04/18/2016, 10.00
Send to a friend

Conflicts between Saudis and Iranians sink Islamic Cooperation Summit

by Pierre Balanian

Analysts of the Arab world wondering "what is Islamic in the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation". The summit is a battlefield with even distant positions on combating terrorism. The interests of individual states prevail over dialogue. Iran’s president abandons summit, accusing Riyadh of maneuvering behind the scenes.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - After witnessing the "burial of the Arab League" following the expulsion of Syria, "maybe now we are witnessing the slow and inexorable death throes of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC)?". The question comes from Talal Salman, a Lebanese analyst who has expressed his doubts in the Lebanese newspaper As Safir. He concluded by stressing that the Islamic Cooperation "has very little of what it means to be Muslim left."

Held April 14 to 15, the 13th OIC summit was attended by more than 50 states (of 57 members), and 30 heads of state including Iranian President Rouhani, the Turkish (host country) Erdogan and the sovereign Saudi Salman. The meeting had an ambitious title "Session of unity and solidarity for Peace and Justice". "Unity" seems to have survived only in title.

A few hours after the reading of the agenda, all observers were witnesses to a clear division between  first class Muslims", the subjects of loudly proclaimed solidarity (Turkish Cypriots, Armenians against Azerbaijanis, Saudis against Iran and Hezbollah) ; and of course the "second class", Muslims who do not enjoy the blessing of Riyadh: the Kurds, the Bahrainis, Yemenis, Syrians, Somalis, Palestinians and of course the Lebanese Shiites and Iranians.

The transition of the presidency from Egypt to Turkey took place without even a handshake, a clear failure of the mediation between Egypt and Turkey attempted by Saudi Arabia: the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri read a speech in the name of President Abdel Fatah El Sissi and left both the conference hall and the country, without even waiting to represent his nation in the group photo op.

“Altogether his visit toTurkey lasted less than two hours," commented the Turkish Yeni Şafak newspaper.

Another "illustrious abandonment" of the Summit before concluding statement was that of Iranian President Rouhani who - having learned that the text had included four points condemning Iran, a OIC founding member - deserted the sessions. Rouhani had come with a spirit of peace and opening and had said: "The strengthening of Islamic union in the current situation, is one of the main duties of OIC". He had also hoped, a few hours before the start of the Summit and during a meeting with the Turkish prime minister Davutoglu, "to be able to strengthen the cooperation relations of union and cohesion among the Islamic countries" adding that the OIC "unfortunately has not succeeded, so far, to fulfill its mission satisfactorily "inviting everyone to" join hands to invest and ensure the development of the entire region".

An optimism that apparently did not last long. During a meeting on the sidelines of the summit with the President of Senegal, after ascertaining agreements undertaken behind the scenes between Saudi Arabia and many poor countries members of OIC to gain support for its  anti Iranian policies, Rouhani himself said a few hours later that "the enemies of Islam are trying on the one hand to firmly sow division and conflicts in the heart of the Islamic world, while on the other hand exploiting terrorist groups that claim to be Islamic". He then deplored "the proliferation of violence and terrorism in the Islamic world" before emphasizing that "the Islamic Republic of Iran has always guaranteed its support to the States that have asked for its help in the fight against terrorism".

No one has escaped the perseverance of Saudi Arabia in its attempts to create an inter-Muslim sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, as specified by the security and policy chief at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hamid Buaidi Nijad. He went on to say that "Saudi Arabia has insisted to the end in beating the drums of fitna (conflictual division between different denominations of Islam especially between Sunnis and Shiites) and division, despite the constructive speech of President Rouhani," while the head of the National Security and Foreign policy Committee in the Iranian Parliament Alaeldin Brogerdi accused Saudi Arabia, in no uncertain terms of being "the advocate of the division within the Islamic world."

In a 200 point final document, one comma condemns Hezbollah, defined by the Lebanese daily "the only Islamic group fighting against Israel, and against IS". In the final OIC document it is called a "terrorist organization": this article was not voted by the Lebanese delegation, which insisted on the "need for non-interference in the internal affairs of other member countries”. Lebanon was supported by Tunisia, Iraq and Algeria and since the resolutions have to be unanimous, the OIC appears to have once again failed to adopt any valid resolution to all effects.

"No mention of course the armed intervention of Saudi Arabia in Bahrain or Yemen" noticed one Lebanese analyst. While the appeal to "liberate the occupied territories of Karabakh by Armenia" (when in fact Armenia as Republic does not occupy any Azerbaijani territory) was considered by the Turkish analyst Ozgur Gondim, as an outburst by the "losers in the war Syria, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia "looking to find consolation in Karabakh" standing alongside Azerbaijan to compensate for their losses in Syria. "
Finally, Palestine was invited to "resume peace negotiations and give a new impetus to the peace process".

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Those who go to fight in Iraq are “preachers of evil, Saudi scholar says
Tehran and Riyadh ready to reopen consulates
13/10/2021 11:59
Tehran celebrates entry into SCO block created by China and Russia
20/09/2021 13:35
Organisation of Islamic Conferences starts extraordinary summit tomorrow
Iran asks to enter the anti-terrorism organisation of central Asia


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”