Joe Biden warned over ‘Saudi treaty’ as US urged to ditch Gaza project | World | News by StuffsEarth

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Joe Biden has been warned the US aid pier in Gaza could end in “disaster” as experts voice concern about a potential US-Saudi security treaty.

The U.S.-built pier was constructed to bring aid to the people of Gaza, as Israel’s brutal invasion of the enclave rolls on.

But experts have voiced concern that it could put American troops in the firing line.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously told a congressional meeting that US service members could return fire if they were attacked on the structure, and Michael DiMino, Public Policy Manager and Fellow at Defense Priorities, believes it could heighten the US’s involvement in the conflict.

Speaking to USA Today, he said that as well as the “logistical and operational challenges,” it presents he is, “very concerned about mission creep and what starts as a pier becomes U.S. Marines on the beach in Gaza.”

Writing in Time magazine last week, the American foreign policy thinktank’s William Walldorf said it has “proven to be a hapless operation,” while warning that “it could soon turn disastrous”.

Wallforf, a professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest and a visiting fellow at Defense Priorities, said other than material mishaps and accidents that have occurred, the “landing area near the pier has been attacked on at least two occasions by Hamas. Aid from the pier has also been looted, with only limited amounts of assistance reaching Gazans.”

“The presence of U.S. forces so close to the fighting in Gaza makes them easy targets for Hamas or other militant groups angered by American support for Israel,” with troops unable to change location.

The foreign policy expert branded the pier a high-risk, low-reward project which is doing little to help Gaza’s bombarded civillian population and called for more effective, reliable mechanisms for delivering aid.

Last week, the Pentagon was forced to deny that an Israeli hostage rescue operation involved the pier, and its feared the US will face similar questions as long as the aid hub is in operation.

Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder underscored that “the temporary pier on the coast of Gaza was put in place for one purpose only: to help move additional urgently-needed lifesaving assistance to Gaza”.

However, Palestinians already harbored deep doubts about the pier given the lead role of the US, which sends weapons and other support to its ally Israel, said Yousef Munayyer, a senior fellow at Washington’s Arab Center, an independent organization researching Israeli-Arab issues.

Distrustful Palestinians suffering in the Israel-Hamas war are being asked to take America at its word, and that’s a hard sell, said Munayyer, an American of Palestinian heritage.

Meanwhile, the US is reportedly “close” to finalizing a treaty with Saudi Arabia that would commit Washington to help defend the Gulf nation, a move that – if approved – would see Saudi Arabia moving from its current status as a quasi-ally to full U.S. ally.

Georgetown academic and security expert Paul R. Pillar says the move is gross strategic error for multiple reasons.

“Such an arrangement would further enmesh the United States in Middle Eastern disputes and intensify regional divisions,” he warned.

“It would work against a favorable pattern of regional states working out their differences when the United States leaves them on their own.”

“Besides being an authoritarian state,” the Gulf nation “has aggressively pursued regional dominance, most notably with its highly destructive war in Yemen.”

He has cautioned that a US security guarantee “could motivate [Riyadh] to engage in even riskier behavior and draw the United States into conflicts in which it has no stake.”

The US hopes the move will encourage Israel-Saudi domestic ties, but critically, it will hinge on Israel’s commitment to a separate Palestinian state and an end to its operations in Gaza.

The US Department of State has been approached for comment.

The war in Gaza has killed over 37,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health officials, who do not give the breakdown of civilians and fighters.

Israel launched its campaign after Hamas and other militants stormed into its territory on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostages. Hamas is believed to be holding around 80 hostages and the remains of another 40.

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