Map of Middle East

Guerre froide au Moyen-Orient

PRINCETON – La rupture des relations diplomatiques entre l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite marque un tournant dangereux dans une région déjà instable et en proie à la guerre. L’élément déclencheur fut l’exécution par l’Arabie Saoudite du cheikh Nimr al-Nimr, agitateur chiite ayant appelé de ses vœux la fin de la monarchie wahhabite. Mais la discorde a pour origine une rivalité stratégique qui s’étend à tout le Moyen-Orient.

Les tensions entre les deux pays, qui remontent à plusieurs dizaines d’années, sont devenues particulièrement vives après la révolution islamique iranienne, en 1979. Le guide de la révolution, l’ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, ne cachait pas son mépris pour la famille royale saoudienne ; sous sa houlette, l’Iran s’est bientôt proclamé le champion des « opprimés » contre les « forces de l’arrogance » – les États-Unis et leurs alliés, l’Arabie saoudite et Israël.

Mais si cette rivalité a bien des composantes idéologiques et sectaires, elle traduit avant tout l’opposition pragmatique d’intérêts régionaux. L’Iran considère que l’ordre politique du monde arabe sert les intérêts de ses ennemis et cherche donc, continument, à le renverser, en soutenant des groupes terroristes et en déployant des forces par procuration afin d’assurer son influence dans la région. Au nombre des acteurs non étatiques soutenus par l’Iran, on peut compter les pèlerins émeutiers de La Mecque, les auteurs des attentats suicides au Liban, les militants du Hezbollah qui ont lancé des attaques contre Israël et, plus récemment, combattu en Syrie les groupes rebelles appuyés par l’Arabie saoudite.

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