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Saudi Arabia. By Ian Boucher. Basic information. 2 nd largest Arab Country in Central Asia “Land of Two Holy Mosques” Capital City Is Riyadh Minor Cities include Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Dammam

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saudi arabia

Saudi Arabia

By Ian Boucher

basic information
Basic information
  • 2nd largest Arab Country in Central Asia
  • “Land of Two Holy Mosques”
  • Capital City Is Riyadh
  • Minor Cities include Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Dammam
  • Population of 27 million, 8 million Ex-Patriots, 1.5 million illegal immigrants (31% Foreign nationals)
  • Official Languages are Arabic; Hejazi, Nejdi, Gulf.
  • Minor Language include Tagalog, English, French, Egyptian Arabic, and Urdu
  • Islam is required religion
  • Indian (1.1 mil.) , Pakistani (1 mil.) , Bangladeshi (755,000) , Filipino (500,000), Turkish (100,000), American (100,000)
saudi arabian geography
Saudi Arabian Geography

Arabian Desert occupies majority of area of Saudi Arabia, with shrub land to the east. An- Nafud Desert is to north, and Rub’Al Khali to south. Hejaz AsirMtns reside to west, which are the Countries highest terrain, and Rekbah and JabalTuwaya Plains are in center.

geography climate
Geography/ Climate
  • Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, U.A.E, Oman, and Yemen.
  • Desert Climate
  • Avg. summer temperature 45 °c to 54°c
  • 300 mm of precipitation annually
  • Virtually no lakes, Oasis Prominence
  • Founded by Abdul-Azis bin Saud in 1932
  • “House of Saud” conquests to achieve Absolute Monarchy
  • Wahhabist-Bedouin Revolt of 1902, united two kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd by 1932
  • Al-Saud vs. Al-Rashid, struggle for power in World War One against Ottoman Turks
  • Established relations with U.S. in 1933
  • Oil reserves of Al-Hasa discovered by U.S. Geologists in 1941
  • Joined United Nations in 1945, and establishes SAO ( Security Assistance Organization)
  • 1962 Slavery abolished
  • Literacy rate: 84.7% Male, 70.8% girls
  • $ USD 2 Billion budget
  • Traditional Elementary, Intermediate, Secondary levels offered
  • Segregation among gender in classes
  • Wahhabi-Sunni compulsory classes, Islam dominates Saudi educational system
  • Large focus on memorization of Qur'an, Tafsir, How to incorporate into lives (Religious or Technical path)
  • Taweeter Reform Schooling
  • Infant mortality rate 11.57 deaths per 1000
  • On avg. men live to 74 years, women live to 78 years
  • Water approximately consumes 0.7 % of Saudi Arabia area
  • Absolute Monarchy/ Unitary Islamic
  • King Abdullah bin Abdul Azis
  • Integrates judiciary elements, power resides with royal family
  • Legislation resides with King’s decree, and no politically parties recognized
  • Ulemas -Royal bureaucrats with judiciary functions
  • “Council of Ministries”
  • Critically seen as unstable
  • 2nd largest oil reserve in world, 2nd largest exporter of oil
  • GDP $ 776.233 Billion
  • Per Capita $ 26,691
  • Saudi Riyal (SR)
  • Contains 1/4th of World’s oil reserves, 90% of economy is oil exportation, 75% of revenue comes from oil
  • Exports include Gold, Uranium, Coal, Ivory, Zinc, Silver, Copper, Gasoline, Petroleum Products, and Oil.
foreign relations
Foreign Relations
  • Joined UN in 1945
  • Initially established relations in 1933
  • 1960’s U.S, Britain, France assist Saudi Arabia in Creating SANG, SA’s first military organization
  • Member of Arab League (AL), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Muslim World League (MWL), OPEC, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
  • Strong Allies to U.S., 1991 sanctioned U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia for Gulf War
  • Sept. 11, 2001- 9/11, 15 of 19 hijackers from Saudi Arabia,
  • Establishes stronger defense and cooperation with the U.S. although involvement in Iraq is neutral
  • Terrorist activity including groups of Al-Qaeda, LeT, Taliban linked within Saudi Arabia
  • “Wahhabism influence,” or Salafistic Islam ideas
  • Prominence in educational text, Government laws, cultural tradition, religious interpretation
  • Notorious for conservative righteousness
  • American critics including CIA director, James Woosley, accuses “Wahhabi influence” on Saudi Arabia a detriment, and precursor for terrorist groups.
  • 90% Wahhabi-Sunni
  • 10% Shi’ite (reside in provincial eastern part of SA)
  • No faith other than Islam is permitted, Apostasy is punishable by death
  • Traditional forms of punishment including decapitation, amputation, and death used
human rights
Human Rights
  • Abuse of prisoners incommunicado detention
  • Severe restrictions of freedoms including speech, press, assembly and association, religion, and rights to election
  • Discrimination against women, including prohibition of driving rights, veiling requirement, discouragement of work, and sexual relational penalization.
  • Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, and drug/alcohol trafficking are punishable by death
  • 1 in 4 children are subject to physical abuse in Saudi Arabia
current events
Current Events

Modern issues include:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Religious extremism
  • Gov’t. corruption and strict oppression to gov’t reform
  • Juvenile delinquency: drug/ alcohol use, unsatisfying educational system
  • Oppression to minorities including Shi’ite Muslims in East
  • Contempt for Royal family and medieval gov’t practices
  • Trafficking of Women, Drug and Alcohol
current e vents specified
Current Events Specified
  • Sultan Al-siri beheaded in South-west province of Abha, accused of killing drinking partner
  • 72nd person to be decapitated this year
  • Avg. of 140 immediate moratoriums on death row a year
  • 2009 accumulated 67 beheadings, 2010 contained 27, and 2011 has 72 as of Al-Siri
current events specified
Current Events Specified
  • Amnesty International criticizes Saudi Arabia of repression in provinces of Qatif, Ansa, Awwamiya for Government reform.
  • 5,800 people have been tried since April in reformist ordeal on grounds of the Detainment of Terrorist activity
  • Torture, ill-treatment, and disregard of due process evident
  • Last week, five men were killed by police forces during a protest, two being completely unarmed
  • As well, 16 men ( 9 prominent reformists) were given sentences of 5-30 years in prison for protesting, primary witnessed say men were blind folded and handcuffed during trial, and lawyers weren’t permitted in first 3 sessions of court
  • April, Crackdown of Shi’ite Muslim protests in Eastern Saudi Provinces
  • Questioning integrity of Royal family carries 10 years minimum in prison.