Saudi Arabia's role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its control of the world's largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location make its alliance important to the United States. Saudi Arabia has been through many changes within the past century in their economy and government. Saudi Arabia has a unique transition of power based on religion and has involvement with the United States because of the war in Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s location, government, religion, economy, and its relationship with the United States and its neighboring countries all are aspects that explains why Saudi Arabia functions the way it does today. Saudi Arabia located on the Arabian Peninsula dates back from the earliest civilizations approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The actual organization of the state of Saudi Arabia began in central Arabia in about 1750. The founding of Islam by Muhammad helped the beginning of Saudi Arabia. The country contains the two holy pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic calendar begins in 622, the year of the Muhammad's flight from Mecca. A series of invasions in 1517 led to the Ottoman Empire taking control ("Saudi Arabia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture"). Unfortunately, it was divided into separate sovereign states in the middle of the 18th century. In 1745, the Wahhabi movement swept across Arabia calling for the purification and reform of Islam. However, by 1818 the Wahhabis had been driven out of power again by the Ottomans and their Egyptian allies. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is almost entirely the creation of King Ibn Saud. He recaptured the city of Riyadh in 1901 and declared himself as the new leader of the Arab nationalist movement. He had established Wahhabi dominance by 1906. Then, he conquered the cities of Nejd and Hejaz by 1926 ("Saudi Arabia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture"). The Hejaz and Nejd regions were merged to form the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. At the time, Saudi Arabia was an absolute monarchy ruled by the Islamic Law known as the Shari’a. Throughout the years, there were many kings that reigned Saudi Arabia based on the family line. In June of 1982, King Khalid died announcing Fahd the King and Prime Minister in a smooth transition. King Fahd suffered a stroke in November of 1995. From 1997 and on, Crown Prince Abdullah took on many of the responsibilities of running the government. Upon King Fahd's death on August 1, 2005, Abdullah assumed the throne as King. Prince Sultan, Minister of Defense and Aviation, became Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister ("Saudi Arabia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture."). This position makes him next in line for the throne. Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula on the west by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea; on the east by the Persian Gulf, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates; on the south by Yemen and Oman; and on the north by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia used to share a neutral zone with Iraq and another with Kuwait ("Saudi Arabia: History, Geography, Government, and Culture"). Today, they are now divided amongst the countries. The largest city located in Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, the capital. Saudi Arabia is also known for its two holy cities known as Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia has a very strategic position for importing and exporting its major economical product of oil because it is surrounded by large bodies of water on two sides. The location of Saudi Arabia is important to the United States and other countries because of its major sources of oil. The relationship between Iraq and Saudi Arabia is essential to the United States. Although Saudi Arabia disagreed with the invasion of Iraq after the terrorist attacks on America, now after seeing the efforts since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, it is obvious that it hopes for and supports the success of the United States’ efforts to restore order in Iraq. This position...
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