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Saudi Arabia, officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kingdom (1995 est. pop. 18,730,000), 829,995 sq mi (2,149,690 sq km), SW Asia, occupying most of the Arabian peninsula, bounded by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait (N), the Persian Gulf, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (E), Yemen and Oman (S), and the Red Sea (W). Riyadh is the capital, Jidda the principal port. Saudi Arabia has five major physical regions: the great Rub al-Khali, a sand desert occupying the entire south and southeast; the Nejd, a vast, barren plateau in the center; the Hejaz and Asir, along the Red Sea, with mountains rising from an arid coastal plain; and the Eastern Province, along the Persian Gulf, site of the country's rich oil resources. The climate is usually hot and dry, although the humidity along the coasts is high. Saudi Arabia has at least one quarter of the world's oil reserves, and the oil industry dominates the economy. Huge revenues from oil exports have been used to diversify the industrial base; metals, chemicals, plastics, cement, and fertilizer are now produced. Irrigation projects have reclaimed many acres of desert, and grains, dates, citrus fruits, and vegetables are grown. Nomadic Bedouins raise camels, sheep, goats, and horses. Income is also derived from Muslim pilgrims who travel from all parts of the world to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The overwhelming majority of the population are Arabs who adhere to the Wahhabi sect of Islam, but 27% of the population consists of resident foreigners. Arabic is the official language.
Arabia has been inhabited for thousands of years by nomadic Semitic tribes. With the birth (AD 570) of Muhammad, in Mecca, Arabia was briefly the center of Islam, but by the end of the 7th cent. the area was disunited. Modern Saudi Arabia owes its existence to Ibn Saud, an adherent of the Wahhabi Muslim sect.
Beginning in 1902 he conquered the Nejd, Al Hasa, and Hejaz regions, and in 1932 he proclaimed himself king of a united Saudi Arabia.
Oil was discovered in 1936; commercial production began in 1938.
Ibn Saud died in 1953 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Saud.
In 1964 Saud was deposed by Faisal, who secured (1974) an agreement giving the Saudis a 60% majority ownership of foreign oil concessions in their country.
In 1975 Faisal was assassinated; he was replaced by Khalid, who inaugurated a program of industrialization and social welfare. In the conflict with Israel, Saudi Arabia has generally supported the Arab states, although as a friend of the U.S. it is a somewhat moderating force. Its moderating influence has also been felt in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in which it usually has acted to stabilize petroleum prices.
Khalid died in 1982 and was succeeded as king by Fahd. Military clashes, oil-policy disputes, and rioting Iranian pilgrims in Mecca led Saudi Arabia to sever diplomatic relations with Iran in 1989.
In 1990 the kingdom joined the coalition that opposed Iraq's forcible annexation of Kuwait, and the forces of the coalition were largely based in N Saudi Arabia.
In 1992 King Fahd decreed a new constitution; among its features were an appointed national council (est. 1993) with the right to review, but not overrule, government acts. However, the royal family's power was basically undiminished. In the late 1990s, Crown Prince Abdullah, the king's half-brother and heir to the throne, effectively became the country's ruler due to King Fahd's poor health. Under the crown prince, the country has been more openly frustrated with and critical of U.S. support for Israel. A treaty with Yemen that ended border disputes dating to the 1930s was signed in 2000, and early the next year both nations withdrew their troops from the border area in compliance with the pact.
The Saudi government restricted the use of American bases in the country during the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), and by Sept., 2003, all U.S. combat forces were withdrawn from the country. Also in 2003, the king issued a decree giving the Shura the authority to propose new laws without first seeking his permission. The move was perhaps prompted in part by rare protests in favor of government reform; the kingdom also was shaken by violent incidents, including a massive car bomb attack against a residential compound in Riyadh, involving Islamic militants. Such terror attacks continued into 2005.
The country held elections for municipal councils in Feb.—Apr., 2005, permitting voters (men only) to choose half the council members; the rest of the members were still appointed.
King Fahd died in Aug., 2005, and was succeeded by Abdullah.
In Nov., 2009, fighting in N Yemen spilled over into Saudi Arabia when Yemeni Shiite rebels crossed the border. Saudi forces fought the rebels and sought to drive them back into Yemen and away from the border; the conflict ended by Feb., 2010, with the rebels withdrawn into Yemen (and a truce established there).
