ACLS

The Gulf Region & Yemen in December 2023

Table of Contents

December 1, 2023

  1. U.S. Orders Saudi Aramco Fund to Sell Stake in Silicon Valley Tech Firm. The Biden administration reportedly forced a Saudi Aramco investment fund to sell its shares in a Silicon Valley AI chip startup, affecting the kingdom’s growing investments in U.S. technology. The move was based on a review by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, reflecting broader concerns over AI technology access in the Middle East.
  2. Hamas Condemns UAE for Hosting “Criminal” Israeli President. Palestinian resistance movement Hamas criticizes the UAE for hosting Israeli President Isaac Herzog, accusing him of war crimes amid renewed hostilities in Gaza. The move draws international condemnation, raising questions about the Emirati stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  3. Israeli President Urges UAE’s Political Weight for Hostage Release. During a meeting in Dubai, Israeli President Isaac Herzog requests Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to use his “political weight” to help release Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. The appeal underscores regional dynamics and mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas.
  4. Qatar-Israel Amity: Emir Meets Israeli President in Dubai. In a surprising move, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani engage in talks and a handshake during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai. Despite lacking official diplomatic ties, Qatar played a role in mediating the recently concluded ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
  5. Houthis Threaten Red Sea Shipping, Linking Safety to Gaza Conflict. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels intensify threats against Red Sea shipping, asserting the waterway’s safety is contingent on resolving the Gaza conflict. Recent incidents include drone threats against a US Navy destroyer and an aircraft carrier. The group emphasizes the need for international reconsideration of Israel’s actions in Gaza as a violation of law and human values.
  6. Israeli Strike Targets Houthi Weapons Depot in Yemen. Reports indicate that an Israeli strike was responsible for an explosion at a Houthi-controlled weapons depot in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. The incident follows a series of Houthi attacks on Israel, including the seizure of an Israeli-linked cargo vessel. The UK and the US have increased naval presence in the region in response.

December 5, 2023

  1. Houthis Escalate Attacks, U.S. Mulls Naval Task Force Response. In response to intensifying Houthi missile attacks and maritime threats, the U.S. is reevaluating its strategy, contemplating a naval task force to safeguard commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This comes after a failed interception of a ship hijacking, spotlighting the Houthi-Iran connection and escalating regional tensions. The Biden administration, criticized for its lenient approach, faces Congressional pressure for a stronger stance. Recent drone strikes targeted Houthi military sites in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, causing explosions. Independent sources confirm five airstrikes on Houthi locations, destroying drone stores and factories. While Saudi media previously linked an arms depot explosion to an alleged Israeli airstrike, Israel and the Houthis denied involvement.
  2. Saudi Arabia Rejects Gradual Oil Reduction at Climate Conference. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman ruled out any gradual reduction in oil usage during the COP28 climate talks. He emphasized Saudi Arabia and other nations would not agree to such a step, dismissing it as implausible. The minister downplayed Western financial contributions to the climate’s “Loss and Damage Fund,” highlighting Saudi Arabia’s commitment to allocate up to $50 billion for African countries, emphasizing climate goals and infrastructure development in collaboration with southern partners.
  3. Putin to Visit UAE and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced that President Vladimir Putin will undertake a working visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. While coordinated oil market actions may be discussed, such conversations typically occur within the OPEC+ framework. The visit follows the recent OPEC+ agreement among the three countries to voluntarily cut production by approximately 2.2 million barrels per day.
  4. Gulf Cooperation Warns Against Gaza Conflict Expansion. Gulf Cooperation Council leaders caution against the Gaza conflict expanding to other Middle East regions. Qatar’s Emir stresses the need to end the occupation across all Palestinian territories, urging Israel to return to credible two-state negotiations. The GCC reiterates its unwavering support for Palestine, emphasizing the dangers of continued occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. Diplomatic efforts persist to halt the Gaza war, but Israel impedes progress, reinforcing Gulf unity on regional issues.

