International Geopolitical Situation Continues To Be Tense

Politics - March 14, 2024

New threats to Italy coming from the Houthi movement and important developments regarding the financing of UNRWA by Sweden and Canada.

The deputy head of the Houthi rebels’ Media Authority, Nasr al-Din Amer, expressed strong dissent regarding the shooting down of one of their drones by the Italian destroyer Caio Duilio in the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Amer argued that the downing of the drone was “unacceptable” and denied that their movement intentionally attacked Italian ships. However, the ship’s commander Caio Duilio stated that he acted in self-defence, as the drone had similar behaviour to those used in previous attacks on merchant traffic.

Tensions increase further with explicit threats from Amer and other Houthi representatives towards Italy, warning that Italian involvement in the war against them could pose serious risks to the safety of Italian ships in the future. The Chief of Staff of the Navy, Enrico Credendino, recognized the area as high risk and underlined the readiness of Italian ships to react to possible attacks. However, he also suggested that some of the threats could be part of the propaganda in these situations.

The Houthis’ actions are presented as a response to the Israeli offensive against Hamas, which has seen a high number of Palestinian casualties and led to growing tension in the region. The involvement of the United States and other international actors in the negotiations has not yet led to the hoped-for lull in the fighting, with Hamas appearing determined to escalate the situation during Ramadan. Meanwhile, Sweden and Canada have resumed funding for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, after suspending it following accusations of infiltration by Hamas. However, an internal UNRWA report collects testimonies from employees captured by troops on allegations of abuse and mistreatment, raising concerns about the humanitarian situation in the region.

Continued instability in the Middle East region and persistent conflict between warring factions fuel concerns about the security and effectiveness of humanitarian efforts in the region. Tensions between the Houthis and international forces, particularly with Italy, highlight the complexity of the situation and the need for a diplomatic and strategic response. The Houthis’ resolute attitude in defending their interests and pursuing their military objectives highlights the challenge they represent to the stability of the region. Explicit threats against Italy and other nations involved in ongoing conflicts require a thoughtful and coordinated response from the international community.

Meanwhile, the restoration of funding to UNRWA by Sweden and Canada is a positive sign for humanitarian efforts in the region. However, the internal report highlighting abuse and mistreatment against UNRWA staff raises concerns about the protection and well-being of Palestinian refugees and humanitarian staff working in the region. The current situation requires constant commitment from the international community to find peaceful and sustainable solutions to ongoing conflicts and to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected populations. A multilateral approach involving all relevant actors is essential to address the complex political, social and economic challenges that characterize the region.

At the same time, it is crucial to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the different factions involved in conflicts in order to promote long-term stability and peace. The active involvement of the United Nations and other international organizations can play a key role in facilitating dialogue and finding shared solutions to ongoing conflicts. The international geopolitical situation requires an approach based on diplomacy, cooperation and the search for peaceful solutions to ongoing conflicts. Only through a common and determined commitment will it be possible to address emerging challenges and promote stability and security in the Middle East region.


Alessandro Fiorentino