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The signing of the Abraham Accords. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration has formally notified Congress of a $23 billion arms deal with the United Arab Emirates, which will make the UAE the first Arab country to possess America's most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35.

Why it matters: This deal has been in the works for some time, but became a sticking point in Israel's normalization process with the UAE after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports that he had given a green light to the deal.

To date, Israel is the only country in the region to possess the F-35.

  • The U.S. has a commitment to ensure Israel's military superiority in its region, but the UAE insisted that should no longer be a factor now that the two had normalized relations.
  • Netanyahu announced on Oct. 23 that he would drop his opposition to the deal, paving the way for its completion.
  • The U.S., Israel and UAE all share a common foe: Iran.

What they're saying: "The UAE's historic decision to normalize relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to positively transform the region's strategic landscape," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

  • "Our adversaries, especially those in Iran, know this and will stop at nothing to disrupt this shared progress."
  • "This proposed sale will make the UAE even more capable and interoperable with U.S. partners in a manner that is fully consistent with America's longstanding commitment to ensuring Israel's Qualitative Military Edge," Pompeo said.

The big picture: Massive arms deals with Gulf states will be a controversial aspect of President Trump's foreign policy legacy.

Go deeper

18 hours ago - World

Israel headed for early elections as Gantz-Netanyahu coalition falls apart

Gantz (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Gali Tibbon/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israel's governing coalition is falling apart, setting the stage for the fourth election in two years.

Driving the news: Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced tonight that his Blue and White party would vote in favor of dissolving parliament on Wednesday because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Gantz's political rival turned coalition partner — was refusing to pass a budget and reneging on their power-sharing deal.

56 mins ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.