Secret Sale of F-35s to UAE Causing Problems

  • The sale of F-35 jets to the UAE is under review.
  • Jared Kushner is reportedly behind the deal.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly opposes the sale.

The US government’s move to sell F-35 stealth jet fighters to the UAE has come as a surprise to many military analysts. According to White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, there is a greater chance of the deal going through after the normalization pact between Israel and the UAE.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft. The F-35B entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015, followed by the U.S. Air Force F-35A in August 2016 and the U.S. Navy F-35C in February 2019.

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, he revealed that the deal is under review by the State Department as well as the Pentagon The sale was first reported by the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

The Deal is Causing a Few Problems for the Israel Leadership

The F-35 supply deal announcement has caused a bit of tension in the top levels of government in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of assenting to the deal without informing his coalition partner in the government, Benny Gantz. He has vehemently denied knowledge the contract prior to the announcement.

Some political analysts speculate that it was part of the diplomatic ties agreement between the UAE and Israel, an allegation that Netanyahu has also refuted.

The UAE, has for several years now, strived to acquire F-35 fighter jets. Their stealth capabilities are a game-changer when it comes to carrying out successful attack missions inside enemy territory. They are one reason why the Israeli military has been so successful in carrying out bombing campaigns in the region.

UAE Unhappy with Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he has always opposed the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. According to Netanyahu’s remarks last week, “the peace agreement with the U.A.E. does not include any clauses on the matter, and the United States clarified to Israel that it will always safeguard Israel’s qualitative edge.”

He also highlighted that the Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, relayed his opposition of the sale to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This is in contradiction of his earlier statement denying knowledge of the deal.

This statement is reported to have angered the Emirati government, which apparently canceled a planned meeting involving US and Israeli officials last week.

The Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement, or the Abraham Accord, was agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 13, 2020. If an agreement is signed, the UAE will be the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize its relationship with Israel, as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.

US Officials Frustrated

Jared Kushner, who is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, as well as a senior White House advisor, is reportedly behind the move to sell F-35 stealth fighter jets to the UAE. His push to make the deal is reportedly causing frustration among the nation’s security agencies.

Congress is usually involved in the approval process, but was in this instance left in the dark. While there are concerns that the deal may cause a bit of danger to Israel, the president has publicly clarified that it is still “under review.”

The UAE government has lauded the F-35 sale consideration. According to a statement issued by UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash, “the UAE has indicated that it wants F-35s. The first time we made this request was 6 years ago. We ought to get them. It should be easier to get them.”

He has asserted that the F-35 deal is in no way connected to the Israeli alliance. The UAE foreign ministry has proclaimed that it expects greater cooperation between the US, UAE, and Israel going forward.

“With the signing of the new accord and the added assurances it provides, we expect closer security cooperation among all three countries including on air defense and systems.”

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Samuel Gush

Samuel Gush is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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