The Biden administration has frozen the sale of F-35 war planes to the United Arab Emirates by the United States — a deal long requested by the UAE and finally put into motion by the previous administration after the announcement of the Abraham Accords which normalized relations between Muslim nations and Israel.
The Biden administration has put a temporary hold on several major foreign arms sales that were initiated by former President Donald Trump. The sale of the stealth fighters was priced at $23 billion and included other weapons. President Joe Biden will review that deal and another Saudi Arabia.
While a State Department official said this is a routine procedure, some Democrats have been critical of the proposed deals all along.
“The department is temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending U.S. defense transfers and sales under Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales to allow incoming leadership an opportunity to review,” the department said.
“This is a routine administrative action typical to most any transition, and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to transparency and good governance, as well as ensuring US arms sales meet our strategic objectives of building stronger, interoperable, and more capable security partners.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was just confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday to discuss “regional strategic matters, continued to widen the circle of peace, the Iranian threat and other topics,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“The U.S. is Israel’s greatest friend and its strategic partner in the regional process of peace, stability and security and economic matters,” the ministry continued.
Blinken said during his confirmation hearing that the Biden administration will speak with American allies before moving forward with plans to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2018.
“It’s vitally important that we engage on the takeoff, not the landing, with our allies and partners in the region, to include Israel and to include the Gulf countries,” Blinken said.