• Cracks in the Saudi system: can the ruling family sever its alliance with Wahhabism?

    Short of nuclear war, it is difficult to envisage a more cataclysmic event in the Middle East than the collapse of Saudi Arabia. The centrality of Saudi Arabia in Islam, in the global economy and in the region itself, would make turmoil in the kingdom more than just another addition to the growing list of disintegrating Arab states.

    Aside from the effects on world oil supplies, the collapse of Saudi Arabia would probably also hasten the fall of other Gulf monarchies, could easily provoke another revolution in Egypt (where the Sisi regime depends heavily on Gulf largesse) and cause turmoil in some of the world’s poorest countries as millions of expatriate workers suddenly returned home, jobless. In addition to all that, it would have profound but unpredictable consequences for the future of Islam.

    Looking at the kingdom and its archaic ways, one word springs to mind: unsustainable. It’s obvious from any realistic assessment that at some point something will have to give. The monarchy is sandwiched between religious obscurantists, from whom it draws much of its claim to legitimacy, and more open-minded citizens demanding equal rights for women, freedom of speech and the right to enjoy yourself without fear of arrest by the men from the mutawa.

    Of course, people have been talking about the unsustainability of the Saudi system for a long time. It’s more than 20 years since Said Aburish wrote his book, “The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of The House of Saud”. To recognise that the status quo can’t last for ever is one thing, but to predict how and when the dam will eventually burst is something else.

    Tout est intéressant dans cet article, et j’ai eu du mal à sélectionner le meilleur morceau !

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