Saturday, December 5

The US authorizes the strategic sale of fifty F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – 21:36

The sale, valued at 19,790 million, includes 18 armed drones and 2,300 missiles and makes the Emirates the first Arab country to have this plane, amid criticism of the involvement of its troops in Yemen

An F-35 fighter takes off from a base in Utah, in a file image ...

An F-35 fighter takes off from a base in Utah, in a 2017 file image.

It was one of the counterparts offered by the normalization of relations with Israel signed last September and takes place just a week after the US elections that draw the future of Donald Trump away from the White House.

United Arab Emirates, protagonist of a multimillion dollar arms race, be the first Arab country to have F-35 fighters after the authorization of the purchase of fifty units of this fighter plane flown by Washington, in the midst of criticism from human rights organizations.

“I have directed the Department to officially notify Congress of our intention to authorize the Emirati proposed acquisition of various advanced capabilities worth 23,370 million dollars (about 19,790 million euros) “, reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement.

The jewels of the controversial purchase are the fighters and the 18 units of MQ-9B armed drones along with $ 10 billion in ammunition, including 1.500 misiles Hellfire and others 800 air-to-air missiles medium range.

To date, Israel was the The only country in the region that had these fighters after last year the Trump administration ruled out its sale to Turkey in retaliation for the acquisition of a Russian air defense system. Tel Aviv had initially opposed the purchase but has ended up burying its reservations after receiving guarantees that the US will ensure its military superiority in the Middle East.

“The historic Emirates agreement to normalize relations with Israel under the Abrahamic Accords offers a unique opportunity to transform the strategic landscape of the region,” stressed the head of US diplomacy. The sale was already notified last month to the House of Representatives and lawmakers now have 30 days to pass a resolution blocking the acquisition. They need, however, dthirds of Congress to override the president’s veto.

In the last few weeks QatarStill among the group of countries most reluctant to establish ties with Israel, it has also applied for the plcet to acquire F-35s. The arms purchase has raised the ccriticism of human rights organizations for the involvement of emirates troops in the civil war in neighboring Yemen and in a bombing campaign over the country that have left more than 100,000 dead, more than four million displaced and 80 percent of the total population dependent on international aid.

“The US should refrain from providing weapons that can be used in the conflict and transfer an arsenal with which it risks being an accomplice in the war crimes committed in Yemen,” he says. Philippe Nassif, Amnesty International Legal Director for the Middle East and North Africa. The organization claims that Abu Dhabi has already used drones to bomb “Civilian housing and medical facilities, including field hospitals and ambulances.”

At the end of last week, the analyst and former US presidential adviser Bruce Riedel predicted that the new administration Biden will try to dismantle foreign policy of its predecessor. “Emirates will not get the F-35s, avoiding a destabilizing arms race,” prediction.

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