Monday, July 15, 2024

Culprits in Arms-  How the U.S. Military Industrial Complex is Arming Israel in the Gaza war?

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed……Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Indeed, it was a memorable speech by Eisenhower, former U.S. President, on 16th April 1953, forgotten by the Military Industrial Complex, which grew into a behemoth in the U.S. and now have a considerable influence in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Currently, the US is the largest producer and no. 1 supplier of arms to all kinds of rogue states, including the Zionist regime- Israel.

The global manufacturers of weapons are eager to supply weapons to the rising demands of Israel in the context of the war in Gaza. Of course, U.S. arms merchants are in the vanguard. New York Times headlines after

weeks into the Gaza War said it all: Middle East War Adds to Surge in International Arms Sales.

US President Biden wants all the arms dealings with Israel to be made in secrecy

Which are the U.S. companies that made the lethal weapons blazing in the Gaza Strip? Who are the producers of rockets, missiles and all kinds of shells that are piercing the lives of ordinary citizens of Gaza? Who is supplying armoured tankers that are bulldozing and firing

indiscriminately at civilians? Which U.S. companies have become partners in the genocidal war?

Also read: Can Israel Win Gaza War?

American Palestinian Groups -who are advocating a boycott of U.S. companies that are supplying arms to Israel, like Boycott, Divest, Sanction Movement (BDS) and The Action Centre on Corporate Accountability (AFSC), aim to expose, isolate, and reduce corporate complicity in state violence- have been doing the painstaking research to identify those corporate powers who are supplying the arms and ammunition and other instruments that are helping the perpetration of occupation of Palestinian territories. 

Massive U.S. Shipments of Arms to Israel After 7 October

Immediately after the audacious attack of Hamas in Israel on 7th October, the U.S. sent a massive quantity of weapons to Israel. It sent 10,000 tons of weapons in 244 cargo planes and 20 ships until Christmas. These shipments included 15,000 bombs and 50,000 artillery shells. These arms transfers were kept confidential to avoid public gaze and avert U.S. Congress oversight. Part of these arms were purchased from the Foreign Military Sales Programme using money from U.S. taxpayers. Rest, Israel purchased from its budget. U.S. stores massive military stockpiles in Israel. It is called War Reserves Stock Allies- Israel (WRSA-I). An undisclosed amount of stock was also transferred from WRSA-I. As these are too secretive stores, it is difficult to quantify the amount of U.S. transfer of weapons to the belligerent country.

U.S. hypocrisy is too blatant. It advises its protégé to avoid civilian causalities. At the same time, it provides lethal bombs and ammunition on a massive scale. Not only weapons. It has planned to give Israel $14 billion for the purchase of U.S.-made weapons. It is in addition to the $3.8 billion military aid, which accounts for16% of the total military budget, given to Israel annually. U.S. taxpayers’ money is aiding Israel’s war and the U.S. Industrial Military Complex- corporations like- Lockheed Martin, RTX, Boeing, and General Dynamics are amassing profits over death and destruction in Gaza. Naturally, the Gaza war has boosted the stock prices of all these merchants of death.

Lockheed Martin- Main Player in Flattening Gaza

Think of any battlefield directly or indirectly connected with the U.S. You cannot miss the presence of Lockheed Martin. Such is the power of Lockheed Martin. With an annual revenue of $ 68 billion, Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons manufacturer. It supplies Israel with F-16 and F-35 fighter jets that Israel has been using widely to pummel Gaza. Israel also employs the company’s C-130 Hercules transport planes to support the ground invasion of Gaza.

US arms are being supplied to Israel on regular basis

Lockheed Martin manufactures AGM-114 Hellfire missiles for Israel’s Apache helicopters, the main weapon types used in aerial attacks on Gaza. Some 2,000 Hellfire missiles were shipped to Israel sometime between 7th October and 14th November. On 11th December, the Israeli Air Force used a Lockheed Martin C-130-J Super Hercules aircraft to drop approximately seven tons of equipment to Israeli soldiers engaging in ground attacks in Khan Younis, located in the southern Gaza Strip. On 28th December, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $10.5 million contract to support Israel’s fleet of F-35 warplanes. On 9th November, an Israeli missile hit journalists sitting near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The missile was, according to reports, a Lockheed Martin–made Hellfire R9X missile, a version of the Hellfire that the CIA developed for carrying out assassinations. Instead of exploding, the missile shreds its target using blades, allowing for a direct hit without ‘collateral damage’. Israel, anyhow, is not heeding the advice of the U.S. to make targeted attacks. And even when it uses the super precision ones, like Hellfire R9X, they are hitting civilian targets, but not Hamas. Ethnic cleansing is being done by design, not by default.

Aero Vironment is a military drone manufacturer headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Israel placed an order to purchase 200 Aero Vironment Switchblade 600 Kamikaze (a Japanese word meaning suicide) drones, which are direct-firing missile systems on targets acting as “suicide missions”.

Also read: Israel’s Attack on Gaza: A Genocidal War

AM General is a manufacturing company based in Indiana, USA, producing military transport vehicles. The company makes high-mobility, multipurpose, wheeled vehicles (Humvee). Israel army is using Humvee vehicles in the Gaza war. Plasan company makes armour bodies for these vehicles. On 5th November, Humvees accompanied Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles covering supply convoys. On 6th December, a U.S. cargo plane brought an unknown number of Humvees to Israel.

Boeing Company is one of the top manufacturers in the world. It produces F-15 fighter jets and Apache AH-64 attack helicopters. For the Israeli Air Force, both are blue-eyed vehicles for carrying out air attacks. General Electric, headquartered in Connecticut, U.S., is the world’s 25th largest weapons manufacturer and produces T700 turboshaft engines for Boeing’s Apache helicopters.

Largest arms deal in Israel’s history

RTX, based in Virginia, is the world’s second-largest weapons manufacturer and largest producer of guided missiles. It supplies the Israeli Air Force with guided air-to-surface missiles for its F-16 fighter jets, cluster bombs and bunker busters. They all have been used against Gaza’s civilian population and infrastructure.

Skydio, a drone manufacturer headquartered in San Mateo, California, has sent over 100 short-range reconnaissance drones to the Israeli military.

General Electric in the ‘Second Massacre’

G.E. is actively pressed into service. According to the Pentagon, IDF is using precision bombs sparingly and unguided bombs thoroughly. However, IDF used Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, which convert small diameter bombs (SDBs) into precision-guided bombs to flatten Jabalia Refugee Camp on 1st November 2023, killing 80 civilians. Gaza’s Civil Defence called it the ‘Second Massacre’. Boeing produced these kits and bombs. Earlier, on October 10th and 12th, the Israelis exploded bombs with JDAM kits with such precision that erased 19 members and 24 people from Abu Mu’eileq and al-Nijjar families, respectively. Boeing made quick deliveries of 1000 smart bombs and 1800 JDAM kits to Israel on a war footing.   

Also read: New Year would have been too happier if only….

Caterpillar, a leading Texas construction and mining equipment manufacturer, has supplied D9 armoured bulldozers. Israel routinely used to demolish Palestinian homes and civilian structures like schools and hospitals in the West Bank. Of late, Indian political leaders too are taking cues from the Israeli bulldozing policy of demolishing houses belonging to minorities. Caterpillar bulldozer demolished Yasser Arafat’s memorial on 14th November, in Tulkarem of West bank. So far, the present war destroyed 200 Historical places in Palestinian territories. Is Israel a Westernized Taliban?

M16 in the Hands of Vigilantes- U.S. Ignores the Violations

Who does not recognize M-16 weapons? It was the staple assault rifle used by Israel till the 2010s, and still, they are hanging around killing Palestinians in plenty. Colt’s Manufacturing Company, whose H.Q. is in Connecticut, is known for its firearms, including M 16s. It is owned by Czech firearms producer- Colt CZ Group. Of late, Israel ordered a purchase of 24,000 assault rifles to take on Hamas, whose number hovers around 20,000 to 25,000. The maximum weapons order requirement of 18,000 went in favour of M4 and M.K. assault rifles produced by Colts—rest – M16s. Israel formed ‘security squads’ from the settlers to take head on the Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel prefers to give some of these deliveries to these vigilantes. Violating the guarantee given by Israel that government agencies will handle them, these rifles are issued to settlers who use them to threaten and kill the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Mervaka tanks fired at a U.N. school in Gaza in November. Mason & Hanger, a subsidiary of Philadelphian company Day & Zimmerman, produces the 120 mm shells used by these tanks. The mother company has another subsidiary, American Ordnance at Iowa, which also produces 155 mm of artillery shells. Israel uses these rounds routinely.

