January 22, 2022
Saudi Arabia (Arabic: السعودية), officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabic: المملكة العربية السعودية, pronunciation), is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula in southwest Asia. It is bordered by Jordan to the north, Iraq to the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south, and the Persian Gulf to the northeast and the Red Sea to the west. It covers an area of about 2,150,000 km2, and has over 30 million inhabitants, of which two thirds are Saudis and one third are foreign nationals. Before the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the territory of today's Saudi Arabia included four special regions: eastern Arabia (El Hasa) and southern Arabia (Asir). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, who united these four regions into one state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 and the conquest of Riyadh, the home of his family, the Saud dynasty. Since then, the state has been an absolute monarchy governed by Islamic principles, especially under the influence of Wahhabism. Wahhabi Islam has been called the "predominant feature of Saudi culture." Saudi Arabia is sometimes called the "land of the two holy mosques" in the sense of the Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) and the Masjid en Nabawi (in Medina) - the two holiest sites of Islam. The current state system has been in force since 1932, when Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud declared the independence of the Kingdom, while its roots can be found even deeper in history, with the establishment of the first Saudi state in 1744. Saudi Arabia is the world's leading exporter of oil, which is also the main economic driver of the country's development. Oil exports make up about 90% of total exports and bring about 75% of state budget revenues, which contributes to the relative economic well-being of its inhabitants. The downside of the economy's high dependence on oil is the unstable price of this energy on the world market. Also, this country and Russia are sometimes called energy superpowers. Human rights groups have frequently accused the Saudi government of violating them, but Saudi officials have denied the allegations.