Blinken’s West Asia Tour Concludes with Mixed Results

While Washington has advocated for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting, it has not fully endorsed the widespread call for a complete ceasefire…reports Asian Lite News

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his extensive diplomatic tour in West Asia, facing limited success in establishing a regional consensus on alleviating civilian suffering in Gaza.

Despite a busy weekend that saw him travel from Israel to Jordan, the occupied West Bank, Cyprus, and Iraq, his efforts to garner support for the Biden administration’s proposal for “humanitarian pauses” in Israel’s military campaign against Hamas met with challenges.

In Ankara, Blinken met his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, for almost two-and-a-half-hours, on Monday morning, but there was no joint statement, however, according to Al Jazeera they discussed several issues, particularly the war in Gaza and an exchange of prisoners between Hamas and Israel.

The US tried to convince Turkey to put more pressure on Hamas and make it release the captives. But Turkey was firm on its stance, stating that the prisoner release should be mutual, where Hamas releases captives and Israel releases Palestinian prisoners. Turkey also asked for an unconditional ceasefire and said there should be an international mechanism to observe the ceasefire, which Ankara would be the guarantor for, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Arab and Muslim leaders have voiced their frustration over Washington’s unwavering support for Israel during its month long assault on Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 people, including more than a third who are children.

While Washington has advocated for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting, it has not fully endorsed the widespread call for a complete ceasefire.

Blinken’s mission, his second to the region since the war began, has encountered limited support for his diplomatic efforts. Israel has resisted the US push for a pause in the hostilities, while Arab and Muslim nations have insisted on an immediate ceasefire to alleviate the escalating casualties in Gaza, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Notably, Turkey, a strategic US ally despite occasional foreign policy disagreements, has been one of the region’s most vocal critics of Israel, accusing it of acting as a “war criminal” and committing a “massacre.”

Earlier, Ankara recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly saying he had “written off” dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu. Erdogan has also criticised Western powers for their perceived double standards, highlighting their response to the Ukraine-Russia conflict while remaining relatively quiet about the loss of innocent lives in Gaza.

During Blinken’s visit, Turkey’s frustration with Washington was evident. In what seemed like a snub, President Erdogan chose to travel across northeastern Turkey, leaving Blinken to meet with the Turkish foreign minister.

Hours before Blinken’s arrival, hundreds of demonstrators protested outside an airbase hosting US troops in southeastern Turkey, leading to confrontations with the police involving tear gas and water canisters.

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