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Saudi Arabia History

Saudi Arabia (National Flag)Saudi Arabia (National Flag)

The flag dates from 1938 and was last officially adopted in 1973. Muhammad's green flag has been used since the mid-1700's and it was in the early 1900's. taken over by Ibn Saud, the founder of the state. The Muslim creed, the shahada, "There is no God without God, and Muhammad is His messenger," was inserted, and later the flag was added to the sword of the Saudite family representing Islamic justice. The green color of Islam is the symbol of paradise.

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Saudi Arabia - history

The modern history of Saudi Arabia can be said to have begun in the mid-1740's, when the Saudi family and the religious reformer Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab entered into an alliance. The areas that the parties had to succeed in securing in the future were promised to the Saud family, in exchange for al-Wahhab's special interpretation of Islam in the country. Thus it succeeded from the middle of the 1700's. to create the first Saudi state.

After the defeat of the Ottomans in 1818, the kingdom effectively ceased to exist, but as early as 1824, a new Saudi state centered in Riyadh was founded. In the late 1800's. the Saud family was maneuvered by the Rashid family and had to seek refuge in Kuwait. In 1902, however, Ibn Saud succeeded in recapturing Riyadh and securing power in al-Najd. The expansion continued with the 1924 conquest of al-Hijaz as a highlight. The political control in the newly acquired areas was ensured through the Ikhwan movement, a military-religious corps trained in al-Wahhab's Islamic interpretation, which settled in small groups in the new areas. The movement later became a political strain, attacking British-controlled areas several times; In 1929-30 it was therefore defeated with British support. With the incorporation of Asir in 1930, Ibn Saud gained control of the entire territory, which in 1932 was united in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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The poor country was long dependent on financial help from Britain. There was only a minimum of government institutions and a very limited infrastructure. With the increasing importance of oil extraction, the demand for development grew, and the skewed distribution of the country's oil revenues led from the late 1950's to increased social tension. King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz, who had succeeded his father, Ibn Saud, in 1953, was forced to abdicate in 1964, and his brother Faysal took over the throne. Under his leadership, an extensive development and expansion of the infrastructure, the education system and the health system were initiated; the intention was to counter the emergence of a political opposition to the Saud family.

Saudi Arabia History

In the 1950's and first half of the 1960's, Saudi Arabia was heavily criticized by Egypt for its provincial policies, but otherwise played an insignificant role in the region. With the Arab defeat in the Six Day War in 1967, the situation changed dramatically, as Egypt, Jordan and Syria now became completely dependent on economic support from Saudi Arabia. The trend intensified through the 1970's; after the October War of 1973, Saudi Arabia demonstrated its new power by forcing, together with the other Arab oil-producing countries of OPEC and OAPEC, sharp price increases.

Faysal was assassinated in 1975 and was succeeded by his brother Khalid, who continued the modernization of the country. In 1979, a militant Wahhabi group occupied the Great Mosque in Mecca, and although it succeeded in defeating the group, the incident gave a clue that Saudi Arabia was less stable than previously thought. Khalid proposed changes to the political system, but the promise of an advisory council through which the people could speak was not fulfilled. After Khalid's death in 1982, Fahd took over the throne.

The sharp fall in oil revenues from the mid-1980's meant that public spending was reduced and the level of ambition for the country's future development lowered. Saudi Arabia continues to play an important role in the Arab world, but the economic downturn also diminished the country's foreign policy strength. The weak military position was made clear when Fahd, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, had to let an international military force take up residence in Saudi Arabia, to counter a possible Iraqi attack into Saudi territory.

Saudi Arabia experienced significant changes throughout the 1990's. The country's military weakness and reliance on military support from the West made it clear to many that sweeping reforms were needed. Therefore, the years after the Gulf War in 1990-91 were marked by a debate in which various political groupings forced the king to act. In 1993, the Basic Law was issued, which contains several different laws, including one that determines the succession and sets up the political structure of the kingdom. In addition, it contained a law for the regional and local administration of the country as well as the establishment of an advisory assembly. The first Consultative Assembly was appointed in August 1993 with 60 members; in 1997 the assembly was expanded to 90 members, in 2001 to 120 members and in 2005 to 150 members. All members are appointed by the king, and only with a royal decree in 2005 did the council have the opportunity to submit bills to the king and the incumbent government. The non-religious part of the opposition has been working since 1993 to get members elected. The royal family has tried to meet the demand by stating that local councils can be elected by the country's male population. Elections to local councils were first held in the autumn of 2005.

