Middle East :: Saudi Arabia — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence AgencyThe king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in , Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and , refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in Major terrorist attacks in May and November spurred a strong ongoing campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. Driven by personal ideology and political pragmatism, he introduced a series of social and economic initiatives, including expanding employment and social opportunities for women, attracting foreign investment, increasing the role of the private sector in the economy, and discouraging businesses from hiring foreign workers.
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The history of Saudi Arabia in its current form as a state began with its foundation in , although the human history of the region extends as far as 20, years ago. The region has had a global impact twice in world history:. At other times, the region existed in relative obscurity and isolation, although from the 7th century the cities of Mecca and Medina had the highest spiritual significance for the Muslim world , with Mecca becoming the destination for the Hajj pilgrimage, an obligation, at least once in a believer's lifetime, if at all possible. For much of the region's history a patchwork of tribal rulers controlled most of the area. Over the following years, the extent of the Al Saud territory fluctuated.
Saudi Arabia , arid, sparsely populated kingdom of the Middle East. Extending across most of the northern and central Arabian Peninsula , Saudi Arabia is a young country that is heir to a rich history. This deep religious conservatism has been accompanied by a ubiquitous tribalism—in which competing family groups vie for resources and status—that often has made Saudi society difficult for outsiders to comprehend. In the midth century, most of Saudi Arabia still embraced a traditional lifestyle that had changed little over thousands of years. Since then, the pace of life in Saudi Arabia has accelerated rapidly. Modern methods of production have been superimposed on a traditional society by the introduction of millions of foreign workers and by the employment of hundreds of thousands of Saudis in nontraditional jobs. In addition, tens of thousands of Saudi students have studied abroad, most in the United States.