WASHINGTON: An attempt to deter President Donald Trump’s United Arab Emirates high-tech arms transactions fell short in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday when Trump’s fellow Republicans rejected disapproval measures trying to block the export of drones and sophisticated F-35 fighter jets.
The Senate voted 50-46 and 49-47 to stop debate of the resolutions, largely along party lines, eliminating them at least before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office on Jan 20.
Read Also: Rao Anwar on UK sanctions list
The revenues are supposed to be reviewed by Biden, a Democrat.
The Trump administration released a formal notice early on Wednesday of its intention to veto the bills if the Senate and House of Representatives were to pass them.
In the aftermath of its latest peace agreement with Israel, the White House said the sales help US foreign policy and national security goals by “enabling the UAE to deter increasing Iranian aggressive behaviour and threats.”
The UAE was also identified by Backers of the Sale as an important US partner in the Middle East.
A significant component of the proposed $23 billion export of high-tech armaments to the UAE is the two military kits. Opponents said the deals were being hurried forward without proper guarantees that in the Middle East the machinery would not fall into the wrong hands or fuel insecurity.
The UAE was also blamed by some US lawmakers for its participation in the war in Yemen, a crisis considered one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world. In November, the administration told Congress it had approved the major selling of General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp. goods to the UAE.
Some lawmakers have worried that the arms exports would breach US assurances that Israel would maintain a military edge in the region. But Israel, which enjoys broad Bipartisan sponsorship, has said that it does not object to purchases.
Lawmakers have attempted twice during Trump’s four-year presidency to block his proposals for gun deals, accusing Trump of cutting short or sidestepping Congress’ usual analysis of major military purchases.
Either dying in the Republican-led Senate or if passed, unable to gain the two-thirds vote in the Senate and House to circumvent Trump’s vetoes, none of the attempts succeeded.