Saudi Arabia, Probably the UN's Worst Crybaby

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/18/2013 05:35:00 PM
This must take the cake for the worst tantrum in international relations for the year: Saudi Arabia's movers and shakers have, in recent years, been lobbying hard to become one of the ten rotating members of the UN Security Council. Then, having secured this berth just recently, the country pulls out:
A decision of such magnitude would have to have been taken by King Abdullah or Crown Prince Salman, said a Saudi analyst who asked not to be named. "Saudi Arabia has been working on (getting onto the Security Council) for the last three years. They trained diplomats, male and female, the cream of the Foreign Ministry, our best talented youths. Then somebody made the decision suddenly to pull out," he said.
Until the Saudis winning selection as a temporary security council member for 2014-2016, no country has ever turned down such a selection. Having done the oozing and schmoozing, Saudi Arabia is acting out over three pet issues not going its way: tougher sanctions on Syria to support Sunni rebel groups it funds; tougher sanctions on its would-be hegemonic rival in the Middle East (Shi'ite) Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program; and the continuing stalemate in Israel-Palestine negotiations:
The failure "to find a solution to the Palestinian cause for 65 years" had led to "numerous wars that have threatened world peace," the foreign ministry said. It also criticised the UN's "failure" to rid the Middle East region of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons [take that, Iran...and Israel too!]. And it accused the UN of allowing the Syrian government "to kill its own people with chemical weapons... without confronting it or imposing any deterrent sanctions".
Saudi Arabia likely believes it is locked in a contest for its very survival. Not only is the Islamic-Jewish invoked here but also the Sunni-Shi'ite schism. That the US is not willing to "act tough" is the cause of Saudi calls for UN reform, whereas before the Yanks were presumably viewed as being more accommodating of Saudi wishes:
Unlike in the past, when Riyadh's frustration was mostly directed at Russia and China, it is now also aimed at Washington, its oldest international ally, which has pursued policies since the Arab Spring that Saudi rulers have bitterly opposed [...]

Saudi concerns that the U.S. decision to avoid [Syria] strikes demonstrated weakness were underscored by signs of a tentative reconciliation between Washington and Tehran, something Riyadh fears may lead to a "grand bargain" on Iran's nuclear programme that leaves Gulf Arab states at a disadvantage. In an earlier sign of mounting Saudi anger, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal two weeks ago cancelled his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in what a diplomatic source said was a response to international inaction on Middle East issues.

It has been sharply critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East since the Arab Spring, not only on Syria but also in Egypt, where Washington cut off aid to the military after it ousted a Muslim Brotherhood government that Riyadh saw as a threat. In an interview with pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.N. Abdullah al-Muallami described U.S. policy on Egypt as "arm-twisting".
This whiny behavior has more to do with geopolitics than with the unfairness of the UN Security Council setup. I do agree that it's unfair that we continue to accede to the wishes of victors of a conflict that ended almost seventy years ago. However, the Saudis acting in such an immature manner is hardly the sort of thing to get the ball rolling in terms of UN reform.

After all, it's hardly acting in the interests of all members but in its (rather petulant) self-interest. Had its former American buddies given Saudi Arabia its way, I hardly think it would be acting so very immaturely. In any event, the IPE Zone's "Best Dramatic Performance About the Unfairness of the World" award for 2013 goes to Saudi Arabia. No one even comes close.