Replay
The Sound Kitchen
Raksha Bandhan
 
Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/25 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/25 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/25 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/25 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/21 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 08/24 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/21 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 08/24 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 08/24 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 08/21 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French press review 5 January 2016

media DR

The French papers continue to give front-page coverage to the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the wake of last weekend's Saudi execution of Shia-Muslim religious figure Nimr al-Nimr.

Communist L'Humanité attempts to understand the motivations of the men at the helm in Riyad, presenting a regime torn between oppression and open support for anti-Shia violence.

Catholic La Croix asks why the Saudis are trying to provoke Iran.

Click here for our coverage of Turkey election 2015

And Le Monde warns that relations between the two big regional rivals are now at breaking point.

So, what's really going on?

Nothing simple, that's for sure.

Eastern Saudi Arabia is the centre of the national petroleum industry, the source of virtually all the kingdom's wealth and international prestige. But the largest reserves of crude oil are to be found under two-thirds of the territory where moqt of the Shia minority live.

The 1973 petrol crisis and the 1979 Iranian revolution, which created the first regional Shia government, began to make the authorities in Riyadh worry about this anomaly, and life became increasingly difficult for the oil-region Shia inside Saudi Arabia.

Things have not improved.

Of the 10 terrorist attacks which have hit Saudi Arabia over the past two years, according to L'Humanité, seven have been in Shia areas. Minority communities feel unprotected by the authorities, if not actually targeted.

They claim to be discriminated against in the labour market, qualifying only for menial and dangerous jobs, with no hope of a career in the civil service or the oil industry. Even the army and the police service are effectively closed to Shia applicants. Marriage is forbidden between Sunnis and Shia.

Le Monde notes that the current poor performance of oil on world markets is an additional pressure on Saudi Arabia, with the "proxy war" in Yemen proving long and costly.

Iran blames the Saudis for the collapse of the oil price because they refused to slow production.

Catholic La Croix says the current crisis is a welcome distraction for the rulers in Riyad, who are locked in internal power struggles under an aged and ailing king,
struggling to make ends meet with reduced oil revenues, and unsure what's going to happen regionally, either in Syria or Yemen.

Always assuming that the welcome distraction does not become another major source of trouble, both inside the kingdom and internationally.

La Croix also points to another, more sinister aspect of the toughening of Saudi foreign policy. The Catholic paper says last year's signing of the nuclear deal with Iran is regarded by the Saudi ruling class as a betrayal by the US. In that light, the execution of Nimr al-Nimr could be seen as a sign of determination directed to the predominantly Sunni leadership of the Islamic State jihadi group, a strange contradiction for a state which is, nominally at least, part of the international coalition fighting that very scourge.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

On other front pages . . . Libération's main headline reads "Welcome to Europe". They're being ironic, I'm afraid, since the cover picture is a barbed-wire fence, and the story considers a Europe divided on how best to stop the hundreds of thousands of refugees who continue to knock on the door.

Sweden is the latest nation to reinstitute border controls and refuse entry to those without papers.

Libé says there's a sharp east-west divide on the question of whether the refugee problem can best be dealt with at European or individual state level. In the east the countries bearing the brunt of the assault are finding their own solutions in camps, fences and forced expulsions; in the west there's less urgency and a continuing hope for some workable 28-nation deal.

Right-wing Le Figaro accuses French President François Hollande of cheating in order to reduce the unemployment figures.

According to Le Figaro, the government will later this month announce plans to train no fewer than 500,000 people currently on the dole. Whatever the long-term impact of such a plan may be, it will have the immediate effect of knocking half a million names off the top three unemployment categories.

And that, says Le Figaro, with a view to getting Hollande off the hook he baited for himself when he promised not to stand for reelection unless the unemployment figures took a turn for the better.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.