Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia
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{{Redirect|KSA}}{{pp-vandalism|small=yes}}{{short description|Country in Western Asia}}

''{{translal-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Saʿūdīyah}}''| image_flag = Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg| image_coat = Emblem of Saudi Arabia.svg| symbol_type = Emblemلا إله إلا الله، محمد رسول الله}}'{{translLā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadan rasūlu Llāh}}' 'There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God.'HTTP://WWW.SAUDIEMBASSY.NET/ABOUT/COUNTRY-INFORMATION/FACTS_AND_FIGURES/ >TITLE=ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA: FACTS AND FIGURES URL-STATUS=DEAD ARCHIVEDATE=17 APRIL 2012 The ''Shahada'' (, statement of faith) is sometimes translated into English as 'There is no god but Allah', using the romanization of the Arabic language word Allah>Allāh instead of its translation. The word Allāh () literally translates as the God, as the prefix 'Al-' is the definite article.
  • WEB,weblink God, Islam: Empire of Faith, PBS,
  • 'Islam and Christianity', Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allah.
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Allah, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online, L. Gardet, }} (Shahada)
National Anthem of Saudi Arabia>{{translan-Našīd al-Waṭanīy as-Saʿūdī}}""National Anthem of Saudi Arabia"(File:Saudi Arabian national anthem, performed by the United States Navy Band.oga|center)| image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg| capital = Riyadh24N46type:city}}| largest_city = RiyadhModern Standard Arabic>Arabic| languages_type = Spoken languagesNajdi Arabic>Najdi, Hejazi Arabic, Gulf Arabic>Gulf, Bedawi Arabic, Bareqi Arabic>Bareqi, etc.| religion = Sunni IslamState DeptSaudi Arabians >Saudi (informal)}}Unitary state>Unitary Islamic state absolute monarchyFREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2019 - SAUDI ARABIA WEBSITE=FREEDOMHOUSE.ORG LANGUAGE=EN, 29 January 2019, King of Saudi Arabia>KingSalman of Saudi Arabia>SalmanCrown Prince of Saudi Arabia>Crown PrinceMohammad bin Salman>Mohammad#Monarchy and royal family>None{{efnRule by decree>king's decree. The Consultative Assembly exists to advise the king.}}History of Saudi Arabia>EstablishmentUnification of Saudi Arabia>Kingdom founded| established_date1 = 23 September 1932United Nations Charter>Admitted to the United Nations| established_date2 = 24 October 1945Basic Law of Saudi Arabia>Current constitution| established_date3 = 31 January 1992| area_km2 = 2,149,690| area_rank = 12th| area_sq_mi = 830,000 | percent_water = 0.7ARCHIVEDATE=9 MAY 2016YEAR=2014,, | population_census =| population_estimate_year = 2018| population_estimate_rank = 40th| population_census_year =| population_density_km2 = 15| population_density_sq_mi = 38.8 | population_density_rank = 216thPUBLISHER=INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, | GDP_PPP_year = 2019| GDP_PPP_rank = 14th| GDP_PPP_per_capita = $56,817| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 12th| GDP_nominal = $762.259 billion| GDP_nominal_year = 2019| GDP_nominal_rank = 18th| GDP_nominal_per_capita = $23,566| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 35th| Gini = 45.9 | Gini_year = 2013| Gini_change = PUBLISHER=CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ACCESS-DATE=28 MAY 2019, | Gini_rank =| HDI = 0.853 | HDI_year = 2017| HDI_change = decreaseYEAR=2018 PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, | HDI_rank = 38th| currency = Saudi riyal (SR)| currency_code = SARArabia Standard Time>AST| utc_offset = +3Hijri year>AH)| drives_on = RightTelephone numbers in Saudi Arabia> |السعودية.}}| today =}}Saudi Arabia,{{efn|{{IPAc-en|audio=En-us-Saudi Arabia-2.ogg|ˌ|s|ɔː|d|i|_|ə|ˈ|r|eɪ|b|i|ə}}, {{IPAc-en|audio=En-us-Saudi Arabia-3.ogg|ˌ|s|aʊ|-}}; {{transl|ar|as-Saʿūdīyah}}}} officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,{{efn|KSA; {{transl|ar|al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Saʿūdīyah}}, {{smaller|{{audio|Ar-Kingdom Saudi Arabia.oga|pronunciation}}}}}} is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately {{cvt|2150000|km2|sqmi}}, Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria), the fifth-largest in Asia, and the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south; it is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia also has one of the world's youngest populations; 50 percent of its 33.4 million people are under 25 years old.WEB,weblink Why Saudi Arabia, Invest Saudi, en-US, 2019-02-17, The territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.88,000-Year-Old Finger Bone Pushes Back Human Migration Dates, The world's second-largest religion,WEB,weblink The Global Religious Landscape, 18 December 2012, Pew Forum, Islam, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity.BOOK, Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World, James E. Lindsay, 2005, 978-0-313-32270-9, 33,weblink Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in the West to modern-day Pakistan in the East) in a matter of decades.Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun (632–661), Umayyad (661–750), Abbasid (750–1517) and Fatimid (909–1171) caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia, Africa and Europe.WEB, Islam, The Arab Empire Of The Umayyads,weblink, WEB, The Arab Empire {{!, Mohammed {{!}} Umayyad Empire History|url=|}}WEB, Top 10 Greatest Empires In History,weblink Listverse, 22 June 2010, WEB, Pillalamarri, Akhilesh, The 5 Most Powerful Empires in History,weblink The National Interest, 22 February 2015, WEB, 10 Greatest Empires in the History of World,weblink Top Ten Lists, 24 March 2010, The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of mainly four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir).BOOK, Madawi Al-Rasheed, A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia,weblink 2013, 65, 978-0-521-76104-8, Madawi Al-Rasheed, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.Tripp, Culture Shock, 2003: p. 14Malbouisson, p. 23WEB, The Authoritarian Resurgence: Saudi Arabia's Anxious Autocrats,weblink Carnegie Endowment, 5 October 2015, BOOK, Democracy index 2012 Democracy at a standstill, 2012, The Economist Intelligence Unit,weblink The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread largely financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The state's official language is Arabic.Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province.*WEB, Caryl, Sue, 1938: Oil Discovered in Saudi Arabia,weblink National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 27 November 2016, 20 February 2014,
  • BOOK, Learsy, Raymond, Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption, 2011, 89, Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer (behind the US) and the world's largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves.WEB,weblink International – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA),, The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development IndexBOOK, Human Development Report 2014, 2013, United Nations, 159,weblink and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies.BOOK, James Wynbrandt, A Brief History of Saudi Arabia,weblink 2004, Infobase Publishing, 978-1-4381-0830-8, 242,
  • NEWS, Saudi Arabia to overtake Russia as top oil producer-IEA, Soldatkin, Vladimir, Astrasheuskaya, Nastassia,weblink Reuters, 9 November 2011, The state has attracted criticism for a variety of reasons including: its treatment of women, its excessive and often extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, and its strict interpretation of Sharia law.WEB, The death penalty in Saudi Arabia: Facts and Figure,weblink Amnesty International, 4 January 2016, WEB,weblink Legal and Judicial Structure {{!, The Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||access-date=2019-03-31}}WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, Avenue, Human Rights Watch {{!, 350 Fifth|last2=York|first2=34th Floor {{!}} New|website=Human Rights Watch|language=en|access-date=2019-03-31|last3=t|first3=NY 10118-3299 USA {{!}}}}WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: Official Hate Speech Targets Minorities, Avenue, Human Rights Watch {{!, 350 Fifth|last2=York|first2=34th Floor {{!}} New|date=2017-09-26|website=Human Rights Watch|language=en|access-date=2019-03-31|last3=t|first3=NY 10118-3299 USA {{!}}}}WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia is worst country to be an atheist, report says, 2018-10-29, National Secular Society, en-GB, 2019-03-31, NEWS,weblink Yemen crisis: Why is there a war?, 2019-03-21, 2019-03-31, en-GB, WEB,weblink Confronting Passive Sponsors of Terrorism, Byman, Daniel L., 1 February 2005, Brookings, en-US, 2019-03-31, The kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditureThe Military Balance 2014: Top 15 Defence Budgets 2013 (IISS)WEB,weblink The 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2013 (table), Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, PDF, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 January 2015, dmy-all, and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014.WEB, Trends in International Arms Transfer, 2014,weblink, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 18 March 2015, SIPRI Fact Sheet, March 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 March 2015, Saudi Arabia is considered a regional and middle power.BOOK, Barry Buzan, The United States and the Great Powers, Polity Press, 2004, Cambridge, 71, 978-0-7456-3375-6, In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC.WEB,weblink The erosion of Saudi Arabia's image among its neighbours,, 7 November 2013,


{{See also|House of Saud|Arab (etymology)}}Following the amalgamation of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Saʿūdīyah (a transliteration of in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz bin Saud. Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English,WEB,weblink Background Note: Saudi Arabia, U.S. State Department, it literally means "the Saudi Arab kingdom",BOOK, The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis, 2003, 978-0-679-64281-7, xx,weblink or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom".BOOK, Nadav Safran, Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security,weblink 1988, Cornell University Press, 978-0-8014-9484-0, 55, The word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Saʿūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, which is a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud (). Its inclusion expresses the view that the country is the personal possession of the royal family.BOOK, Saudi Arabia: the coming storm, Wilson, Peter W., Graham, Douglas, 1994, 978-1-56324-394-3, 46,weblink BOOK, The Modern Middle East: A Political History Since the First World War, Mehran Kamrava, 2011, 978-0-520-26774-9, 67,weblink Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of",BOOK, A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, James Wynbrandt, Fawaz A. Gerges, 2010, 978-0-8160-7876-9, xvii,weblink to the personal name of an ancestor. In the case of the Al Saud, this is Saud ibn Muhammad ibn Muqrin, the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud.BOOK, The heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Wahbi Hariri-Rifai, Mokhless Hariri-Rifai, 1990, 978-0-9624483-0-0, 26,


{{See also|Pre-Islamic Arabia}}


File:Pergamon-Museum - Anthropomorphe Stele 2.jpg|thumb|190px|Anthropomorphic stela (4th millennium BC), sandstone, 57x27 cm, from El-Maakir-Qaryat al-Kaafa (National Museum, RiyadhRiyadhThere is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago.WEB,weblink Early human migration written in stone tools : Nature News, Nature, 27 January 2011, A 2011 study found that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting the Horn of Africa and Arabia.JOURNAL, Hints Of Earlier Human Exit From Africa, Science, 331, 6016, 453–456, 10.1126/science.1199113, 21273486, Science News, 2011, Armitage, S. J., Jasim, S. A., Marks, A. E., Parker, A. G., Usik, V. I., Uerpmann, H.-P., The Arabian peninsula is regarded as a central figure in the understanding of hominin evolution and dispersals. Arabia underwent an extreme environmental fluctuation in the Quaternary that led to profound evolutionary and demographic changes. Arabia has a rich Lower Paleolithic record, and the quantity of Oldowan-like sites in the region indicate a significant role that Arabia had played in the early hominin colonization of Eurasia.Out of Africa I: The First Hominin Colonization of Eurasia. New York: Springer. pp. 27–46.{{ISBN?}}In the Neolithic period, prominent cultures such as al-Magar whose epicenter lay in modern-day southwestern Najd flourished. al-Magar could be considered as a "Neolithic Revolution" in human knowledge and handicraft The culture is characterized as being one of the world's first to involve the widespread domestication of animals, particularly the horse, during the Neolithic period.
  • NEWS, Sylvia, Smith, Desert finds challenge horse taming ideas,weblink 13 November 2016, BCC, 26 February 2013,
  • NEWS, John, Henzell, Carved in stone: were the Arabs the first to tame the horse?,weblink 12 November 2016, thenational, thenational, 11 March 2013, Aside from horses, animals such as sheep, goats, dogs, in particular of the Saluki race, ostriches, falcons and fish were discovered in the form of stone statues and rock engravings. al-Magar statues were made from local stone, and it seems that the statues were fixed in a central building that might have had a significant role on the social and religious life of the inhabitants.
In November 2017 hunting scenes showing images of most likely domesticated dogs, resembling the Canaan dog, wearing leashes were discovered in Shuwaymis, a hilly region of northwestern Saudi Arabia. These rock engravings date back more than 8000 years, making them the earliest depictions of dogs in the world.WEB,weblink These may be the world's first images of dogsand they're wearing leashes, Science Magazine, David Grimm, 18 June 2018, At the end of the 4th millennium BC, Arabia entered the Bronze Age after witnessing drastic transformations; metals were widely used, and the period was characterized by its 2 m high burials which was simultaneously followed by the existence of numerous temples, that included many free-standing sculptures originally painted with red colours.طرق التجارة القديمة، روائع آثار المملكة العربية السعودية pp. 156–157


(File:Statue at National Museum of Korea.jpg|thumb|The Worshiping Servant statue (2500 BC), above one metre in height, the statue is much taller than any possible Mesopotamian or Harappan modelsRoads of Arabia p. 180)The earliest sedentary culture in Saudi Arabia dates back to the Ubaid period, upon discovering various pottery sherds at Dosariyah. Initial analysis of the discovery concluded that the eastern province of Saudi Arabia was the homeland of the earliest settlers of Mesopotamia, and by extension, the likely origin of the Sumerians. However, experts such as Joan Oates had the opportunity to see the Ubaid period sherds in eastern Arabia and consequently conclude that the sherds dates to the last two phases of Ubaid period (period three and four), while handful examples could be classified roughly as either Ubaid 3 or Ubaid 2. Thus the idea that colonists from Saudi Arabia had emigrated to southern Mesopotamia and founded the region's first sedentary culture was abandoned.Roads of Arabia p. 175.Climatic change and the onset of aridity may have brought about the end of this phase of settlement, as little archaeological evidence exists from the succeeding millennium.Roads of Arabia p. 176. The settlement of the region picks up again in the period of Dilmun in the early 3rd millennium. Known records from Uruk refer to a place called Dilmun, associated in several occasions with copper and in later period it was a source of imported woods in southern Mesopotamia. A number of scholars have suggested that Dilmun originally designated the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, notably linked with the major Dilmunite settlements of Umm an-Nussi and Umm ar-Ramadh in the interior and Tarout on the coast. It is likely that Tarout Island was the main port and the capital of Dilmun. Mesopotamian inscribed clay tablets suggests that, in the early period of Dilmun, a form of hierarchical organized political structure existed. In 1966 an earthworks in Tarout exposed ancient burial field that yielded a large impressive statue dating to the Dilmunite period (mid 3rd millennium BC). The statue was locally made under strong Mesopotamian influence on the artistic principle of Dilmun.By 2200 BC, the centre of Dilmun shifted for unknown reasons from Tarout and the Saudi Arabian mainland to the island of Bahrain, and a major developed settlements appeared in Bahrain for the first time, where a laborious temple complex and thousands of burial mounds that dates to this period were discovered.(File:Figures Five Kings of Midian Slain by Israel.jpg|thumb|left|170px|Five kings of Midian slain by Israel (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible))By the Late Bronze Age, a historically recorded people and land (Median and the Medianites) in the north-western portion of Saudi Arabia are well-documented in the Bible. Centered in Tabouk, Median stretched from Wadi Arabah in the north to the area of al-Wejh in the south.Koenig 1971; Payne 1983: Briggs 2009 The capital of Median was Qurayyah,The World around the Old Testament: The People and Places of the Ancient Near East. Baker Publishing Group; 2016. {{ISBN|978-1-4934-0574-9}} p. 462. it consists of a large fortified citadel encompassing 35 hectares and below it lies a walled settlement of 15 hectares. The city hosted as many as 10 to 12 thousand inhabitants.Michael D. Coogan. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. Oxford University Press; 2001. {{ISBN|978-0-19-988148-2}}. p. 110. The Medianites were depicted in two major events in the Bible that recount Israel's two wars with Median, somewhere in the early 11th century BC. Politically, the Medianite were described as having decentralized structure headed by five kings (Evi, Rekem, Tsur, Hur and Reba), the names appears to be toponyms of important Medianite settlements.Knauf, 1988 It is common view that Median designated a confederation of tribes, the sedentary element settled in the Hijaz while its nomadic affiliates pastured, and sometimes pillaged as far away land as Palestine.Midian, Moab and Edom: The History and Archaeology of Late Bronze and Iron Age Jordan and North-West Arabia p. 163. The nomadic Medianites were one of the earliest exploiters of the domestication of camels that enabled them to navigate through the harsh terrains of the region.(File:Statue of a man at National Museum of Korea 01.jpg|thumb|right| Colossal statue from al-Ula (6th–4th century BC), it followed the standardized artistic sculpting of the Lihyanite kingdom, the original statue was painted with white)At the end of the 7th century BC an emerging kingdom appeared on the historical theater of north-western Arabia. It started as a Sheikdom of Dedan, which developed into the Kingdom of Lihyan tribe.The State of Lihyan: A New Perspective – p. 192 The earliest attestation of state regality, King of Lihyan, was in the mid-sixth century BC.J. Schiettecatte: The political map of Arabia and the Middle East in the third century AD revealed by a Sabaean inscription – p. 183 The second stage of the kingdom saw the transformation of Dedan from a mere city-state of which only influence they exerted was inside their city walls, to a kingdom that encompass much wider domain that marked the pinnacle of Lihyan civilization. The third state occurred during the early 3rd century BC with bursting economic activity between the south and north that made Lihyan acquire large influence suitable to its strategic position on the caravan road.The State of Lihyan: A New PerspectiveLihyan was a powerful and highly organized ancient Arabian kingdom that played a vital cultural and economic role in the north-western region of the Arabian Peninsula.Rohmer, J. & Charloux, G. (2015), "From Liyan to the Nabataeans: Dating the End of the Iron Age in Northwestern Arabia" – p. 297 The Lihyanites ruled over large domain from Yathrib in the south and parts of the Levant in the north.Saudi Arabia Tourism Guide In antiquity, Gulf of Aqaba used to be called Gulf of Lihyan. A testimony to the extensive influence that Lihyan acquired.[ Discovering Lehi]. Cedar Fort; 1996. {{ISBN|978-1-4621-2638-5}}. p. 153.The Lihyanites fell into the hands of the Nabataeans around 65 BC upon their seizure of Hegra then marching to Tayma, and to their capital Dedan in 9 BC. The Nabataeans ruled large portions of north Arabia until their domain was annexed by the Roman Empire.

