The Trump administration on Tuesday informed Congress that it intends to sell more than $22 billion in advanced weapons to the United Arab Emirates, part of the administration’s efforts to counter Iranian terror groups in the Middle East.
The $22.37 billion weapons deal has been in the pipeline for some time. It includes 50 F-35 Lighting II aircraft worth around $10 billion, up to 18 MQ-9B drones worth nearly $3 billion, and a package of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions systems worth $10 billion, according to the State Department.
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"This is in recognition of our deepening relationship and the UAE’s need for advanced defense capabilities to deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The deal follows the UAE’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. Relations between the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have increased significantly during the Trump administration, amid shared concerns about the Iranian regime.
"The UAE’s historic agreement to normalize relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to positively transform the region’s strategic landscape," Pompeo said. "Our adversaries, especially those in Iran, know this and will stop at nothing to disrupt this shared success. The proposed sale will make the UAE even more capable and interoperable with U.S. partners in a manner fully consistent with America’s longstanding commitment to ensuring Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge."