Is Balkanisation of Ukraine & Russia the Major Goal of Biden's Uncontrollable Arms Flow to Kiev?
11:47 GMT 17.05.2022 (Updated: 16:46 GMT 08.01.2023)
© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin UpdegraffThis June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan
© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin Updegraff
Ukraine is about to become the largest annual recipient of US military aid in the past two decades, Senator Rand Paul said last week. He added that, together with the $40 billion package of US military assistance which Ukraine received between 2014 and 2022, the aid to the country will soon amount to $60 billion. What's behind the spending spree?
"The transfer of weapons has been held up for a few days at least," says investigative journalist Rick Sterling. "Against a reckless rush by both Republican and Democrat establishments, Senator Rand Paul has insisted that an inspector-general oversee the spending on Ukraine. That should be obvious but in crazy Washington, they want to pour $40 billion in money and weaponry into the effort to hurt Russia. Without controls on where the weapons go! That money, which Washington does not have and will have to borrow, is equivalent to 60 percent of Russia's entire military budget for one year!"
Although President Joe Biden initially requested $33 billion in aid for Ukraine, the House of Representatives increased the sum to almost $40 billion, adding more military and humanitarian aid. The GOP Senate leadership indicated that it would support the legislation, but Senator Rand Paul singlehandedly put the brakes on the Bill, calling for the role of special inspector-general for Afghanistan Reconstruction to be expanded to oversee Ukraine funds.
Nevertheless, on Sunday US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that the upper chamber would invoke "cloture" on the motion to proceed on Monday and would approve the supplemental on 18 May. Cloture is a Senate procedure that limits further consideration of a pending proposal to 30 hours to end a filibuster.
"Rand uses a procedural tactic to delay the vote and allow the public to pressure their respective senators not to approve the package and avoid further intervention in Ukraine," explains Robert Bishop, a retired Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and business executive. "Congress won't audit the Federal Reserve; why would they want their aid package audited?"
End-Use Monitoring Accord
The lack of oversight on US government spending is not the only matter that triggers concerns among US officials, Pentagon officers and American scholars. They admit that the US and NATO have little if any capability of tracking US weapons delivered to the Ukrainian conflict zone. Most of the weapons are vanishing into the fog of war.
However, according to Cato Institute's Jordan Cohen, the US government "can work with risky countries to reduce the chances of weapons ending up in the wrong hands". He notes that an end-use monitoring accord with India inked in 2009 is one glaring example. Cohen noted that since the agreement "no US technology sent to India has been reported to end up in the wrong hands."
"If this same policy were applied to Ukraine, it is likely that monitoring these weapons would be easier given analysis of warning signs and multilateral cooperation," argued Cohen. "More importantly, it could help to identify organised crime and dispersion in Ukraine (and even in Central America, where loose weapons run rampant)."
Operation Timber Sycamore
Still, it appears that no one in the US establishment is interested in creating an end-use checking mechanism when it comes to Ukraine, even though the country is one of the largest arms-trafficking markets in Europe, according to the 2021 Organized Crime Index.
Apparently, this happens because US political and intelligence figures have a record of secretly manipulating weapons flows, according to Sterling.
He refers to the CIA's Operation Timber Sycamore under President Barack Obama which envisaged sending weapons from the Libya war zone to anti-Assad forces in Syria. In 2012, the British weekly newspaper, The Sunday Times reported, citing diplomatic sources, that the US bought weapons from the stockpiles of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi to transfer them to Syrian jihadi rebels.
"The US likes it when weapons can secretly be transferred," says Sterling, suggesting that Ukraine weapons could be transferred to somewhere else, including the Middle East and Africa. "The unprecedented transfer of weapons from the US and other NATO countries will make some corrupt individuals rich and ultimately cause a lot of mayhem and innocent people to die."
© AP Photo / Richard LardnerTens of thousands of M4 carbine rifles, such as those shown here, are being sent to Iraq from the U.S., only to end up in the hands of pro-Iranian militias.
Tens of thousands of M4 carbine rifles, such as those shown here, are being sent to Iraq from the U.S., only to end up in the hands of pro-Iranian militias.
© AP Photo / Richard Lardner
Operation Fast and Furious
One of instances when weapons came back to bite innocent people was Operation Fast and Furious, recalls Bishop. In 2009-2011, the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed illegal gun sales to trace the buyers and sellers who were believed to be linked to Mexican drug cartels. Nearly 2,000 firearms were illegally bought for $1.5 million.
"The result was the killing of hundreds of Mexicans and US law enforcement officers," Bishop says, adding that at least one semi-automatic rifle from that cache was used in the Paris nightclub slaughter on 13 November 2015, according to Judicial Watch.
It is not the first time the Obama and Biden administrations have "lost" weapons in conflict zones: billions of dollars of US weapons were left in Afghanistan in the US pull-out in 2021; earlier, many US weapon systems which had been transferred to Syria via the CIA ended up in the hands of terrorists.
"Accountability isn't a strength of the federal government," Bishop says. "The Pentagon never passed its 2017 audit, nor could the Department of Defense document $22 trillion in expenditures."
The Pentagon's major military contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are benefiting from the Ukraine armament spree, according to Sterling.
"Each Javelin missile costs $175,000, not including the launcher," the investigative journalist says. "That is nearly a billion dollars just in anti-tank missiles."
© Sputnik / Russian Defence MinistryRussian servicemen are pictured by military equipment captured by Russian troops during Russia's military operation in Ukraine, near the village of Huta-Mezhyhirska, in Ukraine. Ten Javelin American-made portable anti-tank missile systems, grenade launchers, man-portable air-defense systems were discovered at a base that was taken under control of the Russian Armed Forces
Russian servicemen are pictured by military equipment captured by Russian troops during Russia's military operation in Ukraine, near the village of Huta-Mezhyhirska, in Ukraine. Ten Javelin American-made portable anti-tank missile systems, grenade launchers, man-portable air-defense systems were discovered at a base that was taken under control of the Russian Armed Forces
© Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry
'Dangerously Foolish Plan'
The real cost of billions' worth of weapons left in Afghanistan and funnelled to Ukraine by the Biden administration "will be decades of terrorism as these dangerous weapons trade hands around the globe," according to Jason Goodman, an American investigative journalist and founder of Crowdsource the Truth.
"Rand Paul may recognise that Joe Biden is either being paid to give away sophisticated US military technology, or incapable of realising he’s doing it," Goodman says. "This is a repeat of the disastrous US tactic of arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and more recently the 'moderate rebels' in Libya and Syria. It has shades of Obama’s failed Fast and Furious plan as well."
The investigative journalist suspects that the US government "has not been at all honest" about its interests in the war in Ukraine: "I believe the US government is deliberately escalating fighting in Ukraine and they are not likely to enter into any reasonable agreements," he suggests.
On the other hand, Biden's tactics of facilitating uncontrollable flows of arms into Ukraine could be aimed at creating utter chaos in the region and the escalation of war to weaken Russia as South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham has said, the journalist suggests.
"My opinion based on my own observations and conclusions is that Joe Biden, NATO and the EU want to defeat [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, destroy his government and perhaps even him so they can balkanise Russia and seize all its assets and natural resources," Goodman says. "It is a dangerously foolish plan."