By Ian Bremmer and Vuk Jeremic
On Thursday Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN Security Council as one of the 10 rotating members for the first time in history. On Friday it became the first country ever to decline that offer, sending diplomatic shockwaves around the globe.
In a public statement, the kingdom’s ministry of foreign affairs cited the UNSC’s inability to help bring about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to curb nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East. But most importantly, the Saudis cited the UNSC “allowing the ruling regime in Syria to kill and burn its people by the chemical weapons, while the world stands idly, without applying deterrent sanctions against the Damascus regime”. They said all of this was “irrefutable evidence and proof of the inability of the Security Council”.