Saudi Arabia has won a seat on the UN Security Council, alongside Chad, Nigeria, Chile and Lithuania. The Council has 15 members at any one time, and these five countries replace the outgoing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
This means that the Saudis will now be partly responsible for helping to legislate on topics such as combating terrorism. But according to a 2009 cable signed by Hilary Clinton and revealed by Wikileaks, Saudi Arabia is the foremost source of funding for Islamist terrorist groups.
In the cable, Clinton said “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida … and other terrorist groups… Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” She went on to bemoan the “ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist funds emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority”.
Israel and her friends are particularly concerned over the unopposed election. Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi has pointed toward the Palestinian conflict as the major source of conflict in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia gained 176 votes in the secret ballot, which took place yesterday, meaning that at least 11 EU countries voted in favour of her joining the council. As Britain is an ally of Israel and a vociferous opponent of Islamic extremism, should we really be joined in Union with European states who do not view middle eastern affairs in the same way?
UPDATE – Saudi Arabia has turned down the post, accusing the UN of double standards following that body’s unwillingness to back the Syrian rebels. Saudi Arabia is strongly backing the rebels against the current Assad regime. In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said “Work mechanisms and double-standards on the Security Council prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace. Therefore Saudi Arabia… has no other option but to turn down Security Council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world’s peace and security.”