UAE urges de-escalation of tension in ME - GulfToday

UAE urges de-escalation of tension in ME


An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel. Reuters

Responding to Iran’s retaliatory strike against Israel – Israel had allegedly attacked the Iranian consulate in Damascus killing two of Iran’s commanders – on Saturday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had called for utmost restraint on all sides. The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement had called for “a halt to the escalation and to avoid exacerbating tensions and instability in the region.”

The Ministry asked the United Nations and the UN Security Council to fulfil their responsibilities to “enhance international peace and security by resolving long-standing issues and conflicts in the region that threaten global security and stability.” Saudi Arabia and Qatar too had called for restraint on all sides. The Western countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, the European Union have all condemned Iran for the strikes. China and Mexico have again called for restraint on all sides.

Iran has said that that the attack on Israel was over. Iran, according to Israeli military, had launched 170 drones, 30 Cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles. But Israel said 90 per cent of them have been intercepted. There was minor damage at an air force base, and some of the ballistic missiles had reached Israeli territory. This is the first time that Iran had launched an open strike against Israel ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

Israel has also said that the US, UK, France and Germany had also participated in intercepting the Iranian drones and missiles. Though American President Joe Biden had said that the US support for Israel is iron-clad, the American strategic experts were saying that the US would not be openly involved in a war against Iran. It is the same policy that the Americans had adopted against Russia in the Ukraine war. The US has been supplying arms and money to Ukraine, but there was no direct involvement of the Americans in the war.

Most Western countries, including the US, had been pressurising Israel and its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire, and to refrain from attacking Rafah, the point in Gaza which opens out to Egypt. But Netanyahu has been ignoring the pleas of Western leaders for the last six months.

There is increasing public pressure in Europe and America against Israel’s ruthless operations against civilians in Gaza. In the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, about 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians, were killed and 250 were held for ransom. Ever since its military onslaught in Gaza, Israel has killed 33,000 Palestinians, majority of them civilians, old people, children and women.

Iran has warned Western countries not to get involved and fight on behalf of Israel. Most Western countries have condemned the Iranian attack but they have not so far involved themselves in any act of war. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that by parrying the attacks of drones and missiles successfully, Israel had scored a victory over Iran. The Iranians too celebrated their successful attack on Israel.

The Middle East is on the brink of a dangerous situation, and it could degenerate into an open conflict at any time. None of the Arab states want the situation to deteriorate further. That is why, the UAE Foreign Ministry statement called for “resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels, and for adhering to the rule of law and respecting the United Nations Charter.”

Any further escalation of war in the region will impact the economic recovery of the countries in the region and also of those countries in Asia and Europe. A crisis would disrupt the oil supplies and that could shoot up the oil prices globally. This would rock the boat of the global economy, which has been limping back to normalcy in the post-pandemic period.

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