Economic, social and political reforms in Saudi Arabia since 2001
- What is Subway concept?
- Why is it called Subway?
- Why the name was not translated to French
- Subway's adaptation to French culture and gastronomy
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East. It is a vast desert abounding in oil reserves. Saudi Arabia is known for three things: oil, terrorism and the Bedouins. The nation has been ignored by other countries in the world, due to its supposed involvement in international terrorism, abusing the power it has gained through oil production, little consideration for human rights, and for not having gender parity.
However, this nation has a few supportive factors. It has a quarter of the world's oil reserves, 22 million inhabitants and an impressive 15% unemployment rate. The kingdom occupies about 80% of the Arabian Peninsula. Its geography is also varied. The western region is humid and is along the coast of the Red sea, and then there are mountains and plateaus. It also has an old history, which has been enriched by conquests, trade and cultural development. So, how can one understand Saudi Arabia? For this one should look at the formation of the state that happened between 1920 and 1973.
The state took to the road of development fairly quickly, by launching a modern administrative system, introducing taxes, working on the development of modern institutions, and installing a welfare state. This welfare state was supposed to be in charge of the redistribution, and regulation of social inequalities. Social security was introduced in 1963. Saudi Arabia sought assistance from the West in the 60s to continue with the modernization process, and hence, borrowed heavily.
The modernization process was led by Faisal. One of the key events that changed the country permanently was the Oil Boom of 1973. The influx of revenue from oil rose from 4.5 billion dollars in 1973 to 116 billion dollars in 1979. Despite the heavy influx, the official machinery suffered corrosion due to corruption. However, this era saw a lot of development in the form of launching of great projects, construction of giant highways, irrigated fields in the middle of the desert etc.
Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country in form. Majority of the 19 million Muslims living in this nation follow the Salafi methodology. This doctrine was born in the eighteenth century. Saudi Arabia is also the land of Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places for Muslims all over the world. This enables the country to exert some influence over the Muslim world.
It is also important to note the relationship that this nation has with the United States. The alliance was signed between Theodore Roosevelt and Faisal in 1945. However, the relationship between the two countries has been ambiguous, tense and even confrontational at times. Some of the pitfalls in the relationship include the base in Dhahran in 1960, the Yom Kippur war in 1973, case of Iraq in 2003, and the attacks on September 11, 2001. Despite these pitfalls, the nations have tried to maintain a cordial relationship.
The Saudi regime continues to remain stable despite predictions of its fall. Building Saudi Arabia on Islam and Islamic doctrines may have been one of the factors that have contributed to this stability. The other reasons that contribute to stability may be the oil reserves, Salafism, and an alliance with the United States, which guarantees the security of the state, in case of international problems.
Now that a few areas have been explored to better understand contemporary Saudi Arabia, the next task is to understand the country's current situation and to identify major issues. This document will also discuss the environment that led to the recent reforms.
Tags: Saudi Arabia; economy of the country; social and political reforms; stability of the Saudi regime; oil reserves