In a move not completely unexpected from the Biden administration, the sale of 50 F-35s to the UAE has been temporarily suspended, according to an AP report by Matthew Lee. The suspension is supposedly one of several major foreign arm sales that have been frozen, including an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed the Saudis for the humanitarian situation in Yemen during his confirmation hearings, in their fight against the Iran-supported Huthi rebels.
“The department is temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending U.S. defense transfers and sales under Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review,” the State Department said. “This is a routine administrative action typical to most any transition, and demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance, as well as ensuring U.S. arms sales meet our strategic objectives of building stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partners.”
The F-35 deal was made with the Trump administration after the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords and normalized relationships with Israel. Israel did not raise any objections to the US over the sale of the stealth airplanes to the UAE. The deal was signed on January 20th, in one of the last actions by the Trump administration before President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The sale of the Lockheed-Martin jets is worth an estimated $23 billion dollars.
Most Democrats opposed the deal from the start.
The suspension is guaranteed to concern many US allies as to the reliability of their relationships with America under a Biden administration, reminding them of how President Barack Obama helped ignite the deadly and chaotic Arab Spring.
On the other hand, this could be a windfall for Israel, as other countries look for a more reliable ally to do business with, to supply them advanced weapon platforms, and in the case of the Middle East, help form a united front against the Islamic regime in Iran and their proxy armies. In fact, this single act by President Biden may have permanently cemented the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE.