Follow us on social

Where are the US ships on the Gaza aid mission now?

Where are the US ships on the Gaza aid mission now?

Most are not even half-way to their destination, and at least two haven't left yet

Analysis | QiOSK

The Army and Navy ships that have left the U.S. for a massive humanitarian aid project in Gaza are still making their way across the Atlantic, with two still at ports in Florida and Virginia. It will likely take until mid-April for the vessels to reach Gaza and begin building a temporary causeway to facilitate the entry of life-saving aid into the strip.

Looking at real-time satellite imagery tracking military vessels, it looks like the USAV Gen. Frank Besson Jr., an Army support vessel that left Fort Eustis, Virginia, on March 10, has been moored and presumably refueling at a port in the Azores, Portugal, since Friday. It is at the half-way point between the U.S. and its final destination of Cyprus (nearly 5,000 nautical miles total). At an average speed of 10 knots, its journey will take nearly two more weeks, depending on weather conditions, once it gets going again.

The rest of the vessels are behind and, as of Tuesday, halfway across the Atlantic, though they can travel at slightly higher speeds than the Besson. They include the Army support vessels Loux, Matamoros, Monterrey and Wilson Wharf, which are all traveling together and were between Bermuda and the Azores Tuesday morning.

They all left U.S. ports around March 15. They are carrying modules and equipment to build the “trident” causeway — about 800 by 1200 feet — which will be anchored at the beach in Gaza to unload humanitarian aid.

The USNV Roy Benavidez, which, once in place, will help construct the floating pier and serve as a “roll on, roll off” facility two miles off the coast of Gaza, is the fastest of all the military vessels and is now ahead of the smaller Army landing craft on their way to the Azores, even though it left Newport News, Va., on March 21. When complete, aid will be ferried from Cyprus to the floating pier and then to the causeway at Gaza.

Meanwhile, two other Navy vessels that will be assisting with the floating pier, the USNSs Lopez and Bobo, are readying and still docked in Navy ports at Jacksonville and Norfolk respectively. Once on their way these particular vessels will take at least two weeks to reach Cyprus, depending on the weather and refueling at the Azores.

All told these vessels (carrying about 500 U.S. military personnel) won’t be realistically building anything until mid-April, which appears to be in line with a May completion date for the pier and the causeway. Considering that, according to experts, Gazans will be fully in the throes of famine by then, it is still hard to contemplate why the Biden administration has backed the massive JLOTS project instead of ratcheting up pressure on Israel to let in the thousands of trucks of aid that are stopped at borders and checkpoints.

The Pentagon has not returned calls regarding whether the military has hired contractor Fogbow to engage in the logistics on the beach, as the Biden administration insists there will be no boots on the ground. The Times of Israel reported a day ago that Fogbow, which is led by recently retired U.S. Special Forces, Marines and intelligence officers, has already been hired for the job and that the Israel Defense Forces will likely handle security at the aid staging areas. This, too, has yet to be confirmed.

Some are already questioning whether the U.S. military operation will be used to assist a massive refugee camp at the beach once the fighting begins in Rafah. Israel insists the millions of people now sheltering in the city will have to evacuate. The Pentagon has not yet said where the causeway and operations will take place. Stay tuned.

File:US Navy 030530-N-0000X-002 Sea trials of USNS Benavidez (T ...
Analysis | QiOSK
Russia, China dump the dollar as Moscow announces new trade corridors

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, in 2016. (Muhammad Aamir Sumsum/ Shutterstock)

Russia, China dump the dollar as Moscow announces new trade corridors

QiOSK

Russia announced this week that its bilateral trade with China has almost completely moved away from using the U.S. dollar, highlighting the two countries’ commitment to reducing their reliance on the U.S.-led economic system.

Aside from reducing dependency on the Western-dominated global currency, these ‘de-dollarization’ efforts allow Russia and China to avoid the myriad sanctions now preventing Moscow from doing business on the international market.

keep readingShow less
Israel can still drag the US into war with Iran

Protesters hold a banner calling on U.S President Joe Biden not to trust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a demonstration. REUTERS

Israel can still drag the US into war with Iran

Middle East

The Biden administration is breathing a sigh of relief that it has so far avoided a wider regional war between Israel and Iran. But that self-congratulation should be tempered with realization that it was a close call and that the incentives for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hawkish governing coalition to provoke one are still present.

The Biden administration’s rhetorical outrage at Iran’s forewarned and well-choreographed symbolic missile and drone attacks on Israeli territory conflicts was absurd, as was its crowing that Israel, with U.S. and allied help, had already “won” by knocking down almost all the sequenced projectiles. American policy has long been so “in the bag” for its Israeli ally, no matter what its behavior, that such silly kabuki has been normalized.

keep readingShow less
Who needs butter when you got guns? World arms spending reaches $2.5 trillion

gopixa / shutterstock

Who needs butter when you got guns? World arms spending reaches $2.5 trillion

Global Crises

Total military spending by nations reached a record high of $2.443 trillion in 2023, according to a new report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI.

Across the globe, military expenditures increased by 6.8% in real terms over 2022, the steepest rise since 2009, according to the Swedish think tank which has tracked the military spending by countries based on open sources since the 1960s. Every region saw an increase, but Europe, Asia and Oceania, and the Middle East saw the greatest growth..

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest