What if you threw a Security Council party and someone important didn’t want to come? This past week saw a shocker that comes as a slap to the UN’s only organ with an enforcement mechanism:
Saudi Arabia stunned the United Nations and even some of its own diplomats on Friday by rejecting a highly coveted seat on the Security Council, a decision that underscored the depth of Saudi anger over what the monarchy sees as weak and conciliatory Western stances toward Syria and Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.
The Saudi decision, which could have been made only with King Abdullah’s approval, came a day after it had won a Security Council seat for the first time, and it appeared to be unprecedented.
Why would they do this? Wouldn’t it be easier to influence the SC from within? As noted by Erik Voeten in the Monkey Cage, “as a non-permanent member, Saudi Arabia would have little power to affect votes” with the P5’s veto standing in the way.