According to Amnesty International, on 13th October, the IDF fired 120mm tank rounds at journalists in South Lebanon, killing Reuters journalist Issam Abdullah. The munitions were likely M339 shells made by Elbit Systems, headquartered in Texas. Elbit is the primary supplier of weapons and Hermes UAV drones, forming the main chunk of the Israeli Drone fleet. These drones are extensively used in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

Sanders introduces legislation to block US arms sales to Israel

Interestingly, the Indian Army and Navy have also procured the Hermes 900 manufactured by Elbit Systems. Adani Aerospace and Defence partners with Elbit Systems – Adani Elbit UAV Complex – and manufactures the complete carbon composite aero-structures for Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 in Hyderabad. Indian Defence authorities have quelled doubts about the “concerns” if the West Asian conflict may impact the delivery schedule. Sources from The Hindu said that the airframe for the Hermes 900 has already been made in Hyderabad. “Some equipment has to come in from Israel, which has already come in. So there is no impact,” Dinakar Peri in Hindu wrote on 8th November 23.

Ford Motor Company’s commercial pickup trucks are armoured and retrofitted for Israeli Armed forces by several companies, including Plasan. Forex: Ford’s F 350 XL is the basis of the Sand Cart light armoured vehicle. On 6th December, a U.S. Cargo plane delivered Sand Cart vehicles to Israel.

General Dynamics is based in Virginia, US, the world’s sixth largest weapons manufacturer and supplies Israel with artillery ammunition and bombs for attack jets used in Israel’s assault on Gaza. The company developed the F-16 fighter jet but manufactured by Lockheed Martin since 1993.

General Dynamics is the singular company in the U.S. that makes the metal bodies of the MK-80 bomb series, the primary weapon type Israel uses to bomb Gaza. It makes 155mm calibre artillery shells, which have been used extensively to attack Gaza. According to some reports, till 25th November, one Israeli brigade fired some 10,000 such shells using BAE’s M109 howitzer. 155mm shells were shipped recently to Israel. The U.S. plans to send “tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that had been destined for Ukraine” to Israel. Their use by Israel will be indiscriminate, unlawful, and devastating to civilians in Gaza. On 13th November, more than 30 organizations wrote a letter opposing the transfer.

Hamas chief says the armed wing should be in PLO control

On a 25th October call with investors, General Dynamics CFO Jason Aiken happily declared:  “I think if you look at the incremental demand potential coming out of [the attacks on Gaza], the biggest one to highlight, and that sticks out is probably on the artillery side.”  Israel, by announcing that the war would go longer, General Dynamics can be bullish on the stock market while Israel is ravaging human lives mercilessly.

Leonardo, the world’s 11th largest weapons manufacturer, makes the Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid 76mm naval guns installed on the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 6 warships. They were used for the first time on 16th October against Gaza.

Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo) makes the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, a shoulder-fired “bunker-buster” rocket used by the Israeli military in Gaza. By the end of October, 2023, the U.S. has transferred 1,800 out of a requested 3,000 M141 to Israel. These rockets are made in the U.S. at the Nammo Talley factory in Mesa, Arizona. However, Nammo Talley’s parent company, Nammo, is headquartered in Norway. The Norwegian government and Finnish company Patria Oyj jointly own it.

Northrop Grumman, headquartered in Virginia, is the world’s sixth-largest weapons manufacturer. It supplies the Israeli Air Force with the Longbow missile delivery system for its Apache attack helicopters and laser weapon delivery systems for its fighter jets. It has also provided the Israeli Navy with Sa’ar 5 warships, which have participated in the assault on Gaza. On 15th December, Northrop Grumman was given a million contract of $8.9 for 30mm MK44 Stretch cannons for the Israeli military. Israel uses these guns on its NamerArmored Personnel Carrier, which has been used in Gaza.

