Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands in the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is located off the coast of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Bahrain has a strategic location in the Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean. The geography of Bahrain is mostly low desert plains. The government system is a constitutional monarchy; the chief of state is the king, and the head of government is the prime minister. Bahrain is a member of the League of Arab States (Arab League) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).