Playing hard ball – Saudi Arabia is no longer a silent partner

SHAFAQNA – Within days of shaming Saudi Arabia for its atrocious war abuses against Yemen – most specifically Yemeni children, the United Nations was forced to back paddle on its decision, in order to assuage Riyadh’s wrath. What a “brave” new world we live in!

It all began with the publication of a U.N. report earlier this month, pinpointing to the many abuses and violence perpetrated against children in conflict zones – in the case of the kingdom, Yemen. The 40-page report, which was mainly penned by Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. chief’s special representative for children and armed conflict — asserted the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for about 60 percent of 1,953 child deaths and injuries in Yemen since last year.

While Zerrougui’s findings clearly ruffled Saudi Arabia’s feathers – firmly sitting the kingdom as a serial human rights offender, her findings were not exactly news breaking … Saudi Arabia’s track record has long left something to be desired; might it be in Yemen, or even within its borders.

Of course Riyadh could not let the United Nations get away with such crime of “Lèse majesté”. One does not critic the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia! Not even the Heavens would stand for a such a treachery.

And so the kingdom made the U.N. retract its initial statement, demanding that its good name be taken off the infamous human rights blacklist.

Although I expect much ink will be spent in discussing Saudi Arabia’s role in tearing Yemen to pieces, I’d like today to look beyond this new political scandal, and concentrate instead on its implications.

It is seldom we have the opportunity to witness political change on such a global scale. 2016 promises to be a year of dramatic shifts and political re-alignments – to the extent that Western powers, the deep globalist states, the former engineers of the world political map, might soon be relegated to playing second fiddle to the House of Saud.

I might be wrong of course, but here is how I’m reading into this new thaw in between the U.N. and Saudi Arabia.

Ever since King Abdullah ibn Saud passed away in early 2015 the kingdom went from silent political partner to the West, to one vocal wannabe superpower. With Prince Muhammad bin Salman leading the show – let’s not pretend he isn’t … King Salman’s health is somewhat wavering, the kingdom has transformed into a power hungry imperial power … with one massive ego, and cheque book to match.

No longer the timid Arab player, Western powers can exploit, Riyadh wants now for the world to dance to its tune … and why not? Riyadh has been bankrolling enough nations for its officials to feel entitle!

While I am no Saudi cheerleader, you could not exactly expect for this one nation to keep writing cheques while Western nations play empire … make a deal with the devil and he will come to collect … eventually!

From where I’m standing we are witnessing a classic Greek tragedy – the proverbial tale of the son smiting his father to better claim his place under the Sun.

The Sun is most definitely burning bright in Riyadh, and Prince Muhammad bin Salman is not one to share.

I would urge you NOT to underestimate Saudi Arabia’s ability to inflict harm upon its Western friends, should it chose to teach its unruly political partners how to kneel before Riyadh’s growing hegemonic ambitions.

Saudi Arabia’s answer to the United Nations this June should really give you a taste of things to come … and I’m not talking about bakhlavas.

Outraged by the U.N. defiance senior Saudi diplomats warned this Monday that the kingdom would take drastic measures against the international body should its name remain on the U.N. human rights black list. Riyadh warned it would:

One – break ties with the U.N. and call on its Arab partners to follow suit. Bearing in mind that the GCC countries and a few other Arab states – all major oil producers – take their cue from the kingdom, such a move would seriously strain international diplomatic relations.

Two – withdraw all funding from all U.N. agencies. It is probably this one measure which would hurt the most … Hate them, or despise them al-Sauds have some serious cash to throw around, and the U.N. cannot afford to lose such a patron.

“The threats were issued in a series of exchanges between top Saudi officials in Riyadh, including Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, according to U.N.-based officials,” wrote Foreign Policy.

If the Saudis have often “clashed” with the U.N. – which countries haven’t – I don’t think that the kingdom was ever that determined to inflict harm over a perceived offense.

If King Abdullah was willing to confine his influence to Saudi Arabia’s borders, Prince Muhammad bin Salman has his eyes set on the world altogether.

Watch out Washington, this prince is one move short of teaching you the curtsey.

Beyond the obvious political scandal, lies a new reality: a very belligerent Saudi Arabia is flexing its muscles, and there is very little the West can do about it.

In truth, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time.

If Western capitals assumed they would forever tower over their former colonies, on account of their ability to project political and military power, they might be in for a rude awakening.

Today money speaks much louder than military threat … add to that an oil-dependent Western world and you have one interesting political equation.

Camel-riders they still maybe, war criminals they might still stand, but who now will dare speak against the kingdom when the United Nations faltered so publicly?

How long before Ban Ki Moon is asked to step down? How long before all Western capitals are made to take their cue from Riyadh?

Is globalization still working out for you?!

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna




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