The release of F-35s to the Gulf states is a fundamental military game-changer

The release of F-35s to the Gulf states is a fundamental military game-changer, by Shimon Arad.

In a June 2017 article in the National Interest, I advocated that the United States provide Israel a long-lasting regional monopoly on the F-35 joint strike fighter. My line of argument was that since Israel’s aerial superiority — which remains critical to its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) — is already being seriously eroded through the sale of large quantities of advanced U.S.-made fighters and munitions to the Gulf states, Israel’s only real advantage would be through the exclusivity of its F-35 “Adir” fighters.

Israeli F-35 “Adir” jet and F-16I “Sufa”

The Israeli belief that it would be, for a considerable amount of time, the sole regional recipient of the fifth-generation F-35 played a significant role in its acquiescence to the sale of large numbers of advanced fourth-generation fighters to the Gulf states under the Obama administration. Time and time again, Israel was reassured that the sale of F-35s to the Gulf states was not on the table.

Now, however, it appears that the Trump administration is actively considering the potential sale of the F-35 to the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Air Force’s vice chief of staff, Stephen Wilson, recently confirmed that the Department of Defense has begun preliminary talks with the UAE on this issue.

If the Arab and Muslim countries were not sold advanced arms then they would be much less of a threat, because they cannot make them themselves. Muslims have so far won just four Nobel science prizes (and some Novel Peace prizes, but those are given out by left wing politicians so they don’t count). In comparison, there are 129 Jewish Nobel science prizes.

Literacy is low in the Arab world:

The average Arab in the Middle East reads approximately four pages worth of literature a year, according to a RIA Novosti Russian news service report …

According to [survey conducted by the United Nations around 2008], Americans read an average of 11 books a year, with the average Briton reading eight books. …

The U.N. survey reported that every year, one new book title is published per 12,000 people in the Arab world, as compared with one per 500 people in Britain.