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Exclusive: On Saudi Seat, Arab Group Statement Was Never Agreed To, ICP Is Told

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- The Arab Group "press statement" urging Saudi Arabia to "maintain their Membership in the Security Council," e-mailed out Saturday afternoon, was never formally agreed to by the Group, Inner City Press is exclusively told from the Gulf.

  The statement was reported without qualification by Reuters and Agence France Presse, for example, with a Gulf satellite television channel even saying that since no Arab Group member broke the silence procedure, the statement was issued.

  But Inner City Press has learned, at least one member -- surprisingly, from the Gulf -- said it need to consult with its capital. Some other members never formally got the draft statement to comment on or break silence, including one member who absolutely had to see it in advance before it was sent out, but did not.

  "It's unbelievable," an involved source told Inner City Press, needing anonymity on pain of, well, decapitation. "They all got fooled, Reuters and then. They didn't even check with us. To call it a 'silence procedure' when something is faxed at 11 pm on a holiday, and then sent to the media the middle of the next day is a joke."

  But the hunger not only of Western powers but also of their affiliated media to get Saudi Arabia on the Security Council to take a hard line on Syria and Iran is so great, the source continued, that they cut corners.

  Instead of the most basic fact checking, they launched into paragraphs about the Saudis' supposed motives, to get the attention of the United States, drive the US away from Iran's Hassan Rouhani or toward renewed military threats on Syria.

 This way, even in reversing course Saudi Arabia could save face, saying they only took the seat because their fellow Arab countries -- minus at least one of course -- begged them to. "We're doing this for you," the Saudis could say.

But what would the "this" be? Urging the same rebels it arms and tells not to negotiate with Assad to go to Geneva Two? Removing or loosening sanctions on Iran? (For more on this, click here for this reporter's longer piece on Beacon Reader, a new feature.)

  Now could the Saudis rely on an Arab Group statement not formally even agreed to, as a basis for playing Hamlet and reversing themselves? Watch this site.

Here is the "Arab Group press release" e-mailed out on October 19, 2013:

"The Arab Group, at level of Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York, discussed in an extraordinary fashion, the situation regarding the position of the Brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding their Membership in the Security Council. With our understanding and respect for the position of the Brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we hope that they, which are amongst the blessed who represent the Arab and Islamic world at this important and historical stage, specifically for the Middle East region, to maintain their Membership in the Security Council and continue their brave role in defending our issues specifically at the rostrum of the Security Council."


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