Saudi

"KSA" redirects here. For other uses of the term, please see KSA (disambiguation).
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المملكة العربية السعودية
al-Mamlaka al-‘Arabiyya as-Su’ūdiyya
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Flag of Saudi Arabia
FlagCoat of arms
Motto
"There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is His messenger" (the Shahadah)
Anthem
"Aash Al Maleek"
"Long live the King"

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Location of Saudi Arabia
Capital
(and largest city)
Riyadh
Official languagesArabic
DemonymSaudi, Saudi Arabian
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
 - KingAbdullah bin Abdul Aziz
 - Crown PrinceSultan bin Abdul Aziz
Establishment
 - Kingdom declaredJanuary 8, 1926 
 - RecognizedMay 20, 1927 
 - UnifiedSeptember 23, 1932 
 - Water (%)negligible
Population
 - 2007 estimate24,735,000[1] (46th)
GDP (PPP)2007 estimate
 - Total$446 billion (27th)
 - Per capita$21,200 (41st)
HDI (2004) 0.777 (medium) (76th)
CurrencyRiyal (SAR)
Time zoneAST (UTC+3)
 - Summer (DST)(not observed) (UTC+3)
Internet TLD.sa
Calling code+966
1Population estimate includes 5,576,076 non-nationals.
2
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabic: المملكة العربية السعودية, al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Suʻūdiyya) is the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Jordan on the northwest, Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south, with the Persian Gulf to its northeast and the Red Sea to its west. It has an estimated population of 27.5 million, and its size is approximately 2,150,000 square km (830,000 square miles)

The Kingdom is sometimes called "The Land of The Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. In English, it is most commonly referred to as Saudi Arabia (pronounced /ˈsɒdɪ/ or /ˈsaudɪ əˈɹeɪ̯bɪə/). The Kingdom was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, whose efforts began in 1902 when he captured the Al-Saud’s ancestral home of Riyadh, and culminated in 1932 with the proclamation, and recognition of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the world's leading petroleum exporter and petroleum exports fuel the Saudi economy.[2] Oil accounts for more than 90 percent of exports and nearly 75 percent of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state,[3][4] which the government has found it difficult to fund during periods of low oil prices.[5]

History



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The founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz, converses with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on board a ship returning from the Yalta Conference in 1945.
Although the region in which the country stands today has an ancient history, the emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744. That year, Muhammad bin Saud, the ruler of the town of Ad-Dir'iyyah near Riyadh, joined forces with a cleric, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, to create a new political entity. This alliance formed in the 18th century remains the basis of Saudi Arabian dynastic rule today. Over the next 150 years, the fortunes of the Saud family rose and fell several times as Saudi rulers contended with Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and other Arabian families for control on the peninsula. The Saudi state was founded by the late King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (known internationally as Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud).

In 1902 at the age of only 22, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud re-captured Riyadh, the Al-Saud dynasty's ancestral capital, from the rival Al-Rashid family. Continuing his conquests, Abdul Aziz subdued Al-Hasa, Al-Qatif, the rest of Nejd, and Hejaz between 1913 and 1926. On 8 January 1926 Abdul Aziz bin Saud became the King of Hejaz. On 29 January 1927 he took the title King of Nejd (his previous Nejdi title was Sultan). By the Treaty of Jedda, signed on 20 May 1927, the United Kingdom recognized the independence of Abdul Aziz's realm, then known as the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz. In 1932, the principal regions of Al-Hasa, Qatif, Nejd and Hejaz were unified to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abdul Aziz's military and political successes were not mirrored economically until vast reserves of oil were discovered in March 1938. Development programmes, which were delayed due to the onset of the Second World War in 1939, began in earnest in 1946 and by 1949 production was in full swing. Oil has provided Saudi Arabia with economic prosperity and a great deal of leverage in the international community.

Prior to his death in 1953 Abdul Aziz, aware of the difficulties facing other regional absolute rulers reliant on extended family networks, attempted to regulate the succession.

He refused to allow Saudi Arabia to join the League of Nations, and he chose to leave his kingdom on only three occasions from 1916 until his death in 1953. One of those occasions was the meeting with President Roosevelt pictured above. Eventually Abdul Aziz acceded to the realities of world politics and in 1945 effectively with a regional challenge from Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. As a consequence Saud was deposed in favour of Faisal in 1964.

