Saudi Arabia

Melissa Aitken

Politics: Saudi Arabia

1) Who is the head of state in your country?  How long has he/she been in power?

King and Prime Minister Abd al-Aziz Bin Abd al-Rahman al-Faysal Al Sa'ud. He has been in power since August 1, 2005.[1]

2) What type of government does your country have?

Monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative Council.[2]

3) Which countries in the Middle East are your major allies?

            Saudi Arabia is an active member in a number of Middle East organizations that encourages diplomatic relations among its members. Since oil is such a major part of its economy, Saudi Arabia stands to loose more by not sustaining good relations with it’s member states in OPEC. Among these states (in the Middle East) include: Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.[3]

4) Which countries world-wide are your major allies?

            The United States and Saudi Arabia continue to hold close economic and security ties which has helped secure good relations over the years. Saudi Arabia also remains a reliable source of oil for Europe and Japan, which also encourage friendly diplomatic relations. Being a major, and faithful, trading partner over the years has helped secure many of Saudi Arabia’s world wide alliances and diplomatic relations.[4]

5) What major international organizations does your country belong to?

            Some of the major international organizations Saudi Arabia belong to include the World Bank , the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Saudi Arabia is also a participating member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), United Nations, League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).[5]  

6) What are three major political issues that your country is dealing with at this time?

            The major political issues within Saudi Arabia revolve around the country’s general attempts at achieving modernity. Women’s rights, a more democratic government, lifting restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. These are just some of the major political issues that the Saudi government is trying to deal with. The government certainly doesn’t want to limit its authority, nor does it want to risk surrendering its culture in return for these reforms.[6] There is both domestic and internal pressure to deal with these political issues. Countries like the US have often expressed their concern about the human rights conditions in Saudi Arabia.[7]

 7) If your country has political parties, what are they and what do they stand for?

            There are no recognized political parties in Saudi Arabia.[8]

8) Who can vote in your country?

            21 years of age; male.[9]

9) What is the size of your military?

            202,000 armed forces personnel.[10]

10) Has your country fought in any wars in the last 10 years?

            Saudi Arabia hasn’t fought any wars since the Gulf War back in the early nineties. However, Saudi Arabia has played an important role in the campaign against terrorism, providing military, diplomatic, and financial assistance.[11]

11) When did your country become independent?

            Saudi Arabia became independent with the unification of the Kingdom on September 23, 1932.[12]

12) When did it last revise its constitution?

            In 1992 when Saudi Arabia adopted The Basic Law. A document which declares that “Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud, and that the Holy Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law (Shari'a).”[13]

13) Which countries does it view as a threat or does it have conflicts with?

Saudi relations with Yemen, Jordan, and Sudan have been uneasy since the Gulf War. Yemen most notably, because of their unstable government and continued border dispute with Saudi Arabia. In recent years, relations with these countries have started to improve.[14]

14) What is the relationship between religion and the government/public sector in your country?

            Islam plays a dominating role both within the government and public sector of Saudi Arabia. The country itself is based of the principles laid out by the Qur'an (Islam's Holy Book) and the Shari'ah (Islamic law).[15]

15) In reality, does your country have freedom of the press, assembly and speech?

            There are no constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press, assembly, and speech. Without formal government protection of these freedoms, intimidation and fear often follow those who attempt to exercise controversial uncensored press, assembly, and/or speech.[16]



[1] "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html>.

 

[2] "Saudi Arabia." U.S. Department of State. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3584.htm>.

 

[3] "OPEC : Member Countries." OPEC : Home. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. <http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm>.

 

[4] "Saudi Arabia." U.S. Department of State. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3584.htm>.

 

[5] Ibid.

 

[6] Ibid.

 

[7] “CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html>.

 

[8] Ibid.

 

[9] Ibid.

 

[10] "NationMaster - Saudi Military Statistics." NationMaster - World Statistics, Country Comparisons. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country/sa-saudi-arabia/mil-military>.

 

[11] "Saudi Arabia." U.S. Department of State. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3584.htm#gov>.

 

[12] “CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html>.

 

[13] "Saudi Arabia." U.S. Department of State. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3584.htm#gov>.

 

[14] Ibid.

 

[15] "Country Information." The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Homepage. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://saudiembassy.net/about/>.

 

[16] "Freedomhouse.org: Saudi Arabia." Freedomhouse.org: Home. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=182>.

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