The State Department is pausing some U.S. weapons sales inked during the Trump administration so the deals can be reviewed by President Joe Biden’s incoming team, including a contentious sale of F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates.
The move follows consternation on Capitol Hill over former President Donald Trump’s arms deals with Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE fighter sale. It also comes as some top Democrats on Capitol Hill push for the Biden administration to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the pause of the sale Wednesday. The new top diplomat said the administration supports pacts between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries struck under the Trump administration — such as the Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE — but added weapons sales that accompanied the agreement would be reviewed.
Blinken characterized the review as routine.
“We think that Israel normalizing relations with its neighbor and other countries in the region is a very positive development,” Blinken told reporters. “We’re also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements, and that’s something that we’re looking at right now.
“Generally speaking, when it comes to arms sales, it is typical at the start of an administration to review any pending sales to make sure that what is being considered is something that advances our strategic objectives and advances our foreign policy,” he added.
UAE responds: The review of the F-35 sale by the Biden administration was expected, argued Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the U.S. But he contended the package amounts to “much more then selling military hardware to a partner.”
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.
Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.