Intra-family rivalry was one of the factors that led to the assassination of Faisal by his nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musa'id, in 1975. He was succeeded by King Khalid until 1982 and then by King Fahd. When Fahd died in 2005, his half-brother Abdullah ascended to the throne.

See also: First Saudi State

Military

See also:


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SANG V150
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Saudi Tornado during Gulf War


Saudi military was founded as the Ikhwan army, the tribal army of Ibn Saud. The Ikhwan had helped King Ibn Saud conquer the Arabian peninsula during the First World War.

By expanding the military forces years later, Saudi Arabia today has many military branches.

Military branches of Ministry of Defence :
Army
Air Force
Navy
Air Defense


Independent Military branches:
National Guard
Royal Guard
General Intelligence
Military Police
Saudi Lightning Force


Military branches of Ministry of Interior:
Saudi Arabian Police Force
Saudi Arabian Border Guard
:Saudi Border Guard
:Saudi Coast Guard
Al-Mujahidoon
Saudi Emergency Force

Foreign relations

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest contributors of development aid, both in term of volume of aid and in the ratio of aid volume to GDP. [6][7]

Cities



Largest Cities by Population
(2007)

mill.
Riyadh4.7
Jeddah3.6
Mecca1.7
Medina1.3RiyadhJeddahMecca
Dammam1.3
Taif0.7
Buraydah0.6
Tabuk0.5
Khamis Mushait0.4
Hofuf0.3MedinaDammamTabuk


Geography



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Map of Saudi Arabia


The kingdom occupies about 80 percent of the Arabian Peninsula. A significant length of the country's southern borders with the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen are not precisely defined or marked, so the exact size of the country remains unknown. The Saudi government's estimate is 2,217,949 km² (856,356 miles²). Other reputable estimates vary between 1,960,582 km²[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2147rank.html] (756,934 mi²) and 2,240,000 km² (864,869 mi²). The kingdom is commonly listed as the world's 14th largest nation.

Saudi Arabia's geography is varied. From the western coastal region (Tihamah), the land rises from sea level to a peninsula-long mountain range (Jabal al-Hejaz) beyond which lies the plateau of Nejd in the center. The southwestern 'Asir region has mountains as high as 3,000 m (9,840 feet) and is known for having the greenest and freshest climate in all of the country, one that attracts many Saudis to resorts such as Abha in the summer months. The east is primarily rocky or sandy lowland continuing to the shores of the Persian Gulf. The geographically hostile Rub' al Khali ("Empty Quarter") desert along the country's imprecisely defined southern borders contains almost no life.

Mostly uninhabited, much of the nation's landmass consists of desert and semi-arid regions, with a dwindling traditional Bedouin population. In these parts of the country, vegetation is limited to weeds, xerophytic herbs and shrubs. Less than 2 percent of the kingdom's total area is arable land. Population centers are mainly located along the eastern and western coasts and densely populated interior oases such as Hofuf and Buraidah. In some extended areas, primarily the Rub' al-Khali and the Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian xeric shrublands, there is no population whatsoever, although the petroleum industry is constructing a few planned communities there. Saudi Arabia has no permanent year-round rivers or lakes; however, its coastline extends for 2640 km (1640 miles) and, on the Red Sea side, offers world-class coral reefs, including those in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Native animals include the ibex, wildcats, baboons, wolves, and hyenas in the mountainous highlands. Small birds are found in the oases. The coastal area on the Red Sea with its coral reefs has a rich marine life.

Climate

Extreme heat and aridity are characteristic of most of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the few places in the world where summer temperatures above 50 °C (122 °F) have been recorded, being the highest ever recorded temperature 51.7C (124F) while in winter frost or snow can occur in the interior and the higher mountains, although this only occurs once or twice in a decade. Lowest ever recorded temperature is -12.0C recorded at Turaif.The average winter temperature range is 8° to 20 °C (47° to 68 °F) in January in interior cities such as Riyadh and 19° to 29 °C (66° to 83 °F) in Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. The average summer range in July is 27° to 43 °C (81° to 109 °F) in Riyadh and 27° to 38 °C (80° to 100 °F) in Jeddah. Nighttime temperatures in the central deserts can be famously chilly even in summer, as the sand gives up daytime heat rapidly once the sun has set. Annual precipitation is usually sparse (up to 100 mm or 4 inches in most regions), although sudden downpours can lead to violent flash floods in wadis. Annual rainfall in Riyadh averages 100 mm (4 inches) and falls almost exclusively between January and May; the average in Jeddah is 54 mm (2.1 inches) and occurs between November and January.

