US Senate lets $300m arms sale to Bahrain proceed

Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said Bahrain’s “willingness to host our naval forces also places Bahrain at greater risk from attack from Iran and terrorist groups seeking to do harm to the United States.” (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2018
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US Senate lets $300m arms sale to Bahrain proceed

  • Critics of the bill warned that punishment of Bahrain would be misplaced, especially as 7,800 US military personnel are deployed there on a base that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet

WASHINGTON: The US Senate has rejected a long-shot effort to block $300 million in arms sales to Bahrain, as the bill’s opponents stressed the island nation was a critical ally hosting an American naval base.
The effort, led by Republican Senator Rand Paul, failed as the US Senate voted 77 to 21 to table the measure, essentially killing it.
Critics of the bill warned that punishment of Bahrain would be misplaced, especially as 7,800 US military personnel are deployed there on a base that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which helps protect American interests in the region. Bahrain is strategically located between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said Bahrain’s “willingness to host our naval forces also places Bahrain at greater risk from attack from Iran and terrorist groups seeking to do harm to the United States.”
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, said Bahrain is home to a naval base with 7,800 US service members protecting American interests and serving as a buffer against the Iranian regime.
He said that blocking an arms sale to an ally over “something that has nothing to do with them, but has something to do with another country is not a pragmatic, nor a sensible step.”


Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

Policemen stand guard in Tunis. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2019
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Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station

  • Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali

TUNIS: Police in Tunisia fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse demonstrators who protested after a young man died inside a police station near the coastal resort of Hammamet, witnesses said.
The young man was arrested on Friday after a fight between groups of youths in the town of Barraket Essahel, 60 km (37 miles) southeast of the capital Tunis, according to locals. While it was not immediately clear how he died, demonstrators blamed the security forces.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the young man had fainted after reaching the police station and died despite officers’ efforts to revive him. It said a judge had ordered an investigation.
Police in Barraket Essahel were not immediately available to comment.
Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.