When the Bahraini opposition and other groups oppose Bahrain’s purchase of military equipment from abroad they are effectively challenging Bahrain’s right to self defence – one of the central tenets of the UN Charter.It is clear from what has been made public about partial renewed US defence sales to the Kingdom that this isn’t about sniper rifles and tear gas - or anything which could be conceivably be used against protesters. Rather we’re this concerns harbor safety vessels, frigates and spare parts for planes. So unless the opposition is planning to launch an invasion by sea from Iran they haven’t got much to worry about!Since the smaller Gulf states gained independence during the 20th century, self defence has always been a thorny issue, particularly when much larger neighbours like Iran occupy Emirati islands, or claim Bahrain to be a province of Iran. Clearly the protesters aren’t all about to meekly give up and return to their homes any time soon, so is Bahrain supposed to surrender its ability to protect its citizens for the foreseeable future?Is it a strange coincidence that Iran benefits doubly by nations like the US being under pressure not to sell munitions to Bahrain?: Firstly, Iran benefits because of its support for the protest movement and their revolutionary aims and its consequent hostility to Bahrain’s leaders. Secondly, Iran benefits because any shortfall in the ability of Arabian Gulf nations to defend themselves by default strengthens Iran’s military posture in the region – something which should cause the Americans and other nations to be losing sleep.Furthermore; any such boycotts on military sales to Bahrain means that either:A) Bahrain has to pay a lot more to purchase the same goods from other suppliers;B) Bahrain has to buy inferior materials from elsewhere, or;C) Bahrain simply fails to obtain the hardware it needs, because the parts it requires are specific to one supplier.Either way, Bahraini citizens lose out; either by having to pay a lot extra from our national budget; or by our country being inadequately protected. Thus, we can be grateful that the Americans are standing by their alliance with Bahrain, even if they are allowing some goods and banning many others.Live ammunition and military hardware is not used against the opposition. The worst that protesters are exposed to is a blast of tear gas whenever they attack the police with firebombs. Therefore, the opposition knows that such defence sales to Bahrain are not a threat. At best, in their propaganda they are being highly disingenuous – at worst they are undermining national sovereignty and the ability of our state to protect its borders and its citizens.Any patriotic Bahraini who is aware of our nation’s precarious geographical location in the Arabian Gulf knows that the issue of protecting our borders isn’t an academic issue, but a matter of long term national survival. We should look to our leaders to ensure that security against external aggression or internal subversion is a priority. Thus, let’s not take this issue lightly when Bahrain’s wannabe revolutionaries take to the streets demanding global boycotts, with the aim of fatally weakening our nation.
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