On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a significant meeting with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in Al Ula, western Saudi Arabia. The meeting, which took place in a historic oasis, was part of Blinken’s efforts to prevent the Gaza crisis from escalating into a regional conflict. The discussions were expected to cover a range of critical issues, including the Red Sea attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the potential normalization of ties with Israel, and the importance of preventing the further spread of the conflict.
Blinken’s rapid tour of the region reflects growing concerns over the Gaza crisis and its potential to cause more insecurity and suffering. The meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince also provided an opportunity to address the prospect of eventual normalization with Israel, despite the ongoing conflict. The discussions on these pressing matters are crucial as the region grapples with the complex dynamics of the Gaza crisis and its broader implications.