US Senate backs massive arms sales to UAE after Trump veto threat

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The United States Senate on Wednesday failed to block the Trump administration’s arms deal with the United Arab Emirates.

The high-tech military drones and stealth F-35 fighter jets were part of a broader $23 billion weapons deal, which the administration is trying to finalise before president Donald Trump leaves office.

Trump’s fellow Republicans opposed resolutions seeking to block the sale, which is tied to the UAE’s normalisation of ties with Israel. Trump and his allies have argued that the UAE needs American weapons to confront Iran, which the White House considers the most dangerous force in the region.

The Senate voted 50-46 and 49-47 to stop consideration of the resolutions, killing them at least until president-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, takes office on January 20. Biden is expected to review the sales.

During Trump’s four-year presidency, lawmakers have repeatedly tried to block his plans for arms sales. Some US lawmakers criticized the UAE for its involvement in the war in Yemen, while others were worried that the weapons transfers might violate US guarantees that Israel will retain a military advantage in the region.

However, although the Senate measure to block the deal fell short, it is not clear if the White House can complete the arms deal before Biden’s inauguration.

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