Tear Gas

Used: Present

Based on videos and images we have seen, the top suppliers of tear gas produts used in Bahrain between 2011 and 2013 appear to be DaeKwang Chemical Corporation and CNO Tech of South Korea. Another company, Korea Defense Industry (KDI) may also export to Bahrain.

Bahrain's tear gas suppliers also include South African/German manufacturer Rheinmetall Denel, US manufacturers Defense Technology/Federal Laboratories (part of British BAE Systems), and NonLethal Technologies. Tear gas from France's SAE Alsetex has also been spotted in Bahrain. Tear gas from Brazil's Condor Technologies was found used in Bahrain, but the Brazillian Foreign Ministry denied that any Brazillian tear gas was sold to Bahrain. The Ministry suggested that the gas was re-exported to Bahrain from another GCC country.

Police often indiscriminately fire large amounts of tear gas in residential areas, even when there are no protests, and sometimes fire tear gas directly into houses. For more details, see recommendation 1722c.

Below is a sample of pictures of tear gas canisters from Bahrain. At the moment, this listing is not comprehensive.

12 Gauge #2 and #8 Lead Birdshot Italy

Used: Present

Eleven protesters have died of birdshot wounds, and many more have been injured. The most common cartridges used by the government and vigilantes are: an unidentified cartridge from the UK company Gamebore (owned by the US KentGamebore), the Victory Starlight cartridge from Cyprus' G&L Calibers Ltd, the V3 Feltro cartridge from Italy's CP Pegoraro, and the PL32 cartridge from Italy's Fiocchi Munizioni SPA. Only the Gamebore cartridge has been spotted in both #2 (3.8mm diameters, roughly 90 pellets per cartridge) and #8 (2.2mm, roughly 450 pellets per cartridge) varieites. The #2 variety was used as recently as 26 December 2011, although the government denied responsibility for the 6 October 2011 birdshot death of Ahmed Jaber al-Qattan on the basis that it does not use #2 birdshot. During cross examination at a trial on 6 March 2012, a police oficer said: "The interior ministry only allows us to use number eight pellets, which are fairly small and less effective." Besides the Gamebore #2 cartridge, The other cartridges have only been seen in #8 or unknown sizes.

Victory Starlight cartridges were found in the room where Hani Abdulaziz Abdulla Jumaa was discovered after police shot him at close range and left him to bleed. He was shot at least three times in three different limbs at point-blank range with a shotgun, and later died of his injuries. Below, cartridges are listed along with their most recent known date of use. All pictures of shotgun cartridges shown below are apparently from Bahrain, but the date listed under a picture is not necessarily the date of the picture: the best pictures of each cartridge were selected to enhance the presentation. For more pictures of the cartridges, see this blog post.

Rheinmetall MK-13 Flashbang Grenades

Used: Present

Below is a picture of some Rheinmetall MK-13 flashbangs used by police against protesters.

These flashbangs produce a sound of around 180dBA, and a flash of around 6 million candles. The US Joint Munitions Command warns that army personnel using this model must wear "single hearing protection," and that "double hearing protection" is recommended. For training purposes, when wearing "single hearing protection," a user is only allowed to throw one grenade per day; when wearing "double hearing protection," a user is allowed to throw 20 grenades per day. Personnel are also advised to never look directly at the grenade. The grenade can ignite a fire, and can cause injury up to 10 feet away.

Otokar Cobra Armored Vehicles

Used: Present

Both Bahrain's National Guard and police seem to make use of these vehicles. It is not known if the vehicles are fitted with any type of weapon, and there are no known pictures or videos of police or National Guard troops firing the vehicle's weapon. Police are usually seen firing what is believed to be tear gas out of the vehicle's firing ports.

Police began using these vehicles around 14 February 2012. Before police started using the vehicles, former Islamist MP Mohammed Khalid tweeted this picture of Otokar Cobras on 8 February, and suggested that the vehicles would be deployed against protesters in the coming days.

