Xi Jinping, President of China Stranger/APA Images via ZUMA Wire

Xi Jinping à la conquête du Moyen-Orient

PÉKIN – Ceux qui reprochent à la Chine une politique étrangère trop prudente vont devoir reconsidérer leurs critiques, à l’issue d’un tout récent déplacement du président Xi Jinping en Arabie saoudite et en Iran – deux puissances majeures du Moyen-Orient, aujourd’hui prêtes à se sauter à la gorge. Ces visites d’État témoignent en effet de l’amorce d’une politique étrangère plus active de la part de Xi, et notamment au Moyen-Orient. Cette approche nouvelle soulève ainsi une question importante : la Chine exercera-t-elle sur la région un impact plus constructif que les États-Unis ?

Cette nouvelle implication s’opère de toute évidence à une période extrêmement tendue au Moyen-Orient, à l’heure où la région subit les premières heures d’une nouvelle guerre de Trente Ans, comme l’a affirmé Richard N. Haass, dans laquelle « guerres civiles et conflits par procuration deviennent impossibles à distinguer. » L’un des principaux facteurs à l’origine du chaos actuel – qui illustre la convergence de nombreux conflits et défis profondément ancrés – a résidé dans l’invasion de l’Irak par l’Amérique en 2003. En éliminant le régime sunnite de Saddam Hussein, les États-Unis ont en effet ouvert la voie à un gouvernement conduit par les chiites, évolution qui a fait pencher l’équilibre régional des puissances en faveur de l’Iran, aboutissant à une situation dans laquelle une Arabie saoudite à gouvernance sunnite éprouve le sentiment d’être assiégée par une coalition chiite.

Ceci explique pourquoi l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite s’impliquent aussi profondément dans la guerre civile syrienne. Chacun des camps a conscience que le sort du régime alaouite du président Bachar el-Assad aura d’importantes retombées sur l’ordre régional. Aux yeux de l’Arabie saoudite, la nécessité de contenir l’Iran se fait d’autant plus importante au lendemain du récent accord conclu autour du programme nucléaire du pays, qui a abouti à la levée de sanctions économiques internationales longtemps constitutives d’obstacle aux ambitions de l’Iran en termes de leadership régional.

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