Middle East Eye: "OIC summit in Istanbul didn't lead to the unity"
The US analytical publication Associated Press writes about the choice that Serbia has to make. The fate of another eastern European country will be decided after the general elections to be held in Serbia next Sunday. Europe or Russia? Is Serbia ready to enter the European Union or will the long-term partnership with Russia win out? The results will not be known until next week, but it is already clear that Russia is incredibly popular in the Eastern European country.
Many people in Serbia believe that if Putin had been an ally of Serbia in 1999 there would have been no 78-day war of NATO against the Serbian state. The country's leadership considers Russia to be a reliable ally, able to resist the hegemonic plans of the West.
The influence of NATO and the EU in Eastern Europe is very high. Recently even tiny Montenegro was invited to join the North-Atlantic alliance. Of course, such maneuvers by the West are aimed at reducing the Russian influence in the region, and all possible means are used for that. Serbia, in its turn, can become a buffer zone, which would prevent the further spread of Western influence. Many Serbs still consider themselves to be victims of Western aggression, even so many years after the NATO bombing, and do not see any real benefits from the long negotiations on the accession to the EU. The closer ties with their Slavic ally Russia seem a more attractive option to the Serbians.
The Serbian government refused to join the Western sanctions against Russia and proclaimed military neutrality, to avoid getting involved in regional conflicts. The population is well aware that the so-called Western democracy will not result in anything, but the aggravation of the relations with Serbia's Eastern partners, particularly with Russia, and the Serbian state could not afford this, due to the fact that other eastern European countries that made their choices in favor of the EU are currently in an extremely difficult economic situation.
If the extreme right-wing parties win the elections, it could disrupt the EU's plans to have another state join. According to analysts, the growth of the economic cooperation, political and military ties between Serbia and Russia indicate that the population of the country will make their choice in favor of the Russian partnership.
The British publication Middle East Eye writes about the outcome of the 13th Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Another OIC summit in Istanbul, which finished on Sunday, led to even greater discord instead of the unity, for which it had been planned.
The basic conflict in the Middle East still centers around two main leaders – Iran and Saudi Arabia. Analysts say Riyadh is trying in every way to create an anti-Iranian alliance among the Gulf States. However, the closest allies of Saudi Arabia abstained from participating in such an alliance, underscoring the fragility of the position of Riyadh in the Middle East.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran is trying to build relationships with a competitor in the region, but this approach has led only to a strengthening of the anti-Iranian measures on the part of Riyadh. The speech of the Iranian president underlined that Iran is trying to maintain partnerships with the neighboring countries, which would require the long-standing confrontation to be stopped. According to the Iranian leader, the Middle East community should unite their efforts to fight against terrorism, aggression and the threat from the external forces. Thus, Iran reaffirms itself as a major leader in the Middle East that is able to resist the anti-Iranian rhetoric of the states of the Persian Gulf.