Reasons for Ineffectiveness of Riyadh Summit Concerning Expectations of Gazans

2023/11/21 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Opinion: Recently, we witnessed an extraordinary summit of Islamic countries in Riyadh. The Palestinians, especially the people of Gaza, had built hope on the meeting, and it was expected that at the end of it, we would see a collective, serious, and deterrent decision by the Islamic countries. But, unfortunately, such expectations were not met. Dr. Mohammad Mehdi Mazaheri - University professor

The participants at the summit only issued a statement condemning the attacks and war crimes of the Zionist regime against the people of Gaza. They demanded an immediate end to the war, breaking the blockade of Gaza and sending Arab-Islamic and international humanitarian aid convoys to that region. Although the members participating in the meeting asked the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to start an immediate investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Zionist regime throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, they did not reach any conclusion on imposing any sanctions or other common threat.

Of course, the positions and words of the presidents and other senior officials participating in that meeting were relatively uniform and firm. Still, in the end, it did not lead to a tangible and effective achievement that could turn the tide of the war in Gaza. The question is, why? How is it that the 57 Islamic countries that are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in which influential regional powers such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Indonesia, and Malaysia are members, cannot reach a decision to end the disaster in Gaza, which was carried out by the Israeli regime and end what is happening with the direct support of the US?!

The primary answer is probably the different and even contradictory political interests and targets of the members of this organization. However, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries have powerful pressure levers such as economic and energy sanctions due to their vast population and rich energy resources; their future political prospects in the international and regional arenas are not the same. While countries like Iran and Syria want to strengthen the Resistance Front in the region and the destruction of the Israeli regime, the formation of an independent state of Palestine and the withdrawal of the United States from the region are the ideal points for most of the Arab countries. Of course, Turkey, to some extent, is afraid of gaining power and victory on the Resistance Front and does not see it in line with their interests and security and support the two-state solution. Besides, none of them wants the destruction of the Israeli regime and the complete withdrawal of the US from the region. As a result, it is due to such contradictory views and approaches that successive meetings are held from Cairo to Riyadh, but it does not reach a concrete result and does not heal the pain of the people of Gaza.

Another reason for the inconclusiveness of the meeting of the Islamic countries is the difference in their approach to the Abraham Accords and the normalization of relations with the Israeli regime. At the same time, Iran and other members of the Resistance Front consider the normalization of relations with that regime as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and the reason for its greed in recent years; the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf do not want to ruin all the bridges behind themselves in the face of the war and make their relations with the United States and even the Israeli regime completely dark and cold. As a result, they have adopted a policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, and they try not to go beyond the limit of rhetoric and fiery speeches. Their presence and role in various Arab-Islamic meetings are also to maintain their image and credibility in the domestic and international public opinion and not be labeled as indifferent. Still, at the same time, they are not allowed to adopt any policy or decision that will put the US and the Israeli regime under serious pressure and negatively affect future relations with them.

In such a situation, it should be said that although the surprise attack by Hamas on October 7 and the start of the bloody war in Gaza delayed the process of political reconciliation and the improvement and development of the relations of some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, with the Israeli regime. It is expected that due to the criminal and anti-humanity approach of this regime in the Gaza war and its attack on medical centers, children, and women, in the near future, we will witness the continuation of the growing hatred of the Arab nations toward the Israeli regime and the failure to provide the conditions for reconciliation between the Arabs and this regime, the approach of the Arab and Islamic countries in the recent Riyadh meeting showed that this policy will not continue.

The inconclusive end of the Riyadh meeting and the lack of agreement of the participating Islamic countries to implement strict decisions and serious sanctions against the Israeli regime and the United States indicate that those countries still have plans for the future of their relations with Israel. The authorities of those countries may not seek to normalize relations with such a child-killing regime in the short term to calm the wounded public opinion of the Islamic nations. Still, their long-term policy is definitely something else.

In other words, the main activity of the regional powers to play a role in the Gaza crisis is not done in those joint summits, and this organization and the group of Islamic countries have never been their main and final point of support; the main movements of those countries take place in behind-the-scenes agreements and secret bilateral and multilateral consultations; where media and global public opinion are not present and anything can be bought and sold. In this position, the Arab statesmen are trying to guarantee the continuation of the relationship, the development of investment, and, of course, political reconciliation with the Israeli regime at the cost of getting some concessions in the current war.

Based on this, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as an influential regional power and, of course, opposed to the Abraham Accords, should try and negotiate diligently with the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region to help end the Gaza war and increase the cost of inaction towards the crimes of the Israeli regime and encourage them to play on the common ground. In the current situation, the extreme sensitivity of global public opinion against Israel’s anti-human actions in Gaza has created a suitable environment for Iran to act in this field. As a result, the officials in the field of diplomacy and the field of our country, taking advantage of this situation and course using the potential of political reconciliation with Saudi Arabia, should try to force the influential countries of the region and the Islamic world to take more serious actions and take practical measures in a parallel and aligned axis by cooperating with the Resistance Front.

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