Middle Ages and rise of Islam

File:Umayyad750ADloc.png|thumb|upright=1.35|left|At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate (661–750) covered {{cvt|11100000|km2|sqmi|-5}}JOURNAL, Rein Taagepera, Rein Taagepera, September 1997, Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia, International Studies Quarterly, 41, 3, 475–504, 10.1111/0020-8833.00053, 2600793,weblink and 62 million people (29 percent of the world's population),{{citation |last=Blankinship |first=Khalid Yahya |year=1994 |title=The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads |publisher=State University of New York Press |isbn=978-0-7914-1827-7 |p=37 }} making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population. It was also larger than any previous empire in history.]]Shortly before the advent of Islam, apart from urban trading settlements (such as Mecca and Medina), much of what was to become Saudi Arabia was populated by nomadic pastoral tribal societies.BOOK, The Rise of Islam, Matthew Gordon, 2005, 978-0-313-32522-9, 4, The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in about 571 CE. In the early 7th century, Muhammad united the various tribes of the peninsula and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in west to modern day Pakistan in east) in a matter of decades. Arabia soon became a more politically peripheral region of the Muslim world as the focus shifted to the vast and newly conquered lands.Arab dynasties, originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia, Hejaz in particular, founded the Rashidun (632–661), Umayyad (661–750), Abbasid (750–1517) and the Fatimid (909–1171) caliphates.From the 10th century to the early 20th century Mecca and Medina were under the control of a local Arab ruler known as the Sharif of Mecca, but at most times the Sharif owed allegiance to the ruler of one of the major Islamic empires based in Baghdad, Cairo or Istanbul. Most of the remainder of what became Saudi Arabia reverted to traditional tribal rule.WEB,weblink History of Arabia, Encyclopædia Britannica, BOOK, The changing map of Asia, William Gordon East, 1971, 978-0-416-16850-1, 75–76,weblink File:Siyer-i Nebi - Imam Ali und Hamza bei dem vorgezogenen Einzelkampf in Badr gegen die Götzendiener.jpg|thumb|upright=0.8|The Battle of BadrBattle of BadrFor much of the 10th century the Isma'ili-Shi'ite Qarmatians were the most powerful force in the Persian Gulf. In 930, the Qarmatians pillaged Mecca, outraging the Muslim world, particularly with their theft of the Black Stone.Glassé, Cyril (2008). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Walnut Creek CA: AltaMira Press p. 369 In 1077–1078, an Arab Sheikh named Abdullah bin Ali Al Uyuni defeated the Qarmatians in Bahrain and Al-Hasa with the help of the Great Seljuq Empire and founded the Uyunid dynasty.BOOK, Commins, David, The Gulf States: A Modern History, 2012, I.B. Tauris, 978-1-84885-278-5, 28, C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, (Columbia University Press, 1996), 94–95. The Uyunid Emirate later underwent expansion with its territory stretching from Najd to the Syrian desert.JOURNAL, Khulusi, Safa, Safa Khulusi, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 6, 91–102, 41223173, 1975, {{Registration required}} They were overthrown by the Usfurids in 1253.Joseph Meri, Medieval Islamic Civilization, Taylor and Francis, 2006, p. 95 Ufsurid rule was weakened after Persian rulers of Hormuz captured Bahrain and Qatif in 1320.Curtis E. Larsen. Life and Land Use on the Bahrain Islands: The Geoarchaeology of an Ancient Society University Of Chicago Press, 1984 pp66-8 The vassals of Ormuz, the Shia Jarwanid dynasty came to rule eastern Arabia in the 14th century.BOOK, Juan Ricardo Cole,weblink Sacred space and holy war: the politics, culture and history of Shi'ite Islam, 35, 2002, 27 September 2017, 978-1-86064-736-9, Arabia {{webarchive|url= |date=22 February 2012 }} The Jabrids took control of the region after overthrowing the Jarwanids in the 15th century and clashed with Hormuz for more than two decades over the region for its economic revenues, until finally agreeing to pay tribute in 1507. Al-Muntafiq tribe later took over the region and came under Ottoman suzerainty. The Bani Khalid tribe later revolted against them in 17th century and took control.Zāmil Muḥammad al-Rashīd. Suʻūdī relations with eastern Arabia and ʻUmān, 1800–1870 Luzac and Company, 1981 pp. 21–31 Their rule extended from Iraq to Oman at its height and they too came under Ottoman suzerainty.Yitzhak Nakash (2011)Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World p. 22"Arabia, history of." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 30 November 2007.

Ottoman Hejaz

In the 16th century, the Ottomans added the Red Sea and Persian Gulf coast (the Hejaz, Asir and Al-Ahsa) to the Empire and claimed suzerainty over the interior. One reason was to thwart Portuguese attempts to attack the Red Sea (hence the Hejaz) and the Indian Ocean.Bernstein, William J. (2008) A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World. Grove Press. pp. 191 ff Ottoman degree of control over these lands varied over the next four centuries with the fluctuating strength or weakness of the Empire's central authority.Bowen, p. 68BOOK, Muddle of the Middle East, Volume 2, Chatterji, Nikshoy C., 1973, 978-0-391-00304-0, 168, These changes contributed to later uncertainties, such as the dispute with Transjordan over the inclusion of the sanjak of Ma'an, including the cities of Ma'an and Aqaba.

Foundation of the Saud dynasty

{{See also|Unification of Saudi Arabia}}(File:Arabia 1914.png|thumb|The Arabian Peninsula in 1914)The emergence of what was to become the Saudi royal family, known as the Al Saud, began in Nejd in central Arabia in 1744, when Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the dynasty, joined forces with the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab,Bowen, pp. 69–70 founder of the Wahhabi movement, a strict puritanical form of Sunni Islam.BOOK, Contemporary Religions: A World Guide, Ian Harris, Stuart Mews, Paul Morris, John Shepherd, 1992, 978-0-582-08695-1, 369, This alliance formed in the 18th century provided the ideological impetus to Saudi expansion and remains the basis of Saudi Arabian dynastic rule today.BOOK, The Future of Islam in the Middle East, Mahmud A. Faksh, 1997, 978-0-275-95128-3, 89–90, The first "Saudi state" established in 1744 in the area around Riyadh, rapidly expanded and briefly controlled most of the present-day territory of Saudi Arabia,D. Gold (6 April 2003) "Reining in Riyadh". NYpost (JCPA) sacking Karbala in 1802 and capturing Mecca in 1803, but was destroyed by 1818 by the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha."The Saud Family and Wahhabi Islam". Library of Congress Country Studies. A much smaller second "Saudi state", located mainly in Nejd, was established in 1824. Throughout the rest of the 19th century, the Al Saud contested control of the interior of what was to become Saudi Arabia with another Arabian ruling family, the Al Rashid, who ruled the Emirate of Jabal Shammar. By 1891, the Al Rashid were victorious and the Al Saud were driven into exile in Kuwait.File:Ibn Saud (kuwait 1910).jpg|thumb|Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, the founding father and first king of Saudi Arabia.]]At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire continued to control or have a suzerainty over most of the peninsula. Subject to this suzerainty, Arabia was ruled by a patchwork of tribal rulers,BOOK, The Arab Revolt 1916–18: Lawrence Sets Arabia Ablaze, David Murphy, 2008, 978-1-84603-339-1, 5–8, BOOK, Politics in an Arabian Oasis: The Rashidis of Saudi Arabia, Madawi Al Rasheed, 1997, 978-1-86064-193-0, 81, with the Sharif of Mecca having pre-eminence and ruling the Hejaz.BOOK, The Middle East: Geography and Geopolitics, Ewan W. Anderson, William Bayne Fisher, 2000, 978-0-415-07667-8, 106, In 1902, Abdul Rahman's son, Abdul Aziz—later to be known as Ibn Saud—recaptured control of Riyadh bringing the Al Saud back to Nejd, creating the third "Saudi state". Ibn Saud gained the support of the Ikhwan, a tribal army inspired by Wahhabism and led by Faisal Al-Dawish, and which had grown quickly after its foundation in 1912.BOOK, Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World, R. Hrair Dekmejian, 1994, 978-0-8156-2635-0, 131,weblink With the aid of the Ikhwan, Ibn Saud captured Al-Ahsa from the Ottomans in 1913.In 1916, with the encouragement and support of Britain (which was fighting the Ottomans in World War I), the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, led a pan-Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire to create a united Arab state.BOOK, The Encyclopedia of World War I, Spencer Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts, 205, 978-1-85109-420-2, 565, Although the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918 failed in its objective, the Allied victory in World War I resulted in the end of Ottoman suzerainty and control in Arabia and Hussein bin Ali became King of Hejaz.BOOK, A History of the Arab Peoples, Albert Hourani, 2005, 978-0-571-22664-1, 315–319, Ibn Saud avoided involvement in the Arab Revolt, and instead continued his struggle with the Al Rashid. Following the latter's final defeat, he took the title Sultan of Nejd in 1921. With the help of the Ikhwan, the Kingdom of Hejaz was conquered in 1924–25 and on 10 January 1926, Ibn Saud declared himself King of Hejaz.BOOK, A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, James Wynbrandt, Fawaz A. Gerges, 2010, 978-0-8160-7876-9, 182,weblink A year later, he added the title of King of Nejd. For the next five years, he administered the two parts of his dual kingdom as separate units.After the conquest of the Hejaz, the Ikhwan leadership's objective switched to expansion of the Wahhabist realm into the British protectorates of Transjordan, Iraq and Kuwait, and began raiding those territories. This met with Ibn Saud's opposition, as he recognized the danger of a direct conflict with the British. At the same time, the Ikhwan became disenchanted with Ibn Saud's domestic policies which appeared to favor modernization and the increase in the number of non-Muslim foreigners in the country. As a result, they turned against Ibn Saud and, after a two-year struggle, were defeated in 1929 at the Battle of Sabilla, where their leaders were massacred.BOOK, Inside the Kingdom, Robert Lacey, 2009, 978-0-09-953905-6, 15–16, On 23 September 1932, the two kingdoms of the Hejaz and Nejd were united as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that date is now a national holiday called Saudi National Day.WEB,weblink History of Saudi Arabia. ( The Saudi National Day 23, Sep ), Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, 21 September 2018,


(File:Arabia Saudi political.jpg|thumb|Saudi Arabia political map)The new kingdom was reliant on limited agriculture and pilgrimage revenues.BOOK, Afluence and Poverty in the Middle East, Mohamad Riad El Ghonemy, 1998, 978-0-415-10033-5, 56, In 1938, vast reserves of oil were discovered in the Al-Ahsa region along the coast of the Persian Gulf, and full-scale development of the oil fields began in 1941 under the US-controlled Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company). Oil provided Saudi Arabia with economic prosperity and substantial political leverage internationally.Cultural life rapidly developed, primarily in the Hejaz, which was the center for newspapers and radio. However, the large influx of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia in the oil industry increased the pre-existing propensity for xenophobia.{{Citation needed|reason=Your explanation here|date=July 2019}}At the same time, the government became increasingly wasteful and extravagant. By the 1950s this had led to large governmental deficits and excessive foreign borrowing.In 1953, Saud of Saudi Arabia succeeded as the king of Saudi Arabia, on his father's death, until 1964 when he was deposed in favor of his half brother Faisal of Saudi Arabia, after an intense rivalry, fueled by doubts in the royal family over Saud's competence. In 1972, Saudi Arabia gained a 20 percent control in Aramco, thereby decreasing US control over Saudi oil.In 1973, Saudi Arabia led an oil boycott against the Western countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria. Oil prices quadrupled. In 1975, Faisal was assassinated by his nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musaid and was succeeded by his half-brother King Khalid.Al-Rasheed, pp. 136–137(File:Saudi Arabia 2003 CIA map.jpg|thumb|left|Saudi Arabian administrative regions and roadways map)By 1976, Saudi Arabia had become the largest oil producer in the world.BOOK, Human Resources Development in Saudi Arabia: Multinationals and Saudization, Joy Winkie Viola, 1986, 978-0-88746-070-8, 37, Khalid's reign saw economic and social development progress at an extremely rapid rate, transforming the infrastructure and educational system of the country; in foreign policy, close ties with the US were developed. In 1979, two events occurred which greatly concerned the government,BOOK, The Muslim world after 9/11, Rabasa, Angel, Benard, Cheryl, Chalk, Peter, 2005, 978-0-8330-3712-1, 42, and had a long-term influence on Saudi foreign and domestic policy. The first was the Iranian Islamic Revolution. It was feared that the country's Shi'ite minority in the Eastern Province (which is also the location of the oil fields) might rebel under the influence of their Iranian co-religionists. There were several anti-government uprisings in the region such as the 1979 Qatif Uprising.BOOK, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia, Toby Craig Jones, 2010, 978-0-674-04985-7, 218–219, The second event was the Grand Mosque Seizure in Mecca by Islamist extremists. The militants involved were in part angered by what they considered to be the corruption and un-Islamic nature of the Saudi government. The government regained control of the mosque after 10 days and those captured were executed. Part of the response of the royal family was to enforce a much stricter observance of traditional religious and social norms in the country (for example, the closure of cinemas) and to give the Ulema a greater role in government.Hegghammer, p. 24 Neither entirely succeeded as Islamism continued to grow in strength.BOOK, Saudi Arabia Enters the 21st Century, Anthony H. Cordesman, 2003, 978-0-275-98091-7, 174, In 1980, Saudi Arabia bought out the American interests in Aramco.BOOK, Oil, Dollars, Debt, and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold, Mahmoud A. El-Gamal, Amy Myers Jaffe, yes, Cambridge University Press, 2010, 978-0-521-72070-0, 41, King Khalid died of a heart attack in June 1982. He was succeeded by his brother, King Fahd, who added the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" to his name in 1986 in response to considerable fundamentalist pressure to avoid use of "majesty" in association with anything except God. Fahd continued to develop close relations with the United States and increased the purchase of American and British military equipment.The vast wealth generated by oil revenues was beginning to have an even greater impact on Saudi society. It led to rapid technological (but not cultural) modernisation, urbanization, mass public education and the creation of new media. This and the presence of increasingly large numbers of foreign workers greatly affected traditional Saudi norms and values. Although there was dramatic change in the social and economic life of the country, political power continued to be monopolized by the royal family leading to discontent among many Saudis who began to look for wider participation in government.Abir (1993), p. 114In the 1980s, Saudi Arabia spent $25 billion in support of Saddam Hussein in the Iran–Iraq War.Robert Fisk (2005) The Great War For Civilisation. Fourth Estate. p. 23. {{ISBN|1-4000-7517-3}} However, Saudi Arabia condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and asked the US to intervene. King Fahd allowed American and coalition troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia. He invited the Kuwaiti government and many of its citizens to stay in Saudi Arabia, but expelled citizens of Yemen and Jordan because of their governments' support of Iraq. In 1991, Saudi Arabian forces were involved both in bombing raids on Iraq and in the land invasion that helped to liberate Kuwait.Saudi Arabia's relations with the West began to cause growing concern among some of the ulema and students of sharia law and was one of the issues that led to an increase in Islamist terrorism in Saudi Arabia, as well as Islamist terrorist attacks in Western countries by Saudi nationals. Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen (until stripped of his citizenship in 1994) and was responsible for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa and the 2000 USS Cole bombing near the port of Aden, Yemen. 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in September 11 attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania were Saudi nationals.BOOK, Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, Christopher Blanchard, United States Congressional Research Service, 2009, 5–6, Many Saudis who did not support the Islamist terrorists were nevertheless deeply unhappy with the government's policies.Hegghammer, p. 31File:Oil and Gas Infrastructure Persian Gulf (large).gif|thumb|Oil and gas pipelines in the Middle-East]]Islamism was not the only source of hostility to the government. Although now extremely wealthy, Saudi Arabia's economy was near stagnant. High taxes and a growth in unemployment have contributed to discontent, and has been reflected in a rise in civil unrest, and discontent with the royal family. In response, a number of limited "reforms" were initiated by King Fahd. In March 1992, he introduced the "Basic Law", which emphasised the duties and responsibilities of a ruler. In December 1993, the Consultative Council was inaugurated. It is composed of a chairman and 60 members—all chosen by the King. The King's intent was to respond to dissent while making as few actual changes in the status quo as possible.{{citation needed|date=October 2013}} Fahd made it clear that he did not have democracy in mind: "A system based on elections is not consistent with our Islamic creed, which [approves of] government by consultation [shūrā]."In 1995, Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke, and the Crown Prince, Abdullah, assumed the role of de facto regent, taking on the day-to-day running of the country. However, his authority was hindered by conflict with Fahd's full brothers (known, with Fahd, as the "Sudairi Seven").Al-Rasheed, p. 212 From the 1990s, signs of discontent continued and included, in 2003 and 2004, a series of bombings and armed violence in Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu and Khobar.BOOK, Saudi Arabia: National Security in a Troubled Region, Anthony H. Cordesman, 2009, 978-0-313-38076-1, 50–52, In February–April 2005, the first-ever nationwide municipal elections were held in Saudi Arabia. Women were not allowed to take part in the poll.In 2005, King Fahd died and was succeeded by Abdullah, who continued the policy of minimum reform and clamping down on protests. The king introduced a number of economic reforms aimed at reducing the country's reliance on oil revenue: limited deregulation, encouragement of foreign investment, and privatization. In February 2009, Abdullah announced a series of governmental changes to the judiciary, armed forces, and various ministries to modernize these institutions including the replacement of senior appointees in the judiciary and the Mutaween (religious police) with more moderate individuals and the appointment of the country's first female deputy minister.On 29 January 2011, hundreds of protesters gathered in the city of Jeddah in a rare display of criticism against the city's poor infrastructure after deadly floods swept through the city, killing 11 people.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2011, Flood sparks rare action, 29 January 2011, Reuters via The Gazette (Montreal), Montreal Gazette, dead, Police stopped the demonstration after about 15 minutes and arrested 30 to 50 people.NEWS, Dozens detained in Saudi over flood protests, 29 January 2011, The Peninsula (newspaper), The Peninsula (Qatar)/Thomson-Reuters,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2 March 2011, dead, Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has been affected by its own Arab Spring protests.NEWS, Robert Fisk, Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt, 5 May 2011, The Independent,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 6 March 2011, live, London, In response, King Abdullah announced on 22 February 2011 a series of benefits for citizens amounting to $36 billion, of which $10.7 billion was earmarked for housing.
  • NEWS,weblink Saudi ruler offers $36bn to stave off uprising amid warning oil price could double, The Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2011, London,
  • WEB,weblink Saudi king gives billion-dollar cash boost to housing, jobs – Politics & Economics, Bloomberg via, 23 February 2011,
  • WEB,weblink King Abdullah Returns to Kingdom, Enacts Measures to Boost the Economy, U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 23 February 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2013, No political reforms were announced as part of the package, though some prisoners indicted for financial crimes were pardoned.NEWS, Saudi king announces new benefits,weblink Al Jazeera, 23 February 2011, On 18 March the same year, King Abdullah announced a package of $93 billion, which included 500,000 new homes to a cost of $67 billion, in addition to creating 60,000 new security jobs.NEWS, Associated Press,weblink Saudi Arabia's king announces huge jobs and housing package, The Guardian, 18 March 2011, NEWS, Donna Abu,weblink Saudi King to Spend $67 Billion on Housing, Jobs in Bid to Pacify Citizens, Bloomberg, 18 March 2011,
Although male-only municipal elections were held on 29 September 2011,NEWS, Abeed al-Suhaimy, Saudi Arabia announces municipal elections, 23 March 2011, Asharq al-Awsat,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 8 December 2012, live, NEWS, Donna Abu-Nasr, Saudi Women Inspired by Fall of Mubarak Step Up Equality Demand, 28 March 2011, Bloomberg,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2 April 2011, live, Abdullah allowed women to vote and be elected in the 2015 municipal elections, and also to be nominated to the Shura Council.NEWS, Saudis vote in municipal elections, results on Sunday, 30 September 2011, Oman Observer, Agence France-Presse,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 19 January 2012, dead, Since 2001, Saudi Arabia has engaged in widespread internet censorship. Most online censorship generally falls into two categories: one based on censoring "immoral" (mostly pornographic and LGBT-supportive websites along with websites promoting any religious ideology other than Sunni Islam) and one based on a blacklist run by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Media, which primarily censors websites critical of the Saudi regime or associated with parties that are opposed to or opposed by Saudi Arabia.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, 2018-11-01,, en, 2019-03-31, WEB,weblink Internet Censorship in Arab Countries: Religious and Moral Aspects, Alisa, Shishkina, Issaev, Leonid, 14 November 2018, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute,weblink 31 March 2019, 31 March 2019, WEB,weblink Saudi internet rules, 2001,, en, 2019-03-31,


{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center; float:left; margin-right:9px; margin-left:2px;" (File:Salman bin Abdull aziz December 9, 2013.jpg|157px) (File:Mohammed Bin Salman al-Saud2.jpg|128px)Salman of Saudi ArabiaKing of Saudi Arabia>King andPrime MinisterMohammad bin SalmanCrown PrinceSaudi Arabia is an autocratic absolute monarchy.BOOK, World and Its Peoples: the Arabian Peninsula, Marshall Cavendish, 2007, 978-0-7614-7571-2, 78, However, according to the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia adopted by royal decree in 1992, the king must comply with Sharia (Islamic law) and the Quran, while the Quran and the Sunnah (the traditions of Muhammad) are declared to be the country's constitution.BOOK, Encyclopedia of world constitutions, Volume 1, Gerhard Robbers, 2007, 978-0-8160-6078-8, 791, No political parties or national elections are permitted. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship.
  • WEB, The world's enduring dictators: Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Saudi Arabia,weblink CBS News, 3 January 2016,
  • NEWS, To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia,weblink The Guardian, 3 January 2016, 31 August 2014, Jones, Owen,
  • WEB, Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador to Sweden,weblink Aljazeera, The Economist rated the Saudi government as the fifth most authoritarian government out of 167 rated in its 2012 Democracy Index, and Freedom House gave it its lowest "Not Free" rating, 7.0 ("1=best, 7=worst") for 2019.WEB, Freedom House. Saudi Arabia,weblink, 29 January 2019,
In the absence of national elections and political parties, politics in Saudi Arabia takes place in two distinct arenas: within the royal family, the Al Saud, and between the royal family and the rest of Saudi society.BOOK, Crude power: politics and the oil market, Oystein Noreng, 2005, 978-1-84511-023-9, 97, Outside of the Al-Saud, participation in the political process is limited to a relatively small segment of the population and takes the form of the royal family consulting with the ulema, tribal sheikhs and members of important commercial families on major decisions. This process is not reported by the Saudi media.Long, p. 85By custom, all males of full age have a right to petition the king directly through the traditional tribal meeting known as the majlis.BOOK, World and Its Peoples: the Arabian Peninsula, Marshall Cavendish, 2007, 978-0-7614-7571-2, 92–93, In many ways the approach to government differs little from the traditional system of tribal rule. Tribal identity remains strong and, outside of the royal family, political influence is frequently determined by tribal affiliation, with tribal sheikhs maintaining a considerable degree of influence over local and national events. As mentioned earlier, in recent years there have been limited steps to widen political participation such as the establishment of the Consultative Council in the early 1990s and the National Dialogue Forum in 2003.The rule of the Al Saud faces political opposition from four sources: Sunni Islamist activism; liberal critics; the Shi'ite minority—particularly in the Eastern Province; and long-standing tribal and regionalist particularistic opponents (for example in the Hejaz).JOURNAL, Ondrej Barenek, 2009, Divided We Survive: A Landscape of Fragmentation in Saudi Arabia, Middle East Brief, 33,weblink Of these, the minority activists have been the most prominent threat to the government and have in recent years perpetrated a number of violent incidents in the country. However, open protest against the government, even if peaceful, is not tolerated. Protestors are typically tortured and beheaded.NEWS, SAUDI SAVAGERY Saudi Arabia mass execution – Lad, 16, tortured with electricity and BEHEADED just for sending WhatsApp messages about protests,weblink The Sun, 26 April 2019,

