About Saudi Arabia Term Paper

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Saudi Arabia

The official name of Saudi Arabia is Al-Mamlaka al-Arabiya as-Saudiya or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SAMIRAD 2008). It is located in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen. Its land area of more than 2 million square kilometers consists of deserts, plateaus and mountains, the highest point of which is Jabal Sawda. Most recent statistics say it has close to 25 million people, 72% of whom are Saudi citizens. The official language is Arabic and the official religion is Islam. Its flag is the Green Banner of Islam with the inscription: "there is no God but God and Muhammad is his Messenger." A sword was added to this flag in 1906, which symbolizes Islamic victories and of the founder of the Kingdom, Ibn Saud. Its national anthem is "Sarei Lil Maid Walaya." People in the country use the Saudi Riyal as official currency (SAMIRAD).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on About Saudi Arabia Assignment

Its capital is Riyadh, which holds close to 6 million people (SAMIRAD 2008). The head of State and Prime Minister is King Abdulla bin Abdul Aziz. He is also the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Its highest court is the Supreme Council of Justice. Its administrative regions are Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, Asir, Eastern, Hail, Jizan, Madinah, Makkah, the Northern Border, Nayan, Qasin, Riyadh and Tabouk. (SAMIRAD). Saudi Arabia is among the driest countries in the world. Its average rainfall is less than 5 inches. It has no seasons like those in Europe and America. The wind patterns from the south determine the climate in the winter months and bring in rain and cool weather. Latitude and closeness to the sea are among other factors affecting climate. Rainfall in the Empty Quarter, the huge southeastern sand desert, can be absent for as long as 10 years. In the Aseer Highlands in the south may be more than 10 inches because of the monsoon. Jeddah on the shores of the Red Sea is hot and humid the whole year. Taif and Abha, on the other hand, enjoy more temperate weather. Summer can be as hot as 49 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees F. Winter is cooler than average in Jeddah and 14 degrees C. In Riyadh. Winter temperature is below freezing point at the central and northern portions of the country. Snow and ice sometimes fall in higher places in the south and western regions. Northwesterly winds blow in the summer months especially in the Eastern part, which in turn produce fierce sandstorms. Cool nights and sunny days come between October and May and nights in the coastal areas may sink to the 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is generally higher from April to November. Without an air-conditioner, living can be very uncomfortable (SAMIRAD).

History

The al-Sauds ruled the war-torn country since the 18th century, ending with the capture of Riyadh from the opponent al-Rashid family in 1902 (Oxford Business Group 2005). Between 1913 and 1926, Abdul Aziz al-Saud captured al-Ahsa, al-Qatif, the entire Najd, and the Hijaz. He was made king of Hijaz. The British recognized the independence of the new king's territories through the Treaty of Jeddah dated May 29, 1927. From that date, the territories became known as the Kingdom of Hijaz and Najd.

On September 23, 1932, Abdul Aziz al-Saud founded and established the modern state of Saudi Arabia. The following year, he signed the kingdom's first oil deal with California-based Standard Oil. This signaled the economic development of Saudi Arabia. He died in 1953 and was succeeded by his son Saud. King Saud introduced economic and social reform for 11 years during his rule. In 1964, he abdicated the throne to his younger brother Faisal who then had gained fruitful political and diplomatic experience as foreign minister. He used the growing oil revenues to fund a five-year structured development program beginning 1970. This stabilized the economy and raised the real national income to a huge 45% per annum. After his assassination in 1875, King Khalid focused on the expansion of the Kingdom's infrastructure, consisting of an extensive road system, new universities, industries and cities. From there, the king focused on diversification. King Khalid died in 1982 and was succeeded by King Fahd. He made his brother, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz crown prince and deputy premier. Their effective partnership resulted in stability and growth and greatly invigorated industrialization, agriculture and industry. King Fahd's government passed the historic Basic Law, which defined the relationship between the monarch and the citizens and the government's responsibilities. The huge revenues from oil could reduce the dependence on some manufactured and agricultural products (Oxford Business Group).

Religion

The monarchy is set in place by a legal system based on Islamic law or Shari'a (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2004). It does not provide legal protection for freedom of religion. All citizens are required by law to be Muslims as Islam is the official religion. There may be other religions, but such protection does not exist in practice. The government forbids the public practice of non-Muslim religions. While it has embarked in a campaign for greater moderation and tolerance of religious diversity, it also enforces a strict tradition called Sunni Islam. Those who refuse to observe the officially sanctioned Salafi or Wahhabi can get into trouble with the religious police, called Mutawwa'in. While the government publicly says it allows non-Muslim to worship privately as a policy, the policy is not consistently enforced. The freedom of worship of non-Muslims is thus often violated or they perform worship in secret out of fear of discovery or harassment (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor).

Economy

Saudi Arabia's oil accounts for a fourth of the world's total reserves at roughly 262 billion barrels (Oxford Business Group 2005). Its production in 2004 alone was 10.4 million barrels a day. The government's oil policy is to stabilize the supply of oil to consumers. By assessing the country's reserves and quota obligations to the Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC, the Kingdom can moderate the fluctuation of prices. It has served as a moderating market force in the past years. Saudi ARAMCO operates the government's exploration, production and marketing of oil and gas within the Kingdom and abroad. It is the largest company of its kind in the world and the sixth largest refiner. There are onshore and offshore oil fields producing different grades of oil from very light to heavy. The focus has been on the development of super-light grades. Excellent global oil prices have allowed investments and projects that improve production capacity and refining capabilities locally and internationally. The region's reserves reach up to 6.5 trillion cubic meters, which ranks Saudi Arabia as the fourth largest in the world. Because only 15% of its potential has been surveyed, potentials for developing gas exports can be substantial (Oxford Business Group).

Economic diversification is the other thrust (Oxford Business Group 2005). Oil revenues and big surpluses allow the creation of quality jobs and an educated workforce. Compared with smaller neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia has a far broader industrial base. It has also established itself as a manufacturing sector of a wide range of products from plastics and polymers to building products and many mineral mining plants. The government also encourages and raises private sector participation. In 1999, the Supreme Economic Council was created to undertake a privatization drive. More markets are opened, inward and outward investments are encouraged and the stock market is boosted. The Council listed about 30 industries for eventual divestiture. These include the Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation and the Saudi Telecommunications Company. There were groups of initial public offerings of as much as 30% in 2002. Some IPOS were said to have been oversubscribed. These developments indicated a surge of investor appetite within Saudi Arabia and the region along with the relaxation of investment regulations. Privatization has spread to areas like port services and the postal service, mainly run by the private sector. These economic gains can be attributed to the careful and effective management of the Saudi stock exchange, called Tadawul. The Capital Markets Authority was created to handle this valuable asset. And the banking and finance sector has also been growing and regulation standards have been high. Standard & Poor gave Saudi Arabia an "A+" for its long-term local currency and "A" for long-term foreign currency (Oxford Business Group).

Unlike other Middle East countries, which have isolated themselves and behaved in economic self-sufficiency because of oil revenues, Saudi Arabia participates and contributes to world economy (Oxford Business Group 2005). After lobbying with the World Trade Organization, it became the 149th member in November 2005 (Oxford Business Group).

Inside Saudi Arabia

Statistics say that approximately 40% of the population is under 15 years old (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2004). They lack the needed education and technical skills for the labor force. Literacy is 78% for both sexes. Unemployment levels are as high as 13% up to 25% and only males can work (Bureau of Democracy,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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