Marine unit in Kuwait repositioned after Hamas attack

October 12, 2023

The United States military is repositioning some of its forces in the Middle East in the wake of the deadly attack on Israel. 

The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit cut a training mission in Kuwait short in light of "emerging events," according to the Marine Times. 

Marine unit leaves Kuwait

The unit of 2,400 Marines and sailors is the only expeditionary Marine unit that has special operations capability.

A spokeswoman for the unit, Capt. Angelica White, said it departed Kuwait within 48 hours of arrival "to prepare for further tasking as a result of emerging events."

White declined to say what the unit's next mission was, but she said the unit is "posturing our force in effort to be prepared” so that “in the case that we are tasked or directed, we are able to respond promptly.” At present, the unit is located near Bahrain.

This comes after a carrier strike group was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean as a "strong signal of deterrence should any actor hostile to Israel consider trying to take advantage of this situation."

Does this mean the U.S. is going to war in Israel?

Biden has pledged to send U.S. military aid to Israel, but so far, he has ruled out putting boots on the ground.

Escalation fears

Still, there are fears the conflict could escalate if more countries get involved. A key question is whether Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group in Lebanon, will open a new front in the north.

After initially floating a cease-fire, Biden has given Israel the green light to do whatever is necessary to defend itself.

Israel has surrounded the Gaza Strip and has vowed to annihilate Hamas, cutting off electricity and fuel to the blockaded territory. A ground invasion is expected.

Some Americans are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the brutal invasion of southern Israel last weekend.

There are concerns troops stationed in Iraq and Syria could come under attack should the conflict spread into a regional war.

For now, the watchword for the Biden administration is "deterrence."

“Let me be clear, we did not move the carrier for Hamas,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday at the White House. “We moved the carrier to send a clear message of deterrence to other states or nonstate actors that might seek to widen this war.”

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