December 6, 2023

  1. Putin’s Defiant Middle East Tour: Challenging Global Condemnation. Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing international isolation due to the Ukraine conflict, embarked on a rare foreign tour to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In Abu Dhabi, he met with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, discussing oil production within the OPEC Plus framework and sensitive international issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Ukraine. Following the UAE, Putin’s next stop is Saudi Arabia, where he plans to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Topics on their agenda include bilateral relations, energy sector cooperation, and strategies to address the ongoing war in Gaza. This tour marks Putin’s re-emergence in the international arena, despite Western efforts to isolate him and an international arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court related to the Ukraine war.
  2. GCC Summit’s Sole Resolution: Unified Tourist Visa for Member States. At the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, the most concrete outcome was the endorsement of a unified tourist visa for member states. This significant decision allows visa or residency holders in any of the six GCC countries—Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait—to travel freely among these nations without needing additional visas. While the summit also featured discussions on pressing regional issues, including a call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and caution against the conflict’s escalation, the unified tourist visa represents the summit’s most definitive and actionable resolution, aiming to bolster regional connectivity and tourism.
  3. Yemen Vows to Target Israeli Ships Amid Escalating Tensions. Ansar Allah spokesperson Ali al-Qahoom reaffirms Yemen’s commitment to targeting Israeli and Western ships, denouncing the increasing U.S. and Israeli interference. Al-Qahoom criticizes the U.S. military buildup near Yemeni coasts, emphasizing Yemen’s resolve to continue targeting Israeli vessels and those protecting them. He argues that the U.S. aggression and military presence in the region pose a significant threat to international and regional security, while underscoring Yemen’s enduring support for the Palestinian cause despite external pressures.

December 7, 2023

  1. Saudi Talks: Shaping an Anti-Hamas Strategy. Saudi Arabia and France are collaborating to address the Gaza conflict, focusing on Palestinian needs like a ceasefire and humanitarian aid. President Macron is organizing an “Anti-Hamas Alliance” conference, involving Western nations and Israel, with discreet Arab involvement, but excluding Saudi Arabia. The alliance aims to meet Israeli demands, including Hamas’ surrender and preventing Gaza’s rearmament. A key strategy involves relocating Hamas military leaders to a third country, potentially Algeria, to facilitate amnesty and prisoner release negotiations.
  2. Saudi Urges Restraint in the Red Sea Citing Concurrent Houthi Strikes. Yemen’s Houthi rebels recently launched ballistic missiles targeting military sites in Israel’s Eilat, aiming to disrupt navigation in the Arab and Red Seas until Israeli actions in Gaza cease. Israel intercepted the missile, ensuring no civilian harm. This attack follows the US destroyer Mason’s downing of a Houthi drone, underscoring heightened regional tensions. Concurrently, Saudi Arabia has urged the US to maintain restraint in response to Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping, as Riyadh navigates the complexities of the Hamas-Israel conflict. These Houthi assaults, threatening vital oil trade routes, are part of a broader strategy to pressure the US into influencing Israel’s Gaza policy.
  3. Russia and Saudi Arabia Urge OPEC Members to Join Production Cuts. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman call on all OPEC+ member countries to join the oil production reduction agreement, emphasizing its global economic benefits. The joint statement underscores the importance of collaboration in the oil and gas sector, including equipment supplies, and stresses the commitment of all participating nations to the OPEC+ agreement for the benefit of producers and consumers.
  4. UAE Unveils World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Project in Collaboration with Saudi and Chinese Partners. The UAE, in collaboration with Saudi and Chinese partners, launched the world’s largest concentrated solar power project as part of the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Energy Complex in Dubai. The project, with a total investment of AED 15.78 billion, combines three technologies to generate 950 MW of clean energy, contributing to Dubai’s sustainable energy goals and global climate efforts. The initiative integrates concentrated solar power, solar tower technology, and photovoltaic panels, showcasing Dubai’s commitment to a sustainable and eco-friendly future.

December 8, 2023

  1. Kirby Tells Fox News: US ‘Not in Armed Conflict with Houthis,’ Yet Houthis Seem to Disagree. Despite John Kirby’s statement to Fox News that the US is not engaged in armed conflict with the Houthis, recent events suggest otherwise. The Pentagon intercepted a Houthi drone targeting a US warship, indicating ongoing threats in the Red Sea. Additionally, a maritime incident reported by the British Maritime Trade Operations, involving a ship redirected by an entity claiming to be Yemeni authorities, has escalated concerns over drone attacks in the region. Saudi Arabia, increasingly worried about missile attacks on its territory, is strategizing its response to the Houthi aggression. Political analyst Khaled Salman emphasizes the need for a strategic approach from the southern Red Sea to counter the Houthi threat, considering Yemen’s geography. Concurrently, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, centering their discussions on the Houthi threats in the Red Sea. Austin highlighted the risks posed by Iran’s support for the Houthis and affirmed a joint commitment to maritime freedom and the safety of global shipping routes.
  2. Republican Party Engages Arab Allies on Regional Security Discussions. During his visit to Saudi Arabia, US Senator Lindsey Graham engaged in crucial talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, where an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was a primary focus. Prince Faisal emphasized the importance of stability in the region, discussing efforts to de-escalate tensions and ensure humanitarian aid access. 
  3. Saudi Arabia Allocates $71 Billion to Defense Sector in 2024 Budget. Saudi Arabia’s 2024 budget earmarks around 269 billion riyals (approximately $71 billion) for the military sector, reflecting an 8.7% increase from the current fiscal year. The allocation constitutes 21.5% of the total public expenditure, driven by efforts to localize military industries and launch development programs.
  4. Saudi F-15 Fighter Jet Crashes in Training Mission, Crew Martyred. The Saudi Ministry of Defense announced the demise of an F-15SA fighter jet and its crew during a routine training mission in the Eastern region. The incident occurred at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Dhahran. An investigative committee has been formed to determine the crash’s causes.
  5. NGOs Condemn Halt to Yemen Food Aid, Urge Swift Action. Twenty-two humanitarian organizations express serious concerns over the suspension of the World Food Programme’s General Food Assistance program in Yemen, affecting 9.5 million people.

