Well, this is a bit of a switch. Normally when we discuss the United Nations, it’s either to point out the uselessness of the Security Council or the double standards of its Human Rights Council in regard to Israel. Until last year, the latter included Saudi Arabia, one of a number of states with significant human-rights issues that used the UNHRC to obsess over Israel while distracting global attention from their own regimes.
Saudi Arabia had an opportunity to join the 15-member Security Council, but rejected their election to the panel over double standards and impotence at the UNSC. In particular, they’re unhappy that the Security Council hasn’t endorsed military action against Bashar al-Assad in Syria:
Saudi Arabia is rejecting its seat on the U.N. Security Council and says the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts.
The move came just hours after the kingdom was elected as one of the Council’s 10 nonpermanent members.
In a statement carried on Friday by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Foreign Ministry accused the Council of having “double standards” and failing in its duties toward Syria.
It says this alleged failure enabled Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to perpetrate the killings of its people, including with chemical weapons, without facing any deterrents or punishment.
“To have the Palestinian cause remaining without a fair and permanent solution for 65 years, which resulted in several wars that threatened international peace and security, is evidence and proof of (the) Security Council’s inability to perform his duties and responsibilities,” the ministry said.
It also blamed the Security Council for not preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the region — especially nuclear weapons, a likely allusion to Saudi Arabia’s adversarial neighbor Iran.
It’s difficult to argue with the conclusion that the UN is basically worthless as an imposer of peace. Thanks to Russia and China over the last ten years, the UN Security Council has proven worthless as a way to stop nuclear-weapons proliferation, too, especially in that region. The P5+1 hasn’t done much better, but it’s been marginally more effective than the UN. Perhaps Saudi Arabia could improve the situation by participating on the Security Council, but the permanent veto pretty much makes everyone else powerless.
It’s a big rebuke to the General Assembly, which voted overwhelmingly to make Saudi Arabia the latest representative on the top panel. One wonders how the Saudis will be greeted at Turtle Bay after this rejection.