Government

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.


The central institution of the Saudi Arabian government is the Saudi monarchy. The Basic Law of Government adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abd Al Aziz Al Hoati. It also claims that the Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of the Sharia (Islamic Law). According the The Economist's Democracy Index, the Saudi government is the ninth most authoritarian regime in the world.

There are no recognized political parties or national elections, except the local elections which were held in the year 2005 when participation was reserved for male citizens only [8]. The king's powers are theoretically limited within the bounds of Shari'a and other Saudi traditions. He also must retain a consensus of the Saudi royal family, religious leaders (ulema), and other important elements in Saudi society. The Saudi government spreads Islam by funding construction of mosques and Qur'an schools around the world. The leading members of the royal family choose the king from among themselves with the subsequent approval of the ulema.

Saudi kings have gradually developed a central government. Since 1953, the Council of Ministers, appointed by the king, has advised on the formulation of general policy and directed the activities of the growing bureaucracy. This council consists of a prime minister, the first prime minister and twenty ministers.

Legislation is by resolution of the Council of Ministers, ratified by royal decree, and must be compatible with the Shari'a. A 150-member Consultative Assembly, appointed by the King, has limited legislative rights. Justice is administered according to the Shari'a by a system of religious courts whose judges are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, composed of twelve senior jurists. Independence of the judiciary is protected by law. The king acts as the highest court of appeal and has the power to pardon. Access to high officials (usually at a majlis; a public audience) and the right to petition them directly are well-established traditions.

The combination of relatively high oil prices and exports led to a revenues windfall for Saudi Arabia during 2004 and early 2005. For 2004 as a whole, Saudi Arabia earned about $116 billion in net oil export revenues, up 35 percent from 2003 revenue levels. Saudi net oil export revenues are forecast to increase in 2005 and 2006, to $150 billion and $154 billion, respectively, mainly due to higher oil prices. Increased oil prices and consequent revenues since the price collapse of 1998 have significantly improved Saudi Arabia's economic situation, with real GDP growth of 5.2 percent in 2004, and forecasts of 5.7% and 4.8% growth for 2005 and 2006, respectively.

For fiscal year 2004, Saudi Arabia originally had been expecting a budget deficit. However, this was based on an extremely conservative price assumption of $19 per barrel for Saudi oil and an assumed production of 7.7 million bbl/d. Both of these estimates turned out to be far below actual levels. As a result, as of mid-December 2004, the Saudi Finance Ministry was expecting a huge budget surplus of $26.1 billion, on budget revenues of $104.8 billion (nearly double the country's original estimate) and expenditures of $78.6 billion (28 percent above the approved budget levels). This surplus is being used for several purposes, including: paying down the Kingdom's public debt (to $164 billion from $176 billion at the start of 2004); extra spending on education and development projects; increased security expenditures (possibly an additional $2.5 billion dollars in 2004; see below) due to threats from terrorists; and higher payments to Saudi citizens through subsidies (for housing, education, health care, etc.). For 2005, Saudi Arabia is assuming a balanced budget, with revenues and expenditures of $74.6 billion each.

In spite of the recent surge in its oil income, Saudi Arabia continues to face serious long-term economic challenges, including high rates of unemployment (12 percent of Saudi nationals [9]), one of the world's fastest population growth rates, and the consequent need for increased government spending. All of these place pressures on Saudi oil revenues. The Kingdom also is facing serious security threats, including a number of terrorist attacks (on foreign workers, primarily) in 2003 and 2004. In response, the Saudis reportedly have ramped up spending in the security area (reportedly by 50 percent in 2004, from $5.5 billion in 2003). Saudi Arabia's per capita oil export revenues remain far below high levels reached during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 2004, Saudi Arabia earned around $4,564 per person, versus $22,589 in 1980. This 80 percent decline in real per capita oil export revenues since 1980 is in large part due to the fact that Saudi Arabia's young population has nearly tripled since 1980, while oil export revenues in real terms have fallen by over 40 percent (despite recent increases). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has faced nearly two decades of heavy budget and trade deficits, the expensive 1990-1991 war with Iraq, and total public debt of around $175 billion. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia does have extensive foreign assets (around $110 billion) which provide a substantial fiscal "cushion."

