05/31/2019, 13.46
MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM
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Mecca, the Saudis are pushing for a common Arab front against Tehran. Baghdad distances itself

In the holy city of Islam, three summits in two days: the Gulf Council (GCC), the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). King Salman asks to use "all means" to block the "Iranian regime". For Iraqis, the stability of an Islamic nation is in everyone’s "interest". King of Morocco absent, confirming internal divisions.

Mecca (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi King Salman's attempt to create a common anti-Iranian front has broken before Iraqi opposition, during the two-day summit of the Arab world, May 30 to 31 in Mecca, the holy city of Islam. In his address the monarch launched an appeal to the international community, to use "all means" to prevent the "Iranian regime" from "interfering in the internal affairs" of other countries and "hosting regional and global terrorists".

The leader of the Wahhabi kingdom, Tehran's political and religious historical rival (Sunni and Shiite) in the Middle East, spoke of an "escalation" of attacks by the Islamic Republic, mentioning some recent naval incidents of an unclear nature in the Gulf waters. Added to this are the attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen against the Saudi border pipelines, which Riyadh accuses Iran of being involved in.

While stressing the intention to guarantee "peace in the region" and that "hands remain outstretched" towards dialogue, King Salman is ready to use force to protect national interests [read oil] from external attacks. And to prevent, along with the US and Israeli allies, the Shiite rival from strengthening its missile arsenal and nuclear capabilities.

Iranian leaders rejected the words of King Salman as "groundless" and part of an "effort to mobilize public opinion" towards a war with Tehran. The possible conflict between the Islamic Republic and the Americans (and their allies) therefore remains one of the hot topics on the table of regional governments, which are, however, internally divided on the issue.

The condemnation expressed by Riyadh was strongly contested by Baghdad, which warned the leaders present about the dangers of a new war in the region and did not want to sign today's final statement at the end of the summit.

In his speech Iraqi President Barham Salih recalled that Iran is a Muslim and neighboring country. "We do not want it struck in its security - he said - because we share 1400 km of border and numerous economic and diplomatic relations". "In all honesty - he concluded - the security and stability of a neighboring Islamic nation is of interest to all Muslim and Arab states".

During the two-day summit in Mecca, three different summits were held - two of which were anti-Iran emergency summits - following the impetus of King Salman and the presence of over 50 heads of state and government. Yesterday the Gulf Council (GCC) and the Arab League Council were scheduled, while today the 14th session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held. Finally, in the final communiqué it is recalled that for the attainment of regional stability the birth of an independent Palestinian state is necessary, according to the boundaries drawn in 1967 which include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Among the absent, confirming the fractures and divisions, the king of Morocco who in recent times broke relations with Riyadh. At the same time, Qatar has sent the Prime Minister and not the reigning emir, a sign that the economic and diplomatic rift in progress since 2017 has not yet been completely healed, although tensions between the US and Iran have favored a rapprochement of positions.

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