With its commitment to renew its security cooperation with Bahrain, the United States of America decided to release additional items and services for the Bahrain Defense Force, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard for the purpose of helping Bahrain maintain its external defense capabilities.
On her press statement at DC today, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Bahrain is an important security partner and ally in a region facing enormous challenges.
“Maintaining our and our partners’ ability to respond to these challenges is a critical component of our commitment to Gulf security.” -Ms. Nuland
The Obama administration has made the decision to release additional items to Bahrain mindful of the fact that there are a number of serious unresolved human rights issues that the Government of Bahrain needs to address.
The United States will continue to maintain the holds on the TOW missiles and Humvees that were notified to Congress last October.
According to Ms. Nuland, certain additional items for the Bahrain Defense Force, as well as all items for the Ministry of the Interior, excepting the Coast Guard and units deployed in Afghanistan, will also remain on hold.
She adds that the items that we are releasing are not used for crowd control.
She cites that while the Government of Bahrain has begun to take some important steps to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report, the country is becoming increasingly polarized and much work remains to be done.
The United States is concerned about excessive use of force and tear gas by police, Ms. Nuland stressed.
At the same time, the US government is concerned by the almost daily use of violence by some protestors.
“We urge all sides to work together to end the violence and refrain from incitement of any kind, including attacks on peaceful protestors or on the Bahraini police.” -Ms. Nuland
The United States will continue to engage with Bahrain to encourage meaningful progress on human rights and reform, Ms. Nuland noted.
She highlighted that the United States believes that addressing the underlying causes of last year’s unrest and undertaking meaningful political and institutional reforms are critical to Bahrain’s stability and the strength of both countries’ longstanding partnership.
“All Bahrainis have a significant stake in participating in dialogue that leads to reform, and we call on the Bahraini government and people to resolve their issues through discussion.” -Ms. Nuland
The United States remains committed to supporting Bahrain in achieving progress in these areas.
On February 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that the United States supports Bahrain’s move to greater reform. Secretary Clinton also emphasized that the Americans wanted to see that the human rights of the people, including right to assemble, right to express themselves be respected in Bahrain.
One year after the Pearl Uprising in Bahrain this February this year, unrest continues amid the ongoing government crackdown against protests. A report said there has been systemic and widespread use of violence in the crackdowns as well as torture of political prisoners.
Despite pledges to reform, the government of Bahrain has made little progress, and continues to deny access to the country to the international media and human rights organizations, including Freedom House.
Bahrain is ranked Not Free in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2012 and Freedom of the Press 2012 surveys.