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The shackles come off US arms sales

The State Department has lifted human rights conditions on a proposed sale of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain, worth a total of $5bn, US media reported in late March. The conditions were imposed by the Barack Obama administration in light of the continuing clampdown on opposition groups since 2011. If it goes ahead it is still likely to be three or four years before any planes are delivered, but it marks an important shift in approach from Washington.

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