The news that the US-backed Saudi regime is ending its loan and oil supply agreement with Pakistan over Islamabad’s criticism of the OIC on Kashmir might act as a catalyst to create a new alliance centered around Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
The Pakistani demand was made by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during an August 5 TV interview with ARY News.
Pakistan’s top diplomat said: “I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation. If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”
On August 10, news emerged that “Pakistan was last week forced to repay a Saudi loan of $1 billion that the kingdom called in after Pakistan insisted it be allowed to lead the OIC’s support for Kashmir, a region largely under Indian occupation and which was annexed by India last year. The loan was part of a $6.2 billion package announced by Saudi Arabia in November 2018, which included a total of $3 billion in loans and an oil credit facility amounting to $3.2 billion. Those deals were then signed when Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman made a visit to Pakistan in February last year.”
Riyadh’s crude and insulting response to Pakistan’s legitimate political demand on Kashmir within accepted political norms is clearly unacceptable.
When Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in August 2018, it was expected that the Saudis would attempt to subordinate his government policies to their wishes, as they had done with past governments.
Imran Khan believes in public accountability of all officials. It is an integral part of his policy, a notion the Saudi despots fear and despise.
On the broader level, the Saudis are also on an open confrontational path with Turkey and Iran.
Now Pakistan seems to have become part of the axis of resistance to Saudi hegemony.
All three countries—Turkey, Iran and Pakistan—have been victims of Saudi backstabbing. If there is one thing the three agree on, it is the Saudi destructive role.
Today, however, the Saudi regime stands at its weakest point due to low oil prices, the pandemic and the Saudis’ multiple failures in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
There is no reason why Turkey, Iran and Pakistan could not agree on bypassing the Saudis.
If they decide to pursue a coordinated policy to advance their interests and those of the larger Muslim Ummah without deferring to the Saudis, there is little Riyadh could do to stop them.
The Saudis’ principal backers, the US and NATO regimes, are not in the same position as they were 20 years ago.
They can no longer step in to save the Saudis. Even the Americans are tiring of the crude tactics of their Bedouin puppets.
With the US’s latest humiliation at the UN Security Council (August 14) where 13 members of the 15-member body, including France, Germany and Britain refused to back US arms embargo against Iran, the emergence of a multi-polar global order is clearly visible.
Pakistan, Iran and Turkey should no longer tolerate the OIC, an outdated political set-up, that has achieved little since its creation in August 1969 despite its 57 members.
The three non-Arab countries together with other likeminded Muslim countries should create an alliance that would respond to the needs of the 1.8 billion Muslims and better reflect their aspirations.