House Republicans are to launch a congressional investiation into whether US weapons, sent to Ukraine and left behind in Afghanistan, found their way into the hands of Hamas, according to US independent media reports.
The unprecedented attack on Israeli settlements on October 7 has raised the question about whether Hamas were using American and Soviet-era weapons.
Donald Trump Jr, drew attention to videos featuring Palestinians holding American-made M4 assault rifles. He questioned whether these machine guns could be among the 70,000 automatic machine guns that Washington left behind when it made a hasty retreat from Afghanistan in 2021.
Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene also raised the alarm about arms smuggling: “Did they come from Afghanistan? Did they come from Ukraine? Highly likely the answer is both,” she said in a tweet on 8 October.
We need to work with Israel to track serial numbers on any U.S. weapons used by Hamas against Israel.— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) October 8, 2023
Did they come from Afghanistan?
Did they come from Ukraine?
Highly likely the answer is both.
Infowars reports: The controversy surrounding the uncontrollable spread of US weapons through Central Asia and the Middle East has been simmering for quite a while. During the Obama-era Arab Spring, US weapons circulated from Libyan to Syrian jihadi insurgents; the US’ Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported a troubling waste of money and potential misappropriation of US funds and assets in Afghanistan; US weaponry worth billions of dollars was left behind in the Central Asian country after the Pentagon’s hasty withdrawal in August 2021.
In April 2022, CNN reported that the US had little if any capability of tracking small arms, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs) and other equipment Washington sent to Ukraine at the time, and US think-tanks referred to the Eastern European country’s questionable arms-smuggling record.
According to the US-funded 2021 Global Organized Crime Index, Ukraine is one of the largest arms-trafficking markets in Europe. Its traffic has increased since the February 2014 coup and the think-tank said that the cities of Dneprotpetrovsk, Kharkov, Odessa and Kiev are busy hubs for criminal networks involved in arms dealing.
The Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based independent research project, reported back in 2017 that out of more than 300,000 small arms that disappeared from the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ stockpiles between 2013 and 2015 only 13 percent of them were later recovered.
To complicate matters further, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari raised the alarm that weapons from the Ukraine conflict were slipping into the Lake Chad Basin region.
“Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and the raging war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that bolster the ranks of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Region,” Buhari said in November 2022 at the 16th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).
In July 2023 Russia cited concerns that Ukraine used the Black Sea grain corridor for weapons smuggling. The Federal Security Service (FSB) found traces of explosives on foreign civilian vessels used for transporting Ukrainian grain, alleging that explosives were previously delivered to the territory of the Eastern European state. And some Russian commentators don’t rule out that the safe passage could have been used by Ukrainians for selling arms, too.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the collective West against flooding Ukraine with weapons.
“I’ve been talking for a year and a half during Russian Foreign Ministry briefings about weapons supplied by NATO and the US to [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky finding their way onto black markets. I’ve even pinpointed the reason for it – corruption in Ukraine and the corruption link between Washington and Kiev. I spoke about it, I warned about it, I asked foreign media outlets to look into it,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a social media post on 9 October.
Republican lawmakers in the US have repeatedly raised the issue of oversight of Washington’s financial and military aid to Ukraine. While speaking on John Solomon Reports podcast on Friday Representative Greene (who is a member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee) emphasized:
“If we are finding out information and getting intel that US weapons have fallen into the hands of terrorists – especially with the horrific attack that just happened in Israel – it’s our duty to investigate and find out if that’s happened or not.”
For her part, Republican Representative for Wyoming, Harriet Hageman, told US investigative journalist John Solomon: “We know that some of the weapons that are being used by Hamas in Israel against our most important ally came out of Afghanistan.”
The journalist contacted Pentagon and US intelligence officials who said that they are aware of the concerns cited by Republican House congressmen and that they “are trying to ascertain more information.” According to them, Washington has a database that could be used by allies to check serial numbers when American arms are recovered from a crime or war scene.
In June, a high-ranking commander of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) told the US mainstream press that they had recovered some US weapons in the Gaza Strip which had originally come from Afghanistan. The commander also claimed that “the diversion of weapons” such as US-made Javelins was spotted in the Ukrainian conflict zone, adding that the primary route was from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.
The Kiev regime is in denial about weapons being smuggled, claiming that the allegations are part of Russia’s “propaganda”, and instead the Ukrainian military offered a peculiar explanation: according to them, Russia allegedly collected US and EU arms from the Ukrainian conflict zone and handed them over to Hamas to undermine international support to Kiev. However, Ukraine’s groundless claims that Russia had armed Hamas and was behind the Saturday attack have been resolutely rejected by Tel Aviv.
Remarkably, Israel has not yet unveiled information on the origin and serial numbers on Western arms seized from Hamas. Thus, Ukraine’s statement appears to be a “damage control” operation which suggests that the Kiev leadership expects that the traces of recovered weaponry may lead to Ukraine.