Otokar Cobras and other armored vehicles on the move in Bahrain on 14 February 2012

9mm Ammunition and Unidentified Pistols

Used: Present

Both members of the military and vigilantes likely carry 9mm pistols. Protesters report that vigilantes occasionally enter villages and fire live rounds. They have produced several pictures and videos of ammunition allegedly fired by vigilantes. This video shows a Remington .45 Colt shell casing. This picture shows the headstamps of at least 10 shell casings. The headstamps are "S&B," and "MKE," corresponding to Czech manufacturer Sellier & Bellot, and Turkish manufacturer Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation. Protesters reported headstamp "LC" on 9mm rounds allegedly fired by the BDF, which corresponds with the US Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

A vigilante attempts to operate his pistol

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (likely)

Used: National Safety Period

The first known deployment of M113 armored personnel carriers, shown above, was on February 17, 2011, after the first raid on the Pearl Roundabout. The video also shows likely US origin Humvees, and at least two likely Netherlands origin YPR-765 vehicles. A third similar vehicle is also shown. Note that the YPR-765 can be distinguished from the similar-looking Belgian AIFVs (of which Bahrain has approximately 50) by the positioning of the smoke grenade launchers. For more details, see this blog post.

Armored vehicles approach the Pearl Roundabout on 17 February 2011

At least one and up to three of the armored vehicles at the scene of the February 18, 2011 shooting of unarmed protesters were M113s. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report notes that among the weapons with which the BDF opened fire were .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns -- the standard weapon mount on an M113 is an M2 Browning.

Protester video of the 18 February 2011 shooting Partial government video of the shooting

A soldier in an M113 can be seen firing a burst of three shots from the vehicle's weapon at a group of protesters in a 16 March 2011 video. During this particular engagement, the BDF opened fire several times with various weapons, including what sounds like several long bursts of machinegun fire. At least two people seem to have been hit with live ammunition. Some bullet holes were seen in the windows of a building in the same location. Stephen Abraham was allegedly killed by a stray .50 caliber bullet while on duty as a security guard on the second floor of a building several blocks away from this area.

M113 opens fire on small group of protesters Protesters run away from machinegun fire in the same area

At the exact same location, just a few hours later, Bahia Alaradi was shot dead in her car, likely a 2003 Mazda Protege 4 door sedan. The BDF investigation said that two armored vehicles with .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns were present at the location where Bahia was shot, and concluded that she was shot in the back of her head with fragments of a .50 caliber bullet that splintered as it hit a hard surface after it was fired at an SUV containing two intoxicated westerners who failed to stop at the checkpoint. A medical report said that she suffered a bullet wound to the back of her head, and a gunshot with an exit wound on her left shoulder. Witnesses reported that her car was fired on without warning from an overpass near the checkpoint. As she tried to escape (likely, perform a U-turn) her car was hit again from behind with gunfire. Video footage of her car found the next morning shows a bullet hole in the windshield, a bullet hole in the back window, and blood on the driver's seat.

M113 present at the site of a mosque demolition A hidden camera shows two M113s at a military checkpoint

M113s are also visible in numerous other videos and images, including at the site of mosque demolitions, and at military checkpoints. A BDF investigation also revealed that Jawad Shamlan was hit by a bullet fired from a .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun at a military checkpoint. His body appears to have a bullet hole in the knee, and a bullet hole to the left of the belly buttton, as well as evidence of beating and possible knife wound on his back.

The US granted Bahrain a few hundred M113 armored personnel carriers in the early 90s and early and late 2000s.

M16 Rifle (unknown origin)

Used: National Safety Period

BDF personnel are seen carrying M16 rifles, or rifles that look substantially visually similar to the M16. The government video of the 18 February 2011 shooting of unarmed protesters shows one BDF soldier firing what appears to be an M16 into the air. Video also shows BDF soldiers shooting at protesters with what appear to be M16s.

BDF soldiers fire on protesters with what appear to be M16s

M4 Rifle (possible)

Used: National Safety Period

A policeman with an M4 strapped to his back holds a shotgun

At least one policeman was spotted carrying an M4 rifle, or a rifle that looks substantially similar to an M4. The Special Security Forces Command (SSFC), whose uniforms appear to be identical to the riot police, seem to be issued M4 rifles. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry attributes several non-shotgun gunshot deaths to police.

The US sold around a thousand M4 rifles to Bahrain as part of a 2008 foreign military sales package.