Right now, the US Department of Defense is considering an arms sale to a royal dictatorship that has arrested, tortured, and killed its own civilians. In the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain, people are calling for their basic rights.
So why is our own government proposing the sale of even more weapons to their dictator?
In recent months, Bahrain’s al-Khalifa regime has cracked downs on numerous Bahraini protestors. Human rights advocates, teachers, and doctors have been arrested on suspicion of anti-regime sentiments.
So far 40 protesters have been killed and over 1600 have been arrested, some of whom were sentenced to prison in military courts. Some 2500 Bahrainis lost their jobs as well.
In May of this year, President Obama publicly stated his support for democracy protestors in the Middle East. As he put it, “If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States.”
So why is the US maintaining a military relationship with the very Bahraini government that is engaged in these crackdowns?
The proposed arms sale was announced last month by the Department of Defense. In their news release (pdf), they announced the proposed sale of American armored Humvees, bunker-buster missiles, and night-vision technology in an agreement that will total $53 million. The U.S. already approved $200 million in arms sales from American companies in late 2010.
US Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts has just introduced House Joint Resolution 80 (pdf), which would block this arms agreement from going forward (link to resolution). Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has brought forth an accompanying resolution in the US Senate, Senate Joint Resolution 28 (pdf).
But Members of Congress need to hear from you if they are going to support the ban. Urge your Member of Congress to add their support. And if your Member of Congress IS Rep. McGovern or Senator Wyden, tell them thank you.
Right now in Bahrain, innocent civilians are calling for basic freedom and political reform. Our own government should not be selling military equipment to the very government that is repressing them.
Freedom Forward Campaigner