Last Updated: November 12, 2023, 13:57 IST
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is believed to be worried about the escalating tensions with Iran-backed proxies such as Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, which could de-stabilise Iraq where Saudis, Emiratis, and others recently invested billions of dollars.
The GCC, comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, is concerned that Iran could be the new leader and decision-maker in the region with the recent turn of events vis-à-vis Gaza-Israel conflict.
Although Saudi Arabia has normalised ties with Iran to an extent, but there are tensions inherent as it remains a target of Iran’s theocratic dogma and single-minded dedication to become the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, thus, asserting religious, not just geopolitical, primacy over the region and the whole Muslim world.
According to top intelligence sources, Iran has been calling the shots behind the scenes on the theatre of war in Gaza and regionally the entire time. Lebanese military group Hezbollah, which is engaged in exchange of fire with Israel at their border, is making its decisions on Iran’s guidance.
The GCC summit represented a “weak” Saudi Arabia, and the attempt by the Arab world to appease Iran and follow its lead on information warfare.
Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries called on Saturday for immediate action to end military operations in Gaza. The extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh urged the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing” in the Palestinian territories, according to a final communique, according to news agency Reuters.
Dozens of leaders including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was welcomed back into the Arab League this year, attended the joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh.
Finally, the collective gathering to issue the statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and rejecting Israel’s claim of self-defence, shows they are, however reluctantly, agreeing to accept Iran as the leader on the Palestinian cause.
They also accepted Iran’s position that Hamas, rather than anyone else, represents Palestinians. This means that Hamas’ legitimacy in public and its rule over Gaza may eventually take shape in the future, sources said.
They may in the future also impose oil embargo to force the US and its allies to pressure Israel into putting a stop on combat and save Hamas from severe military losses.