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The F-35 Triangle: America, Israel, the United Arab Emirates

Barbara A. Leaf and Dana Stroul

Also available in العربية

War on the Rocks

September 15, 2020


Selling the advanced U.S. jet to a foreign government ought to signal the highest confidence in that country’s warfighting capabilities, decisionmaking on the use of force, and commitment to protecting sensitive technology, but the UAE’s record on each of these issues is mixed.

As Emirati and Israeli leaders attend a signing ceremony at the White House today, close observers will be looking for signals that the F-35 sale is moving forward with Israeli consent. But this narrow focus misses the bigger question: Beyond the president and his closest advisors, is there sufficient support for this sale in Washington? As former government officials serving in the State and Defense Departments as well as in Congress, we are confident that the process going forward will be messy and time-consuming, specifically because the current case breaks precedent in so many ways. Protecting Israel’s military edge is only one of a series of factors that will be considered by policymakers in the executive and legislative branches. Equally if not more critical is the Emirati record of use and protection of other U.S. weapons, and how the sale fits into the broader strategic context of American national security and foreign policy objectives in the Middle East...

Read the full article at the War on the Rocks website.