The Arabs have had a long and tragic history with the Security Council, a body that has never protected them. During its deliberations, Arab causes have often fallen victims to the international struggle for influence, as well as the use of the veto, a tool the most powerful states created for themselves. Only the keeper of the UN’s archives knows the true number of decisions that were made but remained unimplemented and were not given any consideration.
Arab states did not react to these facts by departing from the United Nations, as it includes numerous institutions which have made significant contributions to global peace and security. The Arabs do not want to breach the course of international law, no matter how crippled or evil-minded it is. Yet, the Arabs also do not want to become complicit in the crimes it enables.
The Security Council has become a forum for perjury and a place to make deals. The Security Council has lost its balance to the degree that it is posed to lose touch with the reasons it came into existence. The Saudi decision to depart the council is simply a rejection of flaws. Why should the kingdom join an institution that incorporates fifteen members who are entitled to speak but do nothing else?
What is happening in Syria is no longer a crisis between the regime and the opposition, for it has become a horrible human catastrophe that is, in some ways, peerless in recorded history. The size of the disaster has far exceeded that of civil wars in Lebanon and Algeria, nor have the wars in Sudan and Somalia or anywhere else victimized as many as the violence in Syria.
Today we are witnessing an unprecedentedly explicit, immoral deal: The council’s permanent member states have turned their back on Syria, just to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran or to create a new balance of power between Russia and the US.
The Security Council is being used as an excuse for inactivity, although the number of Syrian refugees exceeds that of any other migration. The Arab initiative to convince Saudi Arabia to reconsider its decision is a wrong. Rather, it should back the decision to withdraw, and tell the world that the Arab nation has not died despite all attempts to kill its conscience and soul.
This is the least Saudi Arabia could say against the permanent members’ veto, which resembles the law of the jungle, not that between nations. The Arabs must tell the Russians and the Americans that the pressing issue is not Iran’s nuclear weapons or Syria’s chemical weapons, but the life and destiny of a nation, a nation which we see everyday attempting to escape, both inside and outside its own borders. Take that nation to the Security Council, and Geneva, in all its numbered variations.