Oshkosh, a truck manufacturer headquartered in Wisconsin, produces the crucial part for the newest armoured personnel carrier for Eitan Company. Israel used in the ground invasion of Gaza for the first time. Oshkosh also makes the trucks that Israel converts into the Panther, an armoured personnel carrier used regularly in the West Bank.

European Arms Companies Are Too Stoking the Gaza War

BAE Systems

UK is the closest partner to the USA in many wars- in Iraq, Afghanistan, in fighting Houthi rebels. During the Iraq war, Tony Blair worked hand in glove with the U.S. There was a joke during those days. ‘When did Blair make the U.K. the 51st state of the U.S.?’ Britain has long been associated with Uncle Sam.

Howitzers are Using Forbidden White Phosphorous

BAE Systems, a U.K. company, produces the M109 Howitzers. It is a 155mm mobile artillery system, like the inglorious Bofors. Israel uses this widely. Howitzers are firing tens of thousands of 155 mm shells on the residential complexes of Gaza. Some of the Howitzer shells use white phosphorous. The use of white phosphorous is forbidden in civilian areas. If proven, it amounts to a war crime.   BAE System also manufactures electronic missile launching kits and components for its F series jets- 15,16 and 35. These launching kits were used to fire missiles into the Gaza Strip earlier and even in the present war.

Africa is concerned with Hamas-Israel war

Renk Group, a German manufacturer, makes transmission units for Israel’s Merkava 4 and 5 battle tanks and the NamerArmored Personnel Carrier. The transmission unit is coupled with MTU’s engines, made by Rolls-Royce Holdings, which no longer produces cars but now is the world’s 25th largest weapons manufacturer. The company’s German subsidiary MTU makes the engines for Israel’s Merkava 4 and 5 battle tanks. Israel has used these tanks extensively in the Gaza Strip, including in its November attacks on Shifa and Indonesian Hospitals.

MTU is headquartered in Germany, but some of the engines it provides to the Israeli military are made in Michigan.

ThyssenKrupp is a German engineering company that built the Israeli Navy’s four Sa’ar 6 warships, which were used for the first time on 16th October 2023 against targets in Gaza.

Biden addressing the American Nation,  on 20th October 2023, a day before he planned ‘security packages to Israel and Ukraine, he said:  “… just as in World War Two, today, patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom.“ Is the arms and ammunition, tanks and jets, bombs and missiles which are being transferred to Israel serving the cause of freedom? Or perpetrating war crimes, and massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide?

Since long, the human rights and advocacy groups chronicled how US weapons were used in suppression of human rights in Israel amounting to war crimes, even before the Gaza war broke out. Human Rights Watch called for the suspension of military aid to Israel. It said: “We’ve called for all states to end all forms of complicity in those crimes, including suspending military assistance, so long as these crimes are being perpetrated”.

The ‘Special Relationship’ is strong between Israel and the US, despite minor hiccups, and it is not going

to change in the near future. The birth and growth of Israel inextricably linked with the support of imperialism. The US imperialism nurtured Israel as regional policemen to check the Middle- East Arabs and as a counter balance to the Soviet influence in that region. Israel, is what is today, as a strong military power, and 10th largest exporter of arms, accounting for 1.4 percent of total global sales, thanks to the unflinching support of US. Since the WW2, the US has given $150 billions of assistance. No other country can claim such a privilege.

That is why Palestinian Liberation movement is closely linked with the anti-imperialist movement, especially that of US imperialism along with its fight against Zionist occupation. Yes, it is long struggle. But the Military-Industrial complexes of the US and gigantic military infrastructure of Israel can be defeated with the joint struggles of Israeli population who are opposed to Zionism and Palestinian people with the help of vast majority of Arab masses.

Also read: Cost of Israeli War on Gaza  

Subrahmanyam Varanasi
Subrahmanyam Varanasi
Subrahmanyam Varanasi, Social activist and advocate from Guntur.



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