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Saudi Arabia

Yearbook 2009

Saudi Arabia. In February, King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz furnished the government administration. At some key positions within the police and the judiciary, he added relatively moderate powers while dismissing some of the most reactionary rulers. He also appointed the country's first female minister, According to countryaah, Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez, as deputy minister for girls' education. However, according to several human rights organizations, no major democratic progress was made. In February, Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized Saudi Arabia for widespread violations of freedom of expression, legal security and other human rights. The same organization criticized the country in July for failing to live up to previous promises to free women from male guardianship. In a third report, HRW criticized the government's treatment of the country's Shiite Muslim minority. Amnesty International also criticized Saudi Arabia for having arrested thousands of suspected terrorists since 2001 and held them captive for years without prosecution. Amnesty also brought charges of torture.

Civil disputes in northern Yemen spread across the border to Saudi Arabia in November, forcing residents of 240 villages to leave their homes.

In July, one person was sentenced to death for terrorist offenses and conspiracy with the terror network al-Qaeda. It was reportedly the first time anyone was convicted of terrorist offenses in Saudi Arabia. The country's leadership was reluctant to bring terror suspects to justice for fear of provoking revenge attacks from militant jihadists.

US new President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia at short notice in May, partly in an attempt to persuade the country of confidence-building measures against Israel. Of all judgments, it did not succeed.

A 32-year-old man was sentenced in October to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes for telling a story about his lavish sex life in a television program in the Lebanon-based channel LBC.

At least 150 people were killed in floods in connection with the rainfall in the port city of Jeddah on November 25. The city authorities received harsh criticism for the failure of the sewer system.

2009 Saudi Arabia

On October 26, 2013, 50 Saudi women carried out an action in which in various parts of the country they sat behind the wheel and drove a car. It is banned in the country. At least 18 were stopped by police, but it was not clear what sanctions the authorities would choose: fines or imprisonment. The actions continued through 2014, and authorities again responded with arrests of the drivers.

Saudi Arabia's economic and weapons support for rabid Islamists in Syria backfired in 2014, when Islamic State (IS) emerged on the scene in Iraq and Syria as the strongest fundamentalist force in the region. Saudi Arabia felt its position as a fundamentalist lighthouse was under threat, and in September 2014 issued a fatwa against IS, designated non-Islamic. However, support for the rabid rebels in Syria continued.

In 2014, the conflict with Qatar centered on the leadership of the Arab world. While in 2012 Qatar had supported Egypt with $ 7.5 billion. US $ during the time of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi in the presidential post, Saudi Arabia had been betting on a weakened Egypt to even take the post of the leading country in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia therefore had, among other things, supported the fundamentalist Salafists in Egypt. In October 2013, the conflict in strategy between Saudi Arabia and Qatar caused the two countries to conclude a "non-interference agreement in other countries' internal affairs". Already in March 2014, however, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Qatar and accused the country of not complying with the agreement.

The health of the aging king was frail. In 2012, he was treated in the United States after a heart attack. In April 2014, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was given only years to live in. He survived anyway, but in January 2015 he got pneumonia. The resounding health intensified the power struggle in the Saud family about his successor to the throne.

Neither the EU nor the United States criticizes the lack of democracy in the country or the serious violations of human rights. In addition, the country is too good a customer. In 2013, the US sold 1300 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia worth $ 640 million. US $. Neither the superpower nor Saudi Arabia has signed the international treaty against the use of the sinister weapon. Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but Iran is a major enemy. Therefore, at the behest of the United States, Saudi Arabia has conducted drills where the country's air defenses have been put into effect to allow Israeli fighter jets to fly over Saudi airspace to attack facilities in Iran.


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