Saudi Arabia is the largest country occupying the Arabian Peninsula, with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. Saudi Arabia is surrounded by Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman and Yemen. The Kingdom is often termed as “The Land of the Two Holy Mosques” in reference to the two holy cities, Mecca and Medina. The foundation of The Kingdom was established by Abdul Aziz bin Saud in 1902, when he was successful in taking control of his ancestral home, the city of Riyadh. In 1932, The Kingdom was declared and recognized as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The present form of government in Saudi Arabia is Monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative Council (Adams, 2003). The estimated population of Saudi Arabia is 27. 6 million. Its size is about 2,150,000 square km. The religion followed in Saudi Arabia is Islam, which is also its birth place. The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic, which is used by most of the population. English is the second language which is used in government, trade sector, the media, and among non Arab emigrants. The social atmosphere in Saudi Arabia is extremely conservative.
The country holds firm establishment of the meaning and significance of Islamic religious law. Cultural arrangement must correspond to assiduously clear principles and values of ethics. Men and women are not allowed to be present at community organized functions together and are separated in working organizations and firms. The majority Saudis are native Arab. Some are of assorted ethnic origin and are descendants of Turks, Iranians, Indonesians, Indians, Africans, and others. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indonesians emigrants are also residing in Saudi Arabia. Natural Resources of Saudi Arabia
The natural resources of Saudi Arabia mainly comprise of petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper, zinc. Other mineral resources include Phosphate High-grade silica sand, feldspar and nepheline syenite, kaolin, basalt and scoria, gypsum and anhydrite, quartz, limestone and dolomite, marble, decorative limestone, granite, gabbro and others (Arjomand, 2003). Saudi Arabia’s Relation with United States of America Saudi Arabia’s exceptional and distinctive position in the Arab and Islamic world, its assets of the world’s biggest oil resources and its location make its alliance significant to the United States.
In 1933, ambassadorial relations were instituted between the two countries and also Standard Oil of California was signed. The U. S. embassy was initiated in Jeddah in 1944. In 1984, the embassy repositioned to Riyadh. The former embassy in Jeddah was converted into U. S. consulate. The United States and Saudi Arabia share mutual interests on issues of regional defense and safety, oil trade and sustainable expansion and progress. Close discussions and conference between U. S. and Saudi Arabia have been increased on global, economic and advancement concerns such as Middle East issues and communal welfare and benefits in the Middle East.
The constant accessibility to resources of oil from Saudi Arabia continues to be imperative to the affluence of the United States. Saudi Arabia is the primary leader in field of oil trade for the United States, supplying more than one million barrels of oil per day. The U. S. is Saudi Arabia’s chief dealing collaborator and Saudi Arabia is the main U. S. export promoter in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and U. S. also maintain longstanding security associations. However, the first difference of opinion between the two countries occurred when U. S. ecognized Israel as a separate sovereign independent state in 1948. The Saudi government refused to recognize the country of Israel. In 1953, a U. S. military training mission was founded in Dhahran. The aim of this group was to offer training and encouragement in the usage of weapons and other safety measure assistance to the Saudi military. Many military aircrafts, air defense weapons, armored vehicles, etc have been sold to Saudi Arabia’s military by the United States. The Saudi’s authority showed concern in Israel-US relations that became cordial in 1970s and 1980s when U.
S. sold military arms and weapons to Israel but didn’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia. The reason why U. S. stopped its supply of arms to Saudi Arabia on basis that Saudi Arabia will use them against Israel. These divergent interests had an unfavorable affect on US-Saudi relations, indicating that United States had no concern to protect Saudi Arabia. However in 1990, the Iraq conflict made Saudi Arabia guaranteed them of their significance and worth to the United States of America. Saddam Hussein had attacked Kuwait. Saddam Hussein also had the intentions to attack Saudi Arabia.
Because of this, United States of America was promised proliferation of oil control (Ayoob, 1999). United States of America sent out more than 400,000 troops to the area to prevent aggression and hostility by Hussein and drove him back to Iraq. The United States mission was an instant success, due to support of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was used as an initiation pad for both land and air troops to be sent into Iraq. The military arms and weapons were sold to Saudi Arabia were used during the operation. Distinctively, the four high tech advanced AWACS aircrafts loaned by Jimmy Carter to Saudi Arabia.
After the end of the operation, the Saudi government intended to buy 20 million dollar worth U. S. military equipment but the request was denied. This denial of request resulted in resentment about being treated unequal ally. According to Thomas L. Friedman editorial column of August 12, 1990, the U. S intentions of providing protection to Saudi Arabia was not because of their cordial relations but because of economic benefits. The United States did not send the troops to the Saudi to defend and maintain autonomous egalitarian principles. The form of government in Saudi Arabia is monarchy which is a feudal regime.
