US ignores human rights condition to sell Bahrain F-16 jets

The administration of US President Donald Trump has decided to ignore Bahrain’s human rights record in order to sell F-16 fighter jets to the Arab monarchy.

The US State Department informed Congress on Wednesday that it plans to approve a request by the Persian Gulf nation to purchase 19 of the jets from Lockheed Martin worth up to $2.7 billion.

The figure would reach $4.9 billion if 23 engines, radars and other avionics, air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance and related equipment required to upgrade other jets in Bahrain’s fleet are included.

The deal was brought to a halt under former President Barack Obama, who had called on Bahrain to deliver on its promises to improve the human rights condition.

Lockheed, however, strenuously lobbied for the contract to go through, amid outrage among human rights groups concerned with the regime’s crackdown on dissidents.

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