Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area (approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi)), constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest geographically in the Arab world. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen in the south. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid inhospitable desert or barren landforms. Saudi Arabia is the world's second largest oil producer and largest exporter, and controls the world's second largest hydrocarbon reserves.
The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd, and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. The country has since been an absolute monarchy governed along Islamic lines. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The Kingdom has a total population of 28.7 million, of which 20 million are Saudi nationals and 8 million are foreigners.
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- Alphabetized by author
- One of the most devout and insular countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has emerged from being an underdeveloped desert kingdom to become one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to vast oil resources.
But its rulers face the delicate task of responding to pressure for reform while combating a growing problem of extremist violence.
- Saudi Arabia propagates terrorism.
- Shelley Berkley, U.S. Representative, as quoted in "US House votes to ban Saudi aid" at Aljazeera.net (22 June 2007)
- Saudi Arabia has become a firm friend of the United States. As its influence dramatically expands in the world, Saudi Arabia has been not only a firm supporter of the peace process but a moderating and conciliatory force on a wide range of global issues.
- Jimmy Carter, Letter to Members of Congress on Middle East Arms Sales (12 May 1978)
- Well it's a gloomy, rainy old day to be here in London, but it could be worse; I could be in Saudi Arabia where men are men, and women are cattle. Can I say that?
- One guy said, "I'm from Saudi Arabia and I'm proud of my country." Well, good for you, but forgive me for asking why. If you live in Saudi Arabia, what on Earth have you got to be proud of? If you couldn't dig money straight out of the ground, you'd all be starving. The only thing your country has to offer the world is oil. Well, it's not the only thing, but we don't need any sand, and we're all up to here with Jihad, thanks very much.
- [Saudi Arabia] is the Keeper of the Two Holy Cities, giving her an Islamic orientation of responsibility; she is the counsellor of the Arab world, due to her religious standing, her wealth, and her domestic stability and cohesion.
- Mohammad Saleh Al-Daham, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Contribution to Stability in the International Arena (May 1988)
- Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of executions in the world in both absolute numbers and per capita. The death penalty applies to a wide range of non-violent activities such as apostasy and "witchcraft", "sexual offences", acts deemed to amount to "corruption on earth", and crimes such as drug dealing.
- Saudi Arabia is the heart of the Muslim world … even if all the Muslim countries in the world were steeped in inequity and laxity it would not cause as much harm to the cause of Islam, as it would if, God forbid, Saudi Arabia starts showing these trends ...
- Maulana Mawdudi, quoted in Asaf Hussain, Islamic movements in Egypt, Pakistan, and Iran (Mansell Pub., 1983), p. 72
- The Saudis have never shown any respect for human rights, either now or in the past. Even a petty burglar faces having one of his hands chopped off. The liberal press in America prefers to ignore all this, although they don't hesitate to blacken the reputation of Iran.
- Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, as quoted in Alam, Asadollah (1991), The Shah and I, I. B. Tauris, page 535
- The women of Saudi Arabia are not just folded away behind swathes of hot black cloth — they live segregated lives.
- Rachel Reid, in "Making a public splash in Saudi|" in BBC News (5 May 2007)
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