JERUSALEM --- The proposed sale of advanced U.S. fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates is raising concerns among some security experts in Israel that the Middle East could be on the verge of an arms race even as those two countries sign a peace deal Tuesday at the White House.
Senior U.S. and UAE officials say the peace agreement is smoothing the way for the Trump administration to proceed with the sale of long-sought F-35 stealth fighter jets and other sophisticated weaponry to the Persian Gulf state. That prospect is increasing the likelihood that Israel and other Middle East countries will in turn seek more advanced arms.
In Israel, the proposed sale is tainting the otherwise great enthusiasm here for the agreements brokered by the White House to normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain as well.
“From a purely military perspective, I think it’s a dangerous development. It’s not just a new weapons technology. The F-35 is an entire weapons platform,” said Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and an analyst of U.S.-Israel relations. He said the F-35s would represent a “dramatic upgrading” of the UAE’s military capability. (end of excerpt)
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