Did Saudi buy its seat on the UN Human Rights Council?

An official cable from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Saudi mission to the UN ordered the transfer of $100,000 to be used for a “campaign” to win Saudi a seat on the Human Rights Council.

In addition, a separate correspondence from the Saudi to Russian mission promises to support Russia’s candidacy to the Council if they reciprocate in kind.

Saudi, which recently carried out its 100th beheading this year, did end up securing the seat. A questionable victory, given its abysmal human rights record at home as well as the Kingdom’s current controversial military campaign in Yemen. The Kingdom, which began an aerial-bombing campaign in Yemen more than three months ago, has enforced a strict blockade of Yemen’s ports, keeping out fuel needed for the local population’s survival in violation of the laws of war, according to Human Rights Watch.

A few questions come to mind. Is it normal practice at the UN for countries to fund “campaigns” to win UN seats? What exactly does campaigning for a UN seat entail since marketing campaigns, at least in the traditional sense, do not exist at the UN – countries are elected by the majority of General Assembly members “through direct and secret ballot.”

Where did these funds end up?

Source: Saudi Cables


Special Saudi Commission to find access to Arabian Sea

A memo entitled “Highly confidential and urgent”, from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Saud al-Faisal to the Crown Prince, refers to a senior level Commission in charge of  finding a naval port for the Kingdom on the open sea (Arabian sea) either through Oman or Yemen.

The Commission is made up of senior level members from the Ministries of Interior, defense, foreign affairs, finance, oil and mineral resources, transportation, economy and planning, as well as the presidency of the General Intelligence.

2011 Memo from Saudi Foreign Minister on combating Shias in Yemen

A memo from the Saudi Foreign Minister in 2011 on combating expansion of “Shi’ism” in Yemen and how the Kingdom can support the Sunnis in the country through a strategy that will be overseen by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Riyadh, and the *Muslim World League’s Yemen branch in order to preserve the interest of the Kingdom, and to support the Sunnis in Yemen.

*The Muslim World League’s headquarters are in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The group was established in the 1960s by the Kingdom as a counter to leftist ideologies then sweeping the region. The league is seen as a cornerstone of the Saudi effort to disseminate Wahhabism.