There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia has surprised the world by taking a courageous step that is “unprecedented” in the history of the United Nations since the establishment of its Nations. It refused to become a member of the UN Security Council protesting explicitly against “the Council’s deficit” to find solutions to the issues of the Middle East, taking Syria as an example.
The Saudi rejection… and the open possibilities!
In fact, many around the world will stand and analyze the reasons for Saudi Arabia’s apology and not accepting a membership in the Council, 12 hours after electing it overwhelmingly.
Many people around the world will also wonder: Why Riyadh refused such a membership, since it sought for achieving such a step for more than two years, and has created and trained a specialist diplomatic team (young men and women) for this aim, and has prepared and provided them with the skills and languages to honor their country and the Arab States in the most important internationalist platforms!
Several signs came before Riyadh’s refusal to accept the membership of the Security Council. These signs highlighted the size of the Saudi dissatisfaction and anger, most notably the statement made the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz during the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo on February last year, and the most recent one was when Riyadh refused to address a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York two weeks ago.
In spite of the Saudi sudden decision, and despite the fact that the Kingdom rolled the snowball by criticizing the Security Council and asking for fixing and changing it politically, then refusing its membership, I think that there are still three open Saudi possibilities. Either to fully waive the membership completely, and that’s what seems to be happening in reality, to retain the membership of the Council and to boycott its sessions, or to return to it in a step responding to and recognizing the International and Arab demands.
As for the reason why Saudi Arabia refused the membership in the most important Nations Council, the answer to this is found and reflected in Saudi Arabia’s statement. However, why did Saudi Arabia abandon the policy of silence and self-discipline to reject the International participation?
1- The Saudi withdrawal is considered an explicit expression of the Saudi anger and frustration because of the way by which the UN Security Council, as well as the positions of the major countries, deals with the Middle East issues, and it aimed at drawing attention to the importance of those hot files.
2- The Saudi disappointment of the actions and policies of the United States – as a strategic ally – through its insistence on harming the relations of the two countries finally, and ignoring the region’s priority files, and also because of the Russian intransigence regarding the Syrian file.
3- The calls of the “friendliness speeches” between Washington and Tehran, and ignoring the vision of Riyadh, despite the fact that Iran is a partner in killing, displacing, and migrating the Syrian people through supplying the regime of Bashar al-Assad with weapons and fighters from Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Guards, and from Iraqi militias. This comes in addition to its blatant intervention in the Gulf and Arab internal affairs, and not respecting and complying with the international warnings.
The gap of the tension and apathy in the relations between Riyadh and Washington increased this year, and perhaps the Saudi withdrawal from the membership of the Security Council reflects the expansion of disagreement on issues considered by Riyadh as priority, while are not considered so by Washington. Also, what increased the said gap is the fact that the Obama administration failed to achieve any important accomplishment in the Syrian crisis, despite the passage of three years, as well as betraying the Syrian people who are being killed and murdered with chemical weapons, and the White House’s attempt to pressure Egypt and to impose its will on the pretext of supporting democracy to keep the Muslim Brotherhood in power, to which President Mohamed Morsi belongs.
4- The major countries continued to deal with double standards, and to manipulate the fate of the peoples by using the ‘veto’, as well as to ignore the massacres and the displacement of peoples instead of applying the international legislation. Also, the Council should instead assume its responsibilities in keeping the world peace.
5- Procrastination over decades and keeping the Palestinian cause standing still unresolved, what expanded the circle of unrest and tension, and led to the emergence of extremist movements. Thus, the region became unsafe and instable.
Personally speaking, I wish Saudi Arabia could begin a new influential journey in the Security Council that could be registered in history and to work from inside it to criticize it from the outside, despite the fact that the justifications cited in its statement are true, and everyone agrees with it. Leaving States that are not concerned with the issues defended by the Kingdom by the Council will weaken its presence, and entering the Council will be considered an important experience to record its positions, and this adds to it, as well as it adds to the Council, when entering as a new face with new priorities and initiatives.
Saudi Arabia is a country with strategic depth in the Arab and Islamic world and it has international valuable, important, influential, and extending relations. It contains the Grand Mosque, the Qibla of the Muslim world, it is considered the largest source of oil globally, and is among the countries of the world Group of 20. There is no doubt that it is capable of pressuring from inside the United Nations and the Security Council if it worked on forming international blocs and alliances, what enables it to influence and to rearrange the political cards from within the Council, rather than boycotting and refraining from participating.
There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia has ringed the alarm bell that will open the files of the Council and that of its inability. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques warned at the recent summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, saying: “The Security Council is the international entity in charge of achieving international peace and security, and if we fail to make it come to support them in each of Syria and Palestine, and to stop the violence practiced against them, we then have to turn our backs to it, and to work to build our capacity to solve our problems by ourselves”. Indeed, Saudi Arabia said and did… But, are those countries ready for this?
Certainly, Saudi Arabia is doing right in its anger and in its warnings against the Council that lacks credibility, strength, and the ability to apply justice. The bones of this Council are full of several diseases, until it became a global example of failure for its inability to keep up the aspirations of the peoples, to restrain the tyrants and murderers, and to stop the bloodshed. However, it was better for Riyadh not to withdraw and to participate in the Council, for this is more useful and influential, and if necessary, it would have withdrew from it after diagnosing its illnesses from the inside.