Saudi Arabia did everything it could to bring the US into war with Syria in hopes of weakening its regional foe Iran. But the American people stood up and thanks to a (possibly unintentional) public statement by Secretary of State Kerry and fast action by Russia, the UN is now destroying chemical weapons within Syria. Much like the 2003 Iraq War the pretext for US military involvement in Syria rested on weapons of mass destruction or, more bluntly, the US screaming “he’s got a gun” hoping to scare everyone, including the American people, into war. But now WMDs are being dealt with and any pretext the Obama Administration had to do Saudia Arabia’s bidding has gone up in smoke.
Needless to say the Saudis aren’t happy and have for once decided to come out of the shadows of back room deal making to throw a pretty pointless tantrum at the United Nations.
Saudi Arabia said on Friday it was declining its United Nations Security Council rotating seat, citing “double standards” that made it hard for the world body to end conflict and wars. “The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
It said it was unable to take its seat until reforms were introduced, but did not specify what reforms it wanted.
The only “reforms” Saudia Arabia wants are that when they buy a nation’s support for war they stay bought.
The Saudis have been considerably weakened after failing to drive the US into the Syrian Civil War culminating in a thaw in US-Iran relations.
The Iranian president’s tentative steps toward bilateral engagement with the United States, although certainly far from a Nixon-in-China breakthrough, are disconcerting for Saudi Arabia on a number of levels. One commentator argued that it is precisely the prospect of an incomplete and circumscribed rapprochement—what he terms “the politics of the minimum”—that is so dangerous for other countries in the region (the Gulf and Turkey) because it gives Iran more space to maneuver but leaves unchecked the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ ability to meddle in Saudi Arabia’s neighbors…
Also at play here is a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran stemming from their contested views about the U.S. role in the region and specifically the Gulf. Iran sees Saudi Arabia as America’s local proxy, responsible for inviting American forces to the region, where they have encircled the Islamic Republic. Saudi Arabia sees Iran’s attempt to project power and break free from this encirclement as a form of hegemonic ambition in the region.
In other words, Saudi Arabia’s strategy for regional dominance relies on America staying in the region while Iran’s strategy relies on America withdrawing. So be prepared to see the Saudis continually try to suck America into other territorial pissing matches with Iran.