December 12, 2023

  1. COP28 Extends as Efforts Continue for Consensus. COP28, led by the UAE presidency, extends into extra time as attempts persist to draft a new climate agreement based on the “red lines” expressed by nations rejecting the initial proposal.
  2. U.S.-Saudi Military Cooperation Talks in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili, met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in Riyadh.  efforts and follows the Saudi Defense Minister’s October visit to Washington, emphasizing regional and international issues.
  3. Saudi-Iranian Talks in Riyadh to Review Bilateral Relations. Saudi and Iranian officials held discussions in Riyadh to review bilateral relations. This follows the notable improvement in relations since the announcement of diplomatic normalization in March last year, reaching its peak with a meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in November.
  4. Qatar and France Discuss Military Relations. Qatar and France held military talks in Doha to explore ways to enhance and develop bilateral relations. Discussions covered mutual interests, regional developments, and specifically, the Israeli offensive on Gaza. The strategic cooperation between Doha and Paris includes agreements on defense and security information exchange, as well as collaboration in combating cybercrime.
  5. Houthis Attack Norwegian Tanker in Red Sea. Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched an assault on the Norwegian commercial tanker STRINDA in the Red Sea. The group fired a rocket after the crew ignored warnings, aiming to block ships bound for Israeli ports until Gaza receives aid. The attack occurred north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, threatening regional maritime security.
  6. Southern Yemen Separatists Open to Cooperation with Israel Against Houthi Threats. Southern Yemen separatists, led by the head of the Southern Transitional Council, Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, express readiness to cooperate with Israel in the face of Houthi threats. Al-Zubaidi reportedly engages in discussions with local, Emirati, and U.S. officials to address the escalating Houthi-backed unrest.

December 13, 2023

  1. NATO Chief and Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Discuss Regional Issues. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Riyadh includes discussions with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Al-Khuraiji on common regional and international concerns. The visit marks the first of its kind, and Stoltenberg is set to meet with other high-ranking Saudi officials during the two-day trip.
  2. Saudi Foreign Minister Meets Iranian Counterpart in Geneva. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iranian counterpart, Hussein Amir Abdollahian, in Geneva, discussing bilateral relations and regional developments, particularly the situation in Palestinian territories and Gaza, during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  3. Houthi Attacks in Red Sea Trigger Surge in Shipping Costs and Insurance Premiums. Houthi attacks on Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea have led to rising shipping costs and escalated insurance premiums for vessels in high-risk areas. This increase presents global economic threats and concerns for safe maritime navigation. Ashdod Port in Israel, crucial for the country’s maritime trade, acknowledges the strategic threat these attacks pose to global shipping routes and its potential impact on Israel’s imports and exports. 
  4. Yemen Criticizes Houthi Attacks on Ships for “Iranian Objectives”. Yemeni officials condemn Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, distancing them from Gaza events. Accusations arise that the actions serve Iranian agendas rather than Yemen’s interests. The Houthi strategy is seen as fueling tension for political gains, risking regional stability.

