Notas ao café…

A incerteza saudita

Posted in notas ao café by JN on Março 2, 2011

Arend van Dam

Dos 88 milhões de barris de petróleo produzidos diariamente no mundo, 1,7 milhões são de origem líbia. Os países da OCDE importam 1,2 milhões destes barris por dia e a China 150 mil. O gráfico da The Economist mostra os principais mercados da Líbia e que países mais dependem do petróleo desta país.

Com os preços do petróleo a aumentar devido à situação que se vive no mundo árabe, os importadores olham para a Arábia Saudita e esperam que este país seja a salvação para evitar uma possível crise do petróleo.

Na Der Spiegel, Bernhard Zand escreve que qualquer incerteza sobre a estabilidade política da Arábia Saudita, um dos produtores o maior do mundo do petróleo, será o suficiente para perturbar os mercados; segundo Zand, analistas e políticos de todo o mundo esperam ansiosamente para ver se a onda de agitação no mundo árabe irá atingir o reino saudita:

What, then, happens if the revolutionary virus infects Saudi Arabia? Is this even a realistic threat? Despite its pre-modern, antiquated system of government, the kingdom is considered to be one of the most stable countries in the Arab world. The overwhelming majority of the population is strongly influenced by tribal loyalties that have developed over centuries, and by a deeply conservative worldview derived from Wahhabism, one of the strictest schools of Islam. So far, the leadership has allowed no more modernization than the bare minimum that is required for the state to function. It is mainly the half of the population without rights that suffers as a result, namely women.

However, this archaic social contract is supported by Saudi Arabia’s enormous wealth, which the rulers distribute with patriarchal skill. Real poverty of the sort that prevails in neighboring Yemen and which fueled revolutionary fervor in Egypt is not widespread in Saudi Arabia. […]

Even in Saudi Arabia, blessed as it is with prosperity, the first signs of protest are now emerging. Last week, several hundred dissatisfied Shiites took to the streets near the city of Qatif, and in Riyadh 40 intellectuals presented the king with an open letter demanding political reforms. The first revolutionary Facebook pages have already appeared, with one of them openly calling for the overthrow of the regime and a “Revolution of Longing” to begin on March 11. […]

In an interview with SPIEGEL several years ago, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a multi-billionaire, described the fact that many young Saudi Arabians had no work as a “time bomb.” They are not unemployed because there are no jobs, but because most work is performed by foreign migrant workers.

Last Thursday Al-Waleed, who is a nephew of the king, issued an even stronger warning. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, he wrote: “Unless many Arab governments adopt radically different policies, their countries will very likely experience more political and civil unrest.” The facts, Walid added, are undeniable, with youth unemployment at 20 percent or more in most Arab countries, the standard of living of the middle classes declining under rising inflation, and a widening “gap between the haves and the have-nots.” […]

Patrick Corrigan, «The Toronto Star»


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