Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The Crisis of Confidence in International Organizations is Real

There is a real crisis of confidence in international organizations, especially in our region, whether they are research and thought centers, or legal organizations whose status and power stem from international laws. It is a deep crisis of confidence, and it increases over the course of days and events.
Here is a striking example. Last October, a journalistic investigation carried out by Iran International and the American Semaphore revealed that Iran had penetrated some think tanks and political decision-making centers in Washington through a group of analysts affiliated with Tehran.
The analysts, whose mission was to improve Tehran’s image and confuse its critics in Washington, were able to reach prominent positions, and formed the Iran Experts Plan team, or the Youth Network, amid American leniency, especially from the Democrats, at the time of the start of the nuclear negotiations.
Today, five months later, a new investigation conducted by Iran International and Semaphore showed that the Iranian government formed a secret alliance with the International Crisis Group during the presidency of Barack Obama, and used this prominent research center to pressure the American government on the nuclear file.
Iran International obtained thousands of emails from Iranian diplomats that showed that Tehran’s cooperation with the Crisis Group took place through the Center for Political and International Studies of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
According to Iran International, the documents, in addition to conversations with experts who participated in the nuclear negotiations, prove that during the talks between Iran and world powers in 2014 and 2015, International Crisis Group analysts promoted Iran’s stance.
The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding in 2016, but it was never announced. The documents reveal that the MoU between the Iranian Foreign Ministry Research Center and the International Crisis Group provided a framework for “scientific and academic interactions” with the aim of “promoting and strengthening friendship and mutual understanding.”
As a result, for a decade, the International Crisis Group played an important role in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, lifting sanctions on Iran, and providing recommendations regarding Tehran to the administrations of Obama, Trump, and Biden and Congress.
Despite all this, the International Crisis Group never announced that it had concluded an agreement with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, “and its analysts never mentioned their close relations with Iranian officials.”
Add to all of the above the inaction of some international organizations towards Iranian militias in the region, for example, the story of the UN vehicles used by the Houthis in Yemen, and the way the United States and Britain are currently dealing with the militias.
Recent events, after the Gaza War, showed that the US and British forces notified the militias before carrying out air strikes, which weakened the impact of those attacks. It is enough to remember that the dates of the strikes are specified and announced in advance!
As for the Iranian penetration of international organizations, and under the watchful eyes of the previous Obama administration, or now Biden, we must remember that this overlooking is taking place over the most dangerous file - the Iranian nuclear file, which threatens the entire region, as well as the chances of reaching the awaited Palestinian state.
Therefore, there is a crisis of confidence, especially in moments of international uncertainty, specifically regarding our region. A crisis of confidence towards the West, specifically Washington, and a crisis of confidence in international organizations, their motives, and their credibility. The examples are many and would fill books, not newspapers.