Tags: rex tillerson | human | rights | arms | sale | bahrain

Sec. of State Tillerson to Remove Human Rights Conditions on Bahrain Arms Sale

Image: Sec. of State Tillerson to Remove Human Rights Conditions on Bahrain Arms Sale
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 10:14 PM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly decided to lift human rights conditions on a sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain.

Micah Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the New York Times the State Department on Wednesday notified Congress of its intent to proceed with the sale without the conditions.

According to the Times, Tillerson's decision comes as the Trump administration looks to bolster Sunni Arab states in the Middle East and find new ways to confront Iran in the Persian Gulf. The Times reported that Bahrain is a key player in that effort – and is home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet that patrols the strategic waterway.

According to the Times, however, the decision to drop the human rights assurances as a condition of the sale is "bound to be read by Saudi Arabia and other states in the region as a sign that the new administration plans to ease its demands to protect and respect political dissidents and protesters."

The conditions on the sale of 19 new American fighter jets, worth $2.8 billion, had been imposed by the Obama administration amid concerns about the Sunni monarchy's crackdown against majority Shiites, the Times reported.

The GOP chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, hailed Tillerson's decision.

"This type of conditionality would be unprecedented and counterproductive to maintaining security cooperation and ultimately addressing human rights issues," Corker said in a statement to both the Times and CNN.

"There are more effective ways to seek changes in partner policies than publicly conditioning weapons transfers in this manner."

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly decided to lift human rights conditions on a sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain.
rex tillerson, human, rights, arms, sale, bahrain
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2017-14-29
Wednesday, 29 Mar 2017 10:14 PM
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