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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 98 12:58:24 CST
From: MER Editorial <mer@MiddleEast.org>
Subject: Islamic Conference - Rhetorical Paper Tiger
Article: 24956

The Islamic Conference: Not putting their money and efforts where their mouths are

Mid-East Realities, editorial, 3 January 1997

The Iranians and the 50+ members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) may have put on a good show in Tehran a few weeks ago.

But one of the most basic problems in the Arab and Muslim worlds is the unbelievable gap between the rhetoric that comes from government officials and the realities that lie behind the usual verbosity and hyperbole.

Just take the OIC, for instance. After all the rhetorical flourishes in Tehran, and with some of the richest regimes and families in the world front-and-center in Tehran, the actual OIC itself in its day-to-day operations hardly exists. Just consider the following bare facts:

The entire annual budget of the OIC including a variety of cultural and social agencies is but $11 million! Goodness, the Americans spend far far more for a single aircraft, or for a few cruise missiles. Any small American university has a much greater annual budget!

Moreover most of the Arab and Muslim governments don't even pay the very small amount they owe. The OIC is about $100 million in debt; and little was done about this in Tehran!

Speeches and rhetoric are one thing. And MER has highlighted some of that in a positive way of late; plus MER-TV has just featured the entire opening OIC address by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

But talk and ceremony don't replace reality.

Arab and Muslim armies remain backward, which is why the country of Israel with a population of but 5 million is far superior to all of them combined and continues to swallow up Jerusalem!

And Arab and Muslim political institutions remain, at best, underdeveloped and retarded; while private and press institutions remain nearly totally co-opted, controlled, and third-rate.

Consequently the OIC call for a seat on the U.N. Security Council is, well, unrealistic at best, in a world where money and power have unfortunately proved, time and time again in recent years, more important than principle and justice.