In early 2011 Saudi Arabia experienced relatively small-scale antigovernment protests compared to other Arab nations, and those were at times harshly suppressed; many demonstrations involved Shiites. Protests and confrontations continued to a limited degree into 2012. Saudi forces also helped suppress antigovernment demonstrations in neighboring Bahrain. At the same time, the government lavished funds on government employee bonuses, low-income housing, and religious organizations. Later in the year, the king announced that women, who have had limited civil rights in the country, would be allowed to participate in municipal elections after 2011 and would serve on the Consultative Council; in 2012 women were appointed to a fifth of the Council seats.
Copyright (c) 2012 Columbia University Press.
Used by permission of Columbia University Press.
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- AllSaudi Saudi money and business directory
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- Dhahran International Exhibition Center The ideal business platform to establish and further your business. Dhahran....
- General Investment Authority Comparing old & new investment laws, license applications
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- Saudi Dates Market Special specifications have to be met by producers
- Saudi Export Developing Center To promote Saudi non-oil exports by all possible means
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- Lamsa Traditional dresses, swords & daggers, silver & silver alloy, framed antiques, Arabian jewelry
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- Gifts from the Desert Wildlife paintings by Julian Friers
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- BirdLife To determine the priorities for bird conservation in the region
- Prince Sultan Research Center for Environment, Water and Desert
- Health Gulf To contribute to spreading health awareness and guidance among athletes and youths
- Saudi Sports Medicine Association Of major importance to all health professionals, the public and suppliers
- Al-Hilal Sport Club Football
- KSA Goal Follows soccer teams standing in the league....
- Majed Abdullah A fan's tribute to Saudi Arabia's Player of the Century and Asia's greatest striker
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- Saudi Karate Federation Urge sports clubs, bodies and private centers to take interest in the Karate game
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- Al-Safarat High School Riyadh
- Al-Sharq Schools
- International Indian School Dammam (IISD) Has all the three streams – Arts, Science and Commerce
- Najd Schools Model schools that seek no profit
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- Al-Yamamah College Programs in business administration and information systems
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- Effat College Higher Education for women
- Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) To achieve Islamic unity in theory and in practice
- Industrial College Jubail - To attract and develop qualified Saudis to replace foreign manpower
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- Kawader Institute To educate and train the Saudi workforce, males and females
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- TeachSaudi Exclusive headquarters for teaching jobs in Saudi Arabia, with information on traveling, living, and teaching in KSA
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- Department of Zakat and Income Tax (DZIT)
To administer and collect zakat from Saudi and GCC entities and collect tax from non-Saudi entities
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- General Auditing Bureau
- Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) To advise the King on issues of importance to the nation
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- Saudi Building Code National Committee To ensure the minimum acceptable limit of safety and public sanitation
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- Arabian Alkali Company Manufacturers of Caustic Soda Prills (Pearl) and Caustic Soda Solid (Fused)
- Communications and Information Technology Commission Services at affordable prices
- Jeddah Industrial City Reports, maps, factories list....
- Jubail Industrial City Has the capability to operate continuously
- Saline Water Conversion Corporation Responsible for desalinating sea water also the second largest electric power producer in KSA
- Saudi Iron & Steel Co. - Hadeed The largest steel producer in the ME
- Saudi Aramco The world's premier producer and exporter of crude oil
- Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) The sole standardization body in the Kingdom
- Yanbu Industrial City Its location near the Suez Channel makes it an excellent access to European markets
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- King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre
- Saudi Arabian National Guard Health Affairs Provides the highest quality of healthcare services
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- Al-Burr Society Charity to provide for the poor, orphans, prisoners' families, patients....
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- King Faisal Foundation A global philanthropic organisation inspired by Islamic values
- Prince Sultan Committee for Relief
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- Diabetes Committee Mecca
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- Prince Salman Center for Disability Research To improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities
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- Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation Providing viable organs
- Saudi Dental Society Dedicated to the continuing professional development of dentistry in KSA
- Saudi Educational Psychological Association
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- Saudi Pharmaceutical Society To develop different branches of pharmacy profession
- Saudi Physical Therapy Association (SPTA) Works toward the evolution of this profession to higher levels
- Saudi Physiotherapy Group (SPTG) Development, activities and services
- Saudi Red Crescent Society Riyadh
- Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City provides much needed rehabilitation services for the disabled and injured
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Hotels, Resorts, Inns, Hostels....
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- Al-Khozama Hotel Located in the heart of Riyadh's bustling business and commercial district
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- Holy Quran Memorization International Orginazation
- Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Baz Official website. Documentation of his rich life, books, lectures and current issues
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Jeddah search engine, sreet maps, news, forums, TV guide, business....
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Aiding shoppers to find all the stores that carry any product they are looking for and other local info....
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