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UAE threatens to pull out of massive military deal with US

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly threatened to quit a $23-billion military deal with the US over Washington’s tough requirements meant to shield the weapons against what the Americans call “Chinese espionage.”

The deal was made during former US president Donald Trump’s twilight days in office. On paper, it enables the Emirates to acquire American-made F-35 aircraft, Reaper drones, and other advanced munitions.

On Tuesday, however, The Wall Street Journal cited an Emirati official as saying, “The UAE has informed the US that it will suspend discussions to acquire the F-35.”

“Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and the cost/benefit analysis led to the reassessment,” the source added.

The Journal considered the development to be equal to “a significant shake-up between two longtime allies.”

It tried to attribute the Emirati snub to Abu Dhabi’s partnership with Beijing and the latter’s growing influence in the region.

“The collapse of the deal would fuel perceptions within the Middle East and elsewhere that America’s decades-long role as security provider of choice in the region is diminishing,” it wrote.

Among other things, the paper said, the US has long been concerned about Abu Dhabi’s economic ties with Beijing and its involvement with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co.

Huawei provides the Emirates with its communications infrastructure. US officials and members of Congress allege, though, that the company is a national-security threat. The company and the Chinese government have denied such allegations.

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly threatened to quit a $23-billion military deal with the US over Washington’s tough requirements meant to shield the weapons against what the Americans call “Chinese espionage.”

The deal was made during former US president Donald Trump’s twilight days in office. On paper, it enables the Emirates to acquire American-made F-35 aircraft, Reaper drones, and other advanced munitions.

On Tuesday, however, The Wall Street Journal cited an Emirati official as saying, “The UAE has informed the US that it will suspend discussions to acquire the F-35.”

“Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and the cost/benefit analysis led to the reassessment,” the source added.

The Journal considered the development to be equal to “a significant shake-up between two longtime allies.”

It tried to attribute the Emirati snub to Abu Dhabi’s partnership with Beijing and the latter’s growing influence in the region.

“The collapse of the deal would fuel perceptions within the Middle East and elsewhere that America’s decades-long role as security provider of choice in the region is diminishing,” it wrote.

Among other things, the paper said, the US has long been concerned about Abu Dhabi’s economic ties with Beijing and its involvement with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co.

Huawei provides the Emirates with its communications infrastructure. US officials and members of Congress allege, though, that the company is a national-security threat. The company and the Chinese government have denied such allegations.


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