Saudi Arabia is not in my view a country that believes in democracy as we understand it or practise it in the West.
They have their own system of government based on tribal allegiances, which is by and large elitist and does not necessarily keep pace with the march of time.
However, their refusal of a seat on the UN Security Council, saying that the Council is unable to resolve international conflicts because of ‘double-standards’ among its five permanent members, rings true and shows a measure of sophistication and courage which had hitherto been lacking in some of their political thinking.
It was the first time that the Kingdom had been elected as one of the ten non-permanent members which sit for two years.
The Saudis are frustrated that since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions to intervene against President Assad. Riyadh also resents the repeated use of the US veto to block calls for Israel to leave the Occupied Territories on the West Bank. It refers to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 without a specific UN resolution as confirmation of the Council’s impotence. ‘The Kingdom has simply no faith in the Security Council as an arbiter in world affairs,’ one Saudi official said. ‘The veto system effectively makes it redundant. And we saw in Iraq in 2003 that the Council can just be ignored anyway.’
Whatever people may think or say the veto system is antiquated and undemocratic and can be, as is often the case, by-passed by the Big Powers at will.
What a waste of valuable time – to engage in hours of heated debate with the knowledge that, ultimately, nothing would be achieved if one member of the permanent Council was to use their veto to scupper the whole proceedings.
It seems, as always, the concept of justice is invariably dictated by the mighty.