US approves $3.8 billion in arms sales to Manama

• Officials in Manama maintain hardline stance against Doha amid Qatar crisis
• Bahraini monarch opposes Arab boycott against Israel
• U.S. approves USD 3.8 billion arms sale to Bahrain

• Bahraini leadership blasts Amnesty International’s “inaccuracies” in report on Arabian archipelago state

September 8
Washington approves USD 3.8 billion in arms sales to Manama
In a sign of strong support for the archipelago kingdom, the U.S. State Department approved a USD 3.8 billion arms sale, comprising “F-16 jets, upgrades, and patrol boats”.

September 8
Manama condemns Amnesty International
Bahraini officials blasted “inaccuracies” contained in an Amnesty International report.
The report accused them of intensifying a crackdown by arresting, torturing, and restricting the travel of 169 activists/opposition figures and their family members between June 2016 and June 2017.

September 14
Bahrain’s foreign minister says Doha is “bound to fail” in quest to harm the Saudi leadership and citizenry
Bahrain’s chief diplomat, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, tweeted a message intended for Qatar’s government. He stated that Doha’s plans for undermining the Saudi government and the country’s citizens will “fail” as have their actions which have “targeted Bahrain in the past and failed”. The foreign minister praised Saudi leaders for their willingness to “stand with their brothers on every occasion.”

September 18
Bahrain accuses Doha of exacerbating Qatar crisis with alleged boat seizure
A Bahraini military official told the country’s state-media that the Qataris had seized three boats carrying 16 sailors over the span of three days, yet he provided no details regarding the location. Qatari officials confirmed having detained fishing boats which they maintained had unlawfully entered Qatar’s territorial waters.

September 22
News leaks that the King of Bahrain favors ending the Arab boycott of Israel
Two rabbis of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, revealed information at a Los Angeles event that Bahrain’s King Hamad believes that Arab countries should stop boycotting the State of Israel. King Hamad’s son also attended the event. Hier and Cooper praised Bahrain’s respect for Jews and highlighted Bahrain and Israel’s common understanding of the Iranian threat.

Analysis: Among the quartet of countries, Bahrain is taking the lead in opening more formal relations with Israel. This role is first and foremost on behalf of Saudi Arabia, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concentrates on reforms at home, but it is also on behalf of the other GCC countries, with the exception of Qatar. The move puts Doha squarely in Tehran’s geopolitical camp.

September 23
Minister of Foreign Affairs addresses UN General Assembly
On the podium before the UN General Assembly, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, emphasized Manama’s support for preserving security in the Gulf region and countering terrorist forces. “Terrorism is no longer confined to terrorist organizations that can be confronted and eliminated,” he declared. “Rather, that menace has become a tool in the hands of States determined to create crises in other countries in pursuit of their own agenda.”

Photo credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway