Biden Sends US Army to Build Pier in Gaza

( – US President Joe Biden is sending American troops to the Mediterranean Sea to construct a temporary pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip, in an effort to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to Palestinians impacted by the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Approximately 1,000 US troops will participate in the mission, although none are expected to be involved on the ground.

Biden first announced the plan during his State of the Union speech on March 7. The plan involves constructing a floating platform where ships can transfer aid, which can then be transported ashore. However, it remains unclear who will be responsible for bringing the aid ashore, given that no US troops will be operating on the ground.

The US military expects to begin delivering aid within 60 days. Once completed, the pier could facilitate the delivery of up to 2,000,000 meals a day to Palestinians. The Pentagon said that it is working with partners in the region, including Israel, to establish security for the mission.

The Defense Department has constructed such piers in numerous locations in need of aid around the world over the years. US forces most recently deployed such infrastructure during a large-scale joint defense drill with Australia.

Nevertheless, deployment of the pier—known as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore Capability (JLOTS)—could lead to “mission creep” for US forces in the area, according to former CIA military analyst and counterterrorism officer Michael DiMino. The Pentagon has yet to detail its contingency plans for if US forces come under attack during the mission, DiMino said, noting that American troops will be operating in an unstable and active warzone.

The Defense Department is reportedly in talks with private contractors to assist in the delivery of aid to the Gazan shore. The use of private contractors could put a “non-military face” on the operation, retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor said.

Although the US is undertaking the mission in an effort to deliver aid to Palestinian civilians impacted by the fighting between Israel and Hamas, putting troops so close to the conflict could ultimately draw Americans into the battle too.

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