In 1998, Saudi Arabia was a large Middle Eastern country with a population of over 21 million people. The economy was heavily reliant on oil exports and had one of the highest GDPs in the region. Although there had been some economic growth during this period, poverty was still widespread and life expectancy at birth was only 70 years old. Education levels were low and healthcare services were inadequate in many parts of the country. In terms of infrastructure, roads were poor and telecommunications services were limited to urban areas only. Despite these challenges, Saudi Arabia had made some progress in recent years by introducing reforms to improve economic growth and reduce poverty levels. This included reforms to the banking sector and foreign investment laws as well as steps to increase access to primary health care services for all citizens. Additionally, since 1932 Saudi Arabia had been transitioning from an absolute monarchy towards a more open market-based economy which had been gradually improving living conditions throughout the country. See dentistrymyth for Saudi Arabia in the year of 2015.
Saudi Arabia. The low oil price continued to pose problems for the country’s economy. Saudi Arabia and a number of other oil-producing countries, both within and outside the oil-producing countries’ organization OPEC, tried during the year to limit oil production in order to drive up prices. However, no radical price increases were achieved.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh. The economic problems, which created unemployment, were the main reason why Saudi Arabia continued to expel foreign workers during the year. During the summer, 106,000 immigrants were forced to leave the country without a residence permit, which was criticized by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch for violating the human rights of foreign workers.
The rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has been going on for years, was manifested in February when Iran’s former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani visited the country and met King Fahd.
Two British nurses who were sentenced to long prison terms in 1997 for murdering an Australian colleague in 1996 were released in May after the murdered brother had agreed to pardon them in exchange for financial compensation.
The conflict surrounding the investigation of the bomb attack against a US military base in al-Khubar in 1996 became increasingly apparent. US investigators suspected that Iran was involved in the attack, while Saudi Arabia ruled that the culprits were Saudis who acted without outside support. The Americans then downplayed their role in the investigation.
At least 118 Muslim pilgrims were killed when panic erupted in a crowd near the holy city of Mecca during the pilgrimage period in April.
The country’s industrial centers were primarily located in two new cities: Jubail on the Gulf Coast and Yanbu on the Red Sea, with connections, via oil and natural gas pipelines, to the oil fields in the east.
The five-year plan 1985-90 promised “a more equitable distribution of revenue,” but it happened at the same time as the first signs of financial problems began to emerge. For the first time in 1994 a government budget deficit was noted. The reason was the falling oil prices. Industry Minister Ghazi Al Gosaibi was forced to resign in a poem referring to the corruption in the country, which was taken as evidence that there were calls for perhaps serious disagreements between the royal house and Saudi citizenship.
Despite this, millions of predominantly North American weapons continued to be procured – partly to secure the Gulf Coast against any Iranian attacks, and partly to satisfy an increasingly powerful and influential army ambitions.
During the war in the 1980s between Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia supported Iraq financially due to the fear that the Islamic Revolution in Iran would spread to the Gulf. Fahd changed his title from being the king to now the guardian of the shrine, but over the years the protests of the pilgrims in Mecca increased; a growing indignation over the alliance between Riyadh and Washington and over what was considered to be the commercialization and westernization of the shrines, now surrounded by shopping malls, highways and other symbols of Western culture. A march involving Iranian women and invalids was stopped by police bullets and hundreds of pilgrims perished. As revenge, the Saudi and Kuwaiti embassies were attacked and burned down, and relations between the two countries cooled considerably.
In the early 1990s, Amnesty International criticized what they called the systematic human rights abuses, including the use of torture against union leaders and opposition politicians, the majority of whom were Shia Muslims.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does SAU stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Saudi Arabia.
Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, August 1990, Saudi Arabia formed the framework for a colossal military auction; a multinational coalition headed by the United States. Apart from the loss of human lives, the war caused significant environmental disasters. After the end of the war, Saudi Arabia purchased about $ 14 billion worth of North American weapons.
In March 1992, King Fahd issued a series of decrees aimed at decentralizing political power. These laws, consisting of 83 paragraphs, were called “the fundamental system of government”, and a council was set up, among other things, to assess all national policy issues. However, the real power remained on the king’s hands.
The royal decree also introduced the religious police, “Mutawein”, whose task was to ensure compliance with Islamic laws. Acc. these are home to a sacred place and therefore the state, in this case the police, has access to conduct home investigations without having to have permission. Against this backdrop, several people suspected of violating the law could be arrested.