沙特阿拉伯长达十年的皇家病危监护结束了。法赫德国王(King Fahad),这位沙特阿拉伯历史上在位时间最长(24年)的国王,去世了。六个星期来,国王一直躺在医院内与病魔作斗争,这事实上正是他十年前中风后就一直在做的事情。新国王的身份已经明确,但是权力真正在谁手中还不清楚。

正如当年马沙尔·铁托(Marshal Tito)在分裂的南斯拉夫病危时候一样,国王的皇室亲属们(他们也是他的政治部下)竭力否认这件事情,因为他们担心统治者的死亡将会引发暴动。这场病危监护的发生正值更广泛的中东地区开始遍布民主改革讨论之时。从埃及到黎巴嫩到伊朗,政治热情正随着新兴的乐观主义而不断高涨。街道游行、选举以及咖啡馆和互联网上的政治辩论正以前所未有的态势繁荣发展。即使阿拉伯半岛这样的保守国家也卷入了有关女性部长、什叶派代表、伊斯兰在政治进程的参与程度、乃至有关他们君主统治政体未来的热烈讨论之中。在这种活跃的气氛中,沙特阿拉伯就显得尤为与众不同。


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