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The Jeddah and Tehran summits didn't really tell us much 

A general view from the Jeddah Security and Development Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 16 July 2022 [Iraqi PM Press Office/Anadolu Agency]
A general view from the Jeddah Security and Development Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 16 July 2022 [Iraqi PM Press Office/Anadolu Agency]

I don't rely much on the closing statements of any conference or meetings between national leaders, as they consist mostly of embellishments, platitudes and diplomatically-correct comments. They are sometimes even written before the conferences are held or the leaders actually meet, making them clichés to be tweaked and reused at meeting after meeting. Instead, I focus on reading between the lines and search for their implications.

Nor am I fooled by the official photographs, handshakes and fake smiles. History has taught us how intertwined hands hold hidden daggers, and that behind the smiles lie hatred and hostility.

Hence, I did not pay much attention to the statements issued after the recent Jeddah and Tehran summits. The former lacked news of the formation of an Arab-Israeli military alliance led by America, although many had expected it. This does not mean that it was not put on the table and was not discussed extensively, or that the idea has been abandoned, even if Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said that those at the Jeddah summit did not discuss the matter and it wasn't on the agenda.

The Saudi minister expressed his astonishment at the media addressing this issue before the summit, but this simply confirmed that it was discussed behind closed doors. Forget about the Arab leaders' speeches in the opening session, which were broadcast live; they were just a means to polish their image in the eyes of the Arab public. What they should have done was serve the Palestinian dish to the guest of honour for whom the banquet was held. However, Palestine, as an occupied country does not concern them or mean anything to them, with six of the nine Arab leaders present in Jeddah having diplomatic, economic and military relations with the occupation state, while the other three follow in the same footsteps without actually having official relations with apartheid Israel. Military normalisation is already in place with all of these countries through US Central Command in Qatar, after Israeli soldiers became part of the military scope in the region following Washington's decision at the end of the Trump presidency. Hence, Arab troops participate in Israeli-US manoeuvres.

READ: Israeli army kills 2 Palestinians in Nablus

According to a US media agency, Arab-Israeli military cooperation has been a reality for some time. In March, for example, Arab and Israeli soldiers cooperated to target two Iranian drones.

As the host, Saudi Arabia fulfilled the desire of its honoured guest and opened its airspace to the Israeli enemy on the eve of the conference. The Israelis duly bragged that Joe Biden was the first US president to travel on a direct flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia, an important symbolic step on the way to normalisation, which is happening at an "accelerating pace" according to Biden.

These nine Arab leaders would not have talked about legitimate Palestinian rights and the establishment of a free and independent state while they were consumed by their love of the Israeli enemy that occupies it. However, trading with the Palestinian cause has become a habit of such leaders since the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who taught them the magic of the word Palestine and how it affects the hearts of the Arab people.

Before Biden's arrival in Israel, local journalist Yossi Melman revealed in Haaretz the long, hidden history of contacts and meetings between Saudi and Israeli officials since the 1980s. The Saudi ambassador in Washington at the time, Bandar Bin Sultan, continued his contacts and meetings with Mossad officials, as well as former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu. Melman confirmed that Saudi Arabia bought weapons, technology and wiretapping programmes from Israel, and that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman met Netanyahu in the new Saudi city of Neom, where the Israeli leader was accompanied by an intelligence official.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JULY 14: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - "ISRAELI GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE (GPO) / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) US President Joe Biden (L) meets Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid (R) in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 14, 2022. ( Israeli Government Press Office - Anadolu Agency )

US President Joe Biden (L) meets Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid (R) in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 14, 2022 [Israeli Government Press Office/Anadolu Agency]

There is complete agreement between Arab countries, in particular those in the Gulf, along with Israel, to reject the Iranian nuclear deal, but their governments are afraid to enter an open military alliance with the occupation state in case they are dragged into armed conflict with Iran. Some have already been attacked by Iranian proxies in the region, such as the Houthi operations that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and local and foreign tankers in Gulf territorial waters.

READ: Iran says it detains Israel-linked network planning sabotage

This is probably why the closing statement of the Jeddah summit did not mention the so-called Arab-Israeli-American "NATO". Nevertheless, from the point of view of defence, Israel had already proposed the establishment of an Air Defence Project for the Middle East last month, which would see the signatories alerting each other about drone attacks.

While the Jeddah statement did not mention this suspicious alliance, it can be read between the lines, and the US will remain the eternal guarantor of Israeli interests in any Arab-American alliance. I believe that involving the occupation state explicitly and directly in a regional "NATO" is merely a matter of time. The postponement is purely temporary, because America's goal is to integrate Israel into the Arab region and speed up normalisation with Arab countries so that the regional fabric becomes one. Normalisation agreements are the magic wand for the disgraceful Arab-Israeli-American "NATO".

As for the Tehran summit between the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkiye there was neither taste nor substance. Everyone was talking about their own issues and about terrorism from their own point of view. Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to create a strategic alliance with Iran and turn Turkiye against America, while Iran sought to support the Russian position in the war against Ukraine in order to win it over on the nuclear file and get Moscow to take a decisive stance towards Israel regarding its continuous strikes against Iranian forces and militias in Syria. Meanwhile, Turkiye demanded Russian and Iranian support for its planned military operation in northern Syria.

The summit ended without any real change in the positions of the three countries, and the results were limited to an announcement by Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of an agreement with Putin to allow grain exports from Ukraine, to which the UN agreed. This was seen as a historic diplomatic victory for Turkiye, as it has positioned itself at the heart of the international security equation, but Iran disappointed Erdogan by rejecting the military operation in Syria. Instead, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei invited him to talk about solving the problem of the presence of the Kurdish PKK militia backed by Washington and Russia on the Turkish border with Syria.

The two summits were concluded without any tangible results on the ground that will decide the position of the participating countries and where they will stand. The US is still pulling the strings and moving its puppets however it wants. Do not be fooled by some Arab writers who claim that the US star is dying out and we are seeing the end of its role as the sole superpower involved in the Middle East.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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