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Israel planning to overtake US in selling arms to UAE: Reports

Despite his public opposition to the US arms sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Israeli prime minister has privately agreed with a plan for the sale of American – and even Israeli – weapons to Abu Dhabi, media reports say.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had publicly opposed an arms deal between the US and the UAE in August, later stopped complaining about the proposed arms sale after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds last week.

Now the New York Times is reporting that the Israeli premier has privately gone along with a plan for the US administration to sell advanced weapons, in particular US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets, to the United Arab Emirates despite his opposition.

Interestingly, however, Netanyahu has gone even beyond that and is reportedly encouraging spy agency Mossad to secure the sale of Israeli weapons to Abu Dhabi.

“The Mossad, encouraged by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is pushing to sell the UAE advanced weapon systems and highly classified information,” Israel’s Ynet news website reports.

The idea has allegedly split the Israeli cabinet between those who see arms sales as a tool to solidify relations with a former adversary, and those who fear that this could damage Israel’s security.

Netanyahu’s office has also denied it is contemplating weapons sales to the UAE, which agreed to normalize relations with Israel last month.

“No such request has reached the prime minister in recent years, and if such a request had been presented to him, the prime minister would never have approved it,” the office said.

However, if the allegations are true, it would be like “the US and North Korea signing a peace treaty – and then the US selling weapons to North Korea”, the Forbes said in a report.

What weapons will Israel sell UAE?

The Forbes speculates that Israeli missile defenses such as Iron Dome would likely top the shopping list in view of the threats felt by Abu Dhabi. However, the report says, Tel Aviv might be reluctant to share its “sensitive” technology.

“Other potential Israeli arms include missile-armed Heron attack drones and smart bombs …, loitering munitions like the Harpy …, and anti-tank weapons like the Spike missile. Surveillance drones and sensors to locate targets would also be important,” the report added.

“Officially, the UAE falls into the ‘special’ designation, meaning Israeli industries cannot sell the [Persian] Gulf state any special weapon systems,” the Israeli website Ynet reported.

“In practice though, the UAE has enjoyed a supply of highly classified Israeli military equipment for the past eight years,” it added.

For decades, Washington has refrained from Middle East arms sales due to its policy for Israel to ensure Tel Aviv’s alleged qualitative military edge (QME) in the Middle East. This had applied to the F-35, denied to Arab states, while Israel has bought and deployed it.

The speculations come as the US has agreed to sell F-35 stealth fighters to the UAE, and has convinced Israel to agree to the sale.

But Israel itself seeks to have a share in the lucrative arms market of Persian Gulf kingdoms, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE which spend lavishly on high-tech weapons.

The regime is already exporting advanced weapons to India, as India’s Cabinet is set to approve next week a $1 billion deal to purchase two Israeli Phalcon AWACS. The megadeal was previously derailed several times due to high costs.

Now it seems that India is determined to go through with the purchase as tensions escalate between New Delhi and Beijing over disputed territories along the Sino-Indian borders.

The deal is apparently part of a broader plan pushed by the US to influence the Sino-Indian conflict, and help India counter China – which Washington considers as its number one global threat.

The American and Israeli arms sales to the UAE are also believed to be part of their plan to arm Persian Gulf kingdoms to counter what they call the “Iranian threat”.

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