Washington: Iran has called for Muslim countries to impose all kinds of sanctions on Israel for the ongoing assault on Gaza and expel its diplomats. Turkey has called for a “fair solution” to the Israel-Palestine dispute offering itself as a mediator.
The 57 Muslim countries that will meet this weekend in Riyadh as members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) could choose Iran’s near-term response or Turkey’s shot at the larger problem or opt for something else, depending largely on their own internal dynamics and relations with each other, and, for Saudi Arabia, ongoing normalization of ties with Israel.
Saudi Arabia, the current OIC chair, has called the meet that has been labelled an extraordinary summit.
Will it back a hardline response to Israel given its ongoing US-backed normalisation talks with Israel remains on the table.
“This matter was on the table, and it is still on the table, and it is clear that the recent withdrawal (from the talks) explains why Saudi Arabia is so determined to make a solution to the Palestinian conflict part of broader normalization in the Middle East,” Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz al-Falih said in Singapore earlier this week.
The Riyadh meet will be marked by another reconciliation involving the Saudis, this one with Iran.
The two countries restored diplomatic ties in April after a even-year-rift in talks brokered by the Chinese, marking their first major foray into the region’s Byzantine politics.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s participation in the summit will mark the first visit of this level after the April detente.
As a key backer of Hamas, Iran may not accept easily a post-Hamas Gaza, the establishment of which is the key objective of the ongoing Israeli military operations, as endorsed by the US.
Teheran stands to lose a key ally from the network of regional allies it has created, supported and sustained, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah to fight Israel.
These regional players of the OIC — other members such as Pakistan are on the periphery on this issue — could be jockeying for a place at the table in anticipation of the international community taking another stab at the Israel-Palestine dispute that has defied resolution for seven decades now.
Turkey has already projected itself as a mediator, although neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have shown any interest in the offer.