King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has also scrapped the position of defence minister, appointing the long-serving incumbent Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmad al-Khalifa as commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force.

A royal decree on 7 January declared that the Crown Prince will “oversee the implementation of public policy and the military, administrative, economic and financial affairs of the Bahrain Defence Force and the National Guard, in addition to other authorities entrusted to him by the supreme commander [King Hamad]”.