Poor US oversight of Gulf arms sales: govt audit

November 19, 2011

WASHINGTON – US authorities have failed to adequately monitor weapons sales to Gulf countries criticized for dismal rights records or recent security crackdowns on protesters, a government audit said Friday.

The Government Accountability Office pointed to “gaps” in how the State Department and the Pentagon monitor military equipment, including sensitive technology, after it is sold.

Rising tensions in the Middle East and North Africa between long-standing regimes and protesters seeking their removal triggered concern from government auditors, especially ahead of a looming $53 million arms deal with Bahrain.

While the State Department has vetted hundreds of individuals and units due to receive US-funded training in the Gulf to make sure the equipment will not be used for rights abuses, it has not done so for $188 million in assets due to reach Oman and Bahrain, the GAO said.

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