UAE Threatens To Walk Away From $23 Billion US Arms Deal
As China scrambles to build more aircraft carriers and other munitions systems that can deliver its hypersonic missiles (which have become a major point of contention since the missiles are more advanced than any US weapons system, and also cannot be stopped), it appears more countries are having second thoughts about buying American weapons systems, and perhaps giving China’s offerings a second thought.
According to WSJ, the UAE is reportedly thinking about walking away from a massive arms deal that would have seen the tiny Gulf state supplied with $23 billion in aircraft, drones and missiles, including the F-35, Reaper drones and other advanced munitions.
The reasoning given by WSJ for the decision to abandon the deal was that the protective measures demanded by the US to stop Chinese spies from stealing the technology from the UAE were apparently too onerous for Abu Dhabi.
Then again, it’s unclear whether the $23 billion arms deal, inked in the final days of the Trump administration, is actually dead, or whether this is a bargaining tactic by the Emiratis on the eve of a planned visit Wednesday by a high-level UAE military delegation to the Pentagon for two days of talks.
The letter informing the Pentagon about the UAE’s plans for abandoning the deal was written by a relatively junior government official, creating the impression – according to WSJ’s sources – that the move is a bargaining tactic. But although the US has legitimate concerns about the tech falling into the wrong hands, Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon both have good reasons for trying to save the deal.
Still, the US has become increasingly concerned about Beijing’s growing influence both within the UAE and among its neighboring Gulf states. The fifth generation fighter jet technology cost the US a small fortune to develop, and few want to risk simply allowing the technology to fall into China’s hands.
“We remain committed to these sales, and the Emiratis have raised some concerns,” said a U.S. official. “Frankly, we have some questions of our own. This sort of back-and-forth is not unusual for significant arms sales and we are hopeful we can work through these issues and we think the joint military dialogue will give us an opportunity to do so.”
Then again, China’s hypersonic missile test was pretty impressive, as American generals have acknowledged. Could this be the beginning of a major shift in the Gulf where American-made munitions are slowly replaced by weapons systems designed and made in China (with plenty of input from stolen American technology).
Tue, 12/14/2021 – 13:05