Bahrain inks deal to buy US copters after Senate favor
Story Code : 761654
The agreement with Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. for the purchase of the AH-1Z Viper aircraft is worth $912 million, the official Bahrain News Agency reported on Thursday.
The first batch of the aircraft will be delivered to Bahrain by the end of 2022.
The contract came amid continuing criticism of the regime of a 2011-present crackdown it has been carrying out against peaceful protesters, and its ongoing membership of a Saudi Arabian-led coalition, which has been bombing Yemen for more than three years.
The war, which seeks to restores Yemen’s former Saudi-allied officials, has killed upwards of 15,000 people, according to Yemen’s Health Ministry, although various other reports put the death toll far higher.
The US generously provides arms support to Riyadh and its allies, despite their engagement in the warfare.
Senate favors Bahrain
Also on Thursday, the US Senate rejected a measure, provided by Republican Senator Rand Paul, to block US arms sales to Bahrain over the island’s involvement in the war.
The bill aimed to stop the sale of $300m in US-made weapons to Bahrain, which includes guided missiles and rocket launch systems, as well as the training of military personnel, and technical and logistical support.
Addressing the senators, Paul said Manama was an "intimate part" of the Saudi-led coalition, and urged the Senate to send a message to Saudi Arabia and its allies over the war.
“Quit selling them arms one time, and they’ll sit up, and they’ll say let’s have a talk,” he said.
"This vote is about more than yet another arms sale. The Senate has a chance to stand up for innocent life, speak out against a humanitarian tragedy that is getting worse by the day, and demonstrate it will not support further destruction in Yemen," Paul added.
A day earlier, Republicans in the US House of Representatives had blocked an effort by the Democrats to halt US assistance to the war.
Besides the arms sales, the US provides logistical support, including intelligence sharing to the Saudi-led allies.
Paul also criticized Bahrain’s human rights record and mistreatment of its "majority-Shia population" over the domestic crackdown that has killed scores of Bahraini civilians.