By Ian Boucher
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 GeographyArabian 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 Asir Mtns reside to west, which are the Countries highest terrain, and Rekbah and Jabal Tuwaya Plains are in center.
• 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
History• 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
• 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• 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
Sharia• “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
• 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
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 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• 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.
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