Dec 30, 2017, 11:23 AM
News Code: 82779949
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Can OIC make a difference?
Tehran, Dec 30, IRNA - As the second-largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations and with a membership of 57 states on four continents, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states could not in reality produce much sustained effect and impact with respect to the purposes it was established for, i.e., safeguarding and protecting the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among people around the globe.

By replacing 'cooperation' with 'conference' in the organization's title in 2011, along with changing the logo and adding a picture of the Kaaba in the center, member states have pursued modifying the OIC's overall policy or strengthening its diplomatic and political influences. Notwithstanding, it has produced no or less tangible fruit in the sense that such a change, in essence, would mean adding more power and strength to the OIC or a more serious will for collaboration and unity. However, there have been some steps taken since 2005, such as image building in the international community and the promotion of cooperation among member states in various fields.

In the case of Palestine and Al-Aqsa and the policies adopted by the OIC, a short review of the history of the OIC establishment would contribute to a better understanding of where the OIC stands considering current regional developments.

Everything began with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 by Britain and the following events that resulted in the declaration of the state of Israel, and then the 1967 Six-Day War launched pre-emptively by Israel. From the beginning, Israel has only been following a Zionist plan designed by the West. It was, in fact, a real threat to Al-Aqsa, and the process is still ongoing.

Where does the OIC stand regarding regional developments?

Following arson on Aug. 21, 1969, on Al-Aqsa Mosque, regardless of whatever the reason and whoever was behind that arson, which is not the subject of this contribution, Muslim states held a historic summit in Rabat, Morocco, on Sept. 25 1969, and as a result, the OIC was established by a decision at that summit. The nature of its establishment has been admirable, but the management and operation of the OIC for regional peace and stability is by no means worth acclamation, but rather, subject to severe criticism.

Considering the OIC's key bodies – the Islamic Summit, Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), General Secretariat, Al-Aqsa Committee and three permanent committees concerned with science and technology, economy and trade, and information and culture in addition to specialized organs under the banner of the OIC, including the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and subsidiary and affiliate organs that play a vital role in boosting cooperation in various fields among the OIC member states – it could or should have worked much better than what it has exhibited since its establishment.

On the other hand, the OIC's 2025 program is anchored in the provisions of the OIC Charter and focuses on 18 priority areas with 107 goals. The priority areas include peace and security, Palestine and Al-Aqsa, poverty alleviation, counterterrorism, investment and finance, food security, science and technology, climate change and sustainability, moderation, culture and interfaith harmony, empowerment of women, joint Islamic humanitarian action, human rights and good governance, among others. But how much have the OIC and member countries been attempting or intending to accomplish these priorities?

The significance of the OIC summit on Jerusalem

Based on the existing facts and evidence in the recent past, any measures adopted in the regional, in particular, Palestine and Al-Aqsa issues, have neither represented the real spirit of the OIC nor that of some member states. On the sidelines of the 13th OIC summit on April 14-15, 2016, both the 10-year strategic roadmap for 2025 and the title of the 13th session, 'Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace,' was like a cliché because the content of the communiqué was far beyond the spirit, foundation and capacity of some OIC member countries.

The communiqué had 107 goals on issues such as peace, security, the struggle against extremism, finance and investment, good governance and human rights, while the Saudi-led coalition supported by Washington and Tel-Aviv was already launching a military intervention in March 2015, leading a coalition of nine African and Middle Eastern countries to influence the outcome of the Yemeni civil war in favor of the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi under the name 'Operation Decisive Storm.' That is, the Western imperialism factor is not always behind all regional crises. It should be considered next to the concepts of ideology war and self-interest policies when OIC member countries are trying to discover the real roots of ongoing crises in the region or finding a way to consolidate regional collaboration.

What the world has been witnessing, in fact, contradicts three main elements forming the emblem of the OIC; that is, the Kaaba, the globe and the crescent. These three elements mean unity, solidarity and collective impact for the benefit of all Muslims. Now, after Trump's controversial Jerusalem decision, the leaders and representatives from OIC member countries participated in the extraordinary OIC summit held in Istanbul on Dec. 12-13 with the hope of developing an effective common policy for Jerusalem; however, Saudi Arabia participated on the lowest possible official level and only lent an ear to the debates and ideas presented during the sessions of the summit but intended the least or nothing to act accordingly.

In short, the outcome would be the same unless member countries simultaneously consider a new package to agree on for sustainable collaboration and cooperation on security, military, economic, border and diplomatic affairs that could hamper and confine the U.S.-Israel anti-Muslim and anti-Middle East policies, which is an issue we can perhaps discuss in a separate contribution. A new comprehensive cooperation package would have the potential to help Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf Muslim countries to get rid of anti-Muslim triangles and coalitions supported by the U.S. and Israel.

Changing the name and logo and also introducing some action plans like the 10-year program of action cannot justify the OIC's achievements, since an achievement would mean something accomplished with a superior plan and strategy. Thus, the OIC has a lot to do in the remaining years of the 21st century and should do more, as Israel will follow the Zionist plan as long as it has the support of the West and the U.S. This plan has been a real threat to Al- Aqsa. The recent U.S. decision with regard to Palestine and Jerusalem is proof of this. The issues in this contribution both imply the OIC's place and role with regard to the regional developments and that the OIC has not so far accomplished the priorities based on the essence of cooperation upon which the organization was established in 1969.

*Iranian researcher, Middle East political and security analyst

**1377

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