U.S. is set to sell F-35 fighter jets and advanced drones to the UAE in a secret clause that was part of the agreement to establish diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE.
A senior Israeli source has told “Globes” that the US will sell the fighter aircraft to the UAE despite Israel’s opposition.
A senior Israeli defense source has confirmed that the US will sell F-35s to the UAE and say that such a sale would benefit Israel. The F-35 would be in the hands of a friendly state with identical interests and in close proximity to Iran.
The source would not confirm whether Israel has actually agreed to this dramatic development, although officially Israel remains opposed. In 1995, the then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin acceded to US President Bill Clinton’s request to sell F-16 fighter jets – at that time the most advanced combat aircraft available – to the UAE.
Interviewed by US National Public Radio US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that the move by the UAE to becoming a regional ally of the US, which change the threat assessment about it and help in all matters regarding future weapons deals. He hinted that Israel’s position on the matter was of major importance.
An additional dimension on the issue is the US desire to push out the Russians and Chinese as arms seller in the Persian Gulf. The UAE has for some time made its procurement needs known but Washington has hesitated on advanced weaponry like the F-35 because of Israel’s position. Russia has tried to fill the vacuum and has been offering its own fighter jets.
The sale of the advanced US and Israeli defense technology to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an important part of the Israel-UAE peace deal which has been hammered out.
The icing on the cake for the UAE would be if it can acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jets, which the US only sells to a few carefully selected allies including Israel. The US recently canceled a deal to sell F-35s to Turkey.