Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

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Diadem
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Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby Diadem » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:10 am UTC

So today Saudi Arabia was elected into the United Nations Security Council... and declined.

I found this highly surprising. A (temporary) seat in the UNSC gives a lot of power and influence, and ability to steer international events. Why would any country decline? Especially one like Saudi-Arabia, which is not exactly isolationist.

Does anyone know more background about this? It seems very strange.
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Zamfir
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby Zamfir » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:13 am UTC

I is there a reason to doubt their official line, that it's a protest against US middle eastern policy, especially the lack of intervention in Syria? If they are on the SC, they might find themselves under US pressure to vote the American line, which is currently somewhat at an angle with their own views.

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Diadem
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby Diadem » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:04 pm UTC

Their official stance seems somewhat self-contradictory: "We don't like what the UNSC council is doing in Syria, so we are going to make sure we can't influence its decision anymore by refusing to take a seat in it".
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:23 pm UTC

Yeah, their reasoning seems backwards, but it's not unheard of for someone to cut off their nose to spite their face.
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby elasto » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:35 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Their official stance seems somewhat self-contradictory: "We don't like what the UNSC council is doing in Syria, so we are going to make sure we can't influence its decision anymore by refusing to take a seat in it".

They may feel that they will have no real influence even on the UNSC though - and, worse, that whatever line they take will annoy X more than it appeases Y and so be a lose-lose situation.

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Zamfir
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby Zamfir » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:16 pm UTC

Yeah, being on the UNSC doesn't give you influence over the affairs treated by the UNSC. What it gives you, is a chance to sell/show your loyalty. You follow the line of a powerful faction, and they give you kudos elsewhere. Good Ally kudos if you are close to them, more explicit trade deals or so if you are distant.

For the Saudis (and most countries)it's an opportunity to show loyalty to Washington. Except they are apparently pissed off with Washington, so they seem to want to renegotiate their relation vis a vis the US before they show loyalty again. I guess that joining the SC and obstruct the US is a bridge too far, so they quit.

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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby folkhero » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:54 pm UTC

Well the Saudis have the United States, their own people and some neighboring countries that they want to keep happy, or at least not piss off too badly. I imagine there will be a lot of votes that which will piss off at least one of those groups no matter which way they go. Since security council member don't have all that much influence unless they are permanent members, I think turning down the seat was probably wise.
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Re: Saudi Arabia declines UNSC seat

Postby Alexius » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:34 pm UTC

Apparently this may be to do with internal Saudi politics. There's some disagreement between the king and the foreign minister (who is the king's nephew). The Saudi ambassador to the UN didn't know it was going to happen, and was actually giving interviews celebrating their nomination after the GA voted to give them the seat.

Speculation is that the king ordered them to turn down the seat in order to discredit the foreign minister whose ministry have worked very hard to get it.


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