Dems ask Clinton to delay arms sales to Bahrain

AP News

10/12/2011 6:08:39 PM - AP News

Five Democratic senators are asking Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to delay $53 million in arms sales to violence-wracked Bahrain.

In a letter Wednesday, the lawmakers criticized Bahrain's human rights violations and resistance to calls for reform. They said completing the sale would weaken U.S. credibility amid democratic transitions in the Middle East.

At least 35 people have died since Bahrain's Shiite-led majority began protests in February seeking greater rights from the ruling Sunni monarchy in the strategic nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Signing the letter were Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Wyden and Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts have introduced a resolution blocking the sale.