Department of Social Sciences, Uzbekistan University of World Languages, Uzbekistan
Received date: 15/11/2018; Accepted date: 18/02/2019; Published date: 25/02/2019
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The article is devoted to the study of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its activities in the field of consolidation of Arab States. The current political problems of the Arab world in the context of international relations in the Middle East region are analyzed. A brief description of the conflicts in the Middle East region occurring throughout the twentieth century is given. A geopolitical analysis of sectarian conflicts, the Arab-Israeli wars and the Suez crisis is being conducted. These events are considered as the beginning of a new phase of rivalry in the region. The article also discusses the process of creating the Organization of the Islamic Conference, identifies the features of the Organization, analyzes the basic areas: the specific nature of the international law of the Organization’s subjectivity; integration efforts in the Muslim world; immunities and privileges of the OIC, and in the end they came to the conclusion that the OIC is intercontinental in nature with a declared broad competence and universality, the concept of which includes the unity of the worldviews and actions of all Muslims. Also, the scientific article widely analyzes the event related to the difficult historical and political situation in the Middle East. A broad spector is given by the factor of integration and disintegration processes on the basis of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Organization of Islamic Conference, Geopolitics, The Arab consolidation, Unification, Ideological conflicts, Politics, Solidarity
In many researches it is firmly noted that the Organization of the Islamic Conference arose “on September 25, 1969 at the Conference of the heads of Muslim states in Rabat with the aim of providing Islamic solidarity in the social, economic and political spheres” and the main motive for its creation was “reaction to the attempt of the Zionists to burn the sacred Mosque for all Muslims of the world of Al-Aqsa on September 21, 1969 in occupied Jerusalem”. The main initiators were King of Saudi Arabia Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud and King of Morocco Hassan II. At that time many Arab-Muslim countries realized the necessity of consolidating under one ideology and the unifying factor in these same processes was the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Therefore, most of the world’s states at the beginning of the existence of the organization considered it as an ideological background for the Arab-Muslim countries of the Middle East, and it was of no coincidence.
In the implementation of scientific research mainly applied general theoretical and empirical methods-systemic, structural and institutional:
• Method of political historical analysis;
• Comparative analysis method;
• Deduction and induction method.
Since 1924, Muslim states have tried to unite the Islamic world into one. A number of important events laid the foundation for its final constitution, namely: a) Third Islamic Conference, in which mainly Muslim intellectuals have gathered; b) The first conference of political leaders in August 1954, in which the bill was approved; and (c) The Islamic Summit Conference, held in Rabat in 1969, which was aimed at discussing the problems and interests of the Muslim world. Finally, in 1972, the Third Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers approved and adopted the Charter of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, creating a new organization in which special attention is paid to the notion of Islamic solidarity. Indeed, after the criminal arson against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on August 21, 1969, kings and heads of state and government of Islamic countries decided to organize the First Islamic Conference, held in Rabat, Morocco, on September 22-25. The result of this Summit was the expression of their solidarity with Palestinian people and their commitment to strengthening mutual economic, cultural and religious cooperation. The outcome of this Summit was the expression of their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their commitment to strengthening mutual economic, cultural and religious cooperation. On March 23-25, 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia convened the first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Jeddah, which decided to take steps for its mutual international cooperation and create a forum for discussing the main topics affecting the Muslim world. This forum led into force the Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose foundation-the Constitution of the Organization - was adopted in Jeddah in March 1972 at the above-mentioned Summit of Foreign Ministers and entered on February 28, 1973.
In 1969, the Muslim world managed to create an institution called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which complements, reflects and articulates the interests of the Muslim world in international forums .
There were several Muslim leaders such as King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, President Nasser of Egypt, Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia, Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and others who aspired to Muslim world cooperation. Nevertheless, without institutional support there was no way out to achieve cohesion, and, as we will see below, the OIC has a permanent mechanism for political coordination.
It is known that the 20th century is rich not only in conflict processes in Europe, but in the whole world. The vast territories of the Middle East are also the main participants in these same processes. According to Saul Cohen, who used the term “shatterbelt” – “a large, strategically important region that encompasses a number of conflicting states and rushes between the conflicting interests of the prevailing states” . In the same region, various geopolitical processes have occurred many times: from the Ottoman Empire to colonialism, from nationalism to independence, etc, and in those times the Arab world suffered greatly from backwardness, poverty, fragmentation, etc. In these situations, the British and the French people used the Arabs who rose against the Ottoman Empire and separated them from there, and did not “give them” freedom. The whole Arab world of the Middle East has become the vassals of the British and French.
The decolonization phase began after World War II, when even England and France, on the side of the victorious allies, were too exhausted by the war to retain most of their overseas possessions. The political leadership of Muslim states has returned to the leaders and politicians of indigenous peoples, as well as to responsibility for protecting the political interests of its citizens .