December 14, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Chosen to Chair IMF’s Monetary Affairs Committee. .The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has selected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to chair its International Monetary and Financial Affairs Committee. Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan will lead the committee from 2024 to 2027. This committee plays a crucial role in supporting the IMF Board of Governors, overseeing the global monetary and financial system, and addressing emerging issues that could disrupt the system. The appointment of Saudi Arabia signifies recognition of its global and regional leadership and its key role in enhancing international multilateral actions.
  2. High-Level U.S. and NATO Visits to Saudi Arabia Highlight Strategic Regional Role. Saudi Arabia is increasingly pivotal for the U.S. and NATO due to its role in fostering peace in the Middle East, particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its potential as a stabilizing force in the region. Discussions between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have focused on creating conditions for sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians and humanitarian aid in Gaza. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Riyadh, the first of its kind, underscores the desire to deepen NATO’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia. These developments highlight Saudi Arabia’s critical role in regional security, stability, and its influence in bridging gaps between Western and Gulf diplomatic and security interests, especially in light of ongoing conflicts in the region.
  3. Bahrain Confronts Iranian Legal Claim for $1.7 Billion as Tehran Seeks Funds Globally. Iran plans to start legal action over Bahrain’s debts exceeding $1.7 billion. The Assistant to the Iranian President for Legal Affairs has announced Tehran’s preparedness to pursue a lawsuit immediately. The action is based on an investment agreement that allows arbitration in cases where Iranian investors are impacted. The claims involve a major case related to the Central Bank and a minor insurance lawsuit. This development occurs as Bahrain-Iran relations gradually improve, in line with the recent restoration of Saudi-Iranian ties. In the context of U.S. and British sanctions and global scrutiny over Iran’s actions, Iran’s chances of a favorable verdict in its legal claim against Bahrain may be hindered. While Iran prepares for international legal action, the outcome could be influenced by the current geopolitical climate, making the process complex and uncertain.

December 15, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Advances: Economic Growth, Diplomatic Power, and Regional Integration. Saudi Arabia is making significant strides in various domains, including economic diversification, diplomatic relations, and regional cooperation. The IMF has encouraged Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, to continue developing their non-oil sectors, which are vital for regional economic growth. This advice aligns with Saudi efforts to reduce reliance on oil, aiming to decrease the non-oil fiscal deficit to 24% of GDP by 2028. Politically, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s discussions with British counterpart David Cameron on Gaza underscore the Kingdom’s active role in international diplomacy and crisis resolution. Regionally, Saudi Arabia is enhancing its connectivity and cultural exchange, evidenced by Iran’s unilateral waiver of visa requirements for Saudi citizens and the inauguration of the “Tasheel” Saudi visa services center in Turkey. This center is designed to facilitate travel and strengthen bilateral ties. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s security cooperation plan with Italy reflects its commitment to enhancing international security partnerships. These developments collectively illustrate Saudi Arabia’s progress in economic diversification, diplomatic engagement, and regional collaboration.

December 19, 2023

  1. Urgent Threat in Red Sea: Houthis Deploy Mines, Drones, Bomb Boats. The Houthi militia’s strategic shift to using booby-trapped boats, water mines, and drones marks a significant escalation in maritime conflicts in the Red Sea. This new approach, aimed at targeting commercial vessels, threatens to disrupt vital shipping lanes, potentially costing billions of dollars and impacting the economies of multiple nations. In a high-level meeting, Houthi leaders recognized the limitations of their missile technology and decided to enhance their naval offensive capabilities. The militia now heavily relies on two types of advanced bomb boats – the “Blue Fish” and the “Shark 33.” These vessels, capable of carrying large amounts of explosives and reaching speeds of up to 50 nautical knots, pose a severe risk to giant cargo ships. The United States, leading a coalition of ten countries, is actively working to counter this heightened threat. This international response underscores the gravity of the situation and the potential for widespread economic ramifications if shipping in this critical region is disrupted.
  2. Israel Considers Participation in Red Sea Operation Against Houthis. Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, suggests Israel might join an operation to secure navigation and protect ships in the Red Sea amid Houthi attacks. Concerned about the economic impact on the region, Israel aims to collaborate with alliance partners to counter the Houthi threat, emphasizing its broader international significance beyond Israel’s interests.
  3. Trilateral Qatar-US-Israel Meeting in Warsaw to Discuss Gaza Agreement. Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, will meet with CIA Director William Burns and Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss a potential new agreement for the release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza. The talks aim to address ongoing hostilities and achieve a comprehensive and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza.
  4. UAE Nuclear Energy Completes Fourth Reactor at Barakah.The UAE’s nuclear energy agency announced the completion of the fourth reactor at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. With the fourth reactor operational, Barakah is set to generate 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs over the next sixty years.
  5. Qatar Charity Raises $55 Million in 7-Hour Campaign for Gaza Relief. Qatar Charity launched the “Palestine Duty” relief campaign, raising $55 million in seven hours for Gaza. Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani donated $27.5 million, emphasizing Qatar’s support for Palestinians affected by the conflict. The initiative aims to provide urgent needs such as medicine, food, tents, clothing, water, and childcare items.
  6. Houthis Warn Maritime Coalition: Red Sea Will Be Your Graveyard. Iran-backed Houthi rebels issued a stark warning, vowing to sink US warships in the Red Sea. The threat comes as the US launches a multinational force to safeguard vessels navigating the region.
  7. Escalating Maritime Conflict: Global Trade Struggles Amid Houthi Threats. Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea raise concerns about global trade disruptions. As the U.S. prepares to lead a multinational maritime protection force against Houthi attacks, tensions escalate, potentially expanding regional conflicts and involving international powers. The recent suspension of major shipping companies’ sea routes amplifies fears of supply chain disruption and inflation, highlighting the broader impact beyond Israel’s maritime trade dependence.
  8. Houthi Official Affirms Gaza Stance Despite Maritime Alliance. Senior Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam stated to Reuters that the Houthi group will not alter its position on the conflict in Gaza due to the formation of a multinational maritime alliance to protect navigation in the Red Sea. Abdulsalam argued that the U.S.-led maritime alliance is unnecessary, asserting that waters adjacent to Yemen are safe for all except Israeli ships or those bound for Israel, citing perceived injustice in the war on Palestine and the blockade on Gaza.

