One official said restrictions have been imposed on sales, with items like tear gas and stun grenades off limits, The Washington Post reported. They could be used, along with other banned equipment like Humvees, against domestic opponents.
The demonstrations in Bahrain began as small and peaceful protests aimed at winning more political freedom under the monarchy. They became larger as the government tried to repress them.
The country is a critical U.S. military ally in the region and base for the Fifth Fleet.
A senior official who briefed reporters said the Obama administration decided to resume some sales because of "our desire to help the Bahrainis maintain their external defense capabilities, and a determination that it is in U.S. national interest to let these things go forward."
Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch said U.S. interests in the region will be better served by getting Bahrain to institute needed reforms, than by helping it get slightly improved F-16 fighter jets.
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