Only after the Second World War did the Arabs strengthen their national identity for unity, and they began to realize that once they almost ruled the world thanks to Islam and also made a huge contribution to the development of world science, etc. Why not do the same now? Was the Muslim world almost completely reduced to the position of the colonies?
Religious consciousness played an important role, especially in these processes. As is known, at the end of the 19th century there was an organizational consolidation of the Jews in the World Zionist Organization, while Christians were united in the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1948. The Arabs of Muslims also had a dream of unification under some kind of organization, similar to the ancient caliphate. After all, they realized that only unity and consolidation can save them from fragmentation and dependence.
The city of Jerusalem has a unique meaning, as it is revered by all three divine religions of the world. For Muslims, this is not only the first Qibla 1 but also the third holy shrine. These are the events that arose from the Declaration of Balfour (1917) before the establishment of the State of Israel. And the emergence of the state of Israel in the territory of Palestine led to discontent of almost all the Arab states of the Middle East region. They accused the Jews, who created the state. On the contrary, England and France were perceived as allies.
When we discuss the reaction of the Muslim world to Jerusalem, we can accept the policies and actions of the OIC as a starting point. The problem of Jerusalem is the basis for the emergence of this Organization, and it remains as its dominant obsession. Since the inaugural conference in 1969, the question of Palestine and Jerusalem remained the main agenda item throughout the OIC conference. It was the OIC that recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, even before the League of Arab States. We should mention again, that it was the OIC that provided political and material support to Palestine. It was this Organization that internationalized the Middle East problem in the true sense of the word.
The First Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers unequivocally established Israel’s responsibility for events of 1967 – aggression and the continued illegal occupation of Arab lands. The Third Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers decided to establish a support office for Palestine in the General Secretariat .
The unrealistic and erroneous policy of the OIC on the question of Palestine in the early decades did not speed up the process of achieving statehood for the Palestinians, but rhetoric stressed that the Palestinians suffer as the core of the Middle East conflict.
At the same time, the growth in world oil demand has increased the importance of the region. Having great financial resources from the export of energy resources, the Arab states began to actively play an important role in ensuring regional cooperation of Arab nationalism. Although the financial and economic power of these states has become stronger, there were still traces of the colonial policies of European countries.
The Arab-Israeli conflicts and the Suez crisis have become the determining factors of the regional security of the Middle East. Despite disagreements over the state structure and international relations, the Arabs began to show more initiative to consolidate the Arab countries. They began to understand the need to unite before a common enemy.
Namely, the attempt by the Jews to burn the sacred Al-Aqsa mosque became the reason for the long-established efforts of the Muslim Arabs to create a powerful international institution that would ensure the consolidation and unification of the Arab dream. Thus, on September 25, 1969, the Organization of the Islamic Conference was established at the Conference of the Heads of Muslim States in Rabat (the capital of Morocco) in order to ensure Islamic solidarity in social, economic and political life.
At the beginning of the organization’s functioning, there were only 25 members of the organization, which were the founders of this organization. The organization had to play an integrative role between the Muslim countries and all its tasks are clearly defined in its Charters  and other organizational documents. For example, almost in all documents there are loudly declared the organization’s commitment to international rights. In addition, based on the situation, improvement and strengthening of brotherhood, solidarity between Muslim states is clearly stated. The reality was that the protection of common interests and rights on an international scale by members of Muslim states was to be achieved only taking into account the situation in the world. It is known that it was in these very years that the Islamic world gradually began to get rid of the remnants of colonial policy, and achievement of its destiny later became more difficult task. On the one hand, day by day geopolitical clashes intensified in the whole world, and on the other, the former Soviet Union and the United States rushed to take under their ideological control the fragmented Arab countries. The emergence of Israel and the support of the West aggravated the situation. A particular aggravation in the region happened after some Arab countries remained under the influence of the United States, and some under the former USSR. The Middle East simply has become a battlefield of the leading countries of the world.
From a geopolitical point of view, it was also not a case with a very happy end. Rich oil and gas fields brought both good and a lot of sorrow to the people of the place. With the increase in the world economies need for these energy resources, world’s powerful states began to sought more of their interests in these regions. Even at the end of the last century it became known that the Middle East is the main source of energy resources in the world.
And the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference gave a chance to the Arab monarchies to play a broader political and economic role in world politics. That is, there was a hope, that Arab-Muslim states can both protect themselves from external threats, and will also cooperate more actively with each other through this organization .
