The issue is the sale of $ 23 billion worth of advanced weapons to the Gulf nation, a strategic ally of the United States that recently signed a peace deal with Israel, brokered by the Trump administration. Senior security officials have already begun to persuade lawmakers to oppose the bipartisan move, which Congress aides say could soon fall to the ground.
Pentagon and State Department officials briefed senators Monday night about the arms sale, which includes 50 F-35s, a large missile, and 18 Reaper drones – a significant improvement over the country’s military capabilities. Middle East. This is one of several key foreign policy actions pursued by the Trump administration during the change of presidency, including the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which has drawn both sides into the fire.
A senate aide familiar with the secret explanation said the relocation had not determined “key issues”, including specific obligations to honor the UAE as part of the deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously said the goal of the relocation was to “prevent and protect the growing threats from Iran.”
Mendes, a top Democrat in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Monday’s conference “unsatisfactory” and said he planned to move ahead with the initiative ahead of the December 11 deadline set by the statutory 30-day review period. The four resolutions, each addressing a specific arms sale, are “privileged” in the Senate, meaning they can be voted on without the consent of a majority party leadership. Mendes said he would call only “a few” of them.
But both the timing and the odds of victory are not on their side. Even if the resolutions pass in both chambers of Congress, Trump is committed to vetoing them, with a two-thirds majority unlikely to override the president’s veto. Moreover, Congress is actively working this week and next week to pass a government-funded measure and an annual security bill.
President-elect Joe Biden should not stumble completely. He May stop Sales in January when he takes office using his executive powers. Anthony Blingen, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state; Said in October As part of the deal for the F-35 aircraft, the Biden Group has “concerns about what duties may or may not be performed in the United Arab Emirates”.
Among the unanswered questions, according to senators who attended the classified conference on Monday, was whether the arms sale was a reward for the United Arab Emirates agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. They also said that the risks to the United States would eventually end up in the wrong hands when looking at cutting-edge technology.
“I want to make sure there are some iron shields,” said Sen Tim Cain (D-W.), A member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “If we are concerned about endangering the security of that technology, we cannot give that technology to the UAE.”
While most Republican senators are expected to oppose blocking the arms sale, some point to structural concerns, including how it could affect Israel’s security.
“I am interested in ensuring the quality benefit that we have ensured that Israel is protected by the sale,” said Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We’ll wait to find out more about that.”
Trump’s presidency has been marked by a number of wars with Congress, but some have grown more controversial than including the president’s foreign policy decisions – many of which have been executed without consultation with Capitol Hill, where there is deep doubt about the Trump administration’s strategy for Iran.
“I don’t think you buy peace with guns,” Paul, a leading GOP supporter of the resolutions, said in an interview. “I do not think it’s good to send sophisticated military weapons to the powder keg of the Middle East. I think it’s more likely that Iran will continue to develop its weapons.”
Other concerns include the United Arab Emirates’ trembling record on human rights issues, the potential for weapons to fall into the wrong hands, and the arms race that endangers Israel in the Middle East.
“Does the sale of these armed drones and F-35s to the United Arab Emirates mean that Iran says ‘we don’t need more missiles’? No, it makes them think they need more,” Paul said.
Some have suggested that the Trump administration is accelerating the relocation in order to undermine Biden’s efforts to forge a new path in the Middle East – especially with Iran, and senators have also made reservations about the timing of the deal.
“I have real concerns about that kind of deal, especially when it comes to a new administration, which is late in an administration,” said Sen, a top member of the foreign affairs committee. Jean Shaheen (DNH) said.
Most senators do not weigh in on the matter now, including those considered to want to support the Mendez-led initiative. For example, Sense. Todd Young (R-Ind.) And Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said they were still studying the issue and refused to say which way they were leaning.
Paul predicted that it would be more difficult to attract GOP support to thwart arms sales to the United Arab Emirates than the recently proposed sale to Saudi Arabia. Last year, House And The Senate passed resolutions blocking similar sales to RiyadhThis came amid bipartisan opposition to US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni civil war following the government’s assassination of journalist Jamal Kashoki.
Paul said seven GOP senators, including Young and Murkovsky, voted with Democrats to block the sale – which ultimately went veto when Trump vetoed the move – and “feelings swelled” after Kashogi was killed.
“I think it will be harder to get 50 votes than Saudi Arabia,” he said. “But the debate is still worth it.”