The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the U.S. Congress today that Bahrain wants to buy armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), TOW Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
(Image by J & M Brandstatter, JB Photography)
The government of Bahrain, an island-state off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, has requested a possible sale of 44 armoured HMMWVs, or Humvees, more than 300 BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles with 48 launchers and additional equipment and logistical support for its armed forces. The deal would be worth $53 million.
The U.S. considers the Kingdom of Bahrain a major non-NATO ally and wants to support it as “an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.” The proposed arms sale would strengthen the country’s ability to counter threats posed by armoured forces in the region.
A glance at the map shows clearly that the only threat Bahrain needs to be concerned with, comes from across the Persian Gulf, from Iran. The Islamic Republic has a strong interest in the island kingdom since the majority of the population is Shia muslim and Iran had declared the island its fourteenth province in 1957 but had to give it up later. It has been hinted that Iran had a part in organizing the demonstrations against the Sunni muslim king, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the royal family. A change to a Shiite regime would be a thorn in the side of Iran’s strategic competitor in the region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So the KSA and its main ally, the U.S. have a strong interest to enable Bahrain to protect itself from any outside threat.
Bahrain also accommodates a U.S. naval base, the home of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Last year the U.S. embarked on a program to extend the size of the naval base an investment of $580 million.