The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed on September 18, 1932, by king Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saoud, after a war which lasted for nearly about thirty years. This State resulted from an alliance concluded in the 18th century between the tribe from Al Saoud and Mohammed Abdel Wahhab. He was a Muslim reformer preaching rigorous Islam and gave rise to the Wahhabism. This territory is the cradle of Islam.
The country shelters the first two holy places of the Islamic religion, Mecca and Medina. Being based on this religious legitimacy, Al Saoud directs the State since its creation. Based on this historical alliance with the Wahhabism, the political system of Saudi Arabia does not have any equivalent in the world. It is indeed the only State to bear the surname which directs it. In 2005, Prince Abdullah, who ensured the regency of the country during 10 years, seized the power after the death of Roi Fahd.
The principal power of the Arabic peninsula is the kingdom that occupies four-fifths of this territory. It is wedged between 2 major axes of communication: in the East, the Persian Gulf, ensures the connection between the Fertile Crescent and the Asian East; in the West, the Red Sea, allows the communication with Africa and the Mediterranean. Its diplomacy is very dynamic and is mainly directed around its oil power and based on the concern of preserving its safety by the promotion of regional stability while maintaining a very close relation established with the United States.
Oil is the main factor in the dynamism of the Saudi economy. Saudi Arabia is a leading oil state, both in terms of production and export. The Gulf region has the two thirds of the world and the Saudi kingdom for its part, holds nearly 25%. The discovery of oil in 30 years, large-scale operation from the 50's and the significant increase in its price in 70 years transformed the country by bringing the same level of modernity and opulence.
Economic growth is very dynamic, especially since Saudi Arabia is a vast territory but under-populated, in contrast to its neighbors. The current context of soaring oil prices reinforces the trend. It enabled the Kingdom to reach in 2004 a budget surplus of 26 billion dollars, the second highest in its history. This very important geo-strategic position led him to take an active part in the formation of OPEC in 1960.
The modernization of the country is now engaged through multiple political and social reforms which contribute to improve the image of the Kingdom. The Royal Decree of 20 August 1993 has a 4-year limit on the duration of ministerial and government. The same year, the role of the Advisory Council in decision-making has been increased.
It is composed of academics, businessmen, journalists, government officials and scholars (150members since 2005). No member belongs to the royal family. Economic development and the education received in U.S. universities often by a growing number of Saudis have renewed society and now there seems to be emerging a true middle class.
Tags: Saudi Arabia; its rule by the kingdoms; multiple political and social reforms; oil main dynamism of Saudi economy;
[...] Saudi Arabia is also very vulnerable economically. The abundance of hydrocarbons causes endless conflicts and supervision of major industrialized countries (U.S., Japan, Europe . Growth is highly dependent on Saudi oil. Thus in 1982, the fall in oil prices, combined with a dynamic population growth contributes to halve per capita income. The current rapprochement with the People's Republic of China shows how Saudi Arabia is based on oil diplomacy. Many agreements are signed without the condition to respect for human rights. [...]
[...] The attacks of 9/11/2001 were a shock in Saudi Arabia and it placed the kingdom in a difficult position. Indeed, these attacks have involved mostly Saudi nationals (15 hijackers on 19) and a strong suspicion of the West focused on Riyadh regarding the origin of funds. But Prince Abdullah reaffirmed his friendship towards EU, and increase in the oil production. However, the suspicion persists; Saudi Arabia would become the main enemy of the U.S . In addition, the Gulf emirates rely on the EU to emancipate itself from Saudi Arabia, accused of being a false ally doublespeak. [...]
[...] In the 70s, Baghdad is the basis of revolutionary movements hostile to the Gulf States and Iraq, a champion high price for Arab oil, criticized the policy of low prices practiced by Riyadh in favor of the West. The Iranian Revolution, however, allows reconciliation. But a few years later, the failure of the Saudi mediation between Iraq and Kuwait on the eve of the entry of Iraqi troops in the emirate is experienced as traumatic by the Saud family. Riyadh was involved in the anti-Iraq coalition. [...]
[...] ⇒ The "Arab Charter for reforms" It is an initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah in which he advocates the implementation of reforms agreed by Arab leaders and strengthening their relationships. If Riyadh has not renounced to play a prominent role in the Arab-Muslim world (predominantly in the GCC General Secretariat headquarters of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah), United Muslim reframed its diplomacy after September 11. The message is now Saudi structured around the idea of a tolerant and open Islam to modernization. [...]
[...] But relations are good between the two countries. - Pakistan Pakistan is a strategic ally, particularly in the context of the Kashmir conflict. After Musharraf's coup in 1999, Riyadh unwound the crisis by offering asylum to the Prime Minister reversed while maintaining good relations with Pakistan. - The Arabian Peninsula: Bahrain and Oman Religious prohibitions blocking the development of a proper banking system, banks 'offshore' in Bahrain have long met the needs of the kingdom. Since 1981, the two countries are bound by a security pact. [...]
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