Bahrain) was subsequently overshadowed by Bahrain's heterogeneous Islamist movement, although it continued to enjoy support among young professionals and intellectuals unsympathetic to the Islamists.

see also bahrain; national democratic front for the liberation of oman and the arab gulf.


Halliday, Fred. Arabia without Sultans. Baltimore, MD, and Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1974.

Lawson, Fred H. Bahrain: The Modernization of Autocracy. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1989.

fred h. lawson

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