web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


US Marines Off the Coast of Gaza?

The official explanation is that marines may be needed to evacuate American citizens.
F080109tba004

Photo Credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami/ Flash90

Why are we sending an amphibious readiness group (ARG) with a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) embarked to sit off the Levantine coast?

U.S. officials say it’s to be prepared for any eventuality, including the need to evacuate American citizens, as the conflict between Hamas and Israel heats up.

But let’s parse that.  Are the U.S. officials suggesting we will need to evacuate Americans from Gaza?  And if we were to do that, what exactly would be the process?  Landing Marines from the 24 MEU in Gaza?  Flying helicopters from the ARG flagship, USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), into Gaza?

Why would we do that, when Egypt and even Hamas would cooperate, if we asked, to get Americans out of Gaza through Egypt?  It’s not to Hamas’s advantage to have Americans effectively held hostage in Gaza, and both Mohammed Morsi and the Hamas leadership know that.  Even if Hamas is intransigent, Morsi knows that he will retain more political independence, and greater scope of action, if he makes sure the Americans get out.  (Remember, Hamas is not his endgame.  Morsi has his own plans for Israel and Jerusalem.  See links at the end for background.*)

Morsi would broker the evacuation of Americans in Gaza if it came to that.  Neither he nor Hamas wants the U.S. Marines in Gaza.

Neither would Israel, of course, because the presence of the U.S. Marines would effectively tie Israel’s hands in dealing with Hamas’s leadership and infrastructure.  Why would the U.S. put troops unilaterally into a local conflict being fought by one of our allies?

Israel and Gaza

Yet if we don’t envision putting Marines into Gaza, then there’s no role for the ARG/MEU in this situation.  Americans evacuated through Egypt don’t need a Navy ship or the U.S. Marines; they need a flight out on an airline or charter jet.

I note but dismiss the media reports that we are moving the ARG/MEU to the Eastern Mediterranean to facilitate the evacuation of Americans from Israel.  This purpose would assume a catastrophic widening of the conflict that is not indicated by the circumstances.  More on that in a minute.  It would also assume conditions of chaos or lockdown in Israel, in which American citizens would have no option for escape other than the use of armed U.S. Marines, whom we would apparently, in this scenario, send into … Israel?

In no case does the tool fit the problem here.  An ARG/MEU isn’t even the right tool to influence the fight from offshore, for which you want an aircraft carrier, U.S. Air Force assets, and/or cruisers or destroyers.  As far as can be determined, the Obama administration has no intention of trying to affect the fight ashore, even from a stand-off distance.  But supposing it did, the fact is that an ARG/MEU is the right tool only if you especially want to put Marines over the beach.  In terms of performing as an intelligence collection asset, moreover, while the ARG/MEU can hold its own in some ways, national assets and the other theater assets – Air Force, Navy – have significant advantages over it.

What, exactly, does the Obama administration expect here?  Does it expect Americans to come under attack and need evacuating in Egypt?  In Lebanon?  If so, why?  And why does it expect to need Marines and their Navy combatant ships to get the job done?

The choice to send the ARG/MEU to the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than sending it home to the East coast – from which it departed on 27 March – seems to be a gesture more than anything else.  I discount the possibility that Obama plans to stymie the Israelis by putting Marines in Gaza.  That would raise a howl in his own Congress.  I also discount the idea that there is any real likelihood of the Middle East “exploding” if Israel does mount a ground invasion of Gaza.

If it did explode, one ARG/MEU would be wholly inadequate to deal with the multitude of crises that would erupt.  But it’s not going to, because the governments with radical leaders – Egypt, Turkey, Iran – aren’t ready for it to explode yet.  They are not positioned to take advantage of a tumultuous crisis in which real changes could be made to the status quo.  Morsi wants to make only the changes he intends to the Egyptian relationship with Israel, and make them on his timetable; he’s not interested in being backed into anything by Hamas.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dealing with Syria, is not prepared for the conflict to expand.  Even Iran isn’t necessarily ready, not because she doesn’t have her nukes yet, but because neither Iran nor anyone else knows if the U.S. will step in to help contain the consequences, if the Gaza-Israel conflict expands across the region.  It’s one thing to plan on pushing against a U.S.-backed order.  It’s another to be uncertain what might happen to the order, if you pushed.

