27.11.2023 Author: Alexandr Svaranc

Islamic summits in Riyadh reconcile participants’ positions on Gaza

Hamas's Al-Aqsa Flood military campaign against Israel remain ongoing

Both the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Operation Iron Swords and Hamas’s Al-Aqsa Flood military campaign against Israel remain ongoing and have not yet yielded the desired results. The majority civilian population of the Gaza Strip is suffering as a result of the progressing Israeli military assault and siege of the area. Because of Tel Aviv’s unyielding position, the number of Palestinian casualties in just over a month of combat has surpassed 11,000, and there is no end in sight.

Who prepared the Hamas attack on Israel? Naturally, the one who started it is not likely to acknowledge this. There are several versions of this:

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and renowned security hawk, is said to have been interested in this provocation, which he plans to use to destroy Hamas completely, occupy the Gaza Strip until it is completely destroyed, and then force the remaining Palestinian population to flee. They claim that this explains the peculiar lapse in Israel’s intelligence system’s (intelligence and counterintelligence) operations about the absence of proactive knowledge on Hamas’s goals and objectives.

This version, however, is hardly accurate because Israel has found the cost to be too great and inhumane. Specifically, the casualties among Israeli citizens were very high, numbering around 1,500, excluding the more than 200 hostages and prisoners. Furthermore, the international response that exists now does not primarily support Tel Aviv; rather, the US’s firm support of Israel is the only thing that keeps the IDF’s “freedom of lawlessness” intact.

  1. This attack was primarily started by the Muslim Brotherhood, a hardline Islamic organization from which Hamas is descended. Turkey is included by Russian analyst Karine Gevorgyan, as both President Recep Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party are Muslim Brotherhood followers.

It is observed that there are indirect indications supporting this narrative, pointing to the fact that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan actively backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the past:

(a) He took part in the planning of the “Peace Flotilla” humanitarian expedition;

b) He destroyed official ties with Israel from 2010 until 2022;

c) He increased the volume of criticism directed towards Israel and public charges of discriminatory practices by Tel Aviv against the Palestinian people;

d) Up until recently—that is, prior to the conflict starting in October of this year—he provided refuge to Hamas officials on Turkey’s soil;

e) He allegedly authorized military assistance in training and supplying Hamas operatives (including Marine Special Forces);

(e) He is proactively attempting to end the Israeli-Palestinian issue by acknowledging the creation of a Palestinian State based on the 1967 boundaries, with East Jerusalem serving as its capital, as long as Turkey agrees to function as its guarantor;

g) He regards Hamas as a legitimate political organization in the Gaza Strip and views its battle as a just one against Israel’s apartheid policy, refusing to classify it as a terrorist group;

h) He hopes to gain Turkey a permanent position on the UN Security Council and leadership in the Islamic (at least Sunni) world by backing Palestine.

With the possible exception of point “e”, all the aforementioned indicators may be found in the Turkish leader’s (openly disclosed) regional and international policies. Nobody, even Karine Gevorgyan, is going to be able to make a strong case for the involvement of Turkish state structures and officials in the organization and training of Hamas terrorists and their attack on Israel. If not, identical information would have likely been obtained by Israel’s intelligence services and those of its NATO partners, particularly the US. This bodes poorly for both Erdogan and Turkey in general.

  1. Particularly prevalent (mostly in the Israeli and Western media) is the belief that Iran was complicit in the surprise attack on Israel. This takes advantage of the common misconception that Hamas is being used by the supposedly hostile Islamic State regime to harm Israel. Tehran’s ambition comes down to generating turmoil in the Middle East, beginning a big regional (and maybe) and global battle to establish its leadership in the Islamic world and get out of the crisis of the sanction’s regime.

We cannot hide the fact that Iran views Hamas’s struggle as legitimate and denounces the Israeli government’s discriminatory practices against Palestine. Furthermore, Iran is presumably the only significant power in the region trying to focus more on actual military and political support for the Palestinian resistance rather than just lip service and “phone diplomacy” at this time. Tehran is the one alerting Tel Aviv and Washington to the possibility that if the Gaza Strip is completely destroyed, this battle may become worldwide in nature. Pro-Iranian forces are pushing for the creation of a broad military coalition opposed to Israel in a number of Middle Eastern nations, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

The Iranian authorities have consistently stated that they are hostile to the Zionist regime in power, but not to Israel as a state, thus we cannot accept the idea that they are plotting the annihilation of the Jewish state. Tehran supports Israel and Palestine’s right to exist as two separate states by doing this. Last but not least, Iran is a sovereign nation that has never claimed to be the head of the entire Islamic world despite being the dominant Shiite state in the region.

Naturally, there is controversy around Iran’s role in Hamas’ military training, and more proof is needed. This includes Iran’s special institutions, such as the IRGC. There is no disputing that Hamas has demonstrated faith in and respect for Iran (as seen by its engagement in the hostage exchange crisis, for example). And how can Iran, which has continuously supported Palestinian rights and efforts and indicated that it would be willing to organize a military coalition against Israel in the current circumstances, not be respected by the Palestinians?

  1. There is another such original version that claims that Great Britain, through MI6 chief Richard Moore, was responsible for inciting the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latter is frequently criticized, as it is widely assumed that Moore is the architect of a number of actual geopolitical combinations in Greater Asia in order to restore London to its old position as the premier Anglo-Saxon empire.

Orientalist Karine Gevorgyan frequently claims that Britain is attempting to combine its financial assets, intelligence positions and influence, and the capabilities of energy companies led by the transnational oil and gas company British Petroleum (BP) to dethrone the United States from the position of world leader in order to reclaim the status of the main global Anglo-Saxon power.

That is why Richard Moore started the “great conflagration” in the Middle East by using his connections and clout with President Recep Erdoğan to launch the Hamas attack on Israel. There will be a “changing of the guard” between the two Anglo-Saxon powers at the top of the international order as a result of this war, which will also bring about intense international criticism of Tel Aviv and Washington’s coverage of it, as well as a crisis in the American economy and politics.

Large-scale operational games and geopolitical combinations of the Anglo-American tandem were arguably primarily designed by British intelligence, which even after World War II continues to be one of the world’s top intelligence services. Currently, though, the UK does not stand in for the kind of significant military and economic force that can “monopolize” and take the place of American leadership in regard to the US. This will take years, if not decades, to complete, even if any of the British leaders have such ambitions. Ultimately, despite the achievements of Richard Moore and the SIS (MI6) under his leadership, the primary objectives of intelligence remain determined by the British government. Unfortunately, neither King Charles III nor Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have the political clout to launch such games against the United States and without warning to Turkey. Like the United States, Britain also dispatched landing ships and air force forces to Israel’s borders.

  1. In their delirious interpretations, some (particularly in Ukraine) understandably search for a “Russian trace” in everything and erroneously assume that Russia somehow “sponsored” the Hamas campaign against Israel. In support of their claims, they point out that Moscow supports the creation of a Palestinian state, has hosted a delegation from Hamas, arms the militants, and generally benefits from the conflict in order to deflect attention from the outside world and, most importantly, cut back on the military and financial support that the West (the US and the EU) provides to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

First off, Moscow’s stance on the creation of Israel and Palestine as two independent entities has been unchanged since 1947.

Second, the UN General Assembly and Security Council made these decisions.

Third, Russia is interested in a political settlement of this long-running conflict, the release of hostages (including Russian people), a ceasefire, and a truce, which is why the Hamas delegation was welcomed by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Fourth, rather than selling its own weapons to foreign partners, Russia is more interested in modernizing and bolstering its own armed forces in order to expeditiously complete the SWOT in Ukraine and bring about peace (even CSTO ally Armenia is currently unable to receive partially paid arms from Russia due to objective time constraints due to the Ukrainian crisis).

Fifth, the Ukrainian side’s last concern may have been justified since it is past time for the West to stop arming and funding the Kiev junta and supporting the “Ukrainians” in their war against Russia.

According to the information above, it seems that every version represents the political or subjective beliefs of one side or the other. However, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict does not fall into any of the categories because any action that infringes upon the rights and liberties of a whole people eventually sparks criticism.

