By Chis Lawrence
More than three dozen nations have converged on the seas around Bahrain for a massive military minesweeping exercise.
The at-sea maneuvers will involve a series of techniques and involve surface ships, aircraft, and underwater "explosive ordnance disposal" diving teams during the nearly two weeks of International Mine Countermeasure Exercise.
Remote piloted submersibles, known as unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs, will get their most sustained test yet in combination with regular forces.
The U.S. military says these exercises are strictly "defensive," but the show of force in light of Iran's threats to mine the Strait of Hormuz is hard to ignore.
By Elise Labott
The United States will resume some arms sales to Bahrain after suspending them amid the country's crackdown on protesters, the State Department announced Friday.
The administration informed Congress that "for national security interests we have decided to release additional items and services for the Bahrain Defense Force, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard for the purpose of helping Bahrain maintain its external defense capabilities," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a written statement.
"Bahrain is an important security partner and ally in a region facing enormous challenges. Maintaining our and our partners' ability to respond to these challenges is a critical component of our commitment to Gulf security."
The United States and Bahrain signed a defense pact in 1991. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet and is viewed as an important bulwark against Iran's influence in the Persian Gulf.