When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal.
But against the backdrop of a White House summit meeting of Arab leaders at Camp David this week, the administration of President Barack Obama confessed it has dispensed with rule number two.
According to Colin Kahl, national security advisor to Vice-President Joe Biden, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) flies the most advanced U.S.-made F-16 fighter planes in the world.
“They’re more advanced than the ones our Air Force flies,” he told reporters at a U.S. State Department briefing early this week, without going into specifics.
The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia – which participated in the summit were, not surprisingly, promised more weapons, increased military training and a pledge to defend them against missile strikes, maritime threats and cyberattacks from Iran.