Onlineredaktion – The US increased its military sales to Bahrain just before Manama began its brutal crackdown on protesters in February, says a report by the US State Department.
The annual report that provides sales figures between the US weapon manufacturers and foreign governments showed a USD 112 million increase in military sales to Bahrain between 2009 and 2010, The Washington Post reported.
In total, the US government has approved USD 200 million in military sales to the Persian Gulf kingdom during this period.
Previously, the sales included military hardware for aircraft and military electronics. However, in 2010, the US government also approved the sale of USD 760,000 in rifles, shotguns and assault weapons to Bahrain.
Since the anti-government demonstrations began in mid-February this year, the Al Khalifa regime has confronted the demonstrators with armed military and police, firing live ammunition. Scores have been killed and hundreds injured.
This comes as the West has remained silent on the Al Khalifa regime’s massive crackdown on the anti-government protesters.
Maryam al-Khawaja, activist from Bahrain Center for Human Rights, in a conference in Berlin on Friday, criticized the “double standards” of the West regarding the “non-stop campaign of state terror” committed by the Al Khalifa regime.
“In Libya, you saw foreign troops coming in to protect and save people from their government who is killing them; in Bahrain, you saw foreign troops coming in to save and protect the government from its people who are unarmed, and who are demanding things like human rights and freedoms and democracy,” she said.
Bahrain is a key US ally in the Persian Gulf region and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Chris Bambery, the Middle East analyst, said in an interview with Press TV on Friday that Bahrain is also “a major banking center for British and American finance.”
In 2009, the first year of US President Barack Obama’s term, Washington sold an overall of USD 40 billion in military hardware to countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
This is an increase from the final year of former President George W. Bush’s term in 2008, when the US State Department approved USD 34.2 billion in military sales.