The kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The aftermath of 11 September 2001 attacks lays stress on a significant turmoil in the political life of the Saudi Kingdom and on its regional role. Since these events, the traditional relationship of the Kingdom with United States based on confidence is durably damaged. A serious decline of the hegemonic action of Saudi Arabia on the GCC states (Gulf Cooperation Council) can also be noticed. This situation forces Saudi rulers to develop a new strategic framework for regional security. It is based on their will to see the International community play a major role to cope with regional crisis (Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Iran). In the meantime, the Saudi government expects a reduced US influence on regional matters. Moreover, this new vision is built on the idea to keep the Middle East region away from weapons of mass destruction with the active cooperation of the all the actors, including Israel. This new focus of Riyad on the regional security is actually linked with the panicking feeling created by the emerging role of the Shi’a Arab community in Iraq. It will have, for the first time of its history, the opportunity to take the power control after the Iraqi elections, next 30th January 2005. This «dark» perspective combined with the strengthened regional role of Iran and the disastrous effects this situation can produce on the Shi’a communities in the north-east province of Saudi Arabia, Bahrein or Kuwait is therefore perceived by the Saudi Sunni Wahhabi monarchy as the major new regional threat. – Summary AFRI-2005