Tension is mainly being created in the Middle East, or the Arab and Islamic world as a whole, by the ongoing massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that has been going on for more than a month, with the Israel Defense Forces taking part and the United States and its NATO allies (apart from Turkey) complicit.

All appeals to the political conscience and reason of the ruling classes in the United States and Israel for political negotiations, humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, a ceasefire in Gaza, and the recognition of Palestinian independence have been met with incomprehension in Washington, Tel Aviv, and other Western capitals.

Many Islamic and non-Islamic nations withdrew their embassies from Tel Aviv in protest, and Bolivia even broke off diplomatic ties with Israel. For the time being, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s suggestion for a large-scale international conference on the Palestinian issue in order to find a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is still only a notion.

As a result, the nations of the Arab East and the Islamic world at large were compelled to call extraordinary conferences of the international organizations they represent, namely the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the League of Arab States (LAS), in order to formally express their concern and solidarity over the circumstances in the Gaza Strip. As a result, two important summits, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), were held in Saudi Arabia on November 11. In Riyadh, numerous Islamic state officials made loud declarations and gave lengthy speeches.

Mohammed bin Salman, the leader of Saudi Arabia, therefore discussed the impending humanitarian crisis and the UN Security Council’s incapacity to stop Israeli breaches of international law.

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the president of Egypt, demanded an immediate ceasefire without specifying any conditions.

Emir Al-Thani of Qatar called for the hostages to be freed and expressed optimism that a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza would soon be reached.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has suggested forming an international alliance in order to bring about a ceasefire, stop the eviction of residents from the Gaza Strip, and start meaningful negotiations (have they previously been meaningless then?).

Jordan’s King Abdullah II called for an international coalition in support of a cease-fire, the removal of Palestinians from Gaza, and a sincere dialogue process (were talks not sincere before?).

The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Sheikh Nasrallah, who is based in Beirut, mostly condemned the United States, referring to Israel as a “American puppet” and offering praise for Iran.

Particular consideration should be given to the UAE’s stance, which supports a truce and the creation of humanitarian corridors and intends to retain diplomatic ties with Israel notwithstanding the circumstances in Gaza.

Elchin Amirbayov, representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on special assignments, stated that Azerbaijan had “the best relations with Israel in the world” among Islamic nations. Furthermore, on November 9, Tel Aviv congratulated Baku on the third anniversary of the triumph in Karabakh, which is mostly attributed to Israeli advisers and weapons.

The only one who spoke substantively was Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. In addition to endorsing the notion of a Palestinian state and the resistance movement led by Hamas, he proposed:

(a) Apply goods and oil restrictions against Israel;

b) block airspace for Israeli aircraft;

c) If Israeli attacks continue, consider extreme steps, such as “arming the Palestinians” to fight back.

On the eve of the Islamic summit, Raisi declared from the Riyadh airport that the OIC is not a place for words and that it is time to make actual decisions and take concrete action.

Creating a shared stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the aim of these gatherings. But as the Iranian leader feared, Riyadh agreed to vocally “condemn Israel” in exchange for a lot of words but no solutions. The most radical proposals were blocked, oddly enough, with the participation of the leaders of the Arab East – the KSA and the UAE.

Based on this research, it is evident that the major Arab countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) would prefer not to back the Palestinians’ military campaign against Israel. Turkey is not expected to go to war with the United States and Israel right now, but it will consult with the outside world more (Erdoğan has already promised upcoming phone talks with President Putin). Iran has once again come to the conclusion that the Zionist dictatorship and US imperialism cannot be defeated by the “verbal leaders” of the Arab and Islamic countries. In these conditions, what does that mean for Israel?

In the meantime, Tel Aviv declared that it would not hand up control of the Gaza Strip to Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, as the latter had never labeled Hamas as a terrorist group or denounced its assault on Israel. Regarding the Arab stance on the two summits that were conducted in Riyadh, Benjamin Netanyahu even suggested that they keep quiet.

The Palestinian issue has not changed despite the Islamic summits.


Aleksandr SVARANTS, Doctor in Political Science, professor, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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