Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has raised concerns over the escalating tensions in the Middle East, particularly emphasizing the impact of recent US-led strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Al Thani highlighted the broader implications of these actions on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. He stressed the importance of diplomacy over military solutions, pointing out that the focus should be on diffusing the Gaza war, which has caused extensive destruction and humanitarian crises.
Al Thani's comments come in the backdrop of Israel's military offensive in Gaza since October 7, which has had devastating consequences. The offensive has resulted in widespread destruction across the territory, leaving over 2.2 million people grappling with famine, deadly diseases, and forced displacement.
The Qatari Prime Minister's emphasis on diplomatic resolution underscores the urgent need for de-escalation in the region.
Escalation in Yemen and its Regional Impact
The situation in Yemen has added another layer of complexity to the already volatile Middle East landscape.
The Houthis, an Iran-backed Shia political and military organization, have been launching attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea since November. These developments prompted a robust response from the US and UK, who launched strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.
This represents the Biden administration's most significant action in the region since the conflict escalated. Al Thani highlighted the importance of the Red Sea as a critical shipping route, especially for Qatar, a leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
He described the current situation as "a recipe for escalation everywhere," emphasizing the need for a broader focus on resolving the principal conflict in Gaza. The Houthi attacks are reportedly in solidarity with the Palestinian people, with a stated aim to persist until Israel permits the entry of food and medicine into Gaza.
The strikes by the US and UK may also be seen as an attempt to exert economic pressure on Israel’s allies, hoping to influence Israel to cease its military offensive. According to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza, the conflict has resulted in at least 24,100 Palestinian fatalities and over 60,834 injuries.