Blinken concludes Mideast tour fueled by domestic pressure, no breakthrough in sight

World

Published: 2024-03-24 14:23

Last Updated: 2024-05-25 21:41


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Washington, D.C.) (May 12, 2021) (Photo: AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Washington, D.C.) (May 12, 2021) (Photo: AP)

United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last Wednesday in his sixth tour of the Middle East since the start of the “Israeli” aggression against the Gaza Strip.

Fueled by domestic and international pressures, the Biden administration has ramped up efforts against the “Israeli” government to cease its belligerent military campaign, which left behind a distressing death toll.

Antony Blinken sits at the forefront of the US’ efforts for devising and finalizing a “final” political solution for the “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict. In his visit to Riyadh, he reportedly discussed “post-conflict planning for Gaza" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and other state officials.

Saudi Arabia

Blinken, in a meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal Al-Saud, the two parties"discussed the urgent need to protect all civilians in Gaza and increase humanitarian aid immediately to those in need” and the need for coordination among partners regarding “resolving the conflict in Gaza and preparing for the post-conflict phase."

In addition, “a political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances with Israel, and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region,” was also on the table with Saudi and also Egyptian officials, whom he met last Thursday.

Egypt

In a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Blinekn warned that any major operation by “Israel” in the southern border city of Rafah would be a “mistake” - adding that a truce agreement between Hamas and the Israeli Occupation is still possible.

“Gaps are narrowing," Blinken said of the ongoing ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal talks held in Doha, Qatar where the head of “Israel's” spy agency Mossad, was due to meet his American and Egyptian counterparts on Friday.

Blinken re-iterated the US President Joe Biden’s concerns regarding the need to have a proper evacuation plan for displaced Palestinians before heading into Rafah - the last resort for civilians in the 365 km² Strip.

There is a “better way to deal with the ongoing threat posed by Hamas than Israel's plans for a major military operation in Rafah.”

Blinken and Shoukry had earlier on Thursday held meetings with government ministers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates.

In a joint statement, the Arab ministers called for "a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire" and the "opening of all crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip."

“Israel”

In “Israel”, Blinken once again met an adamant and stonewalled “Israeli” government and leaders, who shrug off all American -and global- calls to halt the planned invasion of Rafah - which puts 1.8 million Palestinians at risk.

“I told [Antony Blinken] that I hope we would [enter Rafah] with US support but if necessary – we will do it alone,” Netnayahu said after his meeting with the US Secretary of State.

“There is no way to defeat Hamas without entering Rafah and eliminating the remnant of the battalions there.”

“[Rafah operation] risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting. “It risks killing more civilians, it risks wreaking greater havoc with the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

Netanyahu’s Alternatives

Blinken’s statements echoe the United States’ growing frustrations with Benjamin Netnayahu, expressed -often candidly- by other figures such as President Joe Biden, or Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Benjamin Netanyahu, a frank and outspoken opponent of a two-state solution and the recognition of a Palestinian state, is pushing a historical alliance between the US and “Israel” as far away to the brink as he possibly can.

Continuing to look for “alternatives” to Netanyahu, the United States once again looks to host top “Israeli” officials rivaling Netanyahu. This time it is Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who will arrive in Washington Sunday evening, at the invitation of the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Gallant will meet with Blinken, along with several top officials, such as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns, and US Special Envoy to Lebanon Lebanon Amos Hochstein.

Earlier in March, “Israeli” Minister Without Portfolio and War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz, was granted an audience with US officials of the highest level in Washington as he met with Harris, Blinken, and Austin in a trip that some described as an indication of the US’ “subdued revenge” at Netanyahu.

 

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