The denouement of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Makkah has not ended well, despite the objective of the organisation to strive towards camaraderie between Muslim countries. This is reflective of perpetual tension within the Islamic world. Conflicts due to economic and political struggles between nations are rampant in modern times. At the centre of hardship and struggle is Syria.
Damascus, along with Doha, is highly dissatisfied with the conclusions drawn in the OIC meeting. OIC member states sought to impose a United Nations proposal to establish a ruling body in Syria that would amalgamate opposition forces. Doha has rejected the summit saying it does not align with its foreign policy, relating to the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the harsh treatment meted out to Qatar by Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations. It is evident that even though our prime minister shed light on Islamophobia and other issues stunting the progress of Muslim countries, there are internal problems that need to be sorted through major policy changes.
To endorse the UN proposal on a joint ruling party in Syria seems convenient and perhaps an all too easy solution. While Syria’s present government has other objectives, OIC nations needed to serve more credit to the struggle of the Syrian people. Syria’s angst is expected after the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, displacement of millions, and destruction of a once beautiful country with a rich history.
Stability has never been a friend of the Muslim world. While rich in oil and financial backing, these resources have also played into the egos of leaderships. Suspicion of Doha supporting militants has led to further tensions between Iran and other Gulf states. Doha’s statement that OIC nations should consider regional dynamics rather than only Washington’s suggestions is sound. While the purpose of OIC summits is to enhance cooperation, this most recent one was remiss of that. There will need to be follow-up effort to pacify Damascus, Tehran, and Doha and etch out more reasonable policies.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2019.