Extending across most of the northern and central Arabian Peninsula, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is geographically the second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria. Saudi Arabia borders Kuwait to the northeast, Jordan and Iraq to the north, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, Yemen to the southwest, and the Red Sea to the west.
Saudi Arabia was founded in 1930 by Ibn Saud, who led a series of conquest campaigns beginning in 1902, with the capture of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has since been a hereditary monarchy led by the House of Saud and governed according to Islamic Law (shari’a). The Saudi King is also the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, given that he rules over the two most important sites for Islam and destination of the most important pilgrimage for Muslims - Mecca and Medina.
Since oil was first discovered in 1938, Saudi Arabia has become the world's largest oil producer and exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves. In order to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify the economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and tourism, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, launched the Vision 2030 programme.
Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Muslim World League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in which it plays a key role. The Kingdom is also heavily involved in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and in 2005 joined the World Trade Organization.
The EGIC Library
Some of our books about Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change
Authors: Bernard Haykel (Editor), Thomas Hegghammer (Editor), Stephane Lacroix (Editor)
Cambridge University Press (2015), 357 pages
Economic Development in Saudi Arabia
Author: Ahmed Al Rajhi
Routledge (2018), 208 pages
Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FD
Author: Bruce Riedel
Brookings Institution Press (2017), 272 pages