WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday it was resuming security aid to Bahrain’s military forces, citing “meaningful progress” on human rights four years after the kingdom’s deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters.
“The administration has decided to lift the holds on security assistance to the Bahrain Defense Force and National Guard that were implemented following Bahrain’s crackdown on demonstrations in 2011,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
“While we do not think that the human rights situation in Bahrain is adequate … we believe it is important to recognize that the government of Bahrain has made some meaningful progress on human rights reforms and reconciliation.”
US officials did not specify what weaponry or security equipment or systems would be transferred to Bahrain, but they did stress that, apart from items that meet a clear counter-terrorism need, the United States “will maintain restrictions on security sales to the Bahrain Ministry of Interior,” or MOI.
Washington says the ministry “bore the preponderance of responsibility for government abuses in 2011,” according to State Department officials.
“We will lift this restriction as we determine that the government has taken additional, significant steps to improve MOI accountability and its treatment of detainees.”