UN Security Council holds emergency meetings on the Middle East: Gaza Strip and Yemen strikes in focus

As tensions escalate in the Gaza Strip and the broader Middle East, the UNSC aims to deliberate on the various challenges faced by the region

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is set to convene two crucial meetings today, addressing pressing issues in the Middle East. The Russian Permanent Mission to the UN announced the sessions, with the first slated for 3 p.m. local time (8 p.m. GMT) focusing on the situation in the region, particularly honing in on the Palestinian issue and the concerning forced displacement of Palestinians.

As tensions escalate in the Gaza Strip and the broader Middle East, the UNSC aims to deliberate on the various challenges faced by the region. The meeting is expected to address the recent developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, emphasizing the critical need for international intervention to alleviate the suffering of civilians and find a sustainable solution to the longstanding crisis.

Subsequently, an open briefing will follow, centring on the joint military strikes carried out by the United States and Great Britain in Yemen. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is anticipated to deliver a keynote address, shedding light on the implications and potential consequences of the strikes.

The military actions in Yemen were initiated in response to what U.S. President Joe Biden termed as “unprecedented Houthi attacks” in the Red Sea. The strikes specifically targeted Houthi strongholds, including munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defence radar systems. President Biden asserted that these actions were taken in self-defence, emphasizing the need to counter the Houthi rebel movement’s aggression in the region.

In the wake of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict’s escalation in the Gaza Strip, the Houthi rebels issued a warning, stating their intention to launch strikes on Israeli territory. Additionally, they vowed to obstruct the passage of ships associated with Israel through the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until the operations in the Palestinian enclave ceased. Reports from the U.S. Central Command estimate that the Houthis have been responsible for more than 20 attacks on vessels and civilian ships in the Red Sea since mid-November.

The U.S. Air Force has been actively involved in the Yemen conflict, conducting airstrikes on multiple targets associated with the Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebel movement. With over 60 targets struck at 16 different facilities, the U.S. aims to cripple Houthi capabilities and curtail their ability to launch further attacks.