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August 2005

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Covering a land area of nearly 800,000 square miles (approximately 2.2 million square kilometers) the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupies 80% of the Arabian Peninsula, located between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Although several boundaries with neighboring states remain undefined and the exact size of the country is not known, Saudi Arabia is 1/5 the size of the United States.

Saudi Arabia is a traditional hereditary monarchy and, as a political unit, is relatively young. Its origins lay with the followers of Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad Abd Al-Wahhab, an 18th century Islamic reformer. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Saud family brought most of the Arabian peninsula under their control and formally established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

The monarch is both the chief of state and head of government; since 13 June 1982 the King and Prime Minister is FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister is ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud. King Fahd was born in 1923; he passed away August 1, 2005.

CIA World Factbook, U.S. State Department Background Notes, 7/2005, 12/2004