Possible OIC army could play critical role in Jerusalem issue
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which was established in 1969 following the criminal arson of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, will meet in Istanbul on Wednesday for an extraordinary summit to discuss Jerusalem following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. embassy to the city. It is expected that clear messages and steps against Israel will emerge as a result of the summit.
World’s largest army
The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states across four continents. The organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and can sign military and economic sanctions.
If the member states of the OIC unite militarily, they will form the world’s largest and most comprehensive army. The number of active soldiers would be at least 5,206,100, while the defense budget would reach approximately $175 billion.
Israel dwarfed by Muslim army
In comparison, Israel is dwarfed by this unified Muslim army. The population of Israel, which is occupying Palestine, is 8.547 million. The population of Istanbul alone is over 14 million.
There are 160,000 active soldiers in Israel’s forces, and their defense budget is $15.6 billion.
Muslim countries can surround Israel
One of the decisions that could emerge from the OIC summit is to establish a “Jerusalem Duty Group” in which a few countries protect the city. In this regard, military steps are expected to be taken.
The establishment of a possible Muslim army would ensure that Israel is militarily surrounded.
First stage boasts 250,000 soldiers
It is expected that 250,000 soldiers will participate in the first stage of a possible operation. Land, air and naval bases of member states located in the most critical regions will be used. Joint bases will be constructed in a short period of time.
Close contact routes can be formed by land bases near Israel. There are also air bases where planes traveling from distant regions can gather. Israel may also encounter many ships coming from the Mediterranean and Red Sea.
It is possible for 500 tanks and armored vehicles, 100 planes and 500 attack helicopters and 50 ships to mobilize quickly.
Turkey alone outdoes Israel
Turkey may play an important role as an operational center. Turkey, which recently completed the successful cross-border Euphrates Shield Operation, ranks seventh internationally for its army. In terms of its army size, Turkey ranks second among NATO members. Turkey has approximately 4,000 tanks, 1,000 aircraft and 13 submarines. There are 194 vehicles in the fleet as part of the steps taken in recent years.
As the only Muslim country in ownership of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has an important place among the OIC members.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is currently the term leader of the OIC, delivered a clear message regarding Jerusalem.
“Those who think Jerusalem belongs to them today will not be able to find a tree to hide behind tomorrow,” said Erdoğan.
Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the Malaysian army was ready to defend Jerusalem.
“We have to be prepared for any possibilities. The ATM [Malaysian Armed Forces] has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership. Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos," Hussein said.
Turkey building alliances
Over the recent years, Turkey has developed strong ties with OIC member states. It has conducted military drills with neighboring Iraq, and signed many projects with Qatar and Somalia among other Gulf and African countries.
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