United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken commenced his week-long diplomatic tour from January 4 to 11, 2024, beginning with meetings in Istanbul with senior Turkish officials, before proceeding to Greece. The primary objective of his trip is to address and alleviate escalating tensions across the Middle East, particularly exacerbated by Israel’s military operations in Gaza since October, 2023. Blinken is set to visit several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and the occupied West Bank. His messages revolve around the de-escalation of the conflict, addressing the humanitarian crisis, and planning for the post-war scenario.
Washington aims to engage regional countries, including Turkiye, in the reconstruction, governance, and potential security arrangements in Gaza. Blinken’s fourth visit since October 2023, comes against a backdrop of concerning developments beyond Gaza, spanning areas such as Lebanon, northern Israel, the Red Sea, and Iraq. These developments have significantly strained the previous U.S. efforts to avert a regional crisis in the aftermath of the war. Furthermore, there is a noticeable increase in global criticism directed at Israel’s military operations.