Geography

eography
Area: 2,149,690 sq. km. (829,995 sq. mi.), slightly more than one-fifth the size of the continental United States. Cities (2009 est.): Capital--Riyadh (pop. 4.7 million). Other cities--Jeddah (3.2 million), Makkah, (1.5 million), Dammam/Khobar/Dhahran, (1.6 million). Terrain: Primarily desert with rugged mountains in the southwest. Climate: Arid, with great extremes of temperature in the interior; humidity and temperature are both high along the coast.

 

 

People and Economy

People
Nationality: Noun--Saudi(s). Adjective--Saudi Arabian or Saudi.
Population (July 2011 est.): 26.1 million (20.5 million Saudis, 5.6 million foreign nationals).
Annual population growth rate (2011 est.): 1.536%.
Ethnic groups: Arab (90% of native pop.), Afro-Asian (10% of native pop.).
Religion: Islam.
Language: Arabic (official).
Education: Literacy--total 78.8% (male 84.7%, female 70.8%).
Health: Infant mortality rate (2011 est.)--16.16 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--male 72 years, female 76 years.
Work force: 7.3 million, about 80% foreign workers (2010 est.); industry--21.4%; services(including government)--71.9%; agriculture--6.7%.

Economy
GDP (2010 est.): $622 billion.
Annual growth rate (2010 est.): 3.7%.
Per capita GDP (2010): $24,200.
Natural resources: Hydrocarbons, gold, uranium, bauxite, coal, iron, phosphate, tungsten, zinc, silver, copper.
Agriculture: Products--dates, grains, livestock, vegetables. Arable land--1.76%.
Industry: Types--petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, fertilizer, light industry.
Trade (2010 est.): Exports--$238 billion: petroleum and petroleum products. Imports--$88 billion: manufactured goods, transportation equipment, clothing and textiles, processed food products. Major trading partners--China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, U.K., U.S.

 

 

Government

Government
Type: Monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative (or Shura) Council.
Unification: September 23, 1932.
Constitution: The Holy Qur'an (governed according to Islamic Law), Shari'a, and the Basic Law.
Branches: Executive--King (chief of state and head of government; rules under the title Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques). Legislative--a Consultative (or Shura) Council with advisory powers was formed September 1993. Judicial--Supreme Court, Supreme Judicial Council, Islamic Courts of First Instance and Appeals.
Administrative divisions: 13 provinces.
Political parties: None; formal political parties are not recognized by the government and have no legal status.

 

 

Saudi Arabia

The Mysteries of the American-Saudi Alliance (Fri, 16 Oct 2020)
Two new books, David H. Rundell’s “Vision or Mirage” and Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck’s “Blood and Oil,” offer insights into an enigmatic country.
>> Read more

Houthi Rebels Free 2 American Hostages (Wed, 14 Oct 2020)
Sandra Loli and Mikael Gidada were freed in an agreement with the United States and Oman that allowed 200 Houthi fighters to return to war-ravaged Yemen.
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For Trump, Defying Mideast Truisms Produced Breakthroughs and Backfires (Sun, 11 Oct 2020)
Disregarding norms and accepted wisdom, President Trump went his own way in the Middle East and, in some cases, got what he wanted.
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Saudi Prince Accuses Palestinian Leaders of Failing Palestinians (Tue, 06 Oct 2020)
The remarks by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a senior member of the royal family, signaled an erosion of Saudi support for the Palestinian cause.
>> Read more

The Pilgrimage Must Go On: Senegal Holds Festival That Could Draw Millions (Tue, 06 Oct 2020)
Pilgrims from across the West African country flocked to the holy city of Touba, where they slept, ate and prayed together for the Magal religious festival — despite coronavirus concerns.
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