The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is troubled by the White House’s informal notification to Congress about plans to sell fifty advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates for 10 billion dollars.
The current administration has been adamant about the country’s accomplishments towards establishing peace in the Middle East. With recent peace deals, the sale of advanced weaponry to UAE counters such agreements’ true meaning. The Trump administration has been quite clear of its strides to create peace in the region, but the sale of F-35s to an active aggressor in the Middle East will not secure peace in the region; instead, it will create instability.
With the new peace accord between Israel and the UAE, we must focus on the issue at hand; UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs has noted no longer a threat to Israel. He feels that there should no longer be a restriction on the sales of F-35s. With F-35’s stealth abilities, this will make the UAE undetectable to its adversaries when it plans to attack; this could result in wide-scale destruction in Yemen and other countries in the region.
Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairmen of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made a statement regarding the proposal and resolutely stated that, “We must maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, as provided in U.S. law, and ensure Israel’s military superiority in the region, as Israel remains our most crucial ally there.”
If the U.S. has been expressing that Israel will always have the upper hand when it comes to defense, then providing F-35s to UAE will then call for more upgraded weapons to be given to Israel; therefore, contributing to the arms race in the region. As the White House moves forward with the proposal of selling F-35’s to the United Arab Emirates, Israel senior officials have already expressed interest in the United State’s superior F-22s.
Although the Obey Amendment from 1998 prohibits our nation’s sale of F-22s to other nations, this is not something we believe Congress should take lightly. The last large scale arms deal worth $8.1 billion to KSA, UAE, and Jordan was rejected by Congress multiple times and was still able to be executed due to the Secretary of State’s emergency certification under Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
The UAE has proved to be a known aggressor in the Middle Eastern region. They have also proved to be insubordinate concerning the violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran. Based on the evidence, it appears that ignoring the U.S. sanctions has become standard practice for the UAE and its financial institutions. The UAE is routinely laundering money through Iran, and they are actively trying to upgrade their weapons with their newest interest in the United State’s F-35s. This brings extensive concern to U.S. national security. UAE officials say that Iran is the new threat in the region, but a nation immensely concerned with Iran is actively laundering money through them and the central bank.
The NYCFPA condemns the sale of F-35 aircraft to the UAE, a step in ensuring that the U.S. no longer contributes to a never-ending arms race in the region and will help strengthen the U.S. national security and our interest. Before such advancement to the UAE, the American people must be confident that we can trust countries like the UAE. Nevertheless, recently, the UAE’s consistent belligerence in the region makes the development of our relationship with the nation questionable with a lack of vigor.
The U.S. selling F-35s to UAE may set a perilous precedent that grants and even encourage other countries to purchase and exchange the nation’s advanced weaponry to our adversaries. The U.S. Congress must prohibit the export of F-35s in the near future. We believe that if we make it easier for the U.S. to obtain F-35’s to the UAE, it will further the U.S. presence not just in Yemen but in the Middle East.
NYCFPA believes these foreign military sales will enhance the UAE’s aggression instead of ridding violence. If the U.S. does not follow through with the sales, it will not only help strengthen the U.S. national security and our interest, but it will also stop an uncontrollable arms race with our adversaries.
Justin Russell, the NYCFPA’s Principal Director, states, “If this administration is truly seeking peace in the Middle East, selling advanced fighter aircraft to the UAE is not how to do it.”
Russell adds, “The sale of F-35s to the UAE is the beginning of a very dangerous arms race in the region.”