The Biden administration has reportedly temporarily frozen the sale of F-35 jets to the U.A.E., and munitions to Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials said Washington is currently reviewing the two arms sales that had been approved by former U.S. President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported today.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had hinted at the possible freeze saying the Biden administration would "take a hard look" at the U.A.E. sale.
Reacting to the development, U.A.E. Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba stated that the country "anticipated a review of current policies by the new administration.” He reassured that “U.A.E. will work closely with the Biden administration on a comprehensive approach to Middle East peace and stability.”
“The F-35 package is much more than selli ng military hardware to a partner,” Yousef stressed.
Opponents of the deal criticize Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. for their involvement in the Yemen War, a conflict described by the United Nations as one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has accused Abu Dhabi of also “fueling” the Libyan Civil War by supplying armed drones, and repeatedly violating end-use rules.
Israel has also been standing in the way of the U.A.E. F-35 deal in order to maintain its military qualitative edge in the turbulent Middle East. With the Israel-U.A.E. peace deal hammered out late last year, the parties may have worked out a way. Abu Dhabi may have agreed to make their F-35s visible to Israeli radars, besides being okay with Israel’s F-35 jets being far more superior in terms of capabilities.