The US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles allegedly belonging to the "Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates" seized in Libya last week, is expected to worsen the already sour military sales between Abu Dhabi and Washington.
“You are surely aware that if these allegations prove true you may be obligated by law to terminate all arms sales to the UAE,” US Senator Bob Menendez wrote in a letter sent to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to The Globe Post.
Incidentally, the US has already been restricting arms sales to UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt owing to their interference in the Yemen conflict, and in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October.
Four Javelin anti-tank missiles were uncovered by the Libyan government at a base, south of the capital Tripoli, belonging to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar. According to the New York Times, the missiles were held in shipping containers that indicated they were sold to the UAE in 2008.
“The seized weapons include a number of Javelin missiles. The markings on the missiles' shipping containers stated that they belonged to the 'Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates',” Mohammed Qununu, Government of National Accord (GNA) military spokesman was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
"If the UAE has indeed transferred these weapons, this would appear to be a serious violation of United States law. Such a transfer would also almost certainly be a violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya," wrote Menendez.
The UAE's Ministry of Foreign affairs, however, said in a statement that their nation is committed to the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC's) arms embargo against Libya, while issuing the denial that it belonged to them,” Reuters reported Wednesday.
Menendez told Pompeo that the alleged arms transfer to Libya was “particularly alarming” as US President Donald Trump administration in May of this year bypassed Congress’s approval to give a go-ahead to the $8 Billion arms procurement by the countries concerned. The president used emergency authority to approve 22 contracts that include the sale of mortar bombs, missiles, drones, repair and maintenance services, and precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.