While conceding that there are “a number of serious unresolved human rights issues” in the nation, the US State Department announced today that President Obama has signed off on a resumption of weapons sales to Bahrain.
The statement did not provide a total value of the weapons being sent to Bahrain, but insisted that the new weapons would not be used for “crowd control.” US weapons have been used heavily by Bahrain and allies in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters since last year.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT), the author of a provision requiring the president to “consult” with Congress before sending certain types of arms to nations undergoing “democratic transition,” criticized the move, saying that he was pleased there was no tear gas included but that the sales still send “the wrong message.”
The State Department statement praised Bahrain for “reforms” it had already made, while urging more, and condemned the civilian protesters for “violence” against police, and demanded that they “refrain from incitement.”
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