In October, the U.S. Secretary of Defense had a phone call with the Qatar Amir on the war in Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is set to visit Qatar on a multiday trip to the Middle East with stops in Bahrain and Israel.
In Qatar, which has played a vital role in talks between Israel and Hamas, Austin will visit to Al Udeid Air Base stationed in the Gulf State, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
“Since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, the official said Qatar has played a critical role in helping the U.S. communicate with Hamas,” a statement by the DOD said. “That effort was critical in securing the agreement for the release of some hostages. Qatar was also recently named a “major non-NATO ally” of the U.S. and plays host to U.S. forces at Al Udeid Air Base. The secretary will visit that installation.”
While Israel’s relentless war on Gaza continues, killing more than 19,000 Palestinians – mostly women and children, Austin will visit Israel to discuss steps to mitigate civilian harm.
“[Secretary Austin] has been having discussions with his Israeli counterparts the entire time about the different phases of their campaign, how they assess the different phases of their campaign, and what their operational milestones are to feel that their population can be secure enough given their stated objective of the military dismantlement of Hamas,” the official said, as per the DOD.
Along with Qatar and Israel, Austin will visit the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.
With Yemen’s Houthis claiming several attacks on an Israel-bound cargo ship in the Red Sea, Austin is said to call on Bahrain “to respond to aggression at sea that threatens shipping and the global economy,” as per the DOD.
In November, a group of Palestinian and human rights groups sued President Biden at the federal court in northern California over the U.S. support for the genocide in Gaza.
It included the Defense Secretary and Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
The lawsuit alleges Biden failed to prevent genocide in Gaza and seeks to limit U.S. assistance to Israel going forward.
“Under international law, the United States has a duty to take all measures available to it to prevent a genocide. Yet, Defendants have repeatedly refused to use their obvious and considerable influence to set conditions or place limits on Israel’s massive bombing and total siege of Gaza,” the lawsuit reads.
The Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International – Palestine and Al-Haq; Gaza residents Omar Al-Najjar, Ahmed Abu Artema, and Mohammed Ahmed Abu Rokbeh; and U.S. citizens Mohammad Monadel Herzallah, Laila El-Haddad, Waeil Elbhassi, Bassim Elkarra, who all have family members who have been killed and displaced by Israel’s war.