WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Saturday released the following statement on the Trump administration’s proposed sale of F-35s to the United Arab Emirates:
“The normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) relations was a historic step that can help the economic and security interests of both countries. But nothing in that agreement requires us to flood the Middle East with some of the world's most advanced weaponry, facilitating a dangerous Middle East arms race that will make the region less stable and the United States and our allies less safe,” said Murphy. “I have serious reservations about transferring our most complex stealth technology—which the Chinese have for years sought to steal—to the UAE, which has increasingly close cooperation with both the Chinese and Russian militaries. We know the Emiratis have violated past end-use agreements and allowed the weapons we’ve sold them to end up in the wrong hands, including violent terrorist-affiliated militias. The UAE is an important U.S. partner, but their refusal to comply with international law, from their violation of the Libya arms embargo to their participation in human rights violations in Yemen, makes them a deeply imperfect partner. The Trump administration has a lot of serious questions to answer about why this sale furthers U.S. interests, and until they do Congress should not approve the administration’s proposed sale of F-35s to the Emiratis.”
Earlier this month, Murphy welcomed the president’s announcement of normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and a pause on Israel’s planned annexation of large parts of the West Bank. Earlier this year, Murphy also introduced two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit the use of funds to support the Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign in Yemen unless the U.S. Secretary of Defense certifies that all members of the coalition are in compliance with end-use agreements and that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted to Congress the results of any investigations into unauthorized third party transfers and taken corrective action.