Saudi municipal elections took place in 2005 and some commentators saw this a first tentative step towards the introduction of democratic processes in the Kingdom, including the legalization of political parties. Other analysts of the Saudi political scene were more skeptical.[10]

Law

The Basic Law, in 1992, declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the progeny of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. It also declared the Qur'an as the constitution of the country, governed on the basis of Islamic law.[11]

Criminal cases are tried under Sharia courts in the country. These courts exercise authority over the entire population including foreigners (regardless of religion). Cases involving small penalties are tried in Shari'a summary courts. More serious crimes are adjudicated in Shari'a courts of common pleas. Courts of appeal handle appeals from Shari'a courts.[11]

Civil cases may also be tried under Sharia courts with one exception: Shia may try such cases in their own courts. Other civil proceedings, including those involving claims against the Government and enforcement of foreign judgments, are held before specialized administrative tribunals, such as the Commission for the Settlement of Labor Disputes and the Board of Grievances.[11]

Main sources of Saudi law are Hanbali fiqh as set out in a number of specified scholarly treatises by authoritative jurists, other schools of law, state regulations and royal decrees (where these are relevant), and custom and practice.[12]

The Saudi legal system prescribes capital punishment or corporal punishment, including amputations of hands and feet for certain crimes such as murder, robbery, rape, drug smuggling and for various forms of sexual behaviour such as homosexuality and adultery. The courts may impose less severe punishments, such as floggings, for less serious crimes against public morality such as drunkenness [13]. Murder, accidental death and bodily harm are open to punishment from the victim's family. Retribution may be sought in kind or through blood money. The blood money payable for a woman's accidental death is half as much as that for a man.[14] The main reason for this is that, according to Islamic law, men are expected to be providers for their families and therefore are expected to earn more money in their lifetimes. The blood money from a man would be expected to sustain his family, for at least a short time. Honor killings are also not punished as severely as murder. This generally stems from the fact that honor killings are within a family, and done to compensate for some dishonorable act committed. Slavery was abolished in 1962.[15][16]

Human rights

Several international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Committee have issued reports critical of the Saudi legal system and its human rights record in various political, legal, and social areas, especially its severe limitations on the rights of women. The Saudi government typically dismisses such reports as being outright lies or asserts that its actions are based on its adherence to Islamic law.

In 2002, the United Nations Committee against Torture criticized Saudi Arabia over the amputations and floggings it carries out under the Shari'a. The Saudi delegation responded defending its legal traditions held since the inception of Islam in the region 1300 years ago and rejected "interference" in its legal system.

The Government views its interpretation of Islamic law as its sole source of guidance on human rights. In 2000, the Government approved the October legislation, which the Government claimed would address some of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.[11]

"The state protects human rights in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah."

Basic Law, Chapter 5, Article 26.[17]

Administrative Divisions

Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 provinces or regions (manatiq, - singular mintaqah - ).

ProvinceCapitalL. Map
Al BahahAl Bahah city
Northern BorderArar
Al JawfAl Jawf city
MedinaMedina
Al QasimBuraidah
Ha'ilHa'il city
AsirAbha
Eastern ProvinceDammam
Al RiyadhRiyadh city
TabukTabuk city
NajranNajran city
Mecca ProvinceMecca
JizanJizan city

Economy



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Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, whose main offices are in Dhahran.


Saudi Arabia's economy is Petroleum-based; roughly 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings come from the oil industry. The oil industry comprises about 45% of Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product, compared with 40% from the private sector (see below). Saudi Arabia officially has about 260 billion barrels of oil reserves, comprising about 24% of the world's proven total petroleum reserves[18].

The government is attempting to promote growth in the private sector by privatizing industries such as power and telecom. Saudi Arabia announced plans to begin privatizing the electricity companies in 1999, which followed the ongoing privatization of the telecommunications company. Shortages of water and rapid population growth may constrain government efforts to increase self-sufficiency in agricultural products.

In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia experienced a significant contraction of oil revenues combined with a high rate of population growth. Per capita income fell from a high of $11,700 at the height of the oil boom in 1981 to $6,300 with in 1998[19]. Recent oil price increases have helped boost per capita GDP to $17,000 in 2007 dollars[20], or about $7,400 adjusted for inflation[21].

Recent oil price increases have triggered a second oil boom, pushing Saudi Arabia's budget surplus to $28 billion (110SR billion) in 2005. Tadawul (the Saudi stock market Index) finished 2004 with a massive 76.23% to close at 4437.58 points. Market capitalization was up 110.14% from a year earlier to stand at $157.3 billion (589.93SR billion), which makes it the biggest stock market in the Middle East.?

OPEC limits its members oil production based on its "proven reserves." The higher their reserves, the more OPEC allows them to produce. Saudi Arabia's published reserves have shown little change since 1980, with the main exception being an increase of about 100 billion barrels between 1987 and 1988[22]. Some have suggested that Saudi Arabia is greatly exaggerating its reserves and may soon show production declines (see peak oil).

To diversify the economy, Saudi Arabia launched a new city on the western coast with investments exceeding 26.6 billion dollars. The city which is named "King Abdullah Economic City" will be built near al-Rabegh industrial city north to Jeddah. The new city, where construction work started in December 2005, includes a port which is the largest port of the kingdom. Extending along a coastline of 35 km, the city will also include petrochemical, pharmaceutical, tourism, finance and education and research areas.

Saudi Arabia officially became a World Trade Organization member in December 2005.

Development

Saudi Arabia is one of the few fastest growing countries in the world with a high per capita income of $ 15,500 (est), Saudi Arabia will be launching 6 Economic cities (King Abdullah Economic City) [23] which will be completed by the year 2020. These 6 new industrialised Economic cities will Diversify the Economy of Saudi Arabia, and will also increase the per capita income to a high level. The King of Saudi Arabia has announced that the per capita income, is forecast, to rise from $ 15,000 in 2006 to $ 33,500 in 2020 [24] The Economic cities will be spread around Saudi Arabia to diversify each of the regions and provinces, and will contribute $ 150 billion to the GDP.

However the Urban areas of Riyadh and Jeddah will contribute $ 287 billion dollars by the year 2020[25]. The Country is soon Developing into an MEDC (Developed Country).

Foreign labour

Despite the government's efforts to promote Saudization, many men and women from South, South East (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines), and East Asia, East Africa (Egypt) and the Middle East continue to seek work in Saudi Arabia.[26] There are also some people from North America, South America, and Europe. Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers and skilled workers from regions of the developing world migrate to Saudi Arabia, sometimes only for a short period of time, to work. Although exact figures are not known, skilled experts in the banking and services professions seek work in the Kingdom.

It is reported that some guest workers present in the country are sometimes subject to mistreatment, as documented by Human Rights Watch:
"Domestic workers face a wide range of grave abuses and labor exploitation, including physical and sexual abuse, forced confinement, non-payment of wages, denial of food and health care and excessive working hours with no rest days, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today."

Demographics

Saudi Arabia's population as of July 2006 is estimated to be about 27,019,731, including about 5,576,076 resident foreigners. Until the 1960s, a majority of the population was nomadic; but presently more than 95% of the population is settled, due to rapid economic and urban growth. As recently as the 1950s, the Saudi Arabia’s slave population was estimated at 450,000 — just 20% of the population.[27][28] Slavery was finally abolished in 1962.[29][30] The birth rate is 29.56 births per 1,000 people. The death rate is 2.62 deaths per 1,000 people. Some cities and oases have densities of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer (2,600/sq mi).

Around 85 percent of Saudis are ethnically Arab. Approximately 12% of the population is South Asian or of South Asian Descent, including Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis. In addition, there are some citizens of Asian and sub-Saharan/East African ancestry. Many Arabs from nearby countries are employed in the kingdom. There are over seven million migrants from countries all around the world, including (including non-Muslims):[31] Indian: 1.4 million, Bangladeshi: 1 million, Filipino: 950,000, Pakistani: 900,000, Egyptian: 900,000, Yemeni: 800,000, Indonesian: 500,000, Sri Lankan: 350,000, Sudanese: 250,000, Syrian: 100,000 and Turkish: 80,000.[32] There are around 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in compounds or gated communities.

Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemenis in 1990 and 1991 to punish Yemen for its opposition to the war against Iraq. An estimated 240,000 Palestinians are living in Saudi Arabia. They are not allowed to hold or even apply for Saudi citizenship, as the new law passed by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers in October 2004 (which entitles expatriates of all nationalities who have resided in the kingdom for ten years to apply for citizenship, with priority being given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields) has one glaring exception: Palestinians will not be allowed to benefit from the new law because of Arab League instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship in order "to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland".[33]

The majority of the population adheres to a theological interpretation within Islam most commonly known as Salafism or Wahhabism. The Shia population of the country is estimated at around 10-15 percent,[34] primarily in the eastern provinces on the Gulf, southwestern provinces bordering Yemen, Makkah and particularly, Medina, as well as other larger cities in the Kingdom.

Education

At the time the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, education was not accessible to everyone and limited to individualized instruction at religious schools in mosques in urban areas. These schools taught Islamic law and basic literacy skills. By the end of the century, Saudi Arabia had a nationwide educational system providing free training from preschool through university to all citizens. The modern Saudi educational system provides quality instruction in diverse fields of modern and traditional arts and sciences. This diversity helps meet the Kingdom's growing need for highly-educated citizens to build on its rapid progress.

Formal primary education began in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. By 1945, King Abdulaziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud, the country's founder, had initiated an extensive program to establish schools in the Kingdom. Six years later, in 1951, the country had 226 schools with 29,887 students. In 1954, the Ministry of Education was established, headed by then Prince Fahd bin Abdulaziz as the first Minister of Education. The first university, now known as King Saud University, was founded in Riyadh in 1957.

Today, Saudi Arabia's nationwide public educational system comprises Twenty universities, more than 24,000 schools, and a large number of colleges and other educational and training institutions. Open to every citizen, the system provides students with free education, books and health services. Over 25 percent of the annual State budget is for education including vocational training. The Kingdom has also worked on scholarship programs to send students overseas, mainly to the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and other nations. Over the past couple of years, thousands of students have been sent to higher-educations programs each year.

The study of Islam remains at the core of the Saudi educational system. The Islamic aspect of the Saudi national curriculum is examined in a recent report by Freedom House.[35] The report finds how, in religious education classes (in any religious school), children are taught to deprecate other religions, in addition to other branches of Islam. The Saudi religious studies curriculum is taught outside the Kingdom in madrassah throughout the world.

Sports

Men can often be found playing sports. Women rarely participate in sports, and always away from the presence of men; this often leads to indoor gyms. Even though football (soccer) is the most popular sport, Saudi Arabia has recently participated in the Summer Olympic Games and in international competitions in volleyball and other sports. The Saudi Arabian national youth baseball team has also participated in the Little League World Series. The Saudi Arabia national football team is often most known for being in four consecutive times in the FIFA World Cup and six times in the AFC Asian Cup, which the team won three times and was runner-up three times. Some popular football players include Majed Abdullah, Mohamed Al-Deayea, Sami Al-Jaber, and Saeed Al-Owairan.

Culture



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Mecca May 2007
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A supplicant at Masjid Al Haram, Mecca.
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A recreation park in Riyadh.


Saudi Arabian culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam. Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, are located in the country. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. The weekend consists of Thursday and Friday. The public practice of any religion other than Islam, including Christianity and Judaism, the presence of churches, and possession of non-Islamic religious materials is not allowed except in Aramco coumpounds in which many expatriates attend church services.

One of Saudi Arabia's most compelling folk rituals is the Al Ardha, the country's national dance. This sword dance is based on ancient Bedouin traditions: drummers beat out a rhythm and a poet chants verses while sword-carrying men dance shoulder to shoulder. Al-sihba folk music, from the Hijaz, has its origins in al-Andalus. In Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, dance and song incorporate the sound of the mizmar, an oboe-like woodwind instrument. The drum is also an important instrument according to traditional and tribal customs.

Saudi Arabian dress follows strictly the principles of hijab (the Islamic principle of modesty, especially in dress) The predominantly loose and flowing but covering garments reflect the country's large desert country. Traditionally, men usually wear an ankle-length shirt woven from wool or cotton (known as a thawb), with a keffiyeh (a large checkered square of cotton held in place by a cord coil) or a ghutra (a plain white square made of finer cotton, also held in place by a cord coil) worn on the head. For rare chilly days, Saudi men wear a camel-hair cloak (bisht) over the top. Women's clothes are decorated with tribal motifs, coins, sequins, metallic thread, and appliques. However, Saudi women must wear a long cloak (abaya) and veil (niqāb) when they leave the house to protect their modesty. The law does not apply to foreigners to such a high degree, but both men and women are told to dress and act modestly. Saudi women are also forbidden by law from driving.

Islamic dietary laws forbid the eating of pork and the drinking of alcohol, and this law is enforced strictly throughout Saudi Arabia. Arabic unleavened bread, or khobz, is eaten with almost all meals. Other staples include lamb, grilled chicken, falafel (deep-fried chickpea balls), shawarma (spit-cooked sliced lamb), and Ful medames (a paste of fava beans, garlic and lemon). Traditional coffeehouses used to be ubiquitous, but are now being displaced by food-hall style cafes. Arabic tea is also a famous custom, which is used in both casual and formal meetings between friends, family and even strangers. The tea is black (without milk) and has herbal flavoring that comes in many variations.

Public theatres and cinemas are prohibited, as Wahhabi tradition deems those institutions to be incompatible with Islam. However, in private compounds such as Dhahran and Ras Tanura public theaters can be found, but often are more popular for local music, arts, and theatre productions rather than the exhibition of motion pictures. Recently, plans for some cinemas that will be allowed to feature Arabic cartoons for women and children were announced . DVDs of western movies are legal and widely available and IMAX theatres are also legal[1]. The cultural heritage is celebrated at the annual Jenadriyah cultural festival.

Some Saudi novelists have had their books published in Beirut, Lebanon, because of censorship in Saudi Arabia. Despite signs of increasing openness, Saudi novelists and artists in film, theatre, and the visual arts face greater restrictions on their freedom of expression than in the West. Contemporary Saudi novelists include:

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street JournalIndex of Economic Freedom62 out of 157
The EconomistWorldwide Quality-of-life Index, 200572 out of 111
Reporters Without BordersWorldwide Press Freedom Index161 out of 167
Transparency InternationalCorruption Perceptions Index70 out of 163
United Nations Development ProgrammeHuman Development Index76 out of 177
A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy MagazineGlobalization Index 200545 out of 62

See also

Lists

Notes and references

Bibliography

  • Lippman, Thomas W. "Inside the Mirage: America's Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia" (Westview 2004) ISBN 0-8133-4052-7
  • Mackey, Sandra, The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom (Houghton Mifflin, 1987) ISBN 0-395-41165-3
  • Ménoret, Pascal, The Saudi Enigma: A History (Zed Books, 2005) ISBN 1-84277-605-3
  • al-Rasheed, Madawi, A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge University Press, 2002) ISBN 052164335X
  • Matthew R. Simmons, Twilight in the Desert The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, John Wiley & Sons, 2005, ISBN 0-471-73876-X
  • Robert Lacey, THE KINGDOM: Arabia & The House of Sa'ud, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1981 (Hard Cover) and Avon Books, 1981 (Soft Cover. Library of Congress: 81-83741 ISBN 0-380-61762-5
  • T R McHale, A Prospect of Saudi Arabia, International Affairs Vol. 56 No 4 Autumn 1980 pp622-647
  • Roger Owen, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, 3rd Edition (Routledge, 2006) ISBN 10: 0-415-29713-3
  • Turchin, P. 2007. Scientific Prediction in Historical Sociology: Ibn Khaldun meets Al Saud. History & Mathematics: Historical Dynamics and Development of Complex Societies. Moscow: KomKniga, 2007. ISBN 5484010020
  • Jones, John Paul. If Olaya Street Could Talk: Saudi Arabia- The Heartland of Oil and Islam. The Taza Press (2007). ISBN 0-97904-360-3

