Combattre Al-Qaïda

PRINCETON – Les responsables d’Al-Qaïda et leur doctrine ont beau avoir leurs racines en Arabie saoudite, leur réseau a été tout sauf écrasé, dans ce royaume qui manie la carotte et surtout le bâton. L’attentat manqué le mois dernier à Djedda, ciblant le prince Mohammed Ben Nayef, vice-ministre de l'Intérieur chargé des Affaires de sécurité, illustre ces deux facettes de la stratégie saoudienne, ainsi que la façon dont Al-Qaïda a échoué dans sa tentative de redorer son blason.

Le kamikaze s’appelait Abdullah Al-Asiri et c’était un Saoudien appartenant à Al-Qaïda. Il rentrait du Yémen, en prétendant se repentir du terrorisme et vouloir se livrer directement au prince Mohammed dans son palais. Un peu plus tôt ce jour-là, le prince avait fait rapatrier le kamikaze à bord de son jet privé, depuis la frontière yéméno-saoudienne, et aurait donné l’ordre de ne pas le soumettre à une fouille très poussée. Asiri avait pourtant une bombe dissimulée dans son corps, un engin explosif d’une livre, qu’il a fait exploser près du prince. Mais la bombe n’était pas enchâssée dans une coque de métal et elle n’a tué que le terroriste.

Vue de l’extérieur, cette affaire semble due à une grosse bévue des services de sécurité, comme si le chef du FBI avait accueilli en personne l’un des lieutenants de Ben Laden à une garden party. Mais c’est précisément ce type d’approche personnalisée que la royauté saoudienne privilégie pour mettre les membres d’Al-Qaïda en défaut. Et cette politique, bien que risquée, explique en partie la déroute d’Al-Qaïda en Arabie saoudite. La personnalisation à outrance de la politique fait partie de ce que l’on pourrait appeler le théâtre de l’Etat saoudien, qui permet de maintenir fermement la royauté au pouvoir.

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