Middle East summit in Riyadh: what are the takeaways?
At a special summit in Riyadh, the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League called for an immediate end to "Israeli aggression" in Gaza and an international peace conference. Syria’s demand to break off relations with Israel was not accepted. Saudi Arabia had previously rejected a proposal by Iran to impose an oil embargo on the country. Commentators analyse the situation.
A forsaken people
The Gulf states are letting Palestine down, La Stampa rails:
“There is no agreement on an oil boycott because there is a fear of implementing a measure that, unlike in the 1970s, is no longer all that effective today. The Arabs are no longer the only oil lords and, above all, oil is no longer the king of energy. Over time, the defence of the national wealth has led to a sort of opportunistic reserve in the Islamic world. ... The Palestinians are indeed a forsaken people. All too often, among those who have forsaken them are countries that should at least pay lip service to their defence.”
Signs of pragmatic cooperation
For the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Riyadh sheds light on the geopolitical changes since the Hamas terrorist attack:
“The normalisation of Saudi-Iranian relations brokered by China is injected with life under the banner of the Palestinian scarf. The Saudi-Israeli rapprochement pushed for by America, on the other hand, must wait for better days. From a Western perspective, however, it is not a bad sign if Iran and the Arab powers are prepared to engage in pragmatic cooperation. ... As much as Iran’s representatives like to pour fuel on the Middle Eastern fire with their hatred of Israel, it seems clear that Tehran does not want to be forced into a ‘conflagration’ by Hamas either.”
Secret support for Israel
Many of the participating countries are secretly hoping that Israel will eliminate the Palestinian issue once and for all, Večernji list surmises:
“The destruction of Hamas is not only the primary goal of Israel and the US, but also of many Islamic countries, as it would remove the Palestinian issue from the table for at least 30 years, perhaps even forever. Many Arab Islamic countries that are now reluctant to normalise relations with Israel would then do so. The Arab and Islamic world is not remaining silent out of fear of Israel or the US; this silence is a quiet and secret show of support for Israel which is intended to resolve for good the Palestinian question that has plagued Arab and Islamic countries for more than 75 years.”
Positive bilateral effects, if nothing else
Calls for peace such as those in Riyadh are not without effect, Yetkin Report comments:
“The very fact that such unified statements have been made has already led to certain changes in the regional balance. ... For example, the co-operation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which formed the backbone of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor project, was shelved after the Hamas attack. ... Saudi Arabia has moved closer to Iran to protect common oil and gas interests. Mohammed bin Salman and Ebrahim Raisi shook hands at the Riyadh summit. Likewise, President Erdoğan also met with Egyptian President al-Sisi. The Gaza crisis has accelerated the normalisation process between Turkey and Egypt.”