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Saudi Arabia

Yearbook 2002

Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Abdullah, who has in effect ruled Saudi Arabia since 1995 when his half-brother King Fahd suffered a brain haemorrhage, launched a peace plan for the Middle East in February. In exchange for a return to the 1967 borders, Israel would be recognized. The Arab League supported the plan at a meeting in Lebanon in late March. US President George W. Bush discussed the plan when the Crown Prince visited the United States in April.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States were at times strained. One factor was that 15 of the 19 people designated for the September 11 terrorist attacks were Saudi. A group linked to US Pentagon defense headquarters in August questioned Saudi Arabia's reliability in the fight against terrorism, which Saudi Arabia criticized.

According to Countryaah website, Saudi Arabia sent out conflicting signals about allowing bases for a possible US-led attack on Iraq. In September, Saudi Arabia was said to have agreed to this, provided that the UN Security Council first gave the go-ahead. This was believed to have contributed to Iraq allowing the UN to resume its weapons inspections.

During the first six months of the year, trade exchanges between the United States and Saudi Arabia decreased. Reduced oil revenues hit hard on Saudi Arabia's economy and in December Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Naimi tried to persuade other members of the OPEC oil cartel to respect quotas.

In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on Saudi Arabia to reduce government spending and impose income taxes on both Saudi and foreign nationals.

2002 Saudi Arabia

Faisal's religious conviction caused him to completely reject cooperation with the Soviet Union and anything that tasted the tiniest bit of atheism, including Nasser's socialist experiments in Egypt and the Baaht parties in Syria and Iraq. On the other hand, doubts were cast about the "natural" alliance with the United States, as it became clear that US support for Israel grew steadily after the 6-day war in 1967. Faisal went so far as to say that his biggest dream was to pray in the Mosque of Omar, in a liberated Jerusalem. Another aspect was the rivalry with the Shah of Iran, who had also been assigned a role as the region's "police officer".

After the Arab-Israeli war in 1973, Faisal supported the oil blockade that had been introduced against countries that supported Israel - primarily the United States. The acute shortage of fuels created the basis for OPEC countries to quadruple oil prices in a matter of months, marking the beginning of a new era for international relations. Faisal was murdered on March 25, 1975, by a seemingly perplexed nephew. He was succeeded to the throne by his brother Khaled, who was almost totally handicapped by a rheumatoid arthritis, which is why the responsibility for the leadership of the country actually fell to his little brother, Crown Prince Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz.

Oil revenues, which rose to the tune of $ 500 million annually when Faisal came to power in 1964, were estimated at nearly $ 30 billion - $ 30,000 million! - at his death. That same year, Bank of America reported its $ 57,500 million in assets, while West Germany exported $ 90,000, which underlines the extent to which Saudi power has been exaggerated. You just have to compare with the truly powerful nations! However, astronomical figures are nonetheless taken into account that this is a third-world country: oil revenues equal 3 times the national income of Egypt, whose population is 8 times larger than Saudi Arabia.

In 1967, Saudi Arabia gained full control of Aramco. The North American companies participating in Aramco - Exxon, Socal, Texaco and Mobil Oil- gradually renounced their involvement in favor of the state-owned company, Petromin. Over all, new cities sprang up, like universities, hospitals, highways and mosques, but even with these numerous projects, it was nonetheless a fact that oil revenues clearly exceeded what was consumed. Instead of reducing oil extraction to a level of real income needs - which would have prevented a fall in oil prices and the growing weakening of OPEC countries - the fortunes of Western banks accumulated. In this way, Saudi Arabia bonded even more strongly to the western, industrialized world, and at the same time created a plethora of "cheap money" which banks irresponsibly provided in the Third World; something that helped create the crisis of the external debt in 1984-85 as interest rates rose again.

 

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