The Biden administration has temporarily frozen billions of dollars in arms deals in the last days of Trump. The State Department says the purpose is to provide an opportunity to review the deal.
The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it was temporarily suspending billions of dollars in arms deals with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
According to a State Department official, this is a “normal administrative operation” as each new administration reviews the large arms deals made by the outgoing administration.
The State Department says a temporary ban on arms sales will help the Biden administration ensure that “US arms sales meet our strategic goals of building a strong, capable and talented security partner.”
The arms embargo includes an agreement to supply the United Arab Emirates with $23 billion worth of F-35 fighter jets. The deal was struck in the last days of President Trump’s presidency after the November presidential election.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. On December 29, the State Department also approved the sale of 3,000 state-of-the-art guided missiles worth $290 million to Saudi Arabia.
Biden promised during his election campaign that he would cut off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia in order to stop the Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. The former US administration has been more lenient with arms sales to the Gulf states.
The US Congress refused to approve some arms deals, which angered the Trump administration, which declared the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia a national emergency and could be implemented without congressional approval.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said at the time that the US President Trump was taking advantage of a flaw in the law because he knows Congress will overturn his decision, Trump was seling bombs to Saudi Arabia to drop on Yemen. There is no need for a new emergency and to do so would only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis there.
In addition to Democrats, other observers, including the Washington-based think tank Center for International Policy, have criticized the arms deal, saying it would only fuel the conflict in the region.
The Biden administration did not specify what other deals it could review.