Thursday , September 20 2018

Push to pass Kuwait fighter deal

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 22: The United States Congress will most likely reverse its decision to reject US fighter jet sales to Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain before President Barack Obama leaves office on Jan 17, 2017, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources from the White House. Sources disclosed this came after intense lobbying by administration officials.

They said Obama administration officials with the US State Department and US Defense Department tried to convince Congress to accept the arms deal. It can be recalled that almost a year ago, Obama agreed to sell 76 fighter jets valued at $8 billion to the three Gulf countries — before the deal became controversial. According to the report, a bipartisan group of US Senators called on the State Department to stop all military aid and transfers to Bahrain due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and the heightened crackdowns against pro-democracy demonstrations which have been continuing for five years.

These senators include Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). Nevertheless, the demonstrators have remained peaceful despite repeated armed assaults, imprisonment and torture by the regime and even argue that it would be positive for a transition to democracy for the monarchy to remain installed in a figurehead role while the decisions of the State are taken by representatives of the people.

The Sunni-led monarchy revoked the citizenship of members of the Shiite opposition party, al-Wefaq, in order to render the individuals stateless and beyond the protection of human rights protocols.

The United States maintains its critical Fifth Naval Fleet in Bahrain which serves a vital purpose in maintaining America’s regional presence and for staging Special Forces operations against terrorists. However, US law prohibits the sale of arms to known human rights abusers which Bahrain has been repeatedly identifi ed as by the State Department due to swelling reports that the regime has turned US provided weapons on peaceful protesters.

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