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US approves sale of bombs, bunker busters to Bahrain

An image of Mark 84 bombs inside a hardened structure. (File photo)

The United States has approved a possible sale to Bahrain of thousands of bombs, armed with special warheads, for the regime’s US-made F-16 fighter jets.

The State Department said on Friday that it approved to provide Bahrain with 3,000 bomb bodies worth an estimated $45 million, in request of Manama.

It said the arms sale is aimed at boosting the regime's F-16 combat jets operations.

The sale, according to the department “will enhance the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally which is an important security partner in the region.”

It was, however, not immediately clear where and against whom the regime will use the US-supplied bombs.

Bahrain is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has launched a war in Yemen in 2015. The operations have so far killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.

The coalition is also accused of indiscriminately bombing populated areas in the impoverished country and causing hundreds of civilian deaths.

Human Rights Watch reacted to the prospective arms sale to the regime, saying “Instead of pressing Bahrain on its persecution – and prosecution – of human rights defenders, the US blindly sells it millions of dollars worth of weapons without conditions.”

“The message is clear, whether it’s to the UAE, Saudi Arabia or Bahrain – buy American weapons and get a free pass on human rights issues from the US,” said the organization’s deputy Washington director, Andrea Prasow.

Last month, the US approved the sale to Bahrain of several attack helicopters, dozens of missiles and rockets of various kinds and a variety of navigation, missile planning, communications and electronic warfare systems at an estimated cost of $911.4 million.

The administration of Barack Obama had imposed human rights conditions on a large sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain. The Trump administration, however, lifted the conditions in March, last year. Later in September, the State Department approved the sale of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16V aircraft to Manama.

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