Washington Hits Pause on Gulf Arms Deals
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday confirmed that Washington has temporarily halted arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, authorized by the previous administration, in order to “review” the pending deals and ensure they “advance strategic objectives” of the United States. An earlier statement by the State Department said the pause in the implementation of the blockbuster transactions with the Gulf nations was “routine” and “typical to most any transition.” In his final few months in office, former President Donald Trump approved a mammoth $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets and other armaments to the UAE, and another weapons sale to Saudi Arabia worth over half a billion dollars. The moves were at the time panned by Democratic lawmakers. While Riyadh had no public comment on Wednesday’s news, UAE’s ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, reacted to the announcement diplomatically, saying Abu Dhabi had anticipated the review, similar to former transitions.