Država na Arabljanskom poluostrvu, glavni grad Rijad.
A kingdom occupying most of the Arabian Peninsula; vast oil reserves.
Country on the Arabian peninsula, stretching from the Red Sea in the W to the Arabian Gulf in the E, bounded N by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait; E by Qatar and United Arab Emirates; SE by Oman; and S by Yemen.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with no written constitution, no legislature, and no political parties. The king rules, in accordance with Islamic law, by decree. He appoints and heads a council of ministers, whose decisions are the result of a majority vote but always subject to the ultimate sanction of the king.
For early history, see Arabia. The sultanate of Nejd in the interior came under Turkish rule in the 18th century. Present-day Saudi Arabia is almost entirely the creation of King Ibn Saud who, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire 1918, fought rival Arab rulers until, in 1926, he had established himself as the undisputed king of the Hejaz and sultan of Nejd. In 1932 Nejd and Hejaz became the United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Oil was discovered in the 1930s, commercially exploited from the 1940s, and became the basis of the country's prosperity. Ibn Saud died 1953 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Saud. During King Saud's reign relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt became strained, and in 1964 he abdicated in favor of his brother Faisal. Under King Faisal, Saudi Arabia became a leader among Arab oil producers.
In 1975 Faisal was assassinated and his half brother, Khalid, succeeded him. Khalid was in failing health and increasingly relied on his brother Fahd to perform the duties of government. King Khalid died 1982 and was succeeded by Fahd.
Middle East affairs
Saudi Arabia gave financial support to Iraq in its war with Iran. The Iran–Iraq War also prompted Saudi Arabia to buy advanced missiles from the US. Islamic fundamentalists staged demonstrations in Mecca 1979 and 1987, leading to violence and worsening relations with Iran. In 1989 Saudi Arabia assumed a leading role in the search for a settlement of the Lebanese civil war, hosting a constitutional convention of Lebanese legislators in Taif.
participation in Gulf War
In Aug 1990 the security of Saudi Arabia was threatened when Iraq invaded and occupied neighboring Kuwait. King Fahd turned to the US and UK for protection and a massive buildup of ground and air strength began, alongside Saudi Arabia's own forces, culminating in the Gulf War 1991 and Iraq's forced withdrawal from Kuwait. In return, King Fahd agreed to increase his oil output to offset the loss of Kuwaiti and Iraqi production, and to pay a substantial part of the cost of maintaining US and British forces. During the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia served as the staging ground for the air and ground assaults on Iraqi forces. The country was hit by Iraqi missile strikes but suffered no serious damage.
In May 1991 religious leaders demanded the creation of a “consultative council” to assist in the government of the kingdom, as proposed by King Fahd a month earlier. In Nov 1991, Saudi Arabia was one of the main participants in the historic Middle East peace conference in Spain. The eventual formation of a “consultative council” March 1992 did little to aid democracy, and in 1993 the introduction of regional advisory assemblies was countered by the disbanding of a committee for the protection of human rights. In Oct 1994 the government announced a crackdown on Islamic militants, appointing a Higher Council for Islamic Affairs as an “ombudsman of Islamic activity in education, economic, and foreign policy”. In 1995 an amnesty was declared for an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants.