2024年6月6日 星期四

War in Gaza Strip Turns Spotlight on Long Pipeline of U.S. Weapons to Israel 加薩戰爭讓世人注意到美長期軍援以色列

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2024/06/07 第488期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 War in Gaza Strip Turns Spotlight on Long Pipeline of U.S. Weapons to Israel 加薩戰爭讓世人注意到美長期軍援以色列
Fighting in the Forest Beside'My True Family' 外籍兵團對烏克蘭有「家」的感覺
War in Gaza Strip Turns Spotlight on Long Pipeline of U.S. Weapons to Israel 加薩戰爭讓世人注意到美長期軍援以色列
文/Michael Crowley and Edward W


In the fall of 2016, the Obama administration sealed a major military agreement with Israel that committed the United States to giving the country $38 billion in arms over 10 years.


"The continued supply of the world's most advanced weapons technology will ensure that Israel has the ability to defend itself from all manner of threats," President Barack Obama said.


At the time, the agreement was uncontroversial. It was a period of relative calm for Israel, and few officials in Washington expressed concern about how the U.S. arms might one day be used.


Now, that military aid package, which guarantees Israel $3.3 billion per year to buy weapons, along with an additional $500 million annually for missile defense, has become a flashpoint for the Biden administration. A vocal minority of lawmakers in Congress backed by liberal activists are demanding that President Joe Biden restrict or even halt arms shipments to Israel because of its military campaign in the Gaza Strip.


Biden has been sharply critical of what he on one occasion called "indiscriminate bombing" in Israel's war campaign, but he has resisted placing limits on U.S. military aid.


The United States and Israel have had tight military relations for decades, stretching across multiple Democratic and Republican administrations. Israel has purchased much of its critical equipment from the United States, including fighter jets, helicopters, air defense missiles, and both unguided and guided bombs, which have been dropped in Gaza. Legislation mandates that the U.S. government help Israel maintain force superiority — or its "qualitative military edge" — over other Middle Eastern nations.


The process of arms delivery to Israel is opaque, and the pipeline for weapons to the country is long. The United States has sent tens of thousands of weapons to the country since the Oct. 7 killings by Hamas attackers, but many were approved by Congress and the State Department long ago and funded with money mandated by the Obama-era agreement.


Biden has the power to limit any foreign arms deliveries, even ones previously approved by Congress. Far from cutting off Israel, however, he is pushing a request he made shortly after the Oct. 7 attacks for $14 billion in additional arms aid to the country and U.S. military operations in the Middle East. The money has been stalled in Congress amid disputes over Ukraine aid and U.S. border security and faces growing Democratic concern.


Fighting in the Forest Beside'My True Family' 外籍兵團對烏克蘭有「家」的感覺
文/Tyler Hicks


The bullet-scarred pickups raced the sunrise along a rough dirt road wending through a dense pine forest. Multiple languages were spoken by the men inside them — Ukrainian, Brazilian, Colombian, Polish — but few words. It was not a moment for small talk.


They had come to fight Russians.


The trucks barely came to a halt to discharge their passengers before speeding off again. Armed drones might appear overhead at any moment, and so as the men continued on foot, they, too, did so with urgency.


The soldiers of the International Legion had arrived.


The path of the soldiers, among thousands of foreign fighters who signed up to help Ukraine after Russia invaded, told a story of war.


The Serebrianka Forest in eastern Ukrainian was badly scarred from months of fighting. Many of the trees and plants that sustained them had been toppled and burned by artillery, mortars and tank fire.


As the men walked, they saw bomb craters, some old, others so fresh that a green confetti of shredded leaves lay underfoot. They passed a makeshift cross, two sticks crudely bound together, marking where a Ukrainian soldier had stepped on a mine.


Then they were there: the snow-dusted trench line that would be home for their rotation.


Led by their Ukrainian commander, Tsygan, the International Legion soldiers answered with a barrage of their own, and the incoming and outgoing small-arms fire made for a confused, staccato orchestra.


In many respects, the position had a feeling of timelessness.


A network of dugouts and log-covered bunkers was linked together by a crude labyrinth of hand-dug trenches, some strung with camouflage netting. Ahead was nothing but Russian soldiers.


Snow, rain, wind and war crumble the trenches and bunkers that help keep soldiers alive in this war. In the lulls between fighting, the soldiers constantly fortify, repair and deepen them.


There are many reasons a foreigner might enlist to fight a war that has nothing to do with him.


One, of course, is money. The open-ended contracts in Ukraine pay, on average, about $2,500 a month, a tempting sum for some of the men who came there from countries with few good economic opportunities for them.


Yes, the pay is appealing, soldier Konrad 13, but so was feeling a sense of purpose.


It was over an hour before Tsygan cleared his men to venture into the open space separating them from the trenches and a moment of peace.


Before it was time to return to the fight.


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