Bahrain receives military equipment from UK despite violent crackdown
Britain sold over £1m worth of weapons including rifles and artillery to Gulf kingdom during last year's unrest
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 February 2012 15.49 GMT
Bahraini security forces in Manama during clashes with protesters. Photograph: Mazen Mahdi/EPA
Britain has continued to sell arms to Bahrain despite continuing political unrest in the Gulf state, new official figures disclose.
According to the figures the government approved the sale of military equipment valued at more than £1m in the months following the violent crackdown on demonstrators a year ago. They included licences for gun silencers, weapons sights, rifles, artillery and components for military training aircraft.
Also cleared for export to Bahrain between July and September last year were naval guns and components for detecting and jamming improvised explosive devices. No export licences were refused.
Security forces in Bahrain fired teargas and stun grenades at protesters in pre-dawn skirmishes before Tuesday's first anniversary of the uprising in the Gulf kingdom. Armoured vehicles patrolled the capital, Manama, in a security clampdown after protesters flung volleys of petrol bombs at police cars. There was also a massive police presence in Shia Muslim villages ringing Manama, with helicopters buzzing overhead, underlining the concerns of the Sunni-Muslim-led monarchy about a new explosion of civil unrest by Bahrain's disgruntled Shia majority.
After the exposure a year ago of Britain's approval of arms sales, including crowd control equipment, guns, and ammunition to Bahrain, Libya and Egypt, the government revoked 158 export licences, including 44 covering military exports to Bahrain.