US Senators Attempt to Block F-35 Sale to UAE

Lawmakers introduce resolutions to block Trump's F-35 sale to UAE

"The UAE has violated past arms sales agreements, resulting in US arms ending up in the arms of unsafe militia groups, and they have failed to comply with global law in Libya and Yemen", Murphy said in the statement.

Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) co-sponsored the resolution that would halt the $23 billion sale of the aircraft, Reaper drones and munitions to the UAE.

The huge sale could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, and members of Congress have chafed at the administration's attempt to rush it through, having sent a formal notice to Congress only last week.

Many lawmakers also worry about whether the UAE would use the weapons in attacks that would harm civilians in Yemen, whose civil war is considered one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is set to introduce three resolutions this week to stop arms sales to the UAE, Politico reported Wednesday.

The weaponry involved includes the world's most advanced fighter jet, more than 14,000 deadly bombs and munitions and the second-largest sale of USA drones to a single country, the senators said.

A Washington Post report said the package would include 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets, 18 MQ-9 reaper drones, and $10 billion worth of munitions including thousands of MK 82 dumb bombs. However, to go into effect the resolutions must pass the Republican-led Senate, which rarely breaks from Trump.

After the State Department's certification, it passes to Congress to approve the deal.

Paul and Murphy are also members of the committee. President-Elect Joe Biden's top foreign policy adviser, Anthony Blinken, said told reporters in late October that the deal is, "something we would look at very, very carefully, and make sure that the QME is preserved and also very important that Congress play a role".

"The Trump administration circumvented the informal congressional review process that grants the Congressional committees of jurisdiction time to ensure proposed arms sales of this magnitude are consistent with United States values, national security objectives, and the safety of our allies", the statement said.

Past measures to block arms sales over concerns about Yemeni casualties passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support but failed to get enough Republican backing to override Trump's vetoes.

"A sale this large and this consequential should not happen in the waning days of a lame-duck presidency, and Congress must take steps to stop this risky transfer of weapons", said Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Pompeo, in his announcement of the F-35 deal, said it recognized UAE's need to defend itself from Iran and that it was consistent with America's commitment to ensuring Israel's "qualitative military edge" ― a us legal standard that Israel maintain a military technological advantage over its neighbors.



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