Growing problem of Muslim states - why can't they unite?

Politics Materials 14 November 2023 13:32 (UTC +04:00)
Growing problem of Muslim states - why can't they unite?
Tahmaz Asadov
Tahmaz Asadov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 14. Riyadh hosted a joint extraordinary summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), or Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit, Trend reports.

The extraordinary sessions of the Arab League Council and the extraordinary summit of the OIC were initially planned to be held separately, but later it was decided to conduct them in a joint format.

While words of unity sound good, the reality is different, and the latest processes have proved this. The summit revealed Arab countries' concern about the active involvement of Türkiye and Iran in the process. Based on this concern, most Arab countries at the extraordinary summit of the OIC worried that the initiative might be taken by Türkiye and Iran and took steps to sideline them from leading roles.

The presence of Islamic countries approaching this issue based on their own interests becomes a decisive factor in the further development of processes. Some Arab countries prefer to act solely in their own interests rather than in the interest of the Muslim community, and this is one of the significant blows to the unity of Islamic countries and their interests.

The Islamic world is clearly demonstrating a lack of unity at any level. Over the past 10 years, all people have witnessed the events in the Islamic world, starting with the "Arab Spring" and the consequences it led to. Terrible events unfolded in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya, where millions of people were killed and the natural resources of these countries were plundered.

Besides, over the past 10 years, the concept of religion in the Middle East has served as a divisive rather than a unifying force. In such a scenario, the creation of a joint movement against external enemies is hardly possible. It's disappointing to see today's distrust between such countries as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt, viewing each other's weaknesses as opportunities for themselves.

The outcome of this summit, where 57 Muslim countries gathered, gives cause to think that Islamic countries need to transition to a more functional format. The current situation creates grounds for more significant foreign intervention in the region.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan was one of the states that did not receive the necessary support from Islamic countries in its time of need. There's no need to look far for an example. Although one would expect Iran to be one of the states rejoicing the most when the Azerbaijani army liberated its lands from Armenian occupation, Tehran was seen in a completely different light.

Although Azerbaijan acted in full accordance with international law and the UN Charter, restoring its rights and justice through the strength of its army three decades later, it did not receive the necessary support from Iran.

During the occupation, Iran's "activity" was limited to mere words. In those years, Iran stood as an external observer of the troubles that befell Azerbaijan, its brother by religion. Azerbaijan, which had over 20 percent of its territory occupied by millions of refugees and internally displaced persons and saw tens of thousands of innocent people killed, did not receive the necessary support from Iran, which only made statements at that time.

The recent statement by Iran's Ambassador to Armenia, Mehdi Subhani, about the "right to self-determination" of Armenians who recently moved from Azerbaijan's Karabakh once again demonstrates Tehran's destructive stance towards Baku. While relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are warming, with the normalization of relations back on the agenda, Tehran's statement from Yerevan raises concerns.

Clearly, this statement by Subhani reflects the position of Iran. Although this position is not unexpected, the ambassador's statement once again revealed Iran's true intentions. It's possible that Tehran intends to disturb the peace in the region. This desire is also the most vivid example of how Iran continues to shape proxy forces to maintain a radical balance in its foreign policy, unwilling to give up its intentions.

In reality, nothing changes in the position of Azerbaijan's southern neighbor. Tehran seems to hope that such maneuvers will deceive Baku.

The Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit was held in Riyadh on November 11, 2023.

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