Travel Guides: Saudi Arabia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula.
It borders Jordan to the north, Iraq to the north and north-east, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the south and south-east and south is Yemen. It also has a large coastline, in the eastern part being in the Persian Gulf and the western part being in the Red Sea. It is called “Land of the two holy mosques”, a reference to Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest places. Inhabited since the first millennium BC Arab tribes who founded small kingdoms ephemeral, the Arabian Peninsula is unified for the first time between 630 and 635 under Muhammad, the founder of Islam. From there the Knights will spread the new religion and Arabs in North Africa to Spain, and Asia to the heart of India.
With the decline of the Abbasid Caliph in the Arabian Peninsula are born in the 9-10 centuries small feudal principalities, arriving in the 16th century the Ottoman suzerainty, a situation maintained intermittently until 1918. Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab put in Nejd, after 1740, the foundations of a puritanical and militant Islamic sect, and his side won the Daraiyya Emir Muhammad Ibn Saud, founder of the current dominant dynasty in Saudi Arabia. Ibn Saud and his son conquered Nejdul, unifying virtually the entire peninsula under the authority of the Saudi dynasty, but the state Wahhabi forces defeated in 1818 by British and Egyptian. Thus fails the first attempt to establish a Saudi state. Since 1902, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud II (1902 -1953), the Emir of Nejd and Imam of Wahhabi, reconstruct Wahhabi rule and unite under his authority in most of the Arabian Peninsula.
On September 23, 1932 he takes the title of King of Arabia. In 1933, to counter British influence in the area omnipotent, sovereign granted the first concession of North American oil companies, but commercial exploitation of the richest oil fields of the world begins after 1945, when the state became the first producer and exporter in Middle East, remain unchanged until today. Saudi Arabia will remain a close ally in the postwar era of the US. After Iraq’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait (2 August 1990), Washington will initiate, together with Saudi authorities, a broad coalition against Saddam Hussein’s victorious Gulf War (January-February 1991). Autocratic regime in Riyadh, the guardian of Islam’s two holy places (Mecca and Medina), where annually meet briefly about two million Muslim pilgrims from around the world, supports consistency, thanks to oil revenues, Islamist movements within and outside the Arab world.
Politics of Saudi Arabia have a special place in that of a monarchy that is the absolute king of Saudi Arabia which is both head of state and head of government, but where decisions are largely based on consultation between senior princes king acts as primus inter pares and final arbiter. The Basic Law adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy led by male descendants of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud, and that the Koran is the constitution of the country, which is regulated based on Islamic law (Shari’a). The central institution, the Government of Saudi Arabia, is the Saudi monarchy. The Basic Law adopted in 1992 declared that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy led by male descendants of the first king, Abd Al Aziz Al Saud (or Abdulaziz Al Saud), and that the Koran is the constitution of the country, which is governed under Islamic law (Shari’a).
On 20 October 2006, a committee was established of princes to vote on the eligibility of future kings and crown prince. Committee, to be known as faith institution, includes sons and grandsons of King Abdul Aziz Key. Under the new rules, the committee may vote for one of three princes nominated by the king. If neither the king nor the crown prince are unable to make decisions, a transition council composed of five members will conduct state affairs for a period not exceeding one week. There are no recognized political parties or national elections, except local elections held in 2005. King’s powers are theoretically limited by the Shari’a and other Saudi traditions. He must also keep a consensus of the Saudi royal family, religious leaders (ulema) and other important elements in Arab society.
Saudi Arabia has less formal penal code, and a large part of the criminal laws have occurred with the accession of the kingdom in a conservative form of Sunni Islam known as Salafi Islam royal family and the desire to prevent any political opposition. The kingdom has an extensive civil and commercial code, in particular to encourage economic development and foreign investment. National legislation comes from the Saudi Council of Ministers, but must be approved by royal decree to be fully compatible with the Islamic Shari’a law requirements. Justice is administered in accordance with the Shari’a by a system of religious courts whose judges are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, composed of 12 senior jurists.
In theory, judicial independence is protected by law. The King acts as the highest court of appeal and has the power to forgive. Saudi Arabia has no parliament, instead there is a national Advisory Council which consists of 150 Arab citizens appointed by the king, for a period of four years to serve in an advisory role. The number of Council members has increased steadily over the years, and has its own committees and a limited ability to discuss the proposed legislation, but its primary function is to advise the king. No political parties or trade unions are allowed. In the 1990s, Arab Socialist Action Party and the Communist Party of Saudi Arabia were disbanded and their members were released from prison, after having agreed to cease their political activities.11