The legitimacy of the Saudi clan was seriously questioned in connection with the stationing of foreign troops in 1990. A religious opposition is led by younger theologians trained in the particular form of Islam (Wahhabism), which underpins the political system of the country. Referring to the regime's apparent dependence on the West, it called for a strengthening and further consolidation of the role of Islam, and called for a critical review of the legislation that had been adopted in previous decades to ensure that no laws were in conflict with Islam. The royal family intervened violently and carried out several arrests, but did not quite manage to kidnap the religious opposition. Nor could the more liberal non-religious opposition be silenced. It did not get any better when it came to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001turned out that most of the hijackers were Saudi nationals. The Saudi royal family now found itself under double pressure: partly from a national opposition consisting of several different groups, which from the mid-1990's also led to the first Islamist militant terrorist attacks in the country, and on the other hand a growing pressure from the international community against the royal family to take action against individuals and groups in the country who financially supported militant Islamist groups around the world. However, the regime survived the pressure, but like the rest of the Arab world was reluctant to back the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saudi Arabia, like the other countries in the region, has viewed with concern how the ensuing political crisis in Iraq has deteriorated.

The political system adjustments that have been made since the early 1990's are hardly sufficient to satisfy the political opposition in Saudi Arabia. The transfer of voting rights to women in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain will undoubtedly lead to demands for change from the Saudi population, not least from the large group of well-educated women who have made their mark on the country's economy in recent years.

In connection with the Arab Spring, there were scattered demonstrations in Saudi Arabia in 2011, but the effect was limited. In return, the country's military assisted in crushing extensive demonstrations in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has supported the opposition in the Syrian civil war with weapons; there has been criticism of support for Islamist movements, including accusations of aid to ISIS. The Saudi government nevertheless chose to take part in the international coalition that has carried out airstrikes against the movement in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia - economy

Since 1970, the political management of Saudi Arabia's economic development has been based on five - year plans, which have primarily been aimed at expanding the country's infrastructure as well as the education and health sectors.

The economic framework conditions for the plans have largely been determined by developments in oil production and oil prices on the world market, with the oil sector accounting for approximately 90 percent of exports and three-quarters of government revenue.

Through its membership of OPEC, Saudi Arabia can to some extent determine the price of oil itself, but not at the same time the quantity exported, and the great dependence on the oil sector is seen as an increasing socio-economic problem.

Therefore, the dependency has been addressed in the sixth five-year plan (1995-1999), which has focused on deregulation and restructuring of the economy. The seventh five-year plan (2000-2004) also sought diversification and privatization and also sought, among other things, through training programs, to create better employment opportunities for the rapidly growing Saudi part of the population.

Very few women work outside the home, and among men unemployment is high at the same time as millions of guest workers, from domestic assistants to highly paid experts, fill in approximately half of the jobs.

Economic growth was fierce, especially in the wake of OPEC's oil price increases in the 1970's, but was followed by an almost equally sharp recession in the 1980's and 1990's. Since 1999, through its leading role in OPEC, Saudi Arabia has achieved higher prices, which has led to significant growth.

The country is the world's largest oil producer and its oil exports are twice as large as the second largest (Russia's). The development of Saudi Arabia's balance of payments therefore largely follows the development of oil prices; in 2005, the profit was 91 billion. dollars. As oil is settled in dollars, the country has since 1986 chosen to let the currency, the rial, bind to the dollar, which helps keep the inflation rate low and stable.

Saudi Arabia mainly exports to the United States, Japan and South Korea and imports from the United States, Germany and Japan, but the country seeks closer regional cooperation through participation in the Gulf Co-operation Council, GCC. Among other things, it must contribute to the development of the non-oil producing sector. After lengthy negotiations in 2005, Saudi Arabia was admitted to the World Trade Organization WTO.

Denmark's exports to Saudi Arabia in 2005 amounted to DKK 2,236 million. DKK, while imports from there were 138 mill. kr.

 

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