After pausing it for a “review,” the Biden administration has told Congress it is proceeding with a massive $23.4 billion weapons sale to the UAE that was first advanced by President Trump.
The arms package includes F-35 fighter jets, reaper drones, and munitions and is Abu Dhabi’s reward from the Trump administration for normalizing ties with Israel. An effort to block the sale failed in the Senate in December.
According to Reuters, a State Department spokesperson said the Biden Administration was proceeding with the deal “even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials.”
The news calls into question Biden’s commitment to ending support for the war in Yemen. While the UAE’s role in the bombing campaign appears to have scaled back in recent years, Abu Dhabi is still part of the Saudi-led coalition. Bombs continue to pound Yemen, and the blockade is still being enforced, even as the UN warns 400,000 Yemeni children under the age of five will starve to death this year if conditions don’t change.
The UAE is at odds with the Saudis in Yemen over Abu Dhabi’s support for a southern separatist group. But throughout the six years of war, the UAE never had issues with the coalition’s siege tactics and frequent bombing of civilian infrastructure.