Monarchy and royal family

File:Ivana Trump shakes hands with Fahd of Saudi Arabia.jpg|thumb|King Fahd with US President Ronald Reagan and future US President Donald Trump in 1985. The US and Saudi Arabia supplied money and arms to the anti-Soviet mujahideenmujahideenThe king combines legislative, executive, and judicial functionsWEB,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Saudi Arabia, Encyclopædia Britannica, and royal decrees form the basis of the country's legislation.BOOK, Legal Aspects of Doing Business in the Middle East, Christian Campbell, 2007, 978-1-4303-1914-6, 265,weblink The king is also the prime minister, and presides over the Council of Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia.The royal family dominates the political system. The family's vast numbers allow it to control most of the kingdom's important posts and to have an involvement and presence at all levels of government.WEB,weblink Country Profile: Saudi Arabia, Library of Congress, Federal Research Division, 2006, The number of princes is estimated to be at least 7,000, with most power and influence being wielded by the 200 or so male descendants of Ibn Saud.NEWS, The House of Saud: rulers of modern Saudi Arabia,weblink Financial Times, 30 September 2010, The key ministries are generally reserved for the royal family, as are the 13 regional governorships.Bowen, p. 15Long term political and government appointments have resulted in the creation of "power fiefdoms" for senior princes,BOOK, State, power and politics in the making of the modern Middle East, Roger Owen, 2000, 978-0-415-19674-1, 56, such as those of King Abdullah, who had been Commander of the National Guard since 1963 (until 2010, when he appointed his son to replace him),NEWS,weblink Saudi King Abdullah to go to US for medical treatment, 21 November 2010, BBC News, former Crown Prince Sultan, Minister of Defence and Aviation from 1962 to his death in 2011, former crown prince Prince Nayef who was the Minister of Interior from 1975 to his death in 2012, Prince Saud who had been Minister of Foreign Affairs since 1975WEB,weblink Biographies of Ministers, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, DC, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 June 2011, and current King Salman, who was Minister of Defense and Aviation before he was crown prince and Governor of the Riyadh Province from 1962 to 2011.NEWS, Prince Salman resumes duties at governorate,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 24 November 2010, Arab News, 23 November 2010, The current Minister of Defense is Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the son of King Salman and Crown Prince.NEWS, Mohammed bin Nayef kingpin in new Saudi Arabia: country experts,weblink 1 February 2015, Middle East Eye, 1 February 2015, The royal family is politically divided by factions based on clan loyalties, personal ambitions and ideological differences. The most powerful clan faction is known as the 'Sudairi Seven', comprising the late King Fahd and his full brothers and their descendants.NEWS, When kings and princes grow old,weblink The Economist, 15 July 2010, Ideological divisions include issues over the speed and direction of reform,BOOK, Conflict and cooperation in the Persian Gulf region, Joseph Kostiner, 2009, 978-3-531-16205-8, 236, and whether the role of the ulema should be increased or reduced. There were divisions within the family over who should succeed to the throne after the accession or earlier death of Prince Sultan.BOOK, Catastrophic consequences: civil wars and American interests, Steven R. David, 2008, 978-0-8018-8989-9, 33–34, When prince Sultan died before ascending to the throne on 21 October 2011, King Abdullah appointed Prince Nayef as crown prince.NEWS, Neil MacFarquhar, Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia Dies,weblink The New York Times, 22 October 2011, The following year Prince Nayef also died before ascending to the throne.NEWS,weblink Obituary: Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, BBC, 16 June 2012, File:Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel walks with Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Fahd bin Abdullah before departing Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 24, 2013 130424-D-BW835-179.jpg|thumb|left|As many as 500 princes, government ministers, and business people, including Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, were arrested by Saudi Arabian authorities as part of the 2017 Saudi Arabian purge2017 Saudi Arabian purgeThe Saudi government and the royal family have often, over many years, been accused of corruption.
  • BOOK, Saudi Royal Family, Jennifer Bond Reed, Brenda Lange, 2006, 978-0-7910-9218-7, 14,weblink
  • BOOK, Saudi Arabia Enters the 21st Century, Anthony H. Cordesman, 2003, 978-0-275-98091-7, 47, 142,
  • BOOK, Middle Eastern leaders and Islam: a precarious equilibrium, Sonia Alianak, 2007, 978-0-8204-6924-9, 67,
  • Bowen, p. 108
  • NEWS, The corrupt, feudal world of the House of Saud,weblink The Independent, 14 May 2003, London, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 October 2011,
  • Abir (1993), p. 73
  • BOOK, Security issues in the post-cold war world, M. Jane Davis, 1996, 978-1-85898-334-9, 81,
  • BOOK, Saudi Arabia and its royal family, William Holden, 1982, 978-0-8184-0326-2, 154–156,weblink Secaucus, N.J. : L. Stuart,
  • BOOK, The Middle East reader, Michael Curtis, 1986, 978-0-88738-101-0, 235, In a country that is said to "belong" to the royal family and is named for them, the lines between state assets and the personal wealth of senior princes are blurred. The extent of corruption has been described as systemicBOOK, September 11 and the U.S. war: beyond the curtain of smoke, Roger Burbach, Ben Clarke, 2002, 978-0-87286-404-7, 32, and endemic,BOOK, Freedom in the Middle East and North Africa: A Freedom in the World Special Edition, Freedom House, 2005, 978-0-7425-3775-0, 63, and its existence was acknowledgedNEWS, A Nation Challenged: The Plots; Saudi Arabia Also a Target Of Attacks, U.S. Officials Say,weblink The New York Times, 9 October 2001, Lowell Bergman, and defendedBOOK, The King's Messenger. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan and America's Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia, David Ottaway, 2008, 978-0-8027-1690-3, 162,weblink Walker & Company, by Prince Bandar bin Sultan (a senior member of the royal familyNEWS, Saudi bribe claims delay £20bn fighter deal,weblink The Times, 7 June 2007, London, David Robertson, ) in an interview in 2001.WEB,weblink Interview: Bandar Bin Sultan, 2001, PBS,
Although corruption allegations have often been limited to broad undocumented accusations,BOOK, National Security in Saudi Arabia: Threats, Responses, and Challenges, Anthony H. Cordesman, 2005, 978-0-275-98811-1, 284,weblink Praeger Security International, specific allegations were made in 2007, when it was claimed that the British defence contractor BAE Systems had paid Prince Bandar US$2 billion in bribes relating to the Al-Yamamah arms deal.NEWS, BAE accused of secretly paying £1bn to Saudi prince,weblink The Guardian, 7 June 2007, London, Leigh, David, Rob Evans, NEWS, BAE Systems sued over alleged Saudi bribes,weblink The Times, 20 September 2007, London, Herman, Michael, Prince Bandar denied the allegations.NEWS, Prince Bandar denies BAE bribery claims,weblink The Times, 11 June 2007, London, Dearbail Jordan, Christine Buckley, Investigations by both US and UK authorities resulted, in 2010, in plea bargain agreements with the company, by which it paid $447 million in fines but did not admit to bribery.NEWS,weblink Lord Goldsmith defends BAE Systems plea deal, 6 February 2010, BBC News, Transparency International in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010 gave Saudi Arabia a score of 4.7 (on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is "highly corrupt" and 10 is "highly clean").WEB,weblink Corruption Perceptions Index 2010, Transparency International, 15 December 2010, Saudi Arabia has undergone a process of political and social reform, such as to increase public transparency and good governance. However, nepotism and patronage are widespread when doing business in the country. The enforcement of the anti-corruption laws is selective and public officials engage in corruption with impunity. A number of prominent Saudi Arabian princes, government ministers, and businesspeople, including Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, were arrested in Saudi Arabia in November 2017.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Including Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, David Kirkpatrick, 4 November 2017, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, There has been mounting pressure to reform and modernize the royal family's rule, an agenda championed by King Abdullah both before and after his accession in 2005. The creation of the Consultative Council in the early 1990s did not satisfy demands for political participation, and, in 2003, an annual National Dialogue Forum was announced that would allow selected professionals and intellectuals to publicly debate current national issues, within certain prescribed parameters. In 2005, the first municipal elections were held. In 2007, the Allegiance Council was created to regulate the succession.Al-Rasheed, pp. 180, 242–243, 248, 257–258 In 2009, the king made significant personnel changes to the government by appointing reformers to key positions and the first woman to a ministerial post.
  • NEWS, Saudi king speeds reforms,weblink Financial Times, 15 February 2009,
  • NEWS, Prince Naif appointed deputy Saudi PM,weblink Financial Times, 27 March 2009, However, these changes have been criticized as being too slow or merely cosmetic.NEWS, Reform in Saudi Arabia: At a snail's pace,weblink The Economist, 30 September 2010,

Al ash-Sheikh and role of the ulema

File:Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh Senate of Poland 02.JPG|thumb|Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh with Bogdan Borusewicz in the Polish SenatePolish SenateSaudi Arabia is almost unique in giving the ulema (the body of Islamic religious leaders and jurists) a direct role in government.BOOK, Religion and the State, Natalie Goldstein, 2010, 978-0-8160-8090-8, 118, The preferred ulema are of the Salafi persuasion. The ulema have also been a key influence in major government decisions, for example the imposition of the oil embargo in 1973 and the invitation to foreign troops to Saudi Arabia in 1990.JOURNAL, Nawaf E. Obaid, September 1999, The Power of Saudi Arabia's Islamic Leaders, Middle East Quarterly, VI, 3, 51–58,weblink In addition, they have had a major role in the judicial and education systemsBOOK, Modernity and tradition: the Saudi equation, Fouad Farsy, 1992, 978-1-874132-03-5, 29, and a monopoly of authority in the sphere of religious and social morals.BOOK, War on sacred grounds, Ron Eduard Hassner, 2009, 978-0-8014-4806-5, 143,weblink Ithaca : Cornell University Press, By the 1970s, as a result of oil wealth and the modernization of the country initiated by King Faisal, important changes to Saudi society were under way and the power of the ulema was in decline.Abir (1987), p. 30 However, this changed following the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979 by Islamist radicals.Abir (1993), p. 21 The government's response to the crisis included strengthening the ulema's powers and increasing their financial support: in particular, they were given greater control over the education system and allowed to enforce stricter observance of Wahhabi rules of moral and social behaviour. After his accession to the throne in 2005, King Abdullah took steps to reduce the powers of the ulema, for instance transferring control over girls' education to the Ministry of Education.NEWS, Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia,weblink The New York Times, 29 November 2010, Nada Bakri, The ulema have historically been led by the Al ash-Sheikh,Abir (1987), p. 4 the country's leading religious family. The Al ash-Sheikh are the descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam which is today dominant in Saudi Arabia.BOOK, Saudi Arabia: the coming storm, Wilson, Peter W., Graham, Douglas, 1994, 978-1-56324-394-3, 16, The family is second in prestige only to the Al Saud (the royal family)Long, p. 11 with whom they formed a "mutual support pact"BOOK, Saudi Arabia King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud Handbook, International Business Publications, 2011, 978-0-7397-2740-9, and power-sharing arrangement nearly 300 years ago. The pact, which persists to this day, is based on the Al Saud maintaining the Al ash-Sheikh's authority in religious matters and upholding and propagating Wahhabi doctrine. In return, the Al ash-Sheikh support the Al Saud's political authorityBOOK, Area Handbook for the Persian Gulf States, Richard F. Nyrop, 2008, 978-1-4344-6210-7, 50, thereby using its religious-moral authority to legitimize the royal family's rule.JOURNAL, Bligh, Alexander, 1985, The Saudi religious elite (Ulama) as participant in the political system of the kingdom, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 17, 37–50, 10.1017/S0020743800028750, Although the Al ash-Sheikh's domination of the ulema has diminished in recent decades,BOOK, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa: Vol. 1 A–C, Philip Mattar, 2004, 978-0-02-865770-7, 101, they still hold the most important religious posts and are closely linked to the Al Saud by a high degree of intermarriage.

Legal system

{{See also|Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia|Public executions in Saudi Arabia}}File:Iqra.jpg|thumb|Verses from the Quran. The Quran is the official constitution of the country and a primary source of law. Saudi Arabia is unique in enshrining a religious text as a political document.Bowen, p. 13]]The primary source of law is the Islamic Sharia derived from the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the traditions of the Prophet). Saudi Arabia is unique among modern Muslim states in that Sharia is not codified and there is no system of judicial precedent, giving judges the power to use independent legal reasoning to make a decision. Saudi judges tend to follow the principles of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence (or fiqh) found in pre-modern textsBOOK, Shari'a Politics: Islamic Law and Society in the Modern World, Robert W. Hefner, 2011, 978-0-253-22310-4, 58, and noted for its literalist interpretation of the Qur'an and hadith.BOOK, Encyclopedia of Islam, Juan Eduardo Campo, 2006, 978-0-8160-5454-1, 288, Because the judge is empowered to disregard previous judgments (either his own or of other judges) and may apply his personal interpretation of Sharia to any particular case, divergent judgements arise even in apparently identical cases, making predictability of legal interpretation difficult.BOOK, Oxford Business Group, The Report: Saudi Arabia, 2009, 202,weblink 978-1-902339-00-9, it is not always possible to reach a conclusion on how a Saudi court or judicial committee would view a particular case [because] decisions of a court or a judicial committee have no binding authority with respect to another case, [and] in general there is also no system of court reporting in the Kingdom., The Sharia court system constitutes the basic judiciary of Saudi Arabia and its judges (qadi) and lawyers form part of the ulema, the country's Islamic scholars.Royal decrees are the other main source of law; but are referred to as regulations rather than laws because they are subordinate to the Sharia. Royal decrees supplement Sharia in areas such as labor, commercial and corporate law. Additionally, traditional tribal law and custom remain significant.Otto, p. 157 Extra-Sharia government tribunals usually handle disputes relating to specific royal decrees.BOOK, Islam and politics, John L. Esposito, 1998, 978-0-8156-2774-6, 110–112, Final appeal from both Sharia courts and government tribunals is to the King and all courts and tribunals follow Sharia rules of evidence and procedure.BOOK, Legal Aspects of Doing Business in the Middle East, Christian Campbell, 2007, 978-1-4303-1914-6, 268–269, The Saudi system of justice has been criticized for its "ultra-puritanical judges", who are often harsh in their sentencing (with beheading for the crime of witchcraft), but also sometimes overly lenient (for cases of rape or wife-beating) and slow, for example leaving thousands of abandoned women unable to secure a divorce.JOURNAL, International: Law of God versus law of man; Saudi Arabia, The Economist, 13 October 2007,weblink NEWS, Saudi Arabian justice: Cruel, or just unusual?,weblink The Economist, 14 June 2001, The system has also been criticized for being arcane,NEWS, Tentative steps in Saudi Arabia: The king of Saudi Arabia shows some reformist credentials,weblink The Economist, 17 February 2009, lacking in some of the safeguards of justice, and unable to deal with the modern world.NEWS, Support for shake-up of Saudi justice system,weblink Financial Times, 4 October 2007, In 2007, King Abdullah issued royal decrees reforming the judiciary and creating a new court system,Otto, pp. 161–162 and, in 2009, the King made a number of significant changes to the judiciary's personnel at the most senior level by bringing in a younger generation.File:Dira Square.JPG|thumb|Deera SquareDeera SquareCapital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading, stoning (to death), amputation, crucifixion and lashing, as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized.Otto, p. 175 The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion.BOOK, Saudi Arabia A Country Study, Federal Research Division, 2004, 978-1-4191-4621-3, 304, NEWS,weblink Saudi executioner tells all, 5 June 2003, BBC News, BOOK, Punishment: a comparative historical perspective, Terance D. Miethe, Hong Lu, 2004, 978-0-521-60516-8, 63, The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September 2014.NEWS, Janine di Giovanni,weblink When It Comes to Beheadings, ISIS Has Nothing Over Saudi Arabia, Newsweek, 14 October 2014, Although repeated theft can be punishable by amputation of the right hand, only one instance of judicial amputation was reported between 2007 and 2010. Homosexual acts are punishable by flogging or death.
  • WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2012-01-19, dead, 2010 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia, 8 April 2011, U.S. State Department,
  • WEB,weblinkweblink 2019-04-24, dead, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia, 11 March 2010, U.S. State Department,
  • WEB,weblinkweblink 2019-04-04, dead, 2008 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia, 25 February 2009, U.S. State Department,
  • WEB,weblink 2007 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia, 11 March 2008, U.S. State Department,
Atheism or "calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based" is considered a terrorist crime."Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents" Independent, April 2014Lashings are a common form of punishmentNEWS,weblink Report: Saudi girl accepts lashing for assaulting headmistress, 24 January 2010, CNN, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 December 2011, and are often imposed for offences against religion and public morality such as drinking alcohol and neglect of prayer and fasting obligations.Retaliatory punishments, or Qisas, are practised: for instance, an eye can be surgically removed at the insistence of a victim who lost his own eye. Families of someone unlawfully killed can choose between demanding the death penalty or granting clemency in return for a payment of diyya (blood money), by the perpetrator.NEWS, Saudis Face Soaring Blood-Money Sums,weblink The Washington Post, 27 July 2008, Even after allowing women to drive and work, public places in Saudi Arabia are still gender-segregated and the kingdom has very strict laws on how unrelated men and women can dine together. In September 2018, a man was arrested by the Saudi authorities for appearing in a video with his female colleague while having breakfast at a hotel, where they both work.WEB,weblink Man arrested in Saudi Arabia for having breakfast with woman, CNN, 11 September 2018,