The radicals are in charge of governments now, and they aren’t going to let things get out of control in their own countries.  Terrorists can’t mount a militarily meaningful attack on Israel, and Morsi isn’t going to let them do it from Egypt, in any case.  Hezbollah isn’t letting them do it from Lebanon either.  Jordan certainly will not allow it.   And none of the national governments – Egypt’s, Lebanon’s, Turkey’s, Iran’s, Jordan’s, Saudi Arabia’s – sees this as the time to try to rock Israel on her heels.

The reason is that they’re not ready for what could happen afterward.  Most of them don’t mind if it happens – I exclude Jordan and Saudi Arabia from this, as their monarchies would be at risk – but they want to prepare themselves and be positioned to exploit the turn of events.

Four years ago, the U.S. could have made it clear, with relatively little effort, that the status quo would be protected.  It would naturally take a little more effort now, because of the outcomes of the Arab Spring:  Mubarak gone, Hezbollah firmly in control of Lebanon, Syria in an uproar and Assad unable to govern.  But the most basic difference between November 2008 and November 2012 is that the actors in the Middle East can no longer reliably assess what the U.S. will and won’t tolerate.

Fortunately, they aren’t ready to push the status quo’s house of cards down just yet.  It still has benefits for them.  Even if Israel does mount a ground invasion of Gaza, there is no reason to expect that any kind of rioting in the region would turn into an uncontrollable conflagration.  The Middle East’s rulers don’t want it to.

Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “US Marines Off the Coast of Gaza?”

  1. Les Legato says:

    Obama is not a friend to Israel. All acts by the U.S. need to be filtered through that lens.

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    “When It Absolutely, Positively Must Be DESTROYED Overnight — Call The USMC.” Maybe they are ordered to destroy missile launching sites next to the Hospital and other civilian areas. Or, there might be CIA operatives in Gaza that want out and would otherwise be killed if discovered by Hamas.

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    There are indeed a lot of reasons why a US ship might be off the coast — if it is there at all. Remember that the location of any US naval vessel at any time is classified information. This could well be disinformation.

  4. William Ball says:

    Hamas Needs Destroyed, Israel has Dealt with these Idiots forever! The only way to stop the rockets is stop Hamas! The the Little snake eyed Ahmadinejad needs to be taken out also while they are at it! I will stand with Israel and the rest of the middle east can be wiped out for all I care. Go ISRAEL

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Maybe the Marines were really farther north a little bit close to Tel Aviv and if Bibi didn't sign a cease fire, they would land in force? Israel has been told many times in the past by previous US presidents that America is in charge of all wars and that we (Israel) are to stay out of them. Iran is building up and Israel is in check by US forces to make sure that we do not attack Iran. Mr. Dyer, why don't you say what is really on your mind?

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    I still think that Obama ordered the ships to turn around, gave Clinton the message to tell Bibi to stop hitting Hamas or the USA Marines will take over the IDF command facility in Tel Aviv.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Obama, the new Neville Chamberlain

Iran has not agreed to give up anything needed to acquire a bomb or cease any aggressive behavior

Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Activists from US, France, Germany & from Iran’s media are aboard because the ship’s a cause célèbre

“…the Pope did the exact opposite of what the media reported: he urged Abbas to change his ways.”

The world’s more vulnerable to predation, eruption, and chaos than it has been in at least 600 years

Iran stands unopposed by the “international community” and is racing to assert regional dominance.

The S-300 poses a major problem; Israel will have to get creative as to if, when & where it strikes

In the last weeks of the talks the US excluded every other delegation from negotiations with Iran.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/us-marines-off-the-coast-of-gaza/2012/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: