Prominent Bahraini activist slams US arms sales to Manama, Riyadh

Press TV – Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has slammed the US government for arms sales to the Manama regime and Saudi Arabia.

The jailed activist made the remarks in an op-ed article published in The New York Times on Wednesday ahead of a scheduled visit by US President Donald Trump to Riyadh for a regional summit.

The Trump “administration already decided to lift all human rights restrictions on arms sales to my country, Bahrain, which is a partner in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement. The Riyadh regime has, however, failed to reach its goals despite suffering great expense.

The military aggression has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people, mostly civilians.

“It fills me with shame that my country, Bahrain, is bombing Yemen, with United States support. And while the Saudi-led coalition continues its air assault on Yemen, Bahrain is also trying to crush civil society back home,” he added.

Earlier this month, a senior official in the Trump administration announced that the US was close to completing an over $100 billion dollar arms sale with the kingdom.

Bahraini forces clash with anti-regime protesters on Sitra Island, Bahrain, on March 29, 2017.

“Does the Trump administration know that former Bahraini soldiers have left the country to join Daesh? Does Washington know that Bahrain allows no Shia citizens in its military even though Shias are a majority of the population? Does the White House know that the Bahraini army is a sectarian force that publishes books endorsing the murder of Shias who do not “repent?”’ he added.

Rajab is being held in detention, pending trial on alleged charges of insulting the Bahraini ruling dynasty. He has been arrested multiple times in recent years over anti-regime protests in Bahrain. The activist was pardoned for health reasons in 2015 before being rearrested in June 2016. He is currently on trial for tweets and statements deemed insulting to the Manama and Riyadh regimes.

Anti-regime protesters have taken to the streets of Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since the popular uprising began in the tiny Persian Gulf country in February 2011.

The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against Bahrain’s Shia majority.