A curious lack of prominence, this week, given over to the news that Saudi Arabia has rejected the chance of a two-year seat on the UN Security Council. Mainly, the Saudis are miffed that nobody has bombed Syria yet. According to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, this inaction sanctions
“the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council [which] prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards preserving international peace and security… The failure of the Security Council to make the Middle East a free zone of all weapons of mass destruction…or to prevent any country in the region from possessing nuclear weapons is [more] irrefutable evidence and proof of its inability to carry out its duties.”
It also lambasts
‘the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the injustices against the peoples, the violation of rights and the spread of conflicts and wars around the world’.
Some chutzpah, the Saudis. Not, I suspect, that they’d much like the word. Is there any nation on Earth less justified in complaining about the ‘violation of rights’? Next to them, the Russians and Chinese look like mighty paragons. Never mind for a moment, the Facebook-friendly head-chopping, the systemic abuse of imported domestic workers or the utter absence of freedom of religion of any sort.
Consider, instead, that this Saturday, women across the Kingdom are to partake in an act of unprecedented civil disobedience. They are going to do this by driving cars.
Very possibly the authorities will turn a blind eye, because King Abdullah himself has made positive noises about the ability of women to drive, which is big of him. Maybe, within another couple of centuries, they’ll be allowed to exist without male guardians, or speak to men they aren’t related to, or do athletics without wearing wetsuits, or leave the house without being dressed as Darth Vader.
And then, should their menfolk ever again feel the urge to lecture the UN Security Council about human rights, they might almost have a leg to stand on.
Read more of Hugo Rifkind’s columns in the Spectator here.Tags: Saudi Arabia, UN Security Council