"The uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011, has diminished in intensity, but continued incarceration of dissident leaders, opposition boycotts of elections, and small demonstrations counter government assertions that Bahrain has 'returned to normal.' The mostly Shiite opposition to the Sunni-minority-led regime has not achieved its goal of establishing a constitutional monarchy, but the unrest has compelled the ruling family to undertake modest reforms. The mainstream opposition uses peaceful forms of dissent, but small factions, possibly backed by Iran, have claimed responsibility for bombings and other attacks primarily against security officials. The Bahrain government's use of repression against the dissent has presented a policy dilemma for the United States because Bahrain is a longtime ally that is pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security. The country has hosted the U.S. naval headquarters for the Gulf region since 1948; the United States and Bahrain have had a formal Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) since 1991; and Bahrain was designated by the United States as a 'major non-NATO ally' in 2002. There are over 7,000 U.S. forces in Bahrain, mostly located at a naval headquarters site. Bahrain has relied on U.S.-made arms, but, because of the government's use of force against protesters, the Obama Administration held up some new weapons sales to Bahrain and curtailed U.S. assistance to Bahrain's internal security organizations led by the Ministry of Interior."
CRS Report for Congress, 95-1013
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html