Foreign relations

File:Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump, and Donald Trump, May 2017.jpg|thumb|left|U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al SisiAbdel Fattah Al SisiSaudi Arabia joined the UN in 1945WEB,weblink United Nations Member States, United Nations, and is a founding member of the Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, Muslim World League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).WEB,weblink The foreign policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 5 July 2005, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia, It plays a prominent role in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and in 2005 joined the World Trade Organization. Saudi Arabia supports the intended formation of the Arab Customs Union in 2015 and an Arab common marketNEWS, No politics for Ben Ali in Kingdom,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 21 January 2011, Arab News, 19 January 2011, by 2020, as announced at the 2009 Arab League summit.NEWS, Arab leaders issue resolutions, emphasize Gaza reconstruction efforts, Kuwait News Agency, 20 January 2009,weblink Since 1960, as a founding member of OPEC, its oil pricing policy has been generally to stabilize the world oil market and try to moderate sharp price movements so as to not jeopardise the Western economies.WEB, OPEC : Brief History,weblink, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, 20 May 2015, In 1973, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations imposed an oil embargo against the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and other Western nations which supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.NEWS, The Arab Oil Threat,weblink The New York Times, November 23, 1973, The embargo caused an oil crisis with many short- and long-term effects on global politics and the global economy.NEWS,weblink The price of oil – in context, April 18, 2006, CBC News,weblink" title="">weblink June 9, 2007, live, Between the mid-1970s and 2002 Saudi Arabia expended over $70 billion in "overseas development aid". However, there is evidence that the vast majority was, in fact, spent on propagating and extending the influence of Wahhabism at the expense of other forms of Islam.BOOK, Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad, J Jonsson David, 2006, 978-1-59781-980-0, 249–250, There has been an intense debate over whether Saudi aid and Wahhabism has fomented extremism in recipient countries.NEWS,weblink Jihad and the Saudi petrodollar, 15 November 2007, BBC News, The two main allegations are that, by its nature, Wahhabism encourages intolerance and promotes terrorism.Malbouisson, p. 26 Counting only the non-Muslim-majority countries, Saudi Arabia has paid for the construction of 1359 mosques, 210 Islamic centres, 202 colleges and 2000 schools."Saudis and Extremism: 'Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters'". The New York Times. 25. August 2016.File:Obama meets King Abdullah July 2014.jpg|thumb|U.S. President Barack Obama meets King Abdullah of Saudi ArabiaAbdullah of Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia and the United States are strategic allies,NEWS, How strained are US-Saudi relations?,weblink BBC News, 20 April 2016, NEWS, Old friends US and Saudi Arabia feel the rift growing, seek new partners,weblink Asia Times Online, Asia Times, 2 May 2016, and since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the US has sold $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia."America Is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen". The New York Times. 17. August 2016."Rights group blasts U.S. "hypocrisy" in "vast flood of weapons" to Saudi Arabia, despite war crimes". Salon. 30. August 2016. However, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States became strained and have witnessed major decline during the last years of the Obama administration,"Gulf allies and ‘Army of Conquest’". Al-Ahram Weekly. 28 May 2015. although Obama had authorized US forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the Saudis in their military intervention in Yemen, establishing a joint coordination planning cell with the Saudi military that is helping manage the war,WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia launces air attacks in Yemen, The Washington Post, March 25, 2015, NEWS, Yemen conflict: US 'could be implicated in war crimes',weblink BBC News, October 10, 2016, and CIA used Saudi bases for drone assassinations in Yemen.NEWS, CIA using Saudi base for drone assassinations in Yemen,weblink The Guardian, 6 February 2013, NEWS, Gardner, Frank, How strained are US-Saudi relations?,weblink BBC News, 20 April 2016, NEWS, The bizarre alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia is finally fraying,weblink, NEWS, The U.S. Might Be Better Off Cutting Ties With Saudi Arabia,weblink Time, Ashford, Emma, 22 April 2016, In the first decade of the 21st century the Saudi Arabia paid approximately $100 million to American firms to lobby the U.S. government.Goldberg, Jeffrey (8 December 2010) Fact-Checking Stephen Walt, The Atlantic. On May 20, 2017, President Donald Trump and King Salman signed a series of letters of intent for Saudi Arabia to purchase arms from the United States totaling US$110 billion immediately,WEB,weblink Trump signs off on $110B arms deal in Saudi Arabia, Linge, Mary Kay, 2017-05-20, New York Post, and $350 billion over 10 years.NEWS,weblink US-Saudi Arabia ink historic 10-year weapons deal worth $350 billion as Trump begins visit, David, Javier E., 2017-05-20, CNBC, The relations with the U.S. became strained following 9/11.BOOK, A History of Saudi Arabia, Madawi Al-Rasheed, 2010, 978-0-521-74754-7, 233, American politicians and media accused the Saudi government of supporting terrorism and tolerating a jihadist culture.BOOK, Great powers and regional orders: the United States and the Persian Gulf, Markus Kaim, 2008, 978-0-7546-7197-8, 68, Indeed, Osama bin Laden and 15 out of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia;Al-Rasheed, pp. 178, 222 in ISIL-occupied Raqqa, in mid-2014, all 12 judges were Saudi.JOURNAL, The other beheaders,weblink The Economist, 20 September 2014, 8 October 2015, The leaked US Department of State memo, dated 17 August 2014, says that "governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia...are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIS and other radical groups in the region." According to former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups... Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."NEWS,weblink Declan Walsh, 5 December 2010, WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists, The Guardian, London, Former CIA director James Woolsey described it as "the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing."WEB,weblink Fueling Terror, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, The Saudi government denies these claims or that it exports religious or cultural extremism.Malbouisson, p. 27 In April 2016, Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell off $750 billion in Treasury securities and other US assets if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be sued over 9/11. In September 2016, the Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act that would allow relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its government's alleged role in the attacks."Why Obama doesn't want 9/11 families suing Saudi Arabia". USA Today. September 23, 2016. Congress overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama's veto.NEWS, Obama: Congress veto override of 9/11 lawsuits bill 'a mistake',weblink BBC News, 29 September 2016, NEWS, We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding Isis,weblink The Independent, 14 October 2016, File:A view of Shah Faisal Mosque from adjoing yard..JPG|thumb|left|Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is named after a Saudi king. The kingdom is a strong ally of Pakistan. (WikiLeaks]] claimed that Saudis are "long accustomed to having a significant role in Pakistan's affairs".NEWS, Ishaan Tharoor, WikiLeaks: The Saudis' Close but Strained Ties with Pakistan, 6 December 2010,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 28 December 2010, live, Time, )In the Arab and Muslim worlds, Saudi Arabia is considered to be pro-Western and pro-American,BOOK, The Saudi enigma: a history, Pascal Ménoret, 2005, 978-1-84277-605-6, 22, and it is certainly a long-term ally of the United States.NEWS, Iraq's foreign militants 'come from US allies',weblink The Guardian, 22 November 2007, London, Walker, Peter, However, thisBOOK, Politics in the developing world, Burnell, Peter J., Randall, Vicky, 2007, 978-0-19-929608-8, 449, and Saudi Arabia's role in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, particularly the stationing of US troops on Saudi soil from 1991, prompted the development of a hostile Islamist response internally.BOOK, Islamic activism: a social movement theory approach, Quintan Wiktorowicz, 2004, 978-0-253-34281-2, 255, As a result, Saudi Arabia has, to some extent, distanced itself from the US and, for example, refused to support or to participate in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.China and Saudi Arabia are major allies, with relationship between the two countries growing significantly in recent decades. Majority of Saudi Arabians also expressed a favorable view of China.NEWS, Saudi Arabia and China launch 'digital Silk Road',weblink, NEWS, China's Xi Jinping calls Saudi king with pledge to boost ties,weblink South China Morning Post, 16 November 2017, NEWS, Saudi Arabia, China Sign Deals Worth Up to $65 Billion,weblink Foreign Policy, WEB, Public Opinion in Saudi Arabia,weblink, NEWS, Gao, Charlotte, Closer Ties: China And Saudi Arabia Sign $70 Billion in New Deals,weblink The Diplomat, 27 August 2017, NEWS, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia Co-host the Third Meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Sub-committee of China-Saudi Arabia High-level Joint Committee,weblink, 9 July 2018, In February 2019, Crown Prince Mohammad defended China's Xinjiang re-education camps for Uyghur Muslims,NEWS, Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman Defends China's Use of Concentration Camps for Muslims During Visit to Beijing,weblink Newsweek, 22 February 2019, NEWS, Saudi crown prince defends China's right to fight 'terrorism',weblink al-Jazeera, 23 February 2019, saying "China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security."NEWS, Saudi crown prince defends China's right to put Uighur Muslims in concentration camps,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 22 February 2019, NEWS, Saudi crown prince defended China's imprisonment of a million Muslims in internment camps, giving Xi Jinping a reason to continue his 'precursors to genocide',weblink Business Insider, 23 February 2019, In July 2019, UN ambassadors of 37 countries, including Saudi Arabia, have signed a joint letter to the UNHRC defending China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region.NEWS, Which Countries Are For or Against China's Xinjiang Policies?,weblink The Diplomat, 15 July 2019, The consequences of the 2003 invasion and the Arab Spring led to increasing alarm within the Saudi monarchy over the rise of Iran's influence in the region."WikiLeaks Shows a Saudi Obsession With Iran". The New York Times. 16 July 2015. These fears were reflected in comments of King Abdullah, who privately urged the United States to attack Iran and "cut off the head of the snake".NEWS, Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme,weblink The Guardian, 28 November 2010, London, Ian Black, Simon Tisdall, The tentative rapprochement between the US and Iran that began in secret in 2011NEWS, Matthew Lee, Bradley Klapper, Julie Pace, 25 November 2013, Obama advised Netanyahu of Iran talks in September,weblink Associated Press, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 November 2013, was said to be feared by the Saudis,NEWS, Ian Black, 24 November 2013, Iran nuclear deal: Saudi Arabia and Gulf react with caution,weblink The Guardian, and, during the run up to the widely welcomed deal on Iran's nuclear programme that capped the first stage of US–Iranian détente, Robert Jordan, who was US ambassador to Riyadh from 2001 to 2003, said "[t]he Saudis' worst nightmare would be the [Obama] administration striking a grand bargain with Iran."NEWS, Angus McDowall, 9 October 2013, Insight: Saudis brace for 'nightmare' of U.S.-Iran rapprochement,weblink Reuters, A trip to Saudi by US President Barack Obama in 2014 included discussions of US–Iran relations, though these failed to resolve Riyadh's concerns.Abdulmajeed al-Buluwi (14 April 2014). "US, Saudi drifting apart despite Obama visit" {{webarchive|url= |date=15 April 2014 }}. Al-Monitor. Retrieved 9 June 2015.In order to protect the house of Khalifa, the monarchs of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain by sending military troops to quell the uprising of Bahraini people on 14 March 2011.NEWS, Saudi Arabian troops enter Bahrain as regime asks for help to quell uprising,weblink The Guardian, 14 September 2015, Martin, Chulov, 14 March 2011, The Saudi government considered the two-month uprising as a "security threat" posed by the Shia who represent the majority of Bahrain population.File:International Syria meeting (29734397483).jpg|thumb|Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir with then British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (now Prime Minister) in London, 16 October 2016]]According to the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in March 2014, Saudi Arabia along with Qatar provided political, financial and media support to terrorists against the Iraqi government.WEB, Maliki: Saudi and Qatar at war against Iraq,weblink Al Jazeera, 14 September 2015, On 25 March 2015, Saudi Arabia, spearheading a coalition of Sunni Muslim states,"U.S. Backs Saudi-Led Yemeni Bombing With Logistics, Spying". Bloomberg. 26 March 2015. started a military intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings."Saudi-led coalition strikes rebels in Yemen, inflaming tensions in region". CNN. 27 March 2015. At least 56,000 people have been killed in armed violence in Yemen between January 2016 and October 2018.NEWS, The Yemen war death toll is five times higher than we think – we can't shrug off our responsibilities any longer,weblink The Independent, 26 October 2018, Saudi Arabia, together with Qatar and Turkey, openly supported the Army of Conquest, Following a number of incidents during the Hajj season, the deadliestWEB, Saudi Arabia Hajj disaster death toll rises,weblink Al Jazeera America, 27 November 2015, of which killed at least 2,070 pilgrimNEWS, Death toll in Saudi haj disaster at least 2,070: Reuters tally,weblink Reuters, 29 October 2015, 27 November 2015, in 2015 Mina stampede, Saudi Arabia has been accused of mismanagement and focusing on increasing money revenues while neglecting pilgrims' welfare.NEWS, Hajj stampede: Saudis face growing criticism over deaths,weblink BBC News, 27 November 2015, 25 September 2015, In March 2015, Sweden scrapped an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, marking an end to a decade-old defense agreement with the kingdom. The decision came after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was blocked by the Saudis while speaking about democracy and women's rights at the Arab League in Cairo. This also led to Saudi Arabia recalling its ambassador to Sweden.WEB,weblink From scrapped arms deals to pleas for democracy: why Sweden is the only Western country standing up to Saudi Arabia, The Independent, 12 March 2015, 12 March 2015, According to Sir William Patey, former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the kingdom funds mosques throughout Europe that have become hotbeds of extremism. “They are not funding terrorism. They are funding something else, which may down the road lead to individuals being radicalised and becoming fodder for terrorism,” Patey said. He said that Saudi has been funding an ideology that leads to extremism and the leaders of the kingdom are not aware of the consequences.NEWS,weblink Saudi Arabia boosting extremism in Europe, says former ambassador, 13 July 2017, The Guardian, 13 July 2017, Editor, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic, Saudi Arabia has been seen as a moderating influence in the Arab–Israeli conflict, periodically putting forward a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians and condemning Hezbollah.BOOK, Prophets and princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the present, Watson, Mark, 2008, 978-0-470-18257-4, 2, Following the Arab Spring Saudi Arabia offered asylum to deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and King Abdullah telephoned President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (prior to his deposition) to offer his support.NEWS, Egypt Protests could spread to other countries,weblink The Guardian, 31 January 2011, London, Ian Black, In early 2014 relations with Qatar became strained over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and Saudi Arabia's belief that Qatar was interfering in its affairs. In August 2014 both countries appeared to be exploring ways of ending the rift.NEWS, Top Saudi Officials Head to Qatar in Effort to Heal Rift,weblink 27 August 2014, Saudi Arabia News.Net, Saudi Arabia and its allies have criticized Qatar-based TV channel Al Jazeera and Qatar's relations with Iran. In 2017, Saudi Arabia imposed a land, naval and air blockade on Qatar.WEB, Qatar-Gulf crisis: Your questions answered,weblink, File:Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict.png|thumb|Major Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflictIran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflictSaudi Arabia halted new trade and investment dealings with Canada and suspended diplomatic ties in a dramatic escalation of a dispute over the kingdom’s arrest of a women's rights activist on 6 August 2018.WEB,weblink Saudi-Canada trade row: What business is at stake?,, 6 August 2018, NEWS, Welcome to the Saudi Arabia vs. Canada Troll War,weblink Vice (magazine), Vice, 7 August 2018, Tensions have escalated between Saudi Arabia and its allies after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials are highly skeptical of Khashoggi being murdered inside the consulate; this has strained the already suffering Saudi Arabia–Turkey relations. As stated by Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the German Marshall Fund’s Ankara office “Turkey is maintaining a very delicate balance in its relations with Saudi Arabia. The relations have the potential of evolving into a crisis at any moment.”WEB,weblink Turkey seeks answers from Saudi Arabia on missing journalist, The Washington Post, 8 October 2018, The pressure on Saudi to reveal the insights about Khashoggi’s disappearance from the US and other European countries has increased. Saudi-US relations took an ugly turn on 14 October 2018, when Trump promised “severe punishment” if the royal court was responsible for Khashoggis’ death. The Saudi Foreign Ministry retaliated with an equal statement saying, “it will respond with greater action,” indicating the kingdom’s “influential and vital role in the global economy.” A joint statement was issued by Britain, France and Germany also demanding a “credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and — if relevant — to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.”NEWS,weblink Saudi Arabia and U.S. Clash Over Khashoggi Case, The New York Times, 14 October 2018, 14 October 2018, Kirkpatrick, David D., The US expects its Gulf allies involved in the coalition in Yemen to put in more efforts and address the rising concerns about the millions that have been pushed to the brink of famine. According to the United Nations, the Arabian peninsula nation is home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.WEB,weblink Top U.S. Diplomat Backed Continuing Support for Saudi War in Yemen Over Objections of Staff, Wall Street Journal, Nissenbaum, Dion, 20 September 2018, More than 50,000 children in Yemen died from starvation in 2017.NEWS,weblink Saudis must lift Yemen blockade or 'untold' thousands will die, UN agencies warn, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic, editor, 16 November 2017,, The Guardian, The famine in Yemen is the direct result of the Saudi-led intervention and blockade of the rebel-held area.NEWS,weblink The Photos the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Don't Want You to See, Nicholas, Kristof, 31 August 2017,, WEB,weblink In blocking arms to Yemen, Saudi Arabia squeezes a starving population, Reuters, 11 October 2017, In the wake of Jamal Khashoggi's murder in October 2018, the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the US defence secretary Jim Mattis have called for a ceasefire in Yemen within 30 days followed by UN-initiated peace talks. Pompeo has asked Saudi Arabia and the UAE to stop their airstrikes on populated areas in Yemen. Theresa May backed the US call to end the coalition. President of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband called the US announcement as “the most significant breakthrough in the war in Yemen for four years”.NEWS,weblink US calls for ceasefire in Yemen within 30 days, sparking hopes of diplomatic breakthrough, The Telegraph, 31 October 2018, 31 October 2018, Sanchez, Raf, Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary, on his visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on 12 November 2018, is expected to raise the need for a ceasefire from all sides in the four-year long Yemen civil war. The US called for a ceasefire within 30 days.NEWS,weblink UK piles pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi killing, 12 November 2018, The Guardian, 12 November 2018, Editor, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic, Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said that Hunt and Boris Johnson "played an utterly central and complicit role in arming and supporting the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen."NEWS, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson accused of 'central role' in arming Saudi Arabia as UK's relationship with Riyadh reaches crossroads,weblink i (newspaper), iNews, 5 July 2019, 15 July 2019, NEWS, Jeremy Hunt's bid for prime minister is being funded by a close ally of Saudi prince Mohammed Bin Salman,weblink Business Insider, 5 July 2019, 15 July 2019,


File:"Our Eagles" The first Saudi pilots training in Italy (1935).jpg|left|thumb|"The Saudi pilots training in Italy 1935"—a scene from 'Our Eagles', one of four video wallvideo wallSaudi Arabia has one of the highest percentages of military expenditure in the world, spending more than 10% of its GDP in its military. The Saudi military consists of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, the Royal Saudi Air Force, the Royal Saudi Navy, the Royal Saudi Air Defense, the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG, an independent military force), and paramilitary forces, totaling nearly 200,000 active-duty personnel. In 2005 the armed forces had the following personnel: the army, 75,000; the air force, 18,000; air defense, 16,000; the navy, 15,500 (including 3,000 marines); and the SANG had 75,000 active soldiers and 25,000 tribal levies.WEB,weblink Country Profile: Saudi Arabia, Sept. 2006 Library of Congress, In addition, there is an Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah military intelligence service.The kingdom has a long-standing military relationship with Pakistan, it has long been speculated that Saudi Arabia secretly funded Pakistan's atomic bomb programme and seeks to purchase atomic weapons from Pakistan, in near future.BOOK, Allah's Bomb: The Islamic Quest for Nuclear Weapons, Al J. Venter, 150–153, 2007, Globe Pequot, 978-1-59921-205-0, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia's nuclear gambit, Asia Times, 7 November 2003, The SANG is not a reserve but a fully operational front-line force, and originated out of Ibn Saud's tribal military-religious force, the Ikhwan. Its modern existence, however, is attributable to it being effectively Abdullah's private army since the 1960s and, unlike the rest of the armed forces, is independent of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. The SANG has been a counterbalance to the Sudairi faction in the royal family: The late prince Sultan, former Minister of Defense and Aviation, was one of the so-called 'Sudairi Seven' and controlled the remainder of the armed forces until his death in 2011.WEB, John Pike,weblink Saudi Arabian National Guard,, 27 April 2005, File:11th MEU 141213-M-CB493-105 (15657874453).jpg|thumb|Saudi and US troops train in December 2014]]Spending on defense and security has increased significantly since the mid-1990s and was about US$63.7 billion, as of 2016.WEB,weblink Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2016, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 24 April 2017, Saudi Arabia ranks among the top 10 in the world in government spending for its military, representing about 7 percent of gross domestic product in 2005. Its modern high-technology arsenal makes Saudi Arabia among the world's most densely armed nations, with its military equipment being supplied primarily by the US, France and Britain.The United States sold more than $80 billion in military hardware between 1951 and 2006 to the Saudi military.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, 11 November 2010, dead,weblink 11 November 2010,, On 20 October 2010, the US State Department notified Congress of its intention to make the biggest arms sale in American history—an estimated $60.5 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The package represents a considerable improvement in the offensive capability of the Saudi armed forces.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 5 December 2010, Arms for the King and His Family,, Teitelbaum, Joshua, 4 November 2010, dead, 2013 saw Saudi military spending climb to $67bn, overtaking that of the UK, France and Japan to place fourth globally."Saudis lead Middle East military spending". 14 April 2014. Al Jazeera.The United Kingdom has also been a major supplier of military equipment to Saudi Arabia since 1965.BOOK, Charles Gardner, British Aircraft Corporation, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 978-0-7134-3815-4, 224–249, 1981, Since 1985, the UK has supplied military aircraft—notably the Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft—and other equipment as part of the long-term Al-Yamamah arms deal estimated to have been worth £43 billion by 2006 and thought to be worth a further £40 billion.NEWS, Dominic O'Connell, BAE cashes in on £40bn Arab jet deal, The Sunday Times, 20 August 2006,weblink London, In May 2012, British defence giant BAE signed a £1.9bn ($3bn) deal to supply Hawk trainer jets to Saudi Arabia.NEWS,weblink Saudi Arabia, Reuters, 23 May 2012, According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, in 2010–14 Saudi Arabia became the world's second largest arms importer, receiving four times more major arms than in 2005–2009. Major imports in 2010–14 included 45 combat aircraft from the UK, 38 combat helicopters from the US, four tanker aircraft from Spain and over 600 armoured vehicles from Canada. Saudi Arabia has a long list of outstanding orders for arms, including 27 more combat aircraft from the UK, 154 combat aircraft from the US and a large number of armoured vehicles from Canada. Saudi Arabia received 41 percent of UK arms exports in 2010–14."Saudi, UAE Influence Grows With Purchases". Defense News. 22 March 2015. France authorized $18 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone. The $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia is believed to be the largest arms sale in Canadian history. Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest arms customer, with more than £4.6 billion worth of arms bought since the start of Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. A recent poll conducted by YouGov for Save the Children and Avaaz stated that 63 percent of British people oppose the sale of weapons to Saudi.WEB,weblink Yemen civil war: Poll shows most Britons oppose Saudi Arabia arms sales, as MPs call emergency debate, The Independent, 12 September 2018, 11 September 2018, Following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a nonbinding resolution was passed in the European Parliament on 25 October 2018, urging EU countries to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.WEB,weblink European Parliament passes resolution urging arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, The Washington Post, 25 October 2018, Germany became the first Western government to suspend future arms deal with the kingdom after Angela Merkel stated that “arms exports can’t take place in the current circumstances.”WEB,weblink Germany plans to suspend arms sales to Saudis; other European countries press for more information on Khashoggi's killing, The Washington Post, 22 October 2018,

