The American Humanitarian-Aid Pier Was Doomed to Fail

If Hamas can exercise political control of Gaza by controlling the distribution of humanitarian aid, donors should be striving to make sure food and other supplies stay out of its hands. Unfortunately, the U.S.-built artificial pier, installed off the coast of Gaza to streamline the delivery of aid, did the opposite. This subject is now moot since the pier, which cost over $320 million, broke apart last week and is at least temporarily out of use.

Garrett Exner explains the folly of this endeavor, which is perhaps emblematic of American policy failures:

Delivering aid through a single, floating pier is slow, easily interrupted by bad weather, and, without security on the ground, subject to regular Hamas theft or UNRWA misuse. If the goal of the administration is to deliver as much aid as possible in the shortest timeline, an existing port facility with overland routes to Gaza would be faster, cheaper, and safer for U.S. forces.

The administration’s very building of the pier implies that Israel is withholding aid from Gaza and cannot be trusted to escort American aid into the conflict zone. This plays into fabricated narratives broadcast by Israel’s enemies about attempts deliberately to starve Gazan civilians.

Like the ineffectual aid airdrops before it, the pier has no security mechanism to protect aid once it arrives in Gaza. As of May 25, nearly all the aid delivered had been looted by terrorist organizations; the Department of Defense admitted that none of the aid has reached the Palestinian people, and what little does is often sold to them by terrorists at exorbitant prices.

This has caused the administration to begin quietly defying Congress by resuming aid delivery to UNRWA, the UN entity in Gaza, which was paused after it was revealed that hundreds of UNRWA workers participated in the massacres of October 7th.

Read more at Providence

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, U.S. Foreign policy

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security