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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.
King Abdullah died in Jan., 2015, and was succeeded by Crown Prince Salman , his half brother. Saudi forces led Arab air attacks against Houthi rebels and their allies in Yemen after Yemen's president was forced to flee the country in Mar., 2015; there also were clashes along the Saudi-Yemen border. The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric, as part of mass execution of 47 condemned prisoners in Jan., 2016, was bitterly condemned by Iran; Saudi Arabia then broke off diplomatic relations with Iran.
In June, 2017, King Salman named his son Mohammed bin Salman crown prince, replacing his nephew and former heir apparent Mohammed bin Nayef. The king had previously appointed his son defense minister and head of a council charged with overseeing the economy. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and a few other nations, broke diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June, 2017, accusing it of supporting jihadi groups and destabilizing the region; Qatar rejected the nations' accusations and demands. In November an anticorruption drive led to the investigation of several hundred prominent Saudis, many of whom paid large settlements and were pardoned (while also remaining under government surveillance); the campaign also was seen in part as an attempt by Mohammed bin Salman, regarded as the country's de facto ruler, to consolidate his power. The country also sought that month to force Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, to resign, in a possible attempt to discredit Hezbollah.
Copyright (c) 2012 Columbia University Press.
Used by permission of Columbia University Press.
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- Saudi Commercial Office A business guide to KSA
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Provides trade statistics, goods schedules, services schedules and MFN exemptions, trade policy reviews, dispute cases, and notifications
- Al-Bank Al-Saudi Al-Fransi Supports you from the very begining....
- Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Serving the needs of the nation and its citizens
- Arab National Bank (ANB) A global leader in exploiting technology to serve business needs
- Saudi British Bank A leader in offering its customers a full range of banking services
- Saudi American Bank Formed to take over the existing branches of Citibank
- Saudi Hollandi Bank Professionalism and superior customer service
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Directories, Job Opportunities
- AllSaudi Saudi money and business directory
- Career Saudi Online recruiters
- Mawaride E-recruitment in the Middle East
- Saudi American Bank Jobs in Saudi Arabia catogrised by Top Employer, Industry, Company, City ....
- Saudi Ad Free classified ads
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- Tauzeef Specialized in staffing services and training programs
- Twdeef Jobs advertisment gate
Investment & Promotion....
- 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
- Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority To promote Saudi Arabia as a destination for profitable investment
- 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
- Saudi Export Program Providing financing and insurance to facilitate the development of non-oil exports
- US-Saudi Arabian Business Council To promote trade and investment between the two countries
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- Lamsa Traditional dresses, swords & daggers, silver & silver alloy, framed antiques, Arabian jewelry
- Virtual Tour An American woman acts as your Virtual Tour Guide to Saudi Arabia
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- Zaman Mohammad Jassim Gallery, paintings & photography
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Cultural, Scientific, Environmental, Sporting Entities & Info
- Animal Info Threatened species, environmental and social data
- AquaStat Information on quantity and quality of freshwater and its availability
- 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
- 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
- Saudi Football Extensive info about soccer in KSA
- Saudi Karate Federation Urge sports clubs, bodies and private centers to take interest in the Karate game
- Saudi Olympic Committee Spread moral and ethical values
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Schools, Colleges, Academies, Universities & Polytechnics
- Al-Aqsa Schools
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- Al-Rissalah International Schools Offer education for both boys and girls for all levels: KG, Primary, Intermediate and Secondary
- 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
- Prince Mohammad Primary School Hassa
- Riyadh Schools Model schools that seek no profit
- Al-Yamamah University College of Business Administration (COBA), College of Law (COL) and College of Engineering and Architecture (COEA)
- Dar Al-Hekma University Helps you become accomplished women, leaders and entrepreneurs
- College of Business Administration Jeddah - Bridges the gap between education and commercial market
- College of Technology Jeddah - To bridge the gap between engineers and the skilled laborers
- College of Technology Riyadh
- College of Telecommunication and Information Riyadh
- Effat College Higher Education for women
- International Islamic Fiqh Academy To achieve Islamic unity in theory and in practice
- Jubail Industrial College To attract and develop qualified Saudis to replace foreign manpower
- King Fahd Security College Model schools that seek no profit
- Prince Sultan College for Tourism and Hotel Sciences Prepare for employment at supervisory and managerial levels
- Teachers College Madina
- Teachers College Taif
- Imam Mohammad Islamic University
- Islamic University of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Knowledge to students who come from different parts of the world
- King Abdul Aziz University Higher education for the growing number of Jeddah's secondary school graduates
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Institutions & Organizations
- Alamiah Institute for Computer & Technology IT, computer & networking sciences
- Andalus Institute Provides you with everything you need to become fluent in Arabic
- e-Learning Buraydah - Apply the new information Technology in Teaching and Training
- Gotevot Computer Center Technical Education and Vocational Training
- Institute of Public Administration (IPA) A certificate that is a definite asset in finding employment
- Jeddah Education Information for students, teachers and schools. Schools directory....
- Kawader Institute To educate and train the Saudi workforce, males and females
- King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology Promotion of science & technology
- Millinium Institute of Technology & Management (MITM) A unique Co-op Employment Program (Educational & Job)
- Natural Resources Conservation Training Center (TCCNR) Training in the field of Environment Management
- Professionals Institute fot Training & Development Highly-specialized courses in order to develop the skills and abilities
- Royal Commission Yanbu Colleges & Institutes Associate and bachelor degrees, and vocational training programs
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- Political Leaders Dates and figures of the leadership since 1932 (with pictures)
- Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council) To advise the King on issues of importance to the nation
- Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Duties and services. Rainfall & temperature, statistical Indicators....
- Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Establishing the concept of computational society in both public and private sectors
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- Ministry of Finance Oversee the Kingdom's financial and monetary policies
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- Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu
To implement the infrastructure required for the development of Jubail and Yanbu as industrial cities
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- Saudi Building Code National Committee To ensure the minimum acceptable limit of safety and public sanitation
- Saudi Fund for Development Financing of development projects in developing countries and to support national non-crude-oil exports
- Supreme Council for Tourism Tourist locations, directory of services
- Supreme Economic Council To develop an organizational structure and management system
- Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority To administer and collect zakat from Saudi and GCC entities and collect tax from non-Saudi entities
- Embassy of Saudi Arabia - Washington, USA Information office, Saudi US relations, Saudi information and links....
- Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia To the U.N. Saudi & the UN, Saudi information and links....
- Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the USA To meet the educational needs of Saudi students in the USA
Corporations, Organizations, Hospitals and Industrial Entities
- 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
- Ibn Sina Hospital About the hospital, diseases, articles - Hadaa
- 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....
- King Faisal Foundation A global philanthropic organisation inspired by Islamic values
- Prince Sultan Committee for Relief
- Prince Abdullah Foundation Housing for the needy
- Human Resources and Social Development
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- Saudi Council of Engineers To promote the engineering profession, develop and upgrade its standards and those practicing it
- Saudi Science Club
- Saudi Society for Civil Engineers To develop, activate and publish the scientific civil engineering concepts
- Saudi Society for Technology Development & Transfer Technology transfer mechanisms, absorption and localization
- Diabetes Committee Mecca
- Prince Salman Center for Disability Research To improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities
- Saudi Advisory Group Against Stroke (SAGAS) Promoting the local management services provided for stroke victims
- 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
- Saudi Ophthalmology Society
- 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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- Chinese Embassy Information, China, visa & passport, economy & trade, culture & dducation, traval to China
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- German Embassy German Embassy Riyadh and German Consulate General Jeddah....
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- Netherlands (Holland) Embassy Information on the different aspects of the Embassy's tasks
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- Polish Embassy in Riyadh Consular info, business, tourism, education events....
- South African Embassy Consulate general, travel & tourism, news & events, trade & investment, SA links
- U.S. Embassy & Consulates US mission, consular services (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dhahran), latest news, US policy, journals, articles....
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Travel & Tourism
Airlines, Air, Sea & Coach Charters Services
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Travel, Tours, Guides.... More country info
- Al-Khair Tourism & Transport For those who intend to perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mohammed Mosque....
- Flyin "Online Travel Agency" that offers travel services for people residing in Saudi Arabia, across the Middle East and around the world
- On The Way Around Saudi Arabia Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know
- Saudipedia Give people an insiders view and provide a wealth of unbiased information to potential visitors of Saudi Arabia
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Hotels, Resorts, Inns, Hostels....
- Al Faisaliah Hotel Riyadh: Spacious, designer-decorated rooms, gourmet restaurants and business and leisure facilities
- Al-Khozama Hotel Located in the heart of Riyadh's bustling business and commercial district
- Oasis Residential Resorts Dammam, Al-Khubar: A relaxed work environment with idyllic leisure facilities
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- CDC Travel Information Hajj requirements
- CDC Travel Information Meningococcal disease among travelers to Saudi Arabia
- CDC Travel Information Outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Saudi Arabia and Yemen
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