“When Israel attacks Iran — not if — the results of that war will reshape the Middle East in ways we can’t entirely predict. The one certainty will be that China will have far more influence there than it does now, and far more than we ever will have again.”
It’s all about Iran, as Riyadh no longer wants to hold hands with Washington.
After a year of campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council, the Saudi Arabian government was elected to it on October 18. They turned it down, forcefully, the same day.
How could that be? No nation offered a Security Council seat has ever turned one down, not even one of the non-permanent seats the Saudis were offered.
The Saudi action pokes a large pin in the UN balloon. It’s not quite the same as the U.S. rejection of the League of Nations. It’s worse because the League was assumed to be an effective global arbiter of affairs. The U.S. rejected membership in order to preserve national sovereignty. The Saudis’ rejection of the UN was, in part, because they didn’t want to participate in anything so useless and ineffective.
The decision to reject the Security Council seat had to have been made — or at least acquiesced in — by King Abdullah, the 89-year-old head of the Saudi gerontocracy. Saudi foreign policy usually moves at a glacial pace. Given the proximity in time between the election of the Saudis to the seat and their rejection of it (only a few hours), the rejection could not have been a last-minute decision. It had to have been debated for many weeks within the Saudi regime.