The head of the powerful Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee reported on Thursday that the White House told Congress that it wants to push ahead the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. Sources informed Reuters that the deal is about the sale of 50 F-35 jets to the UAE.
However, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, chairman of the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, doubted this move, and said that it would significantly change the military balance in the Gulf and affect Israel’s military edge. In fact, Engel, who was elected in first time in 1988, lost his primary race earlier in the year and he will not be up for reelection.
Engel said that the F-35 was a game-changing stealth platform, and appealed for Congress to study the sale prudently. He also added: Rushing these sales is not in anyone’s interest. He said in many times that the sale of the fighter jets to the UAE must guarantee what is referred to as Israel’s qualitative military edge.
Engel asked: Lastly, the transfer of these weapons to one Arab state inevitably will generate demands from others in the region. Will the price for normalization with Israel be an infusion of advanced weapons? Is this wise?
Otherwise, Israel initially refused the prospective sale however it abandoned its opposition after what it called the US ensures that Israeli military superiority would be kept.
Reuters declared last month that Washington and the UAE have been aiming to have a letter of deal for the F-35 jets in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2. This move appears after a three-way peace agreement was brokered by the US between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel in what became known as the Abraham Accords.