By Shabbir Rizvi
On Tuesday, November 21, the BRICS economic bloc convened an emergency virtual summit to address the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza. Notably, the summit was held at the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which President Ebrahim Raeisi raised several demands and suggestions.
The BRICS economic alliance accounts for a large chunk of global GDP and is committed to representing “the global majority” through its induction of six new countries in August of this year (Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Argentina).
Though it does not have the same diplomatic clout on the world stage as the United Nations, the countries part of the alliance have enough economic and diplomatic soft power to force significant changes on their own.
President Raeisi has been quick to recognize this power - the demands raised by the Islamic Republic of Iran at the summit are in line with its calls since the beginning of the Zionist onslaught on Gaza, which has now killed over 14,000 civilians and displaced thousands more.
This brutal aggression has been exacerbated by the United States, which is the primary culprit in the oppression of Palestinians, using the Tel Aviv regime only as a tool of executive power.
President Raeisi has highlighted for some time that the United Nations Security Council - of which the United States is a permanent member - has failed to act to save the lives of Palestinians.
The United States has sabotaged every effort in the past seven weeks to demand an end to the aggression on Gaza - citing its commitment to the defense of the occupation regime.
The four-day truce announced on Wednesday and confirmed by both the Israeli regime and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas came despite efforts by the US to keep the pot boiling.
In its statement, Hamas made it clear that its hands “remain on the trigger” if the regime breaches the truce deal because they know what the regime is capable of. It has brazenly violated over 60 UN resolutions over the years and simply cannot be trusted to honor any resolution or deal.
Furthermore, the resolutions adopted by the UNSC do not call for a sustainable solution to the Palestinian question. It only “kicks the can down the road” as hundreds to thousands of Palestinians continue to be martyred at the hands of the Zionist occupation year after year.
If the UNSC can’t resolve it, perhaps it's time to rethink things and try a new approach.
That’s where the BRICS bloc comes into play. Though no formal declaration and commitment has been made, the countries have now for the first time been put to the test on how they can navigate a critical situation - like the Zionist aggression on Gaza - without the United States in the room.
Most UNSC resolutions are heavily influenced or created by the United States. This often results in bitter political stalemates or half-measure “solutions” that do not solve anything.
Several key demands were raised by President Raeisi at the BRICS summit on Tuesday.
There are demands to stop the aggression on Gaza, lift the blockade, and allow humanitarian aid, not just for four days. This is typically a demand even echoed by some representatives within the United States itself - despite the Biden administration refusing to allow it.
Iran insists on a few more finishing touches that can solve the problem in its entirety.
Citing the destruction of doctors, journalists, women and children, as well as the usage of banned chemical weapons like white phosphorus, President Raeisi took this opportunity to demand that Israel be designated a terrorist state, and supported the idea of BRICS countries uniting to demand that the International Criminal Court pursue charges against Israel - and added in the United States, for its direct hand in the aggression on Gaza.
He also called for severing economic ties with the Zionist regime, which is in line with his demands to oil-rich countries to cut off all oil and energy to the Zionist regime a few weeks ago.
Most of what the Iranian president said in his speech is what the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has also repeatedly stated in his speeches in recent weeks.
“Continuing interactions with the fake Israeli regime, especially in the military and economic fields, means helping to continue the crimes and killing of women and children, which is condemned and blamed by all nations,” President Raeisi asserted.
He highlighted not only the US role in political support for the Zionist terror in Gaza - but also questioned the validity of the UNSC itself.
The US, France, and UK - all of whom are permanent members of the UNSC – freely sell weapons to the Zionist occupation. Three countries that profit off the brutal massacre of Palestinians cannot be trusted to draft resolutions for truly advocating for the livelihoods of Palestinians.
“How cruel is it that America, Britain, Germany and France, as Western powers, send all kinds of weapons and bombs to Israel on a daily basis and at the same time oppose the ceasefire,” he said.
“America, along with Israel, has closed all ways to help the people of Gaza and paralyzed the UN Security Council.”
Pairing the demands for aid and charges of terrorism against Israel, President Raeisi suggested that the BRICS nations should rally around the Palestinians’ right to self-defense, which is an internationally recognized law that the occupied can resist the occupier by any means necessary.
This contrasts the environment in the UNSC, where the US has blocked a Russian “ceasefire” resolution because it did not condemn Hamas.
Recognizing the Palestinian right to self-defense against a brutal occupation is an important and just demand but may be the primary point of disagreement between the various heads of state.
Due to normalized ties with the Israeli regime, some BRICS states like Russia and India still condemn Hamas and call for a two-state solution to the crisis, while blaming “both sides” for the violence.
The Islamic Republic, however, does not recognize the Zionist occupation, correctly referring to it as a fake and illegitimate entity.
So, the bar has been set for BRICS’ first political test - and it has been set by the Islamic Republic.
Though BRICS countries do not see completely eye to eye and may often not be on the same page at all (for example, India enjoys warm relations with Israel, even though it is rather new), this will be an opportunity to see how they navigate a humanitarian crisis as an economic bloc without the political stonewalling from Washington.
Even if “maximalist” demands are not met - the BRICS countries have a chance to now show the world that they really are building to represent “the global majority,” as stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Israeli regime has been largely condemned by millions of people across the world, which is evident from the massive demonstrations we have witnessed in different countries since October 7.
The only thing keeping it alive is the United States and its political puppet regimes.
If the BRICS countries can unite around the Palestinian cause and punish Israel in any serious way - this would lay the foundation for long-term change, which would highlight the growing irrelevance of the UNSC as a political body capable of making life-saving choices.
Though it is unclear what could come to fruition from this test-run summit, Iran has shown it is willing to change the global equations of power on behalf of the Palestinian cause.
Shabbir Rizvi is a Chicago-based political analyst with a focus on US internal security and foreign policy.
(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)
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