The House voted yesterday to ban the sale of Stinger antiaircraft missiles to any country that is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or a formal U.S. defense ally.
By 322 to 93, the House adopted an amendment to a foreign aid authorization bill that would limit the sale of the shoulder-fired missiles to members of NATO and to countries considered major non-NATO allies, like Israel and Australia.
The measure would specifically ban a planned sale of Stingers to Bahrain, and any other future sales of the sophisticated missile to Persian Gulf countries. Senate approval of the ban is considered unlikely, however.
One of the authors of the amendment, Rep. Mel Levine (D-Calif.) said Congress "cannot allow this proliferation. We must make sure that these missiles are not ultimately used against American citizens by terrorists."
But Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.) urged that the amendment be modified to allow the Stinger sale to Bahrain and to any country that provides the United States with military support facilities.
Solarz said the United States owes Bahrain, which provides the United States with naval facilities and other support, to supply it with the missiles for defense of its oil installations.