Biden to proceed with UAE F-35 sales, but with restrictions

Biden administration agrees to proceed with $23bn arms sales to UAE. However, it is also considering restrictions. The UAE will be the first Arab nation to receive F-35s.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

President Joe Biden’s administration indicated Wednesday it was moving forward with a $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates but was considering restrictions and would not deliver them soon.

The State Department shortly after Biden’s inauguration in January ordered a review of the massive arms package, which was approved by former President Donald Trump when the Gulf ally recognized Israel.

Responding to a lawsuit seeking to block the sale, the State Department said it planned a “robust and sustained dialogue” with the United Arab Emirates on arms transfers.

Read more: Present and Future of the American F-35

“We can confirm that the administration intends to move forward with these proposed defense sales to the UAE, even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have developed mutual understandings with respect to Emirati obligations before, during and after delivery,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“Projected delivery dates on these sales, if eventually implemented, will be several years in the future.”

The lawsuit was filed by a group on behalf of purported victims of Emirati “aggression” who pointed to the Gulf state’s participation in the bloody Saudi-led offensive in Yemen and its support for Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Announcing a refiled lawsuit, the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs said it had “hoped for better things out of the Biden administration.”

Representative Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he remained “concerned” by the sale.

“Fortunately, none of these transfers would occur any time soon, so there will be ample time for Congress to review whether these transfers should go forward and what restrictions and conditions would be imposed,” Meeks said.

The first Arab nation to receive F-35s

The United Arab Emirates would be the first Arab nation to receive the F-35s, top-of-the-line jets that are stealth capable and can be used to gather intelligence, strike deep into enemy territory and engage in air duels.

Read more: In regional game-changer, US seeks to sell F-35 jets to UAE

The United Arab Emirates will receive 50 of the jets, equal to the fleet of Israel, which has previously rejected to Arab nations receiving the planes as it believes that the Jewish state must maintain a military edge in the region.

But it dropped objections after the United Arab Emirates last year agreed to recognize Israel. Three more Arab nations followed suit, in what Trump, a staunch supporter of Israel, considered one of his major foreign policy achievements.

The Trump administration argued that the main concern justifying the sale was Iran, which has hostile relations with Israel and several Gulf Arab states.

Read more: Pakistani JF-17 has one major advantage over world’s best aircraft stealth F-35

Lawmakers from Biden’s Democratic Party argued that the package would set off an arms race in a sensitive region but failed in Congress to block the sale.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

Continue reading

Steps taken to secure PMO after audio leaks: Law Minister

Law Minister Azam Tarar addressed press conference in on Thursday saying that steps are being taken to secure PMO after audio leaks.

HBL to counter head on allegations of terror financing in US

Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that Habib Bank Limited (HBL), faces secondary liability in a terror funding case in the United...

Pakistan would rather be bridge between China, US: Bilawal

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that Pakistan wanted to be a "bridge by unifying" the United States and China during a time of geopolitical conflict.