The United States agrees to sell tanks to Bahrain for $2.2 billion

The United States agrees to sell tanks to Bahrain for $2.2 billion

This small Gulf kingdom, which maintains tense relations with Iran, is a close ally of Washington.

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An M1A2 Abrams tank in Nova Dyba, Poland, May 6, 2023. (ARTUR WIDAK / ANADOLU AGENCY / AFP)

On Tuesday, March 19, the US State Department announced that it had approved the sale of battle tanks to Bahrain worth $2.2 billion (about 2.02 billion euros). According to a US diplomatic press release, this sale concerns 50 M1A2 Abrams tanks, one of the heaviest armored vehicles in the world specialized in ground warfare. Bahrain, a kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty, is a close ally of Washington in the Middle East. But it was subjected to a US arms embargo following the suppression of protest demonstrations led by Shiite parties, in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011.

The US Congress can block this deal by voting within thirty days, although this is not generally the case. Sell ​​this tank “It will enhance Bahrain’s capabilities to respond to current and future threats by providing it with a credible deterrent and enabling it to participate in regional operations with the United States and other partner nations.”American diplomacy announced in its press release.

The United States and Bahrain signed an agreement in September aimed at strengthening security and economic relations between them and specifically stipulating the exchange of intelligence information and scientific exchange. Bahrain, whose relations with Iran are extremely tense, is also the only Arab country participating in the coalition led by the United States and the United Kingdom against the attacks carried out by the Houthi rebels in Yemen several months ago that targeted international maritime traffic off this coast. nation.

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