US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference, Tel Aviv, Israel, February 7, 2024 (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Videocast Special: Explaining the Conflicts Across the Middle East and Iran

US Kills Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia Commander

I joined Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 on Wednesday for a 13-minute analysis of the latest diplomatic maneuvers over Israel’s military operations in Gaza, focusing on the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Listen to Discussion

I review the state of negotiations for a halt to the Israeli attacks. Gaza’s Hamas have proposed a three-stage, 135-day ceasefire. It will return about 130 hostages, including the bodies of about 30 who have died, in exchange for the release of Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons. It is demanding the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza and reconstruction assistance — effectively suspending Israel’s 16-year blockade — throughout the Strip.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated on Wednesday that there must be “absolute victory” over Hamas. So how is any agreement possible?

I examine the possibility that the US is trying to isolate Netanyahu, with Blinken’s private meetings with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the head of Israel Defense Forces, Gen. Herzi Halevi.

I also analyze the latest developments throughout the region, including the possibility of US-Iran confrontation amid the attacks on Red Sea shipping by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis and on American personnel by Iran-supported militia in Iraq and Syria.