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For SC, Saudi Where Women Can't Drive Loses 10 Votes, Chad 2 on Child Soldiers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 17 -- Running unopposed for two-year seats on the UN Security Council on Thursday, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Chile and Lithuania were assured of victory. The only questions were what gifts they would nevertheless give, and which would be denied the most votes as a protest.

The answer to the latter turned out to be Saudi Arabia, which got only 176 votes out of the 191 states present. Saudi Arabia had given out two gifts, or gifts in two different boxes: a small red box, and a larger white box.

  (Nigeria, by contrast, gave in a single format, a photograph of which Inner City Press tweeted here.)

Afterward Inner City Press asked Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari about Saudi Arabia's election to the Security Council, which now has chemical weapons in Syria on its agenda. Ja'afari shook his head and hearkened back to when Qatar was elected to the Security Council, and then got the President of the General Assembly position. Money.

But what was the gift?

Dates. Dates without women.

Chad got the second fewest votes, with 184, two fewer than Nigeria and Chile. A cynic might call it the two-vote penalty for being on the UN's list of child soldier recruiters. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous even accepted Chad into the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA. So why not on the Council?

But just as Saudi Arabia will have a particular interest in Syria on the Council, so will Chad on Sudan / Darfur as well as other FrancAfrique crises like the Central African Republic.

The top vote getters, at 187, was Lithuania, which faced a previous dust-up with Serbia around former President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic.

There were some protest (or error) votes: Senegal two, Gambia (which dropped out) two; Lebanon and Croatia one a piece.

With Chile and Argentina on the Security Council, will the Malvinas / Falkland Islands fall out of the UK's sphere? No. The UK has the veto.

  The reality is, not only do the Permanent Five veto-wielding members dominate the Elected Ten -- even AMONG the P5, the designated "pen holder" on a country, often the former colonial power, dominates or works about the other four. Take for example that France was alone allowed to hand pick which media could go -- on a "UN" plane -- to cover the Council's recent trip to DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. We'll have more on this.


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