KUWAIT - Saudi Arabia's Gulf Arab allies and Egypt have applauded its decision to reject a UN Security Council seat in protest at the world body's failure to act on Syria, whose leader is backed by Russia and Shi'ite Iran.
Saudi Arabia turned down a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in a rare display of anger with what it called "double standards" in the United Nations.Permanent council members Russia and China have repeatedly blocked resolutions to condemn Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime ally of Iran, Riyadh's main regional rival.
Saudi Arabia, which backs the mostly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, has described his attempts to crush them as genocide. Assad, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi'ite Islam, enjoys solid support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces his foes as al-Qaida-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.
Riyadh's frustration with Russia and China now extends to the United States, its historic ally, not only over Syria, but also over Washington's acquiescence in the fall of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and its new quest for a nuclear deal with Iran.
Expressions of support from Saudi Arabia's Gulf Arab friends contained no overt criticism of US policy, but echoed the kingdom's complaints about the Security Council's failure to end the war in Syria and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.