External links

Government Overviews Directories Other links
Geographic locale


International membership
An acronym KSA can refer to:
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Korean Science Academy
  • King Sunny Adé
  • Kwantlen Student Association
  • Kingsford Smith International Airport
  • Kosher Supervision of America

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Coat of arms elements
A motto (from Italian) is a phrase or a short list of words meant formally to describe the general motivation or intention of an entity, social group, or organization.
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The Shahadah (Arabic: الشهادة aš-šahādah
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For the Radiohead song, see "The National Anthem".
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a country's government as the official
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As-Salam Al Malaki (The Royal Salute) is the national anthem of Saudi Arabia. It praises God and asks that he will grant the King of Saudi Arabia long life. The words of the song were written by Ibrahim Khafaji (b. 1935) and the music was by Abdul Rahman Al-Khateeb (b. 1923).
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capital (also called capital city or political capital — although the latter phrase has a second meaning based on an alternative sense of "capital") is the center of government.
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Languages: Arabic.

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.8%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.
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Riyadh City الرياض
Looking at the Kingdom Tower from Al Faisaliyah.
Location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Coordinates:
Province Ar Riyadh Province
Government
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An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in the countries, states, and other territories. It is typically the language used in a nation's legislative bodies, though the law in many nations requires that government documents be produced in other
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al-‘Arabiyyah in written Arabic (Kufic script):  
Pronunciation: /alˌʕa.raˈbij.ja/
Spoken in: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman,
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A demonym or gentilic is a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place. In English, the name of a people's language is often the same as this word, e.g., the "French" (language or people).
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government is a body that has the power to make and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.[1]
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Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or country and its citizens freely, with no laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force.
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Saudi Arabia

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Saudi Arabia


  • King
  • Abdullah
  • House of Saud
  • Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

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King Abdullah
الملك عبد الله

King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques


Reign August 1 2005 – Present

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Crown Prince or Crown Princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess.
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Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was my kaka(Arabic: صاحب السمو الملكي الأمير
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First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 (1157 A.H.) when leader Sheikh Muhammed ibn Abd al Wahhab settled in Diriyah and Prince Muhammed Ibn Saud agreed to support and espouse his cause, with a view to cleansing the Islamic faith from distortions.
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January 8 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 871 - Battle of Ashdown - Ethelred of Wessex defeats a Danish invasion army.

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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1890s  1900s  1910s  - 1920s -  1930s  1940s  1950s
1923 1924 1925 - 1926 - 1927 1928 1929

Year 1926 (MCMXXVI
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May 20 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events


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20th century - 21st century
1890s  1900s  1910s  - 1920s -  1930s  1940s  1950s
1924 1925 1926 - 1927 - 1928 1929 1930

Year 1927 (MCMXXVII
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September 23 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1900s  1910s  1920s  - 1930s -  1940s  1950s  1960s
1929 1930 1931 - 1932 - 1933 1934 1935

Year 1932 (MCMXXXII
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Water is a common chemical substance that is essential to all known forms of life.[1] In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor.
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In mathematics, a percentage is a way of expressing a number as a fraction of 100 (per cent meaning "per hundred"). It is often denoted using the percent sign, "%". For example, 45 % (read as "forty-five percent") is equal to 45 / 100, or 0.45.
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population is the collection of people or organisms of a particular species living in a given geographic area or mortality, and migration, though the field encompasses many dimensions of population change including the family (marriage and divorce), public health, work and the
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list of countries ordered according to population. The list includes and ranks sovereign states and self-governing dependent territories. Figures are based on the most recent estimate or projection by the national census authority where available and generally rounded off.
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gross domestic product, or GDP, is one of the ways for measuring the size of its economy. The GDP of a country is defined as the total market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time (usually a calendar year).
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The purchasing power parity (PPP) theory was developed by Gustav Cassel in 1920. It is the method of using the long-run equilibrium exchange rate of two currencies to equalize the currencies' purchasing power.
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