Lior Ben Ari
Qatari reports released on Friday highlight an ongoing development between Egypt and Iran that should concern Israeli officials. According to Egyptian sources who recently spoke with Arab news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, intensive contacts are taking place between Cairo and senior Houthi and Iranian officials, aiming to prevent the maritime confrontation between Israel and the Houthis from escalating, with concerns such escalations could also impact the Suez Canal route.
The source noted that Egypt recently engaged in discussions with Houthi leaders following the U.S.-UK strikes in Yemen last week, attempting to understand the terror group’s possible response and assess the implications.
According to the source, Egypt emphasized it doesn’t support any international action against the Houthis and clarified to the United States the “danger in a military solution.” According to the Egyptians, “it’s better to push for a solution that puts an end to the main reason for everything happening right now – the war in Gaza.”
Egypt has assured the Houthis that it is making progress in discussions with Israel regarding increasing the amount of humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip. The source noted the communication between the parties has been positive, and the Houthis appreciated the fact Egypt didn’t join the hostilities against them.
According to the Egyptian source, “The Houthi leaders confirmed to Egypt that there’s no intention to expand attacks against cargo ships, except those heading to Israel or related to it,” despite the recent strike against the terror group in Yemen.
Additionally, an Egyptian diplomat revealed that “arrangements are being made for the upcoming visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to Cairo.” The visit was agreed upon during a recent conversation between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
The news outlet claimed communications between the two countries have strengthened in recent times, especially since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.
“What’s happening in the region strengthens the relations between Egypt and Iran,” the diplomatic source said, “due to the two countries’ common interests and because Iran is considered a central player in the region given its close relations with the warring parties.” The source estimated that despite the tension between Egypt and the United States and Israel, Egypt’s relations with Iran are expected to tighten further.
“Cairo serves as a mediator conveying messages from the United States to Tehran,” the source said. According to him, the U.S. government believes that Egypt can deliver messages to Tehran in the most beneficial way due to Iran’s desire to strengthen ties with it.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet in Lebanon Al-Akhbar also addressed the tensions between the U.S. and the Houthis, citing a Yemeni military source who said the recent U.S.-UK strike on Yemen was carried out using the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, located off the coast of Eritrea opposite the Hodeidah region – and was brought to the region following the war in Gaza.
According to the report, the attack was aimed at open areas, despite U.S. statements saying it struck “Houthi targets.” Sources said that Houthi capabilities are primed to respond to the U.S.’s decision to relist the Houthis as a terrorist organization. According to sources in the Yemeni government, loyal to the international coalition, the American decision won’t have any impact on the Houthis.