The Biden administration intends to sell advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates despite pushback from Israel.
“While we will not comment on ongoing litigation, we can confirm that 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 concerning Emirati obligations before, during, and after delivery,” a spokesperson from the Biden administration said on Wednesday as quoted by The Huffington Post.
In January, the Biden administration temporarily froze US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE to review the billions of dollars in weapons transactions approved by the Trump administration.
It has been widely speculated that the former US administration used the F-35 aircraft to entice the Emirates to normalize ties with Israel. In September, two Gulf nations — the UAE and Bahrain — signed the landmark, Trump-brokered Abraham Accords to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
Israel has expressed concerns that such a sale would jeopardize Israel’s security. I24 reports discussions have been held between the US and Isreal to at least “downgrade” the F-35’s being sold to keep Israel keep its military advantage in the region. One of the prospects considered was to provide Israel with new radars, which would help it spot the stealth jets. Another option was tweaking the design of the jet itself to make it more visible for radars.