General information: In 1902, Abdul al-Aziz Ibn SAUD (Abdul al-Aziz Ibn SAUD) captured Riyadh and began the struggle for the unification of the Arabian Peninsula, which lasted 30 years. Discovery of oil fields in the 1930s transformed the country. After Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in 1990, the Saudi Arabian authorities gave shelter to members of Kuwait’s ruling family and 400,000 refugees, and allowed Western countries and their Arab allies to deploy troops on their territory, which led to the liberation of Kuwait the following year. Saudi Arabia’s main problems include rapid population growth, depletion of aquifers, and a high degree of dependence of the economy on oil production and prices.
Location: Middle East, located on the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen.
Geographic coordinates: 25° 00′ N. latitude, 45° 00′ E
Reference map: Middle East.
Area: total: 1,960,582 km2; land surface area: 1,960,582 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: a little more than a fifth of the US.
Land borders: total: 4,415 km; with neighboring states: with Jordan 728 km, with Iraq 814 km, with Yemen 1,458 km, with Qatar 60 km, with Kuwait 222 km, with the United Arab Emirates 457 km, with Oman 676 km.
Coastline: 2,640 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 18 nautical miles; continental shelf: not defined; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: sharply dry, desert with strongly perceptible fluctuations in temperature.
Terrain: mostly uninhabited sandy desert.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m; highest point: Mount Sauda 3,133 m.
Natural resources: oil, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper.
Land use: arable land: 2%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 56%; forests and plantations: 1%; others: 41% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 4,350 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Frequent dust and sandstorms.
Actual problems of the environment: desertification; depletion of groundwater reserves; the lack of non-drying rivers and permanent reservoirs, forcing the construction of enterprises for the desalination of sea water; coastal waters are polluted by oil spills.
International environmental agreements: party to: climate change, desertification, endangered species, hazardous waste, law of the sea, ozone layer protection; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography Note: The long coastline along the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea provides great opportunities for shipping (especially for crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal.
Population: 22,757,092; note: including 5,360,526 foreigners (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 42.52% (male 4,932,465; female 4,743,908); 15 to 64 years old: 54.8% (male 7,290,840; female 5,179,393); over 65: 2.68% (male 334,981; female 275,505) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 3.27% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 37.34 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.94 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 1.32 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.41 male/female; over 65: 1.22 male/female; for the general population: 1.23 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 51.25 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 68.09 years; men: 66.4 years; women: 69.85 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 6.25 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.01% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Saudi; adjective: Saudi (referring to Saudi Arabia).
Ethnic groups: Arabs 90%, Afro-Asians 10%.
Believers: Muslims 100%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 62.8%; men: 71.5%; women: 50.2% (1995 est.).
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia; local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah; local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah;
State structure: monarchy. See politicsezine.com to know more about Saudi Arabia Political System.
Administrative division: 13 provinces (min-taqah): Asir, Jizan, Medina, Mecca, Najran, Tabuk, Hail, Al-Baha, Al-Jawf, Al-Qaisu-ma, Al-Hudud ash-Shamaliya, Riyadh, Ash-Shar-kiya.
Independence: since September 23, 1932 (unification of the country).
National holiday: The unification of the kingdom, 23 September (1932).
Constitution: management is carried out in accordance with Sharia (Islamic law); in 1993 the Basic Law was promulgated, regulating the rights and obligations of the government.
Legal system: Based on Islamic law, several secular codes of laws have been introduced; trade disputes are dealt with by special committees; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
head of state: King and Prime Minister FAHD Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud) (since June 13, 1982); heir to the throne and first deputy prime minister, ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (half-brother of the king, heir to the throne from 13 June 1982, regent 1 January to 22 February 1996); note – the monarch is the head of both state and government;
head of government: King and Prime Minister FAHD bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (since 13 June 1982); heir to the throne and first deputy prime minister ABDALLAH bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (half-brother of the king, heir to the throne from June 13, 1982, regent from January 1 to February 22, 1996); note – the monarch is the head of both state and government;
government: a council of ministers appointed by the monarch, which includes many members of the royal family; elections: no; hereditary monarchy.
Legislature: Advisory Council (90 councilors and chairman appointed by the monarch for a term of 4 years).
Judiciary: High Council of Justice.
Political parties and leaders: prohibited.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, BIS, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-19, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer).
Diplomatic representation in the United States: head of mission: Ambassador BANDAR bin Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud; office: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037; phone:  (202) 342-3800; consulates general: Los Angeles, New York, Houston.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Wyche FOWLER, Jr. (Wyche FOWLER, Jr.); embassy: Collector Road M, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh; mailing address: American Embassy Riyadh, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: PO Box 94309, Riyadh 11693; phone:  (1) 488-3800; fax:  (1) 488-7360; consulates general: Dhahran (Ez-Zahran), Jeddah.
Flag Description: green with a large white inscription in Arabic (which can be translated as “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”), displayed above a horizontal white saber (the tip is directed to the side adjacent to the shaft); green is the traditional color of Islam.