Human rights

File:Raif Badawi cropped.jpg|thumb|upright|In 2014, Saudi Arabian writer Raif BadawiRaif BadawiWestern-based organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House condemn both the Saudi criminal justice system and its severe punishments. There are no jury trials in Saudi Arabia and courts observe few formalities.BOOK, Doing business with Saudi Arabia, Anthony Shoult, 2006, 978-1-905050-06-2, 95, Human Rights Watch, in a 2008 report, noted that a criminal procedure code had been introduced for the first time in 2002, but it lacked some basic protections and, in any case, had been routinely ignored by judges. Those arrested are often not informed of the crime of which they are accused or given access to a lawyer and are subject to abusive treatment and torture if they do not confess. At trial, there is a presumption of guilt and the accused is often unable to examine witnesses and evidence or present a legal defense. Most trials are held in secret.
  • BOOK, Precarious Justice, Human Rights Watch, 2008, 3–4, 101–102, 108–115,weblink
  • NEWS,weblink Analysis: Saudi rough justice, 28 March 2000, BBC News, An example of sentencing is that of UK pensioner and cancer victim Karl Andree, aged 74, who faced 360 lashes for home brewing alcohol.WEB,weblink Karl Andree case: David Cameron to write to Saudi government, BBC News, He was later released due to intervention by the British government.WEB,weblink Briton Karl Andree jailed in Saudi Arabia back home, BBC News, 11 November 2015,
Saudi Arabia is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world. Human rights issues that have attracted strong criticism include the extremely disadvantaged position of women (see Women below), capital punishment for homosexuality,NEWS,weblink Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death, 24 February 2014, The Washington Post, religious discrimination, the lack of religious freedom and the activities of the religious police (see Religion below). Between 1996 and 2000, Saudi Arabia acceded to four UN human rights conventions and, in 2004, the government approved the establishment of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), staffed by government employees, to monitor their implementation. To date, the activities of the NSHR have been limited and doubts remain over its neutrality and independence.Al-Rasheed, pp. 250–252Saudi Arabia remains one of the very few countries in the world not to accept the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In response to the continuing criticism of its human rights record, the Saudi government points to the special Islamic character of the country, and asserts that this justifies a different social and political order.Otto, pp. 168, 172 The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had unsuccessfullyWEB,weblink Dispatches: Obama Refuses to Talk Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, 31 March 2014, Human Rights Watch, urged President Barack Obama to raise human rights concerns with King Abdullah on his March 2014 visit to the Kingdom especially the imprisonments of Sultan Hamid Marzooq al-Enezi, Saud Falih Awad al-Enezi, and Raif Badawi."USCIRF Urges President: Raise Religious Freedom on Saudi Trip". United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. 26 March 2014.File:Lastknowphotoofdinaali2.jpg|thumb|left|210px|Last known photo of Dina Ali (left), April 10, 2017, a 24-year-old Saudi woman who attempted to escape the male guardianship system.NEWS,weblink Forcibly repatriated Saudi woman: 'My family will kill me', 16 April 2017, Deutsche WelleDeutsche WelleFor example, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for taking part in an anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring."Saudi Arabia must immediately halt execution of children – UN rights experts urge". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 22 September 2015. In May 2014, Ali al-Nimr was sentenced to be publicly beheaded and crucified."When Beheading Won't Do the Job, the Saudis Resort to Crucifixion ". The Atlantic. 24 September 2015.In 2013, the government deported thousands of non-Saudis, many of them who were working illegally in the country or had overstayed their visas. Many reports abound, of foreigner workers being tortured either by employers or others. Saudi Arabia has a "Counter-Radicalization Program" the purpose of which is to "combat the spread and appeal of extremist ideologies among the general populous (sic)" and to "instill the true values of the Islamic faith, such as tolerance and moderation."WEB, Initiatives and Actions to Combat Terrorism,weblink 6, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, November 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 24 April 2016, dead, This "tolerance and moderation" has been called into question by the Baltimore Sun, based on the reports from Amnesty International regarding Raif Badawi,WEB, Saudi Arabia's brutal punishment of a dissident,weblink The Baltimore Sun, and in the case of a man from Hafr al-Batin sentenced to death for rejecting Islam.NEWS, Saudi Arabia court gives death penalty to man who renounced his Muslim faith,weblink The Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2015, Spencer, Richard, In September 2015, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, has been elected Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts."UK helped Saudi Arabia get UN human rights role through 'secret deal' to exchange votes, leaked documents suggest". The Independent. 30 September 2015. In January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr who had called for pro-democracy demonstrations and for free elections in Saudi Arabia.WEB, Saudi execution of Shia cleric sparks outrage in Middle East,weblink The Guardian, 2 January 2016, In August 2017, ten Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Desmond Tutu and Lech Wałęsa, urged Saudi Arabia to stop the executions of 14 young people for participating in the 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests."Nobel laureates urge Saudi king to halt 14 executions". National Post. 11 August 2017.On 2 October 2018, Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. According to Turkish government sources there is audio and video evidence for him having been murdered and dismembered inside the consulate.NEWS, Sen. Corker: Everything points to Saudis being responsible for missing journalist,weblink MSNBC, 12 October 2018, Turkish officials have audio and video evidence that shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Retrieved 12 October 2018.Turkey has 'shocking' audio and visual evidence of Saudi journalist's killing. Retrieved 12 October 2018.


(File:Saudi Arabia Topography.png|thumb|left|Saudi Arabia topography)File:West Asia Köppen Map.png|thumb| Saudi Arabia's Köppen climate classification mapJOURNAL, Peel, M.C., Finlayson, B.L., McMahon, T.A., 2007, Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 5, 1633–1644, 10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007, 1027-5606, (direct: Final Revised Paper) is based on native vegetation, temperature, precipitation and their seasonality.{{legend|#FE0000|BWh Hot desert|size=60%}}{{legend|#FE9695|BWk Cold desert|size=60%}}{{legend|#F5A301|BSh Hot semi-arid|size=60%}}{{legend|#FFDB63|BSk Cold semi-aridBSk Cold semi-aridSaudi Arabia occupies about 80 percent of the Arabian Peninsula (the world's largest peninsula),BOOK, Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Volume 1, Jamie Stokes, 2009, 978-0-8160-7158-6, 605, lying between latitudes 16° and 33° N, and longitudes 34° and 56° E. Because the country's southern borders with the United Arab Emirates and Oman are not precisely marked, the exact size of the country is undefined. The CIA World Factbook estimates {{cvt|2149690|km2|sqmi|0}} and lists Saudi Arabia as the world's 13th largest state.WEB,weblink CIA World Factbook – Rank Order: Area, 26 January 2012, It is geographically the largest country in the Arabian Plate.BOOK, University Microfilms, Dissertation Abstracts International: The sciences and engineering, 2004, 23, Saudi Arabia's geography is dominated by the Arabian Desert, associated semi-desert and shrubland (see satellite image) and several mountain ranges and highlands. It is, in fact, a number of linked deserts and includes the {{cvt|647500|km2|sqmi|0}} Rub' al Khali ("Empty Quarter") in the southeastern part of the country, the world's largest contiguous sand desert.BOOK, Saudi Arabia: an environmental overview, 2008, Taylor & Francis, 978-0-415-41387-9,weblink Vincent, Peter, 141, There are a few lakes in the country but no permanent rivers; however, wadis are very numerous. The fertile areas are to be found in the alluvial deposits in wadis, basins, and oases. The main topographical feature is the central plateau which rises abruptly from the Red Sea and gradually descends into the Nejd and toward the Persian Gulf. On the Red Sea coast, there is a narrow coastal plain, known as the Tihamah parallel to which runs an imposing escarpment. The southwest province of Asir is mountainous, and contains the {{cvt|3133|m|ft|0}} Mount Sawda, which is the highest point in the country.Except for the southwestern province of Asir, Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with very high day-time temperatures and a sharp temperature drop at night. Average summer temperatures are around {{cvt|113|°F|0|order=flip}}, but can be as high as {{cvt|129|°F|0|order=flip}}. In the winter the temperature rarely drops below {{cvt|32|°F|0|order=flip}}. In the spring and autumn the heat is temperate, temperatures average around {{cvt|84|°F|0|order=flip}}. Annual rainfall is extremely low. The Asir region differs in that it is influenced by the Indian Ocean monsoons, usually occurring between October and March. An average of {{cvt|300|mm|0}} of rainfall occurs during this period, which is about 60 percent of the annual precipitation.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, Weather Online,


{{Multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
|image1=Arabian oryx (oryx leucoryx).jpg |caption1=The Arabian oryx are found in the deserts and are endangered animals
|image2=Halterstandingshotarabianone.jpg |caption2=The Arabian horse is native to Arabia, and an important element of traditional Arabian folklore
|image3=Arabian Leopard Nimr (8454247265).jpg |caption3=The highly endangered Arabian leopard
|image4=Anthia goldfish.JPG |caption4=Red Sea coral and marine fish
}}Wildlife includes the Arabian leopard,JOURNAL, Judas, J., Paillat, P., Khoja, A., Boug, A., 2006, Status of the Arabian leopard in Saudi Arabia,weblink Cat News, Special Issue 1, 11–19, JOURNAL, Spalton, J.A., Al-Hikmani, H.M., yes, 2006, The Leopard in the Arabian Peninsula – Distribution and Subspecies Status, Cat News, Special Issue 1, 4–8,weblink wolf, striped hyena, mongoose, baboon, hare, sand cat, and jerboa. Animals such as gazelles, oryx, leopards and cheetahsBOOK, Nowell, K., Jackson, P., Asiatic cheetah, Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan,weblink 1996, IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland, 978-2-8317-0045-8, 41–44, were relatively numerous until the 19th century, when extensive hunting reduced these animals almost to extinction. Birds include falcons (which are caught and trained for hunting), eagles, hawks, vultures, sandgrouse, and bulbuls. There are several species of snakes, many of which are venomous. Saudi Arabia is home to a rich marine life. The Red Sea in particular is a rich and diverse ecosystem. More than 1200 species of fishWEB,weblink FishBase, Froese, Ranier, Pauly, Daniel, 12 March 2009, 2009, have been recorded in the Red Sea, and around 10 percent of these are found nowhere else.BOOK, Siliotti, A., Fishes of the red sea, Verona, Geodia, 2002, 978-88-87177-42-8, This also includes 42 species of deepwater fish.The rich diversity is in part due to the {{cvt|2000|km|mi|-1}} of coral reef extending along its coastline; these fringing reefs are 5000–7000 years old and are largely formed of stony acropora and porites corals. The reefs form platforms and sometimes lagoons along the coast and occasional other features such as cylinders (such as the Blue Hole (Red Sea) at Dahab). These coastal reefs are also visited by pelagic species of Red Sea fish, including some of the 44 species of shark.The Red Sea also contains many offshore reefs including several true atolls. Many of the unusual offshore reef formations defy classic (i.e., Darwinian) coral reef classification schemes, and are generally attributed to the high levels of tectonic activity that characterize the area.Domesticated animals include the legendary Arabian horse, Arabian camel, sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, chickens etc. Reflecting the country's dominant desert conditions, Saudi Arabia's plant life mostly consists of herbs, plants and shrubs that require little water. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is widespread.

Administrative divisions

Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 regionsWEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: Administrative divisions,, (; manatiq idāriyya, sing. منطقة إدارية; mintaqah idariyya). The regions are further divided into 118 governorates (; muhafazat, sing. محافظة; muhafazah). This number includes the 13 regional capitals, which have a different status as municipalities (; amanah) headed by mayors (; amin). The governorates are further subdivided into sub-governorates (; marakiz, sing. مركز; markaz).{{Saudi Arabia Prv}} The 13 regions of Saudi Arabia.


{{Largest cities of Saudi Arabia}}


(File:KAFD seen from North east side of Riyadh City.jpg|right|thumb|King Abdullah Financial Center is one of the largest investment centers in the Middle East, located in Riyadh)As of October 2018, Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world.Saudi Arabia has the world's second-largest proven petroleum reserves and the country is the largest exporter of petroleum.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, OPEC, 1 January 1995, 28 September 2012, "OPEC Decides Not To Increase Oil Production", Jeff Brady. NPR. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011 It also has the fifth-largest proven natural gas reserves. Saudi Arabia is considered an "energy superpower".WEB
, Saudi Arabia's first step towards clean energy technologies
, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP
, 5 February 2012
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 28 May 2012
, JOURNAL, Global Energy Geopolitics and Iran, Uluslararası İlişkiler, Balamir Coşkun, Bezen, 5, 20, 179–201, Winter 2009,weblink unfit,weblink" title="">weblink 1 April 2014, It has the third highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at US$34.4 trillion in 2016.WEB,weblink 10 Countries With The Most Natural Resources, 12 September 2016, Anthony, Craig, Investopedia, Saudi Arabia's command economy is petroleum-based; roughly 63%WEB, By Nayla Razzouk and Claudia Carpenter, Saudi Arabia Sees Higher Oil Revenue as OPEC Cuts Boost Prices,weblink, of budget revenues and 67%WEB,weblink OEC - Saudi Arabia (SAU) Exports, Imports, and Trade Partners,, en, 2019-08-15, of export earnings come from the oil industry. It is strongly dependent on foreign workers with about 80% of those employed in the private sector being non-Saudi.JOURNAL, Coy, Peter, Online Education Targets Saudi Arabia's Labor Problem, Starting With Women, Bloomberg Businessweek, 16 July 2014,weblink Saudi citizens account for two-thirds of employment in the high-paying, comfortable public sector, but only one-fifth of employment in the more dynamic private sector, according to the International Monetary Fund (PDF)., Economists "estimate only 30–40 percent of working-age Saudis hold jobs or actively seek work," the official employment rate of around 12 percent notwithstanding: NEWS, Angus McDowall, Saudi Arabia doubles private sector jobs in 30-month period,weblink Reuters, 19 January 2014, Challenges to the Saudi economy include halting or reversing the decline in per-capita income, improving education to prepare youth for the workforce and providing them with employment, diversifying the economy, stimulating the private sector and housing construction, and diminishing corruption and inequality.The oil industry constitutes about 45% of Saudi Arabia's nominal gross domestic product, compared with 40% from the private sector (see below). Saudi Arabia officially has about {{convert|260|Goilbbl|m3}} of oil reserves, comprising about one-fifth of the world's proven total petroleum reserves.WEB,weblink World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates,, {|class="wikitable" style="float: right; margin-left: 10px"! style="text-align:center; background:#cfb;" colspan="2" |Share of world GDP (PPP)! style="background:#cfb;"|Year! style="background:#cfb;"|Share1980 style="text-align:right;" |2.73%1990 style="text-align:right;" |1.64%|20001.42%|20101.36%2017 style="text-align:right;" |1.40%In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia experienced a significant contraction of oil revenues combined with a high rate of population growth. Per capita income fell from a high of $11,700 at the height of the oil boom in 1981 to $6,300 in 1998.WEB,weblink Country Profile Study on Poverty: Saudi Arabia, 26 February 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 February 2008,, Taking into account the impact of the real oil price changes on the Kingdom's real gross domestic income, the real command-basis GDP was computed to be 330.381 billion 1999 USD in 2010.REPORT, Pierru, Axel, Matar, Walid, The Impact of Oil Price Volatility on Welfare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Implications for Public Investment Decision-Making, 16 July 2012, USAEE Working Paper No. 2110172, 2110172, Increases in oil prices in the aughts{{Peacock term|date=May 2015}} helped boost per capita GDP to $17,000 in 2007 dollars (about $7,400 adjusted for inflation),WEB,weblink CPI Inflation Calculator,, but have declined since oil price drop in mid-2014.WEB, Crude Oil WTI (NYMEX) Price,weblink, 16 March 2015, File:AramcoCoreArea.jpg|thumb|left|Office of Saudi AramcoSaudi AramcoOPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) limits its members' oil production based on their "proven reserves." Saudi Arabia's published reserves have shown little change since 1980, with the main exception being an increase of about {{convert|100|Goilbbl|m3}} between 1987 and 1988.WEB,weblink Crude Oil Reserves, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2010, Matthew Simmons has suggested that Saudi Arabia is greatly exaggerating its reserves and may soon show production declines (see peak oil).BOOK, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, Matthew Simmons, Matthew_Simmons, Wiley, 978-0-471-73876-3, 2005, 10 June 2005,weblink From 2003–2013 "several key services" were privatized—municipal water supply, electricity, telecommunications—and parts of education and health care, traffic control and car accident reporting were also privatized. According to Arab News columnist Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, "in almost every one of these areas, consumers have raised serious concerns about the performance of these privatized entities."JOURNAL, Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, When privatization goes wrong, Arab News, 29 September 2014,weblink The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) of the Saudi stock exchange peaked at 16,712.64 in 2005, and closed at 8,535.60, at the end of 2013.WEB, Saudi Stock Exchange, Annual Statistical Report 2013,weblink, In November 2005, Saudi Arabia was approved as a member of the World Trade Organization. Negotiations to join had focused on the degree to which Saudi Arabia is willing to increase market access to foreign goods and in 2000, the government established the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority to encourage foreign direct investment in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia maintains a list of sectors in which foreign investment is prohibited, but the government plans to open some closed sectors such as telecommunications, insurance, and power transmission/distribution over time.The government has also made an attempt at "Saudizing" the economy, replacing foreign workers with Saudi nationals with limited success.House, p. 161: "Over the past decade, the government has announced one plan after another to 'Saudize' the economy, but to no avail. The foreign workforce grows, and so does unemployment among Saudis. .... The previous plan called for slashing unemployment to 2.8% only to see it rise to 10.5% in 2009, the end of that plan period. Government plans in Saudi are like those in the old Soviet Union, grandiose but unmet. (Also, as in the old Soviet Union, nearly all Saudi official statistics are unreliable, so economists believe the real Saudi unemployment rate is closer to 40%)"(File:Saudi Arabia Export Treemap.png|thumb|Graphical depiction of Saudi Arabia's product exports)Saudi Arabia has had five-year "Development Plans" since 1970. Among its plans were to launch "economic cities" (e.g. King Abdullah Economic City) to be completed by 2020, in an effort to diversify the economy and provide jobs. {{As of|2013}} four cities were planned.WEB, Saudi Arabia's Four New Economic Cities,weblink The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, 16 March 2015, 6 February 2013, The King has announced that the per capita income is forecast to rise from $15,000 in 2006 to $33,500 in 2020.WEB,weblink Construction boom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, 7 December 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2007,, 2 August 2007, The cities will be spread around Saudi Arabia to promote diversification for each region and their economy, and the cities are projected to contribute $150 billion to the GDP.In addition to petroleum and gas, Saudi also has a significant gold mining sector in the ancient Mahd adh Dhahab region and significant other mineral industries, an agricultural sector (especially in the southwest but not only) based on vegetables, fruits, dates etc. and livestock, and large number of temporary jobs created by the roughly two million annual hajj pilgrims.Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: p. 206Statistics on poverty in the kingdom are not available through the UN resources because the Saudi government does not issue any.WEB,weblink Poverty Hides Amid Saudi Arabia's Oil Wealth, NPR, The Saudi state discourages calling attention to or complaining about poverty. In December 2011, the Saudi interior ministry arrested three reporters and held them for almost two weeks for questioning after they uploaded a video on the topic to YouTube.
  • WEB,weblink Mal3ob 3alena : Poverty in Saudi Arabia English Version, YouTube,
  • NEWS,weblink Saudi dissidents turn to YouTube to air their frustrations, Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers, 4 December 2011,
  • NEWS,weblink London, The Guardian, Amelia Hill, Saudi film-makers enter second week of detention, 23 October 2011, Authors of the video claim that 22 percent of Saudis may be considered poor (2009).WEB,weblink A foreign Saudi plot to expose foreign poverty in foreign Saudi, Lebanon Spring, 19 October 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 January 2012, Observers researching the issue prefer to stay anonymousWEB,weblink Poverty exists in Saudi Arabia too &124; The Observers, France 24, 28 October 2008, because of the risk of being arrested.
In September 2018 the Public Investment Fund completed a deal with a group of global lenders for a loan of $11 billion.WEB, Martin, Matthew, Saudi Arabia's Sovereign Wealth Fund Raises $11 Billion Loan,weblink Bloomberg, 17 September 2018, The deal raised more than initially planned and was the first time the PIF had incorporated loans and debt instruments into its funding.WEB, Nereim, Vivian, Saudi Businesses Are Struggling to Hire Saudi Workers,weblink Bloomberg, 18 September 2018, According to data from Fitch Ratings, over two years starting from May 2016 Saudi Arabia went from having zero debt to raising $68 billion in dollar-denominated bonds and syndicated loans—one of the fastest rates among emerging economies.NEWS,weblink Fate of Journalist Heightens Saudi Debt Worries, Jones, Rory, 2018-10-17, Wall Street Journal, 2018-10-18, en-US, 0099-9660, Each year, about a quarter-million young Saudis enter the job market. With the first phase of Saudization into effect, 70% of sales job are expected to be filled by Saudis. However, the private sector still remains hugely dominated by foreigners. The rate of local unemployment is 12.9%, its highest in more than a decade. According to a report published by Bloomberg Economics in 2018, the government needs to produce 700,000 jobs by 2020 to meet its 9% unemployment target.


