August 28, 2012

Islamic World Digest: Change too fast?

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012   No comments


The month of August has been an eventful one for the Islamic world and the Middle East. Chang in that part of the world is happening so fast that the media could hardly keep pace with it.

NAM member and observers states
The crisis in Syria remains the top issue. Headlines about the conflict there are present in almost every national, regional, and international media outlet. Kofi Annan’s resignation and the termination of the mission of the U.N. monitors opened the door wide open for new initiatives. On the ground, more people lost their lives this month than any other since the start of the uprising in Syria 18 months ago.
The U.N. has appointed a new diplomat to troubleshoot the crisis but very few world leaders are convinced that he will be able to put an end to the bloodletting. Faced with this widespread pessimism, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, France, and Turkey are trying hard to fill the void.

Earlier this month, the Saudi kind called for an emergency meeting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The heads of State Summit in Mecca failed to agree on a practical plan to end the crisis. They managed to issue a resolution suspending Syria’s membership in the intergovernmental organization—hardly a solution given the meaninglessness of membership in such a club controlled mostly by the Saudi rulers. On the sidelines on this meeting, Egypt launched its own initiative calling for a regional “Contact Group” (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran). France is campaigning hard to keep the Syrian National Council relevant in the face of disunity, promising them that if they manage to establish a provisional government, France would recognize it. Revealing the disunity among the opposition groups, the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change, or National Coordination Board (NCC or NCB), consisting mainly of opposition groups inside Syria, are holding a national conference next month.

Before the OIC summit, Iran convened its own conference about Syria to stress that military intervention in that country is a redline. The meeting was so hastily organized that even the most enthusiastic countries to such meetings like Russia and China could not participate at a high level given the short notice. Apparently, the Iranians wanted to flood the scene with alternative initiatives given the void left by Annan’s resignation and Western disinterest in a political solution to the crisis.

Iran is ending this month with a bang. They are hosting the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit. Iran will preside over the 120 nation organization. The meeting’s statement will most likely make a number of declarations about key issues including the crisis in Syria, nuclear technology, Palestinian statehood, and Arab Spring.

jh2012082812

Ed Isr

About Ed Isr

Islamic Societies Review Editors

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