GT Voice: Who stands to profit from Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

By Global Times (Global Times) 09:56, October 12, 2023

House of Hegemony Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

House of Hegemony Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday against any country or organization thinking of taking advantage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while indicating that the US is surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors, to Israel.

Also on Tuesday, the first plane carrying American ammunition for Israel's strikes against Gaza landed in Israel.

Rarely does the US react so efficiently to an issue unless there is a huge interest in it. If anything, the fast provision of military aid is another reminder that the US military-industrial complex stands to gain the most again from a Middle East conflict, like it did in Ukraine and other regional instabilities in the past.

At least 2,100 people have been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday, and a humanitarian crisis is likely to emerge in Gaza. From the point of view of avoiding more human casualties and of averting a humanitarian disaster, the most rational and responsible response after the initial attack is to call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and calm and to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible.

However, instead of calming the situation, US officials appear busy fanning the flames by providing additional military aid. Not only in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in every conflict, the US response is always to escalate the violence instead of encouraging peace. This is because war brings losses and pains to most countries and regions in the world, but the US is one of the few that can exploit the conflict for sickening profits.

Take a look at the performance of US defense stocks this week. The nearly 9 percent rise in Lockheed Martin's stock on Monday was the biggest for the largest US defense contractor on a non-earnings day since March 2020. Northrop Grumman shares also had their best day since 2020.

Investors have always been quick to tell who will be the winners in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the Biden administration warned any group against taking advantage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if any group stands any chance to exploit the conflict and profit from the violence, it will probably be the US military-industrial complex. Whenever there is a military conflict or even merely regional tensions in any part of the world, the US can always find a way of turning it into a great opportunity for American arms dealers to make a fortune.

According to media reports, the big five military-industrial complex giants - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman - gained the most from those conflicts. They routinely split more than $150 billion in Pentagon contracts annually, said an article published by The Nation in May.

In the Russia-Ukraine military conflict, the big five giants not only sold large amounts of military equipment to Ukraine, but also used the opportunity to market their products to other European countries. They also obtained more contracts and funds from the US government.

As a result, Ukraine became the world's third-largest arms importer in 2022, ranking the fifth among the main US arms export destinations, according to data from Statista. Also, the US State Department said in January that direct military sales by US companies rose 48.6 percent to $153.7 billion in fiscal 2022 from $103 billion in fiscal 2021, thanks in large part to arms sales to Ukraine amid the continued escalation of the conflict, according to media reports.

Moreover, the US keeps creating tension across the Taiwan Straits with arms sales to the Taiwan island. In late August, the Biden administration even announced plans to provide the first-ever military aid to the Taiwan region through the so-called "Foreign Military Financing program" with a total value of about $80 million.

Instead of contributing to the maintenance of world peace, the US has continued to fuel the escalation and continuation of various conflicts so as to bring fortunes to its military-industrial complex, but it comes at the expense of people's lives. Without war, it would be hard for those companies to sustain their businesses. But the approach of relying on wars to get enough orders is dangerous to the world. The world cannot afford to allow them to continue making profits from misfortunes in other countries and regions.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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