December 20, 2023

  1. Saudi-French Agreement for Military Collaboration. Saudi Arabia and France signed an executive plan for collaboration in defense capabilities, military industries, research, and development. Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and his French counterpart, Sébastien Lecornu, discussed strategic relations and military cooperation. The agreement aims to enhance and develop collaboration in defense capabilities and research.
  2. UAE Demands “Two-State Solution” Roadmap Before Gaza Reconstruction Commitment. The UAE insists on a “viable roadmap” for the two-state solution before committing financial and political support for Gaza’s reconstruction after the Israel-Hamas conflict. Responding to Netanyahu’s claims of Qatari and Saudi funding, the UAE’s ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, emphasized the need for a clear plan for a two-state resolution.
  3. Houthis Threaten Red Sea Ships Amid US-Led Naval Coalition. Houthi leader warns that any country opposing Yemen will face Red Sea ship targeting. The statement comes in response to the US announcement of a multinational naval operation to protect trade routes from Houthi attacks. The group vows to continue Red Sea assaults every 12 hours, maintaining its stance on Gaza despite the formation of a diverse maritime coalition.
  4. Britain Warns of Red Sea Security Deterioration, Deploys Destroyer. Britain issues concerns over escalating security threats in the Red Sea, particularly from ballistic missiles and drones, prompting the deployment of the HMS Diamond. The UK joins the US-led international task force to secure shipping routes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden against rising Houthi attacks.
  5. Rising Concerns Over the Cost of Intercepting Houthi Drones and Missiles. Politico reports increased Pentagon concerns over the cost of intercepting Houthi drones and missiles, as each missile interception reportedly costs two million dollars, compared to the thousand-dollar cost of the intercepted drones. The article discusses potential weapon choices and emphasizes the need for cost-effective defense options.

December 21, 2023

  1. Missile Technology in Yemen Conflict: The Chinese-Iranian Connection and its Regional Implications. The Houthi rebels in Yemen have intensified their regional aggression, executing over 100 drone and missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, disrupting global trade routes. This surge in violence has prompted calls for direct military action against their leadership and infrastructure. The Houthis, with ties to Iran, are expanding their operations, including attempted attacks on Israel and engaging in piracy. Their missile technology, potentially based on Chinese designs acquired via Iran, adds complexity to the regional conflict. The U.S. has responded by forming a naval coalition to safeguard Red Sea shipping lanes. In addition to threatening Israeli interests and supporting Hamas in Gaza, Houthi actions now jeopardize global maritime security and trade. Exporters are exploring air shipping as an alternative to bypass these threats. Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea have caused an increase in the market value of maritime shipping companies, which transport everything from manufactured products to oil and other goods. According to a report by Bloomberg, the combined market value of the largest publicly traded shipping companies has risen by approximately $22 billion since December 12th, as attacks on shipping vessels have intensified. Meanwhile, the Houthi leader has threatened to target U.S. warships if the U.S. acts against Iranian-backed militias in Yemen. Surprisingly, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have abstained from joining the maritime protection alliance in the Red Sea, possibly to avoid direct conflict and escalation with Iran. Concurrently, Qatar and Oman are engaging Iran in talks about the Gaza situation, advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people and seeking a comprehensive peace solution.

 

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