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UAE suspends arms deal with USA

Date: 18 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


A $23 billion arms deal talks with USA has been suspended by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).



The deal included purchase of 50 F-35 fighter jets, 18 armed drones and missiles.



  • The decision is a significant step towards changes in relationship between the two allies in the middle-east.

  • In recent times, UAE and the US have been at odds about China’s role in the Gulf. The main point of concern was the US restricting the way F-35s can be used.


The deal

  • The US-UAE deal was signed during the final days of the Trump administration, following the “Abraham Accords”.

  • After Israel’s commitment to stop further annexation of Palestinian territory, UAE established diplomatic relations with Israel.

  • The US is hesitant to sell F-35 jets to Gulf countries to give Israel’s military edge in the region. Israel has to give approval for US to sell the fighter aircraft.


UAE and US ties

UAE is one of the oldest US allies in the middle-east. Official diplomatic relations were established in 1972 after UAE’s independence from UK.



  • USA has been worried about the relations between UAE and China. The collaboration between UAE and Huawei to roll out 5G network has further fuelled concerns.

  • USA says that Huawei has ties with the Chinese government and its army, making it a threat to security. The US has already banned the company.

  • President Biden has been pressurizing UAE to suspend its ties with Huawei while rolling out its telecommunications network.

  • The agreement between UAE and China over production of Sinopharm vaccine in UAE and using Chinese app to administer vaccine has also been worrying US.



F-35 is a fifth generation single-seat aircraft, which has the ability to go supersonic speed for a short duration. It has stealth capabilities.