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Saudi Arabia


Introduction: Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. A male descendent of Ibn Saud, his son ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz, rules the country today as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the...

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Economic Overview: With a population of over 27 million, 18.7 million Saudi and the rest expatriate, and over 20 per cent of the world's conventional oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest economy. Although efforts have been made to diversify the economy, it remains heavily dependent on the oil and petrochemical sector and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future: while the private, non-oil sector's contribution to GDP has increased over the past decade to about 45 per cent, oil and oil derivatives still account for nearly 90 per cent of Saudi export earnings and budget revenues, and about 55 per cent of GDP.

The ...

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History: Except for a few major cities and oases, the harsh climate historically prevented much settlement of the Arabian Peninsula. People of various cultures have lived in the peninsula over a span of more than 5,000 years. The Dilmun culture, along the Gulf coast, was contemporaneous with the Sumerians and ancient Egyptians, and most of the empires of the ancient world traded with the states that ...

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International Relations: Relations with Neighbours & the International Community

The Middle East Peace Process (MEPP)

Saudi Arabia plays a critical role in the region. King Abdullah’s Beirut declaration of 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API), was a landmark, and remains important to the search for peace. An Arab League Summit in Riyadh endorsed the declaration in March 2007, and the Arab League re-confirmed it in 2008. In December 2008, the Arab League wrote to then President– elect Obama reiterating its support for the API and urging Obama to engage in the MEPP. The Saudis played an important role in bringing ...

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The title, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, uses the word kingdom, which is not an Islamic term. However, given the significance of religion in Saudi Arabia, it is clear that Saudis believe that ultimate authority rests with God (Allah). The Saudi ruler is Allah's secular representative and bases political legitimacy on his religious credentials.

Saudi refers to the Al Saud ...

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Area Handbook Series
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(﷼) Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR)
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