Monday, September 19, 2005

Saudi Arabia, last facts

I wanted to get a picture of the present for this country. What's going on now?

Saudi Arabia covers about 2 million square km of dry mountains, plateaus and deserts and holds 26 million people. The capital is still Riyadh. The land is still a monarchy. Ibn Saud died in 1953, and was succeeded by his son, Saud. Saud ruled till 1958, when his mismanagement of the country caused his brother, Faisal, to force him to relinquish the crown and turn Saudi Arabia over to him. In 1975, Faisal was assassinated, and his brother Khalid took over the crown. In 1982, he died and his brother Fahd became king. Fahd was the king until last month, August first Abdallah bin ibd al-Aziz Al Saud became the king. Yet another son of Ibn Saud.
The closest thing they have to a legislature is what's called a "Consultive Council." Who are all appointed by the king. Not much accountability there.
Just this year, Saudi Arabia had it's first elections to pick some members of the Council by the general public. Rumors abound as to how fixed the elections were in certain districts.

An interview with John Bradley, ex newsman for the Arab News, living in Saudi Arabia after 9/11, reveals that the tribal nature of Arabia is alive and well, and a fragile tension exists between them and the crown that basically bought them.

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