At that time the OIC was supposed to play not only integrating, but also consolidating role among the Muslim countries. Therefore, the following important tasks were identified, as well as coordinating and uniting the efforts of the Member States, taking into account the challenges facing the Islamic world in particular, and the international community as a whole. And one of the main issues at that time was border problems, since after liberation from colonialism it was important for them, that more territories and oil wells be taken under their control. A precise demarcation of borders, respect for the right to self-determination, non-interference in internal affairs and sovereignty issues, respect for the independence and territorial integrity of each Member State are also affected in the program objectives of the organization.
In those years, the Arab consolidation was subjected to various tests. The world powers in many ways tried to prevent the Arabs from uniting and that Arabs remained forever under their own influence. Britain, France, the United States and the former Soviet Union were active participants in the problem solving processes of the Middle East, and this was emphasized above. Each participant had its own interests, its own policy. It has become a much more difficult task to ensure the active participation of Member States in global decision-making processes on political, economic and social issues to protect their common interests. Therefore, in the first meeting, the participants of the Islamic Conference paid great attention to these issues, and identified their important items on the OIC charter .
At that time, the Islamic Conference was primarily assigned to develop interstate relations between the Arab and Muslim worlds, and in this way the initiators of the conference tried to unite the interests of the Arab and Muslim countries, to direct their foreign policy on the basis of justice, mutual respect and good-neighborliness for global peace, security and harmony.
A special place in the foreign policy of these countries was occupied by the Palestinian question. First of all, the appearance of the State of Israel itself, on the contradiction to the vital interests of the Arab States and the aspirations of the Palestinian people, poured oil on the fire. And the wars that occurred after that forced them to unite more than ever. Here ideology, that is, Islamic ideology and Arab nationalism played an important role. The protection of the Palestinian Arabs has become an important component of the policy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Despite the serious contradictions between the members of this Organization in the political and economic spheres, the OIC demonstrates a large-scale political activity, which especially increased at the end of the 20th century, when serious conflicts on the confessional basis arose in the world. During the period 1980-90s. this organization took, or tried to take part in the resolution of such serious conflicts as the Indo-Pakistani, Kosovo, as well as the conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya, in one form or another .
This issue also concerned different problems such as the Israeli military actions in Palestine, the outbreak of the Iran- Iraq war, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the existential threat to Bosnia and other State repressions against the Muslim world related to the OIC .
In addition to the above mentioned, we can say that it was at that time that the Organization of the Islamic Conference acted as one of the main strongholds of the Arab-Islamic world. Thanks to the same organization, many Islamic states of the world managed to maintain unity and consolidation to a certain extent . Muslim countries continued to develop, and what is more important, despite the fact that they had and continued to have different interests, they sat at the table to negotiate and defend common values.
On the contrary, integration efforts in the Muslim world within the OIC began with ambitious goals, trying to rely heavily on religious dogma, rather than on practical considerations. Having the same religion was not enough to reach unity among co-religionists, at least according to the recorded history . The lack of public participation meant that the instruments of cooperation remained under the control of rulers who rarely represented the people. Of course, there were specific interests that tried to shape and manipulate integration efforts for their own purposes. This led to the inclusion of a “hot stream” in institutions and politics, with little concrete results from a whole range of input events. The organization relied heavily on political rhetoric, with hope of transferring it into economic unity in vain, instead of creating an economic symbiosis first of all, that would inevitably cause political solidarity .
As a conclusion, it should be noted that the role of international organizations of a regional character is gaining an increasing importance in the processes of setting peace and solving conflicts that are taking place in the Middle East countries. Although there are many regional international organizations, which operate on these heavily affected continents, the OIC determined the pace of the race to cope with the conflicts facing the Arab-Muslim world. The reason for the establishment of the OIC is often explained by the necessity for solidarity on the part of Muslims after two events in recent history: the Arab loss of the Six Day War in 1967 and the arson of 1969 against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site in Sunni Islam. As a result of these two incidents, the OIC, as we learn, was created to protect the interests of the Muslim world. Its ability as an intermediary has been recognized both by many Member States and an international community. It is suffice to mention that the free-flowing relationship that the United Nations retained and continues to support, as an evidence of their joint missions in the Syrian conflict and the actions taken by OIC in collaboration with regional organizations such as the League of Arab States and the European Union. The OIC leadership in the Muslim world has become especially noticeable in the last decade due to a number of circumstances, including: a) It’s clear independence from other regional organizations; b) Criticism put forward by the UN Security Council for its discretionary attitude to certain international conflicts; and c) The decisions that it has made, despite the rivalries that exist between its member states over religion-Shiites against Sunnis-politics-Qatar's claims to regional leadership or in economic affairs. As a result of all these determinants, the voice of the OIC has become a conclusive one throughout the world, which can explain why various international organizations and even non-Muslim states like Russia showed great interest in the process of granting OIC as observer status or that China signed framework agreements on cooperation with this organization.