File:Jabal Al Qara Cave - Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia ജബൽ അൽ ഖാറ ഗുഹ, അൽ ഹസ, സൗദി അറേബ്യ 13.JPG|thumb|Al-HasaAl-HasaSerious large-scale agricultural development began in the 1970s. The government launched an extensive program to promote modern farming technology; to establish rural roads, irrigation networks and storage and export facilities; and to encourage agricultural research and training institutions.As a result, there has been a phenomenal growth in the production of all basic foods. Saudi Arabia is now completely self-sufficient in a number of foodstuffs, including meat, milk and eggs.The country exports wheat, dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to markets around the world. Dates, once a staple of the Saudi diet, are now mainly grown for global humanitarian aid.In addition, Saudi farmers grow substantial amounts of other grains such as barley, sorghum and millet. As of 2016, in the interest of preserving precious water resources, domestic production of wheat has ended.WEB, Saudi Arabia ends domestic wheat production program,weblink 8 October 2018, The Kingdom likewise has some of the most modern and largest dairy farms in the Middle East. Milk production boasts a remarkably productive annual rate of 1,800 gallons per cow, one of the highest in the world. The local dairy manufacturing company Almarai is the largest vertically integrated dairy company in the Middle East.WEB,weblink Innovation Drive Al-Marai, Elopak, 3 October 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2008, dead, dmy-all, The Kingdom's most dramatic agricultural accomplishment, noted worldwide, was its rapid transformation from importer to exporter of wheat. In 1978, the country built its first grain silos. By 1984, it had become self-sufficient in wheat. Shortly thereafter, Saudi Arabia began exporting wheat to some 30 countries, including China and the former Soviet Union, and in the major producing areas of Tabuk, Hail and Qasim, average yields reached 3.6 tons per acre.The Kingdom has, however, stepped up fruit and vegetable production, by improving both agricultural techniques and the roads that link farmers with urban consumers. Saudi Arabia is a major exporter of fruits and vegetables to its neighbors. Among its most productive crops are watermelon, grapes, citrus fruits, onions, squash and tomatoes. At Jizan in the country's well-watered southwest, the Al-Hikmah Research Station is producing tropical fruits including pineapples, paw-paws, bananas, mangoes and guavas.WEB, Agriculture & Water,weblink 8 October 2018, The olive tree is indigenous to Saudi Arabia. In 2018 the Al Jouf Agricultural Development Company received a certificate of merit from The Guinness World Records for the largest modern olive plantation in the world. The farm covers 7730 hectares and has 5 million olive trees. The Guinness World Records also took into consideration their production capacity of 15000 tonnes of high quality of olive oil, while the kingdom consumes double that.The Al Jouf farms are located in Sakaka, a city in the north-western part of Saudi Arabia, which is a deeply-rooted in history. Sakaka dates back more than 4,000 years.WEB, Largest olive tree farm in Saudi Arabia enters Guinness World Records,weblink 8 October 2018, The Al Jouf region has millions of olive trees and the expected number is expected to go up to 20 million trees soon.WEB, Inside the Saudi olive farm, the largest in the world,weblink 8 October 2018, Consuming non-renewable groundwater resulted in the loss of an estimated four fifths of the total groundwater reserves by 2012.WEB, Saudi Arabia Stakes a Claim on the Nile – Water Grabbers – National Geographic,weblink 16 September 2015,

Water supply and sanitation

Water supply and sanitation in Saudi Arabia is characterized by significant investments in seawater desalination, water distribution, sewerage and wastewater treatment leading to a substantial increase in access to drinking water and sanitation over the past decades. About 50% of drinking water comes from desalination, 40% from the mining of non-renewable groundwater and 10% from surface water, especially in the mountainous southwest of the country. The capital Riyadh, located in the heart of the country, is supplied with desalinated water pumped from the Persian Gulf over a distance of 467 km. Given the substantial oil wealth, water is provided almost for free. Despite improvements service quality remains poor. For example, in Riyadh water was available only once every 2.5 days in 2011, while in Jeddah it is available only every 9 days.Global Water Intelligence: Becoming a world-class water utility, April 2011 Institutional capacity and governance in the sector are weak, reflecting general characteristics of the public sector in Saudi Arabia. Since 2000, the government has increasingly relied on the private sector to operate water and sanitation infrastructure, beginning with desalination and wastewater treatment plants. Since 2008, the operation of urban water distribution systems is being gradually delegated to private companies as well.


Although most tourism in Saudi Arabia still largely involves religious pilgrimages, there is growth in the leisure tourism sector. According to the World Bank, approximately 14.3 million people visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, making it the world's 19th-most-visited country.Tourism in Saudi Arabia: Wish you were here, Tourism is an important component of the Saudi Vision 2030 and according to a report conducted by BMI Research in 2018, both religious and non-religious tourism have significant potential for expansion.Tourism key to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plans, arabianbusiness.comStarting December 2018, the kingdom will offer an electronic visa for foreign visitors to attend sport events and concerts. The “sharek” visa process will start with 15 December, Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix race.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia to offer visitor visa for special events from December, Reuters, 25 September 2018, In September 2019, the Kingdom announced its plans to open visa applications for visitors, where people from about 50 countries would be able to get tourist visas to Saudi._WEB,weblink Tourist Visa to Saudi Arabia: Revising Age-Old Policies for Visitors, 8 September 2019, Mirror Herald, File:Masmak Fort (12753717253).jpg|Masmak fort in RiyadhFile:Al-Naseef House (6573572949).jpg|The old city of JeddahFile:Al Sawda peak.jpg|Jabal Sawda ({{convert|3,000|m|ft|abbr=on}}) located in the Hijaz MountainsFile:Abha1.jpg|Abha City, located {{convert|2270|m|ft|abbr=on}} above sea levelFile:Al Ula (6748577917).jpg|The ancient city of Al-`Ula in Al Madinah RegionFile:مهرجان التمور 2.jpg|A farm in Al-Qassim ProvinceFile:Faifa city.jpg|Faifa mountains in Jizan ProvinceFile:Faifa image.jpg|Mountains in Jizan provinceFile:Rub al Khali 002.JPG|The Rub' al Khali desertFile:The old city of Adummatu.jpg|The 3000-year-old ancient historical city of Dumat al-Jandal in Al Jawf Province


{{clear}}(File:Saudi Arabia population density 2010.png|thumb|Saudi Arabia population density (people per km2)){|class="wikitable" style="float: right; margin-left: 10px"! colspan="4" style="text-align:center; background:#cfb;"|Population{{UN_Population|ref}}! style="background:#cfb;"|Year! style="background:#cfb;"|Million1970 style="text-align:right;"|5.82000 style="text-align:right;"|20.8{{UN_Population{{#expr:{{formatnum:{{UN_PopulationR}}/1e6 round 1}}(File:Bevölkerungspyramide Saudi Arabien 2016.png|thumb|Population pyramid 2016)The population of Saudi Arabia as of July 2013 is estimated to be 26.9 million, including between 5.5 million{{CIA World Factbook link|sa|Saudi Arabia}} and 10 million non-nationalized immigrants,"Census shows Kingdom's population at more than 27 million" {{webarchive|url= |date= 6 October 2014 }}. Saudi Gazette. 24 November 2010. though the Saudi population has long proved difficult to accurately estimate due to Saudi leaders' historical tendency to inflate census results.NEWS, 20 April 2000, Saudi Arabia on the Dole,weblink The Economist, 11 September 2015, Saudi population has grown rapidly since 1950 when it was estimated to be 3 million,WEB,weblink World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, 7 December 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 May 2011, United Nations, and for many years had one of the highest birthrates in the world at around 3 percent a year.Long, p. 27The ethnic composition of Saudi citizens is 90% Arab and 10% Afro-Asian.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, The World Factbook,, Most Saudis live in Hejaz (35%), Najd (28%), and the Eastern Province (15%).WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia Population Statistics 2011 (Arabic), 11, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 15 November 2013, Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia.WEB,weblink Mecca: Islam's cosmopolitan heart, The Hijaz is the largest, most populated, and most culturally and religiously diverse region of Saudi Arabia, in large part because it was the traditional host area of all the pilgrims to Mecca, many of whom settled and intermarried there., As late as 1970, most Saudis lived a subsistence life in the rural provinces, but in the last half of the 20th century the kingdom has urbanized rapidly. {{As of|2012}} about 80% of Saudis live in urban metropolitan areas—specifically Riyadh, Jeddah, or Dammam.House, p. 69: "Most Saudis only two generations ago eked out a subsistence living in rural provinces, but ... urbanization over the past 40 years [so now] .... fully 80% of Saudis now live in one of the country's three major urban centers – Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam."Tripp, Culture Shock, 2003: p. 31Its population is also quite young with over half the population under 25 years old.One journalist states that 51% of the Saudi population is under the age of 25: WEB, Caryle Murphy, Saudi Arabia's Youth and the Kingdom's Future,weblink 7 February 2012, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Environmental Change and Security Program, Two other sources state that 60% is under the age of 21: JOURNAL, Out of the comfort zone, The Economist, 3 March 2012,weblink , House, p. 221 A large fraction are foreign nationals. (The CIA Factbook estimated that {{as of|2013|lc=on}} foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia made up about 21% of the population. Other estimates are 30%The Economist magazine lists an estimated nine million: JOURNAL, Go home, but who will replace you?, The Economist, 16 November 2013,weblink out of a population of 30 million: JOURNAL, Saudi Arabia No satisfaction, The Economist, 1 February 2014,weblink or 33%WEB, جريدة الرياض,weblink جريدة الرياض : سكان المملكة 27 مليوناً بينهم 8 ملايين مقيم,, )As recently as the early 1960s, Saudi Arabia's slave population was estimated at 300,000.Willem Adriaan Veenhoven and Winifred Crum Ewing (1976) Case studies on human rights and fundamental freedoms: a world survey, Brill, p. 452. {{ISBN|90-247-1779-5}} Slavery was officially abolished in 1962.WEB,weblink Religion & Ethics – Islam and slavery: Abolition, BBC, WEB,weblink Slavery, Encyclopædia Britannica, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2012,


The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. The three main regional variants spoken by Saudis are Hejazi Arabic (about 6 million speakers(:ethnologue:acw|Arabic, Hijazi Spoken). Ethnologue), Najdi Arabic (about 8 million speakers(:ethnologue:ars|Arabic, Najdi Spoken). Ethnologue), and Gulf Arabic (about 0.2 million speakers(:ethnologue:afb|Arabic, Gulf Spoken). Ethnologue). Faifi is spoken by about 50,000. Saudi Sign Language is the principal language of the deaf community. The large expatriate communities also speak their own languages, the most numerous of which are Tagalog (700,000), Rohingya (400,000), Urdu (380,000), Egyptian Arabic (300,000), and Indonesian (250,000).Saudi Arabia. Ethnologue


File:Masjid al-Quba.jpg|thumb|Quba Mosque () in Medina, the Hejaz. This is considered to be the first mosque that dates to the lifetime of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.{{efn|The Mosque of the Companions in the Eritrean city of Massawa dates to approximately the same period, the 7th century CE.BOOK, Reid, Richard J., A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present, John Wiley and SonsJohn Wiley and SonsVirtually all Saudi citizens are MuslimMapping the World Muslim Population {{webarchive |url= |date=8 November 2009 }} (officially, all are), and almost all Saudi residents are Muslim.Mapping the World Muslim Population(October 2009), Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. p. 16 (p. 17 of the PDF).Data for Saudi Arabia comes primarily from general population surveys, which are less reliable than censuses or large-scale demographic and health surveys for estimating minority-majority ratios. Estimates of the Sunni population of Saudi Arabia range between 75% and 90%, with the remaining 10–25% being Shia Muslim.WEB,weblink Demography of Religion in the Gulf, Mehrdad Izady, 2013, Shia ... Saudi Arabia ... 24.8%, WEB, Mapping the Global Muslim Population. Countries with More Than 100,000 Shia Muslims,weblink Pew Forum, 12 March 2015, 7 October 2009, Saudi Arabia ... Approximate Percentage of Muslim Population that is Shia .... 10–15, NEWS,weblink Saudi Arabia's Shia press for rights, bbc, Anees, al-Qudaihi, 24 March 2009, Although they only represent 15% of the overall Saudi population of more than 25 million ..., WEB,weblink Shia Muslims in the Mideast, Council on Foreign Relations, Lionel, Beehner, 16 June 2006, 12 March 2015, Small but potentially powerful Shiite are found throughout the Gulf States ... Saudi Arabia (15 percent), Nasr, Shia Revival, (2006) p. 236 The official and dominant form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia is commonly known as WahhabismBOOK,weblink What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition, Esposito, John L., 2011, Oxford University Press, US, 978-0-19-979413-3, 54, (proponents prefer the name Salafism, considering Wahhabi derogatoryThe Daily Star| Lamine Chikhi| 27 November 2010.) and is often described as 'puritanical', 'intolerant', or 'ultra-conservative' by observers, and as "true" Islam by its adherents. It was founded in the Arabian Peninsula by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th century. Other denominations, such as the minority Shia Islam, are systematically suppressed.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: Treat Shia Equally, Human Rights Watch, 3 September 2009, 14 September 2016, According to estimates there are about 1,500,000 Christians in Saudi Arabia, almost all foreign workers.BOOK, House, Karen Elliott, On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future, Knopf, 2012, 235, Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers for temporary work, but does not allow them to practice their faith openly. The percentage of Saudi Arabian citizens who are Christians is officially zero,WEB, Central Intelligence Agency, 28 April 2010, Saudi Arabia, The World Factbook,weblink 22 May 2010, as Saudi Arabia forbids religious conversion from Islam (apostasy) and punishes it by death.BOOK, Encyclopedia of religious freedom, Cookson, Catharine, 2003, Taylor & Francis, 978-0-415-94181-5, 207,weblink According to Pew Research Center there are 390,000 Hindus in Saudi Arabia, almost all foreign workers.Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Numbers Pew Research Center, Washington D.C. (December 2012)There may be a significant fraction of atheists and agnostics in Saudi Arabia,WIN-Gallup 2012 Global Index of Religion and atheism {{webarchive|url= |date=12 August 2012 }}Fisher, M. & Dewey, C. (2013) A surprising map of where the world's atheists live. Washington Post, online although they are officially called "terrorists".NEWS,weblink All atheists are terrorists, Saudi Arabia declares, 1 April 2014, The Independent, 30 December 2016, Apostasy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, hence non-believers hardly ever come out.In its 2017 religious freedom report, the US State Department named Saudi Arabia a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).WEB, International Religious Freedom Report, 2017,weblink U.S. Department of State, 26 October 2017,


{{see also|Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia|Migrant workers in the Gulf region|Kafala system|Foreign worker}}Saudi Arabia's Central Department of Statistics & Information estimated the foreign population at the end of 2014 at 33% (10.1 million).WEB,weblink KSA population is 30.8m; 33% expats,, 6 November 2015, The CIA Factbook estimated that {{as of|2013|lc=on}} foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia made up about 21% of the population. Other sources report differing estimates. Indian: 1.5 million, Pakistani: 1.3 million,WEB,weblink Number of Pakistani expats exceeds 1.5 m,, 29 August 2012, Egyptian: 900,000, Yemeni: 800,000, Bangladeshi: 400,000, Filipino: 500,000, Jordanian/Palestinian: 260,000, Indonesian: 250,000, Sri Lankan: 350,000, Sudanese: 250,000, Syrian: 100,000 and Turkish: 80,000.WEB,weblink Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries, 10, There are around 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in compounds or gated communities.{{citation needed|date=February 2018}}Foreign MuslimsArticles 12.4 and 14.1 of the Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System: WEB,weblink 1954 Saudi Arabian Citizenship System, who have resided in the kingdom for ten years may apply for Saudi citizenship. (Priority is given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields,2004 law passed by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers. WEB,weblink Expatriates Can Apply for Saudi Citizenship in Two-to-Three Months,, 14 February 2005, and exception made for Palestinians who are excluded unless married to a Saudi national, because of Arab League instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship.) Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia says criticism of Syria refugee response 'false and misleading', The Guardian, 12 September 2015, As Saudi population grows and oil export revenues stagnate, pressure for "Saudization" (the replacement of foreign workers with Saudis) has grown, and the Saudi government hopes to decrease the number of foreign nationals in the country.WEB, P.K. Abdul Ghafour,weblink 3 million expats to be sent out gradually, 21 October 2011, 7 December 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 November 2011, "Nearly three million expatriate workers will have to leave the Kingdom in the next few years as the Labor Ministry has put a 20% ceiling on the country's guest workers", Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemenis in 1990 and 1991"Yemen's point of no return". The Guardian. 1 April 2009. and has built a Saudi–Yemen barrier against an influx of illegal immigrants and against the smuggling of drugs and weapons.NEWS,weblink Saudi authorities erect barriers on Yemeni border, Mohammed al-Kibsi, 12 January 2008, Yemen Observer, In November 2013, Saudi Arabia expelled thousands of illegal Ethiopian residents from the Kingdom. Various Human Rights entities have criticised Saudi Arabia's handling of the issue.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International calls for end to arrests and expulsions « Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,, Over 500,000 undocumented migrant workers — mostly from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen — have been detained and deported since 2013."'Dogs Are Better Than You': Saudi Arabia Accused of Mass Abuses During Migrant Worker Crackdown". Vice News. 11 May 2015.

Monarchs (1932–present)

File:Donald Trump with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, May 2017.jpg|thumb|King Salman and President Trump take part in the traditional ardah dance at the Murabba PalaceMurabba Palace
  • King Abdulaziz (1932–1953); second longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Saud (1953–1964); third longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Faisal (1964–1975); fourth longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Khalid (1975–1982); sixth longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Fahd (1982–2005); longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Abdullah (2005–2015); fifth longest reigning Saudi monarch.
  • King Salman (2015–present); current monarch.

