Saudi Arabia never finalized its membership in the BRICS economic and political coalition, a South African diplomat confirmed to Russian media on Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia is still going through its own processes,” South African Ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Geoff Maqetuka said in remarks to the Russian news agency Tass, published on Tuesday. “One, as a nation state. Two, together with the BRICS shepherds. Saudi Arabia is not yet, has not yet endorsed.”
“We will see it as we move towards [the summit in] Kazan. As South Africa, we are ready,” he added. Kazan, Russia, is expected to host the 2024 BRICS summit.
Saudi Arabia is one of six nations that BRICS invited to join its alliance in 2023. Four of the other five — Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — accepted the invites, while the fifth, Argentina, rejected the invitation after the election of President Javier Milei in November. Maqetuka confirmed that the four new members are fully integrated into the coalition and Argentina has fully withdrawn from the process as of February.
LEGENDARY: This Is Argentina’s Chainsaw-Wielding, Anti-Establishment New President
Javier Milei via Storyful
BRICS is an alliance named after its original members — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — nominally intended to expand the global influence of those nations independent of the influence of America and other Western nations. In practical terms, the alliance helps the countries organize against global action in response to their regimes’ human rights atrocities, a benefit particularly useful to genocidal China and war criminal state Russia, which have faced no significant United Nations action thanks to support from BRICS allies and smaller nations bought off with promises of economic cooperation.
The alliance is tenuous, as several members have bilateral differences that routinely threaten the entire enterprise. India, in particular — a solid American ally that has engaged in military action against China on several occasions since 2020 — presents geopolitical challenges for the alliance as it pursues domestic policies meant to challenge China’s stranglehold on global manufacturing. Brazil became a problematic member during the tenure of conservative President Jair Bolsonaro, who came to office on the promise of containing Chinese influence but ultimately caved to economic pressure.
The relationship between South Africa and Russia experienced tensions since 2023, as the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for strongman Vladimir Putin and, as a member, South Africa would be compelled to arrest him should he visit. Putin did not attend the 2023 BRICS summit in South Africa as a result.
The addition of countries with major economic shortcomings — such as Egypt and Ethiopia — to the bloc could potentially complicate its operations and diminish its economic power. Of the four new members confirmed, only the UAE is entering BRICS with a robust economic portfolio, dramatically increasing the percentage of the global oil trade that BRICS countries command.
Saudi Arabia’s entry into BRICS alongside its top geopolitical foe, Iran, was always a tenuous prospect. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in 2022 that Riyadh had reached out to the organization before the news that Iran had done the same. The Chinese government attempted to quell future discord within BRICS by presiding over talks that led to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh in March, five months before BRICS announced it would invite both countries to join its alliance.
Saudi Arabia has participated in BRICS events, and Saudi state television claimed in January that the country was a member — though social media posts on the relevant report mysteriously disappeared shortly after, according to Reuters. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made his first appearance at a BRICS event in November, a meeting meant to address the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas slaughter against civilians in Israel. At that event, the Crown Prince insisted on the world carving a “Palestinian state” out of Israel “with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Horror of the Hamas Terror Attack on Civilians at Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel
Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
During the World Economic Forum summit in January, Reuters reported that anonymous sources had stated Saudi Arabia was not yet a full BRICS member and was “still considering” the invite.
“Saudi Arabia is assessing the benefits and then will make a decision, there is a process happening,” one of the sources said.
Joining BRICS would likely alienate Saudi Arabia from America. Saudi-American relations have soured tremendously during the tenure of leftist President Joe Biden, who promised as a candidate for the presidency in 2019 to turn the U.S. ally into a “pariah” in response to the brutal killing of Islamist writer Jamal Khashoggi. Biden repeatedly attempted to backtrack in that declaration, including with a humiliating visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2022, in which a distant Mohammed bin Salman offered Biden a fist bump greeting. Anonymous rumors following the meeting claimed that the Millennial crown prince mocked Biden’s “mental acuity” and openly stated his preference for Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
The news that Saudi Arabia has not yet fully integrated into BRICS follows the publication of several polls showing that Trump, running for a second term in the Oval Office against Biden, is waging a formidable challenge to the incumbent, threatening his command of the vote even in heavily Democrat states. Americans will go to the polls to choose their president in November, three months after the 2024 BRICS summit.