Positioned between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has been of strategic importance to the West and it’s the only state in the Persian Gulf where a Sunni monarchy rules over a majority of a Shiah majority. Once a British protectorate, it gained independent in 1979 and since then, the ruling al-Khalifa Family has enjoyed close defense ties with Britain. In 2011 and with the arrival of Islamic Awakening in Bahrain, reports of torture, rape, corruption, discrimination and oppression dominated the political landscape in this country. Yet the UK continued to court Bahrain. Since the 2011protests, the UK government has approved over £30 million worth of arms export licenses to Bahrain including assault rifles, pistols and naval guns. In addition to this both the British monarchy and the PM have met with the regime on numerous occasions stating the "UK-Bahrain relationship is a warm, close and longstanding one".