Crown Princes (1933–present)

File:USS Theodore Roosevelt operations 150707-N-GR120-011.jpg|thumb|Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, 7 July 2015]]

Second Deputy Prime Minister/Second-in-line (1965–2011)

Deputy Crown Prince/Second-in-line (2014–present)


File:Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia.jpg|thumb|Supplicating pilgrim at Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (, The Sacred Mosque) in Mecca. The Ka‘bah (, KaabaKaabaSaudi Arabia has centuries-old attitudes and traditions, often derived from Arab civilization. The main factors that influence the culture of Saudi Arabia are Islamic heritage and Bedouin traditions as well as its historical role as an ancient trade center.WEB,weblink Culture, Traditions and Art, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission {{!, SACM|language=en-US|access-date=2019-04-24}}

Religion in society

{{See also|Islam in Saudi Arabia|Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia|Wahhabism|Salafism}}The Hejazi region, where the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located, is the destination of the Ḥajj pilgrimage, and often deemed to be the cradle of Islam.Arabia: the Cradle of Islam, 1900, S.M.Zwemmer{{efn|A number of Muslims, using justifications from the Quran,QURAN, 2, 7, 286, ns, QURAN, 3, 96, y, ns, QURAN, 22, 25, 37, ns, insist that Islam did not begin with Muhammad, but that it represents even previous Prophets such as Abraham,BOOK, Esposito, John, Islam: The Straight Path (3rd ed.), 1998, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-511234-4, 9, 12, Esposito (2002b), pp. 4–5.BOOK, Peters, F.E., Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians, 2003, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-11553-5, 9,weblink BOOK, Alli, Irfan, 25 Prophets of Islam,, 978-1-4566-1307-5,weblink 26 February 2013, who is credited with having established the sanctuary of Mecca.BOOK, Michigan Consortium for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Goss, V.P., Bornstein, C.V., The Meeting of Two Worlds: Cultural Exchange Between East and West During the Period of the Crusades, Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 21, 208, 978-0-918720-58-0,weblink 1986, NEWS, Mustafa Abu Sway, The Holy Land, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Qur'an, Sunnah and other Islamic Literary Source, Central Conference of American Rabbis,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 July 2011, BOOK, Dyrness, W.A., Senses of Devotion: Interfaith Aesthetics in Buddhist and Muslim Communities, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 7, 25, 978-1-62032-136-2,weblink 2013, }}Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims. Neither Saudi citizens nor guest workers have the right of freedom of religion.WEB, International Religious Freedom Report 2004,weblink US Department of State, 22 September 2012, The official and dominant form of Islam in the kingdom—Wahhabism—arose in the central region of Najd, in the 18th century. Proponents call the movement "Salafism", and believe that its teachings purify the practice of Islam of innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of Muhammad and his companions.'The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya', US Congressional Research Service Report, 2008, by Christopher M. Blanchard available from the Federation of American Scientists website The Saudi government has often been viewed as an active oppressor of Shia Muslims because of the funding of the Wahhabi ideology which denounces the Shia faith.WEB,weblink You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, WEB, syedjaffar, The Persecution of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia,weblink 4 August 2013, CNN Report, 1 May 2014, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the United States, stated: "The time is not far off in the Middle East when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.""Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country," The Independent, 13 July 2014.Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that have "religious police" (known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets "enjoining good and forbidding wrong" by enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law). (In the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports from the Daily Mail and WikiLeaks indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex.WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex | World news. The Guardian (7 December 2010). Retrieved on 9 May 2012. quote: "Royals flout puritanical laws to throw parties for young elite while religious police are forced to turn a blind eye.")Until 2016, the kingdom used the lunar Islamic calendar, not the international Gregorian calendar,the start of each lunar month determined not ahead of time by astronomical calculation, but only after the crescent moon is sighted by the proper religious authorities. (source: Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: pp. 154–155) but in 2016 the kingdom announced its switch to the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes.WEB,weblink KSA switches to Gregorian calendar, 3 October 2016, Rasooldeen, Mohammed and Hassan, Rashid, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia adopts the Gregorian calendar, 15 December 2016, Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Businesses are closed three or four times a daythe time varying according to sunrise and sunset times for 30 to 45 minutes during business hours while employees and customers are sent off to pray.Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: p. 214 The weekend is Friday-Saturday, not Saturday-Sunday, because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims.
  • Sulaiman, Tosin. Bahrain changes the weekend in efficiency drive, The Times, 2 August 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2008. Turkey has a weekend on Saturday and Sunday
  • Prior to 29 June 2013, the weekend was Thursday-Friday, but was shifted to better serve the Saudi economy and its international commitments. (source: "Weekend shift: A welcome change",, 24 June 2013 WEB,weblink Archived copy, 28 October 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2014, ) For many years only two religious holidays were publicly recognized – ʿĪd al-Fiá¹­r and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. (ʿĪd al-Fiá¹­r is "the biggest" holiday, a three-day period of "feasting, gift-giving and general letting go".Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: p. 35)
{{As of|2004}} approximately half of the broadcast airtime of Saudi state television was devoted to religious issues. 90 percent of books published in the kingdom were on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates awarded by its universities were in Islamic studies.JOURNAL, Unloved in Arabia (Book Review), Rodenbeck, Max, The New York Review of Books,weblink 51, 16, 21 October 2004, Nine out of ten titles published in the kingdom are on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates its universities awards are in Islamic studies., In the state school system, about half of the material taught is religious. In contrast, assigned readings over 12 years of primary and secondary schooling devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world comes to a total of about 40 pages.JOURNAL, Unloved in Arabia (Book Review), Rodenbeck, Max, The New York Review of Books,weblink 51, 16, 21 October 2004, Almost half of Saudi state television's airtime is devoted to religious issues, as is about half the material taught in state schools" (source: By the estimate of an elementary schoolteacher in Riyadh, Islamic studies make up 30 percent of the actual curriculum. But another 20 percent creeps into textbooks on history, science, Arabic, and so forth. In contrast, by one unofficial count the entire syllabus for 12 years of Saudi schooling contains a total of just 38 pages covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world.), (File:Not for us (3975139168).jpg|thumb|Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the Islamic holy city of Mecca)"Fierce religious resistance" had to be overcome to permit such innovations as paper money (in 1951), female education (1964), and television (1965) and the abolition of slavery (1962).Review. "Unloved in Arabia" By Max Rodenbeck. The New York Review of Books, Volume 51, Number 16 · 21 October 2004. Public support for the traditional political/religious structure of the kingdom is so strong that one researcher interviewing Saudis found virtually no support for reforms to secularize the state.from p. 195 of a review by Joshua Teitelbum, Middle East Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4, Oct. 2002, of Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia by anthropologist Mai Yamani, quoting p. 116 |quote=Saudis of all stripes interviewed expressed a desire for the kingdom to remain a Muslim society ruled by an overtly Muslim state. Secularist are simply not to be found. [Both traditional and somewhat westernized Saudis she talked to mediate their concerns] though the certainties of religion.Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression, buildings, annual festivals and public events.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia, U.S. Department of State, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2013, U.S. State Department, 17 November 2013, 14 October 2014, Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad's birthday and the Day of Ashura, (an important holiday for the 10–25 percent of the population that is Shīʿa Muslim), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale.WEB, Saudi Arabia – Culture,weblink Country Stats., 23 February 2015, Shia also face systematic discrimination in employment, education, the justice system according to Human Rights Watch.
  • BOOK, Denied dignity: systematic discrimination and hostility toward Saudi Shia citizens, Human Rights Watch, 2009, 978-1-56432-535-8, 1–2, 8–10, Shia,
  • Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study, p. 93 Daniel E. Price – 1999 Non-Muslim festivals like Christmas and Easter are not tolerated at all, although there are nearly a million Christians as well as Hindus and Buddhists among the foreign workers.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 23 November 2010, Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2010, U.S. State Department, 17 November 2010, 27 July 2011, NEWS, Saudi Arabia extends hand of friendship to Pope,weblink The Times, 17 March 2008, 27 July 2011, London, Richard, Owen, No churches, temples or other non-Muslim houses of worship are permitted in the country. Proselytizing by non-Muslims and conversion by Muslims to another religion is illegal, and {{As of|2014|lc=y}} the distribution of "publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam" (such as Bibles), was reportedly punishable by death.Samuel Smith (18 December 2014) "Saudi Arabia's New Law Imposes Death Sentence for Bible Smugglers?". Christian Post."Saudi Arabia Imposes Death Sentence for Bible Smuggling" {{webarchive|url= |date=8 April 2016}}. 28 November 2014. In legal compensation court cases (Diyya) non-Muslim are awarded less than Muslims. Atheists are legally designated as terrorists.Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents, The Independent, 4 March 2014 And at least one religious minority, the Ahmadiyya Muslims, had its adherents deported,WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation, Human Rights Watch, 15 May 2014, 4 June 2014, as they are legally banned from entering the country.BOOK,weblink The State as an Actor in Religion Policy: Policy Cycle and Governance, Maria Grazia Martino, 19 March 2015, 978-3-658-06945-2, 2014,

Islamic heritage sites

{{See also|Mecca|Medina|Destruction of early Islamic heritage sites in Saudi Arabia|Tourism in Saudi Arabia|Saudi Heritage Preservation Society}}File:MasjidNabawi.jpg|thumb|left|The Mosque of the Prophet in Medina containing the tomb of MuhammadMuhammadSaudi Wahhabism is hostile to any reverence given to historical or religious places of significance for fear that it may give rise to 'shirk' (idolatry), and the most significant historic Muslim sites (in Mecca and Medina) are located in the western Saudi region of Hejaz. As a consequence, under Saudi rule, an estimated 95% of Mecca's historic buildings, most over a thousand years old, have been demolished for religious reasons.'The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage', The Independent, 6 August 2005. Retrieved 17 January 2011 Critics claim that over the last 50 years, 300 historic sites linked to Muhammad, his family or companions have been lost,'Islamic heritage lost as Makkah modernises' Center for Islamic Pluralism leaving fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of Muhammad.'Shame of the House of Saud: Shadows over Mecca', The Independent, 19 April 2006 Demolished structures include the mosque originally built by Muhammad's daughter Fatima, and other mosques founded by Abu Bakr (Muhammad's father-in-law and the first Caliph), Umar (the second Caliph), Ali (Muhammad's son-in-law and the fourth Caliph), and Salman al-Farsi (another of Muhammad's companions).Destruction of Islamic Architectural Heritage in Saudi Arabia: A Wake-up Call, The American Muslim. Retrieved 17 January 2011Other historic buildings that have been destroyed include the house of Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad, the house of Abu Bakr, now the site of the local Hilton hotel; the house of Ali-Oraid, the grandson of Muhammad, and the Mosque of abu-Qubais, now the location of the King's palace in Mecca. (source: 'Shame of the House of Saud: Shadows over Mecca', The Independent, 19 April 2006)Five cultural sites in Saudi Arabia are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih);WEB,weblink Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih), Centre, UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, en, 2019-04-24, the Turaif district in the city of Diriyah;WEB,weblink At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah, Centre, UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, en, 2019-04-24, Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Mecca;WEB,weblink Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah, Centre, UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, en, 2019-04-24, Al-Ahsa Oasis;WEB,weblink Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural Landscape, Centre, UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, en, 2019-04-24, and Rock Art in the Hail Region.WEB,weblink Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia, Centre, UNESCO World Heritage, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, en, 2019-04-24, Ten other sites submitted requests for recognition to UNESCO in 2015.KSA Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (4), Unesco, 2017There are six elements inscribed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list:WEB,weblink UNESCO - Saudi Arabia,, en, 2019-04-24, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, female traditional interior wall decoration in Asir; Almezmar, drumming and dancing with sticks; Falconry, a living human heritage; Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity; Majlis, a cultural and social space; Alardah Alnajdiyah, dance, drumming and poetry in Saudi Arabia.In June 2014, the Council of Ministers approved a law that gives the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage the means to protect Saudi Arabia's ancient relics and historic sites. Within the framework of the 2016 National Transformation Program, also known as Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom allocated 900 million euros to preserve its historical and cultural heritage.Saudi Arabia to Spend $1Bn On Cultural Heritage, KSA Mission EU, 30 June 2016 Saudi Arabia also participates in the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), created in March 2017, with a contribution of 18.5 million euros.Destruction du patrimoine : une résolution historique du Conseil de Sécurité, Sciences et Avenir, 28 March 2017In 2017 Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman promised to return Saudi Arabia to the “moderate Islam” of the era before the 1979 Iranian revolution.NEWS, Chulov, Marin, 24 October 2017, I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince,weblink The Guardian, 24 September 2018, A new center, the King Salman Complex for the Prophet’s Hadith, was established that year to monitor interpretations of the Prophet Mohammed’s hadiths to prevent them being used to justify terrorism.NEWS, Al Wasmi, Naser, 20 June 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's dynamic year of reform,weblink The National (Abu Dhabi), The National, 24 September 2018, In March 2018 the Crown Prince met the Archbishop of Canterbury during a visit to the UK, pledging to promote interfaith dialogue. In Riyadh the following month King Salman met the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.NEWS, Catholic cardinal meets Saudi King in historic visit to Riyadh,weblink Reuters, 24 September 2018, In July 2019, UNESCO signed a letter with the Saudi Minister of Culture of In which Saudi Arabia contribute US$25 million to UNESCO for the preservation of heritage.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia commits US$25 million to UNESCO for the protection of heritage, 2019-07-12, UNESCO, en, 2019-07-18,


Saudi Arabian dress strictly follows the principles of hijab (the Islamic principle of modesty, especially in dress). The predominantly loose and flowing, but covering, garments are suited to Saudi Arabia's desert climate. Traditionally, men usually wear a white ankle length garment woven from wool or cotton (known as a thawb), with a keffiyeh (a large checkered square of cotton held in place by an agal) or a ghutra (a plain white square made of finer cotton, also held in place by an agal) worn on the head. For rare chilly days, Saudi men wear a camel-hair cloak (bisht) over the top. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers everything under the neck with the exception of their hands and feet, although most women cover their head in respect for their religion. This requirement applies to non-Muslim women too and failure to abide can result in police action, particularly in more conservative areas of the country. Women's clothes are often decorated with tribal motifs, coins, sequins, metallic thread, and appliques.
  • Ghutrah () is a traditional headdress typically worn by Arab men. It is made of a square of cloth ("scarf"), usually cotton, folded and wrapped in various styles around the head. It is commonly worn in areas with an arid climate, to provide protection from direct sun exposure, and also protection of the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand.
  • Agal () is an item of Arab headgear constructed of cord which is fastened around the Ghutrah to hold it in place. The agal is usually black in colour.
  • Thawb () is the standard Arabic word for garment. It is ankle-length, usually with long sleeves, similar to a robe.
  • Bisht () is a traditional Arabic men's cloak usually only worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings.
  • Abaya () is a woman's garment. It is a black cloak which loosely covers the entire body except the head. Some women choose to cover their faces with a niqāb and some do not. Some abayas cover the top of the head as well.WEB,weblink Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 29 September 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 October 2015,

Arts and entertainment

File:King Abdullah in his youth.jpg|thumb|upright=0.8|King Abdullah practising falconryfalconryDuring the 1970s, cinemas were numerous in the Kingdom although they were seen as contrary to Wahhabi norms.World Focus. 5 January 2009 During the Islamic revival movement in the 1980s, and as a political response to an increase in Islamist activism including the 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the government closed all cinemas and theaters. However, with King Abdullah's reforms from 2005, some cinemas have re-opened,NEWS,weblink Los Angeles Times, Babylon & Beyond, 23 December 2008, including one in KAUST.From the 18th century onward, Wahhabi fundamentalism discouraged artistic development inconsistent with its teaching. In addition, Sunni Islamic prohibition of creating representations of people have limited the visual arts, which tend to be dominated by geometric, floral, and abstract designs and by calligraphy. With the advent of oil-wealth in the 20th century came exposure to outside influences, such as Western housing styles, furnishings, and clothes. Music and dance have always been part of Saudi life. Traditional music is generally associated with poetry and is sung collectively. Instruments include the rabābah, an instrument not unlike a three-string fiddle, and various types of percussion instruments, such as the ṭabl (drum) and the ṭār (tambourine). Of the native dances, the most popular is a martial line dance known as the ʿarḍah, which includes lines of men, frequently armed with swords or rifles, dancing to the beat of drums and tambourines. Bedouin poetry, known as nabaṭī, is still very popular.Censorship has limited the development of Saudi literature, although several Saudi novelists and poets have achieved critical and popular acclaim in the Arab world—albeit generating official hostility in their home country. These include Ghazi Algosaibi, Abdelrahman Munif, Turki al-Hamad and Rajaa al-Sanea.NEWS, Trevor Mostyn,weblink Ghazi al-Gosaibi obituary, The Guardian, 24 August 2010, London, In 2016, the General Entertainment Authority was formed to oversee the expansion of the Saudi entertainment sector.NEWS, Saudi Arabia allows concerts—even country music,weblink The Economist, 1 June 2017, 24 September 2018, The first concerts in Riyadh for 25 years took place the following year.NEWS, Mohammed Abdu to perform live in Riyadh,weblink Arab News, 2 September 2016, 24 September 2018, Other events since the GEA’s creation have included comedy shows, professional wrestling events and monster truck rallies.NEWS, Mazzetti, Mark, Hubbard, Ben, 15 October 2016, Rise of Saudi Prince Shatters Decades of Royal Tradition,weblink The New York Times, 24 September 2018, In 2018 the first public cinema opened after a ban of 35 years, with plans to have more than 2,000 screens running by 2030.NEWS, Reid, David, 11 December 2011, Saudi Arabia to reopen public cinemas for the first time in 35 years,weblink CNBC, 24 September 2018, Developments in the arts in 2018 included Saudi Arabia’s debut appearances at the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Biennale.NEWS, Nick, Vivarelli, 9 April 2018, Saudi Arabia to Debut at Cannes With Its First National Pavilion,weblink Variety (magazine), Variety, 24 September 2018, NEWS, Ghanem, Khaoula, 24 May 2018, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are Set to Make Their Venice Biennale Debut,weblink Vogue Arabia, 24 September 2018,


Football is the national sport in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia national football team is considered as one of Asia's most successful national teams, having reached a joint record 6 AFC Asian Cup finals, winning three of those finals (1984, 1988, and 1996) and having qualified for the World Cup four consecutive times ever since debuting at the 1994 tournament.In the 1994 FIFA World Cup under the leadership of Jorge Solari, Saudi Arabia beat both Belgium and Morocco in the group stage before falling to defeat Sweden in the round of 16. During the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup, which was played in Saudi Arabia, the country reached the final, losing 1–3 to Argentina.Scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing and basketball (which is played by both men and women) are also popular with the Saudi Arabian national basketball team winning bronze at the 1999 Asian Championship.
  • WEB,weblink Saudi Arabian Slam Dunk, Fall 1997, Winter 1998, Volume 14, Number 4, Saudi Arabia,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 October 2011,
  • WEB, Joud Al,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 20 January 2012, Saudi women show greater interest in sports and games, Arab News,
  • WEB, Todor Krastev,weblink Men Basketball Asia Championship 1999 Fukuoka (JPN)- 28.08–05.09 Winner China,, 21 September 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 January 2012, More traditional sports such as horse racing and camel racing are also popular. A stadium in Riyadh holds races in the winter. The annual King's Camel Race, begun in 1974, is one of the sport's most important contests and attracts animals and riders from throughout the region. Falconry, another traditional pursuit, is still practiced.
Women's sport is controversial due to the suppression of female participation in sport by conservative Islamic religious authorities,WEB,weblink Saudi women push for right to play sports – Sport,, 1 March 2012, however this restriction has eased slightly in recent years.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia opens first sports centre for women,, 3 June 2013, 28 June 2013, WEB,weblink Saudi government sanctions sports in some girls' schools,, 5 May 2013, WEB, Saudi Arabia: No women on Asian Games Team,weblink Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, 18 September 2014, Until 2018 women were not permitted in sport stadiums. Segregated seating, allowing women to enter, has been developed in three stadiums across major cities.WEB, Grinberg and Hallam, Emanuella and Jonny, Saudi Arabia to let women into sports stadiums,weblink, CNN, 11 December 2017, Saudi Arabia, in its vision for modernization introduced the nation to a number of international sporting events, bringing sports stars to the Kingdom. However, in August 2019, the kingdom's strategy received criticism for appearing as a method of sportswashing soon after Saudi's US based 2018 lobbying campaign foreign registration documentations got published online. The documents showed Saudi Arabia as allegedly implementing a ‘sportswashing’ strategy, inclusive of meetings and official calls with supreme authorities of associations like the Major League Soccer (MLS), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), National Basketball Association (NBA). The strategy is being viewed as a method of sportswashing following the chaos spread across Yemen since 4 years._WEB,weblink Sportswashing: how Saudi Arabia lobbies the US's largest sports bodies, 2 September 2019, The Guardian,


File:ArabicCoffee.jpg|thumb|upright|Arabic coffeeArabic coffeeSaudi Arabian cuisine is similar to that of the surrounding countries in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Arab world, and has influenced and been influenced by Turkish, Indian, Persian, and African food. Islamic dietary laws are enforced: pork is not allowed and other animals are slaughtered in accordance with halal. Kebabs and falafel are popular, as is shāwarmā (shawarma), a marinated grilled meat dish of lamb, mutton, or chicken. As in other Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula, machbūs (kabsa), a rice dish with lamb, chicken, fish or shrimp, is among the national dishes as well as the dish mandi (food). Flat, unleavened taboon bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as are dates, fresh fruit, yoghurt and hummus. Coffee, served in the Arabic style, is the traditional beverage but tea and various fruit juices are popular as well. Arabic coffee is a traditional beverage in Arabian cuisine. The earliest substantiated evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree is from the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Arabia.