The American policy is not to make a better and safe place for feudalism. The main ambition of U. S is to secure its economy which is harbored by the Saudi’s oil reserve. Saudi Arabia and United States relations tensed after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in which total of 15 suicide bombers had Saudi nationality. Saudi Arabia condemned the 11th September attack by calling it an action against humanity. However, when U. S. waged war against Iraq the United States had to vacate its army stationed in Saudi Arabia in August 2003 (Bloomfield, 2004). . The Current State of Saudi Arabia
The current form of government in Saudi Arabia is monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative Council. Sharia, the holy law of Islam, is the basis of all the legislative and officially authorized system, which is inferred according to the firm Hanbali rite by the educated and scholarly religious elders. Saudi Arabia is defined as an independent Arab, Islamic state whose foundation is the Quran and Sunna of the Holy Prophet. The standard of the administration are affirmed to be righteousness, fair, dealing, parity fairness, equal opportunity and consultation in accordance with the Sharia.
The responsibility and obligation of the government is to shield Islam, human rights and offer public services and protection to all citizens in accordance to the Sharia. The leader is in command of the government and religious administrator of Saudi Arabia is the King. Saudi Arabia has no independent legislature and no political groups. The Consultative Council has no legislative rights but it has the authority to assemble and call ministers for inquiry and to submit proposal and advice to the king (Bosworth, 2004). Saudi’s Support for Palestine
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a staunch supporter of Palestine since the era of King Abdul Aziz Saud. This permanent long term support was first acknowledged in 1935, at the conference on the Palestinian issue. The Saudi government has assisted the Palestine in all its different stages because the Kingdom firmly considers that these supporting efforts are part of Islamic duty and obligation. The Saudi government has played a principal and idiosyncratic role in supporting the Palestine issue and strengthening the Palestinians to achieve their objective and ambition to found an independent sovereign Islamic state.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accepted all declarations of global organizations with regard to the issue of Palestine. It involved in various conferences on this issue since Madrid conference. It exerts maximum in getting in touch with the West, welcoming nations and the U. S. government to force and compel Israel for considering international declarations that call for complete Israeli removal from all the occupied Arab regions. The Saudi government has assisted Palestinian issues at financially levels as well. The Kingdom presented financial assistance to the Palestinians in the Al Khartoum Arab summit in 1967.
At various summits, the Saudi government has offered financial assistance to Palestinians. Additionally, the Kingdom organized Saudi Development Fund for a Palestinian Development Program that looks after the health, education and housing divisions in the Palestinian territories. The Saudi financial assistance to the Palestinians is the major share between all other Arab contributors. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemned the cultural and ethnic segregation wall that Israel is building on Palestinian regions. The Kingdom protested to the International Court of Justice in Hague.
The Court in Hague called upon Israel to discard this illegal wall. The UN General Assembly also passed a declaration in this regard calling upon Israel to remove the illegal war. Saudi Israel Relations Saudi Arabia’s relations with Israel are not cordial. When Israel emerged as a separate independent state in 1948, the Saudi government refused to acknowledge it. A licensed affiliate of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia fully supports the idea that Israel must vacate from Arab regions which were occupied forcefully in June 1967.
Saudi Arabia with authorization supports the peaceful resolution of the Arab Israeli clash but does not accept the Camp David Accord, stating that it will violate Palestinians rights. Saudi Arabia does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel and is active in economic embargo of Israel (Brent, 2006). Saudi’s Role in Terrorism Saudi Arabia is plays significant role in the movement of against terrorism, proving assistance in armed forces, ambassadorial and economical grounds. Saudi Arabia also discontinued acknowledging Taliban in mid November 2001.
The Bush government eulogize Saudi encouragement and backing for the campaign on terrorism. The Saudis have cracked down hard on local Islamic extremist groups which were responsible for a series of terrorist bombings in 2005 and 2006. The government also announced amnesty for terrorists who surrendered their arms. Many of these former terrorists were sent to Islamic schools in which their Islamic extremist ideology was moderated. Many Islamic scholars of Saudi religious seminaries have openly condemned the use of terrorism as being against the principles of Islam.
However despite extensive efforts to crack down on domestic terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia has been known to provide arms, training and support to Palestinian and other radical Islamic groups. The country has cracked down hard on local Islamic fundamentalists who have endangered the royal family but Saudi Arabia also has been accused of funding groups in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. Saudi Arabia was a key supporter of the Taliban before the US invasion of Afghanistan (Brown, 1999). It has provided financial assistance to Hamas, a violent Islamic radical group responsible for numerous acts of terrorism inside Israel.