A lawyer said on Thursday that the United States had agreed to sell the UAE’s first F-35 line fighter.
President Donald Trump’s administration has unofficially given Congress necessary notification of the sale, which could “shift the military balance in the forest and affect Israel’s military advantage,” said Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat who ran the House. The foreign committee heads the committee.
The UAE – which is growing its voice in the region, including Yemen and Libya – called for advanced fighter jets as it addressed the United States ahead of its historic recognition of Israel last month.
Normalization – following similar moves from Bahrain and Sudan – was a diplomatic coup for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the Jewish state has long opposed US sales of high-end fighter jets to all Arab states, including Egypt and Jordan, which already has a peace treaty with Israel.
But Netanyahu indicated last week that Israel would have no objection to the UAE’s deal after Defense Minister Benny Gantz, his worried coalition partner, assured during a visit to the Pentagon that Israel would maintain its military advantage.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Ocean was visiting Israel on Thursday for talks with Gant on increasing the military capabilities of a US ally.
A State Department official declined to confirm the deal with the UAE, saying he was not commenting on the information to Congress.
The notification comes five days before the U.S. election in which Trump drags Democrat Joe Biden into the published election.
Congress, where Democrats control the House of Representatives and the Senate is seen as an opportunity to win, has the power to block the sale of the UAE.
“The export of this aircraft must be considered very carefully and Congress should analyze all the effects. Stopping these sales is in no one’s best interests, ”said Engel.
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