Dean Rohrer

Un printemps saoudien?

LONDRES – Au début des années 1970, le roi Fayçal de l’Arabie saoudite aurait confié aux principaux membres du clan royal sa crainte qu’en une seule génération le pays soit passé de « la caravane de chameaux au cortège de grosses voitures américaines… et que la génération suivante pourrait bien devoir remonter sur leurs chameaux ». Sa mise en garde est plus convaincante que jamais.

L’Arabie saoudite, qui fut pendant longtemps l’une des sociétés les plus figées du monde arabe, se trouve maintenant en pleine mutation. Ses relations avec l’Occident – et avec les États-Unis en particulier – se sont effilochées dans la tourmente déclenchée dans le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord par le printemps arabe. Pendant ce temps, un groupe de femmes a présenté le dernier symptôme de la fébrilité de la population du royaume en contestant l’interdiction aux femmes de conduire.

Même si l’Arabie saoudite demeure l’économie la plus importante du monde arabe, le premier producteur et exportateur de pétrole dans le monde et le gardien de l’Islam sunnite, son influence politique a considérablement diminué dans les dernières années. Des années 1980 au milieu des années 2000, l’Arabie saoudite était le maître d’œuvre de la politique du monde arabe, les palais de Riyad et de Djeddah recevant son lot de dirigeants politiques de toutes les régions du monde arabe.

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