Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab world, after Algeria. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south. The Red Sea lies to its west, and the Persian Gulf lies to the northeast.

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was born in Mecca in about 571. In the early 7th century, Muhammad united the various tribes of the peninsula and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in west to modern day Pakistan in east) in a matter of decades. In early 2011, King Abdullah indicated his opposition to the protests and revolutions affecting the Arab world by giving asylum to deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and by telephoning President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (prior to his deposition) to offer his support. Saudi Arabia has also been affected by its own protests. In response, King Abdullah announced a series of benefits for citizens amounting to $10.7 billion.

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