Saudi Arabia's recent decision to reject a rotating seat on the UN Security Council has left many world watchers scratching their heads. Citing Western inaction in Syria and Palestine -- as well as recent U.S. overtures toward Iran -- Riyadh blindsided the international community, along with much of its own diplomatic corps, by passing up what was believed to have been a hard-fought and long-sought spot on the decisive global council.
The Saudis followed up this week with a very public condemnation of Washington and the United Nations, pledging a "major shift" away from the United States in its global dealings. So what gives?
It could be that the Saudi royals are, as they've publicly stated, simply frustrated by perceived Western missteps in the region. Another possibility is that Riyadh -- always conscious of its influence and ability to project power in the Middle East -- is worried. Every year, the Pew Research Center conducts a survey of public attitudes in the Mideast. Though Saudi Arabia remains popular across much of the region, Pew's research shows a troubling trend for the House of Saud.
Is Saudi Arabia in damage control mode? You be the judge. Here are four Mideast countries that have Riyadh worried.