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James Mattis (L), shown here with Netanyahu, objected to the Israel-Croatia deal. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/pool/ Getty Images

The Croatian government announced today it is abandoning a plan to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets from Israel after the Trump administration objected to the $500 million deal.

Why it matters: This is one of the most serious rifts between Israel and the U.S. since Trump took office. Pentagon and State Department officials had contended Israel was taking advantage of the U.S. by selling the 12 jets, upgraded with Israeli technology, which were originally supplied to Israel 30 years ago as U.S. military aid.

Israel tried to negotiate with the U.S. in order to get approval for the deal but after several meetings and phone calls between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretaries Mike Pompeo and James Mattis, the differences remained. The standoff was revealed by Israel's Channel 10 News and Axios two months ago.

  • The U.S. wanted Israel to return the jets to their original condition before transferring them to Croatia, but the Croatian government demanded the "Israeli version."
  • The Croatians gave Israel an ultimatum to solve the differences with the U.S. by January 11th or the deal will be cancelled. Today, the director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Udi Adam, arrived in Zagreb and told the Croatian minister of defense Israel would not be able to fulfill out that request.
"Unfortunately, the conditions were not ready and we were not able to implement the project due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control. Croatia could not influence this outcome and cannot be held responsible for the failure."
— Udi Adam, speaking to the press

Go deeper

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.