By Azriel Bermant, published in Foreign Policy, 17 September 2020
The embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently found an escape route from his escalating domestic crisis, with the announcement in August of Israel’s peace deal with the United Arab Emirates and in recent days with Bahrain. For decades, the United States has pledged to uphold Israel’s qualitative military edge over neighboring Arab states, and in recent years it has refused the sale of cutting-edge weapons to the UAE, fearing this could compromise Israel’s military advantage. Now that Israel has signed a peace deal with the UAE and Bahrain, however, it will become harder for Israel to oppose the sale of military hardware to its Arab neighbors.
Israel has historically expressed fierce opposition to strengthening the offensive capacity of any Arab state. The United States is pushing to sell Abu Dhabi a package of sophisticated weapons including F-35 fighter jets, widely believed to be the most capable strike aircraft in the world, as well as Reaper drones and electronic warfare planes which jam enemy defenses. Once the UAE receives these arms, other Arab states will expect the same treatment.
Dr Azriel Bermant
Foreign Policy and International Security Analyst, Historian, Lecturer, Author