{{See also|Women's rights in Saudi Arabia|Women's education in Saudi Arabia}}Women do not have equal rights to men in the kingdom; the U.S. State Department considers Saudi Arabian government's discrimination against women a "significant problem" in Saudi Arabia and notes that women have few political rights due to the government's discriminatory policies.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 12 April 2011, 2010 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia, 8 April 2011, U.S. State Department, 11 July 2011, The World Economic Forum 2010 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 129th out of 134 countries for gender parity.BOOK, The Global Gender Gap Report 2010, World Economic Forum, 2010, 978-92-95044-89-0, 9,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 November 2010, Other sources had complained of an absence of laws criminalizing violence against women.Under Saudi law, every adult female must have a male relative as her "guardian" (wali), As of 2008, a woman was required to have permission from her male guardian in order to travel, study, or work.BOOK, Perpetual Minors: human rights abuses from male guardianship and sex segregation in Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch, 2008, 2,weblink A royal decree passed in May 2017 allowed them to avail government services such as education and healthcare without the need of a consent of a male guardian. The order however also stated that it should only be allowed if it does not contradict the Sharia system.WEB,weblink Saudi women no longer need male guardian consents to receive services, Al Arbiya, 4 May 2017, 10 May 2017, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia to let women work and study without man's permission, Jon Sharman, The Independent, 4 May 2017, 10 May 2017, File:Saudi in niqap.jpg|thumb|upright|Saudi woman wearing a niqāb in Riyadh. Under Saudi law, women are required to wear a abaya but niqab and hijabhijabAccording to a leading Saudi feminist and journalist, Wajeha al-Huwaider, "Saudi women are weak, no matter how high their status, even the 'pampered' ones among them, because they have no law to protect them from attack by anyone."WEB, Saudi Writer and Journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider Fights for Women's Rights,weblink MEMRI, Women face discrimination in the courts, where the testimony of one man equals that of two women in family and inheritance law. Polygamy is permitted for men,Long, p. 66 and men have a unilateral right to divorce their wives (talaq) without needing any legal justification.Otto, p. 164 A woman can only obtain a divorce with the consent of her husband or judicially if her husband has harmed her. In practice, it is very difficult for a Saudi woman to obtain a judicial divorce.Otto, p. 163 With regard to the law of inheritance, the Quran specifies that fixed portions of the deceased's estate must be left to the Qur'anic heirsOtto, p. 165 and generally, female heirs receive half the portion of male heirs.The average age at first marriage among Saudi females is 25 years in Saudi Arabia,
  • Saudi women no longer confined to their conventional roles Arab News, Retrieved 3 July 2013
  • Age at First Marriage, Female – All Countries Quandl, Retrieved 3 July 2013
  • WEB,weblink Saudi Youth: Unveiling the Force for Change, with child marriage no longer common.
  • 'Top Saudi cleric: OK for young girls to wed' CNN, 17 January 2009; Retrieved 18 January 2011
  • WEB,weblink Saudi Human Rights Commission Tackles Child Marriages, 22 September 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 May 2011, Asharq Alawsat, 13 January 2009. {{As of|2015}}, Saudi women constitute 13% of the country's native workforce despite being 51% of all university graduates.NEWS,weblink Women constitute 13% of Saudi workforce: stats agency, 10 February 2015, Al Arabiya, Female literacy is estimated to be 81%, lower than male literacy.WEB, Statistics 2012,weblink, UNICEF, 18 October 2014, Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate (%) 2008–2012, male 99 Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate (%) 2008–2012, female 97,
Obesity is a problem among middle and upper class Saudis who have domestic servants to do traditional work but, until 2018, were forbidden to drive and so are limited in their ability to leave their home.JOURNAL, Al-Eisa, Einas S., Hana I., Al-Sobayel, Physical Activity and Health Beliefs among Saudi Women, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2012, 642187, 2012, the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle-related obesity has been escalating among Saudi females, 10.1155/2012/642187, 22523673, 3317126, As of April 2014, Saudi authorities in the education ministry have been asked by the Shoura Council to consider lifting a state school ban on sports for girls with the proviso that any sports conform to Sharia rules on dress and gender segregation, according to the official SPA news agency.The religious police, known as the mutawa, impose many restrictions on women in public in Saudi Arabia.BOOK, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Dammer, Harry R., Albanese, Jay S., 2010, 978-0-495-80989-0, 106, The restrictions include forcing women to sit in separate specially designated family sections in restaurants, to wear an abaya and to cover their hair.Although Saudi Arabia imposes a strict dress code on women throughout the country by using religious police, female anchors working for Al-Arabia news network which is partly owned by Prince Abdulaziz, the son of the late King Fahad, are prohibited from wearing a veil and are encouraged to adopt a Western dress code.
  • BOOK, Arab Television Industries,weblink Palgrave Macmillan, 12 November 2009, 978-1-84457-576-3, Joe, Khalil, Marwan M., Kraidy,
  • JOURNAL,weblink Ideological and ownership trends in the saudi media, 21 September 2015, WikiLeaks,
A few Saudi women have risen to the top of the medical profession; for example, Dr. Ghada Al-Mutairi heads a medical research center in CaliforniaWEB,weblink Saudi women rise up after years of absence,, 21 November 2009, 28 April 2011, and Dr. Salwa Al-Hazzaa is head of the ophthalmology department at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh and was the late King Fahad's personal ophthalmologist.WEB,weblink Professor Selwa Al-hazzaa,, 11 January 2013, 27 September 2017, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2017, In February 2017, Saudi Arabia appointed its first woman to head the Saudi Stock Exchange.NEWS, Saudi stock exchange appoints first female chair,weblink Reuters, 26 February 2017, 24 September 2018, As of 2018, two women hold cabinet positions in the Saudi government: Dr Tamadur bint Youssef Al Ramah, who was appointed deputy labor minister that year; and Norah bint Abdallah Al Faiz, who became deputy minister of education in charge of women’s affairs in 2009.NEWS, Day, Emma, 27 February 2018, Saudi Arabia just appointed a female deputy minister,weblink Emirates Woman, 24 September 2018,

Political, economic, and social changes of the 2010s

On 25 September 2011, King Abdullah announced that Saudi women would gain the right to vote (and to be candidates) in municipal elections, provided that a male guardian grants permission.
  • NEWS,weblink Women in Saudi Arabia to vote and run in elections, BBC News, 25 September 2011,
  • WEB,weblink Camera Snapshots: Media in the Service of King Abdullah,, 9 October 2011, 3 March 2012, Women were allowed to vote and be candidates in the 12 December 2015 municipal elections.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia's women vote in election for first time, BBC News, 12 December 2015, 27 September 2017,
In August 2013, a law was passed that criminalized domestic violence against women. The ban includes penalties of a 12-month jail sentence and fines of up to 50,000 riyals ($13,000).NEWS, Usher, Sebastian, Saudi Arabia cabinet approves domestic abuse ban,weblink BBC News, 28 August 2013, 27 September 2015, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia passes law criminalizing domestic abuse, Al Jazeera America, 30 August 2013, 27 September 2015, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia cabinet passes ban on domestic violence, Heather Saul, The Independent, 29 August 2013, 27 September 2015, In February 2017, Saudi Arabia appointed its first woman to head the Saudi Stock Exchange.NEWS,weblink Saudi stock exchange appoints first female chair, Reuters, 30 March 2018, live,weblink 31 March 2018, 16 February 2017, WEB,weblink Saudi Stock Exchange appoints first female chief in history of the kingdom, Independent, 30 March 2018, live,weblink 31 March 2018, 20 February 2017, In April 2017, bin Salman announced a project to build one of the world's largest cultural, sports and entertainment cities in Al Qidiya, southwest of Riyadh. The 334-square kilometre city will include a safari and a Six Flags theme park.NEWS, Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces Saudi plans for largest entertainment city,weblink Al Arabiya, 8 April 2017, 1 February 2018, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 December 2017, NEWS, World-class entertainment park coming up in Al-Qiddiya,weblink Saudi Gazette, 26 October 2017, 1 February 2018, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 February 2018, As of February 2018, Saudi women can now open their own business, without a male's permission.WEB,weblink Saudi women to start own business without male permission, Al Arabiya, 30 March 2018, live,weblink" title="">weblink 31 March 2018, In March 2018 a law was passed allowing Saudi mothers to retain custody of their children after divorce without having to file any lawsuits.NEWS, Qiblawi, Tamara, 12 March 2018, Divorced Saudi women win right to get custody of children,weblink CNN, 24 September 2018, In April 2018 the first public cinema opened in Saudi Arabia after a ban of 35 years, with plans to have more than 2,000 screens running by 2030.NEWS, Ellyat, Holly, 18 April 2018, Saudi Arabia brings back movie theaters — and 'staggering' demand is expected,weblink CNBC, NEWS, Reid, David, Saudi Arabia to reopen public cinemas for the first time in 35 years,weblink CNBC, 11 December 2017, live,weblink 25 January 2018, In June 2018, King Salman issued a decree allowing women to drive, lifting the world's only ban on women drivers.WEB,weblink Landmark day for Saudi women as kingdom's controversial driving ban ends, 24 June 2018, CNN, Other domestic reforms include significant regulations restricting the powers of the religious police and establishing a national entertainment authority that has hosted comedy shows, pro wrestling events, and monster truck rallies. Further cultural developments include the first Saudi public concerts by a female singer, the first Saudi sports stadiums to admit women, and an increased presence of women in the workforce.NEWS, Mohammed bin Salman's reforms in Saudi Arabia could benefit us all,weblink The Independent, 2 March 2018, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 March 2018, On 1 August 2019, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel abroad, register a divorce or a marriage, and apply for official documents without the consent of a male guardian. The laws also grant the women the eligibility for the guardianship of minor children.NEWS,weblink 'We feel empowered': Saudi women relish their new freedoms, correspondent, Martin Chulov Middle East, 2019-08-03, The Guardian, 2019-08-04, en-GB, 0261-3077, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia to allow adult women to travel, register divorce, 2019-08-02, The Nation, en, 2019-08-04, WEB,weblink Saudi Arabian women finally allowed to hold passports and travel independently, CNN, Jessie Yeung and Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN, 2019-08-04,


File:KAUST laboratory buildings and town mosque.jpg|thumb|Laboratory buildings at KAUSTKAUSTFile:Al Yamamah University Main Campus.JPG|thumb|The Al-Yamamah Private UniversityAl-Yamamah Private UniversityEducation is free at all levels.WEB,weblink Saudi Education System,, en, 2019-04-28, The school system is composed of elementary, intermediate, and secondary schools. A large part of the curriculum at all levels is devoted to Islam, and, at the secondary level, students are able to follow either a religious or a technical track. The rate of literacy is 90.4% among males and is about 81.3% among females. Classes are segregated by sex. Higher education has expanded rapidly, with large numbers of Universities and colleges being founded particularly since 2000. Institutions of higher education include the country's first university, King Saud University founded in 1957, the Islamic University at Medina founded in 1961, and the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah founded in 1967. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, known as KAUST, founded recently in 2009. Other colleges and universities emphasize curricula in sciences and technology, military studies, religion, and medicine. Institutes devoted to Islamic studies, in particular, abound. Women typically receive college instruction in segregated institutions.File:UIS literacy rate Saudi Arabia population plus15 1990-2015.png|thumb|UIS literacy rate Saudi Arabia population, 15 plus, 1990–2015]]The Academic Ranking of World Universities, known as Shanghai Ranking, ranked 4 of Saudi Arabian institutions among its 2016–2017 list of the 980 top universities in the world.BOOK, Larry, Smith, Abdulrahman, Abouammoh, Higher Education in Saudi Arabia, 2013, Springer Science & Business Media, 978-94-007-6321-0, 24,weblink Also, the QS World University Rankings has ranked 19 Saudi universities among the top 100 Arab institutions, on its 13th edition.NEWS, 19 Saudi universities among top 100 in the Arab world,weblink 7 December 2016, Arab News, Arab News, 6 September 2016, The latest list of Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018, ranked two Saudi universities, King Abdulaziz University and King Saud University, among the top 150 universities in the World.WEB,weblink ARWU World University Rankings 2018 {{!, Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 {{!}} Top 500 universities {{!}} Shanghai Ranking - 2018||access-date=2019-04-24}}WEB,weblink World University Rankings - 2018 {{!, Saudi Arabia Universities in Top 500 universities {{!}} Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2018 {{!}} Shanghai Ranking - 2018||access-date=2019-04-24}}According to critics, Saudi curriculum is not just dominated by Islam but suffers from Wahhabi dogma that propagates hatred towards non-Muslim and non-WahhabisBOOK,weblink Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerence, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, 2006, Shea, Nona, etal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 October 2008, and lacks technical and other education useful for productive employment.Memorization by rote of large parts of the Qur'an, its interpretation and understanding (Tafsir) and the application of Islamic tradition to everyday life is at the core of the curriculum. Religion taught in this manner is also a compulsory subject for all University students.Sedgwick, Robert (1 November 2001) Education in Saudi Arabia. World Education News and Reviews. As a consequence, Saudi youth "generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs" according to the CIA. Similarly, The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote in 2010 that "the country needs educated young Saudis with marketable skills and a capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. That's not generally what Saudi Arabia's educational system delivers, steeped as it is in rote learning and religious instruction.""Saudi Arabia's Education Reforms Emphasize Training for Jobs" The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3 October 2010.The religious sector of the Saudi national curriculum was examined in a 2006 report by Freedom House which concluded that "the Saudi public school religious curriculum continues to propagate an ideology of hate toward the 'unbeliever', that is, Christians, Jews, Shiites, Sufis, Sunni Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine, Hindus, atheists and others".BOOK,weblink Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, 2006, Shea, Nona, etal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 October 2008, BOOK,weblink Revised Saudi Government Textbooks Still Demonize Christians, Jews, Non-Wahhabi Muslims and Other, 23 May 2006, Freedom House, The Saudi religious studies curriculum is taught outside the Kingdom via Saudi-linked madrasah, schools, and clubs throughout the world."Saudi school lessons in UK concern government". BBC News. 22 November 2010. Critics have described the education system as "medieval" and that its primary goal "is to maintain the rule of absolute monarchy by casting it as the ordained protector of the faith, and that Islam is at war with other faiths and cultures"."This medieval Saudi education system must be reformed", The Guardian, 26 November 2010.Saudi Arabia sponsors and promotes the teaching of Wahhabism ideology which is adopted by Sunni Jihadist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front. This radical teaching takes place in Saudi funded mosques and madrasas across the Islamic world from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia.NEWS, Our Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia,weblink The New York Times, 2 September 2015, 19 September 2015, 0362-4331, Thomas L., Friedman, According to the educational plan for secondary (high school) education 1435–1438 Hijri, students enrolling in the "natural sciences" path are required to take five religion subjects which are: Tawhid, Fiqh, Tafseer, Hadith and Islamic Education and Quran. In addition, students are required to take six science subjects which are Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Computer.WEB,weblink Secondary School Studies Plan 1438 Hijri, 23 September 2015, Saudi Ministry of Education Official Website, Saudi Ministry of Education, dead,weblink 25 September 2015, The approach taken in the Saudi education system has been accused of encouraging Islamic terrorism, leading to reform efforts.Reforming Saudi Education Slate 7 September. 2009.NEWS, Eli Lake, 25 March 2014, U.S. Keeps Saudi Arabia's Worst Secret,weblink The Daily Beast, Following the 9/11 attacks, the government aimed to tackle the twin problems of encouraging extremism and the inadequacy of the country's university education for a modern economy, by slowly modernising the education system through the "Tatweer" reform program. The Tatweer program is reported to have a budget of approximately US$2 billion and focuses on moving teaching away from the traditional Saudi methods of memorization and rote learning towards encouraging students to analyze and problem-solve. It also aims to create an education system which will provide a more secular and vocationally based training.Al-Kinani, Mohammed SR9 billion Tatweer project set to transform education {{webarchive|url= |date=11 May 2011 }}. The Saudi Gazette.As of 2018, Saudi Arabia ranks 28 worldwide in terms of high-quality research output according to the renowned scientific journal Nature.2018 tables: Countries/territories, makes Saudi Arabia the best performing Middle Eastern, Arab and Muslim country.Saudi Arabia spends 8.8% of its gross domestic product on education, compared with the global average of 4.6%, which is nearly double the global average on education.WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia most improved economy for business, 2019-05-28, Arab News, en, 2019-05-28,

Health care

Saudi Arabia has a life expectancy of 74.6 years (73.3 for males and 76.3 for females) according to the latest data for the year 2016 from the World Bank.WEB,weblink Life expectancy at birth, total (years) {{!, Data||access-date=25 August 2018}} Infant mortality in 2016 was 11.1 per 1,000.WEB,weblink Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births) {{!, Data||access-date=25 August 2018}} In the same year, 69.7% of the adult population was overweight and 35.5% was obese.WEB,weblink Overweight and obesity, World Health Organization, 25 August 2018,

See also

{{Wikipedia books|Saudi Arabia}}






  • BOOK, Abir1987, Saudi Arabia in the oil era: regime and elites : conflict and collaboration, Abir, Mordechai, 1987, 978-0-7099-5129-2,
  • BOOK, Abir1993, Saudi Arabia: Government, Society, and the Persian Gulf Crisis, Abir, Mordechai, 1993, 978-0-415-09325-5,
  • BOOK, Abir Mordechai, Saudi Arabia In The Oil Era: Regime And Elites; Conflict And Collaboration,weblink 2019, Taylor & Francis, 978-1-00-031069-6,
  • BOOK, Al-Rasheed, A History of Saudi Arabia, Al-Rasheed, Madawi, 2010, 978-0-521-74754-7,
  • BOOK, Bowen, The History of Saudi Arabia, Bowen, Wayne H., 2007, 978-0-313-34012-3,
  • BOOK, Hegghammer, Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism Since 1979, Hegghammer, Thomas, 2010, 978-0-521-73236-9,
  • BOOK, House, On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines—and Future, House, Karen Elliott, [Alfred A. Knopf, 2012, 978-0-307-27216-4,
  • BOOK, Long, Culture and Customs of Saudi Arabia, Long, David E., 2005, 978-0-313-32021-7,weblink
  • BOOK, Malbouisson, Focus on Islamic issues, Malbouisson, Cofie D., 2007, 978-1-60021-204-8,
  • BOOK, Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, Otto, Otto, Jan Michiel, 2010, 978-90-8728-057-4,
  • BOOK, CultureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Saudi Arabia, Tripp, Harvey, North, Peter, 3rd, 2009, Marshall Cavendishref=HT2009,
  • BOOK, Tripp, Harvey, North, Peter, Culture Shock, Saudi Arabia. A Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2003, Times Media Private Limited, Singapore; Portland, Oregon, HT2003,

External links

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