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Continued exploration in the kingdom led to the discovery of 52 oil fields, including Ghawar in Additional partners joined Aramco in In , Aramco started selling ownership to the government of Saudi Arabia.
By , the process of transferring ownership of Aramco to the Saudi government was complete, marking the beginning of Saudi Aramco.
Jubail Chevron Phillips Company operates another petrochemical facility adjacent to and integrated with the first plant.
Getty had begun operating in the PZ in under an agreement with the kingdom. Chevron is committed to improving the lives of all its employees and their communities.
Creating a safe work environment in the PZ is a top priority. In , employees and contractors of Saudi Arabian Chevron at Mina Saud and Wafra logged more than 5 million work-hours without a Days Away From Work injury and drove more than 1 million miles without a major crash.
Texaco was the first major oil company to enter a Downstream relationship with the kingdom, and today Chevron continues to be an important purchaser of Saudi crude oil.
Chevron pays a royalty and other taxes on that production. Chevron is implementing competency and organizational development strategies with the objective of placing the right Saudis in the right jobs at the right time.
The company provides resources as well as education, training and development opportunities for Saudi employees at all levels.
Employee development programs focus on improving job performance and leadership skills. Employees participate in formal training, advanced workshops, rotational assignments, and mentoring and feedback sessions to further develop themselves as future leaders.
Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in such forward- looking statements.
The reader should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report.
Unless legally required, Chevron undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: Other unpredictable or unknown factors not discussed in this report could also have material adverse effects on forward-looking statements.
Osama bin Laden was a Saudi national until stripped of his nationality in and was responsible for the U. Islamism was not the only source of hostility to the government.
Although now extremely wealthy, Saudi Arabia's economy was near stagnant. High taxes and a growth in unemployment have contributed to discontent, and has been reflected in a rise in civil unrest, and discontent with the royal family.
In response, a number of limited "reforms" were initiated by King Fahd. In March , he introduced the " Basic Law ", which emphasised the duties and responsibilities of a ruler.
In December , the Consultative Council was inaugurated. It is composed of a chairman and 60 members—all chosen by the King.
The King's intent was to respond to dissent while making as few actual changes in the status quo as possible. In , Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke, and the Crown Prince, Abdullah , assumed the role of de facto regent , taking on the day-to-day running of the country.
However, his authority was hindered by conflict with Fahd's full brothers known, with Fahd, as the " Sudairi Seven ". Women were not allowed to take part in the poll.
In , King Fahd died and was succeeded by Abdullah, who continued the policy of minimum reform and clamping down on protests.
The king introduced a number of economic reforms aimed at reducing the country's reliance on oil revenue: In February , Abdullah announced a series of governmental changes to the judiciary, armed forces, and various ministries to modernize these institutions including the replacement of senior appointees in the judiciary and the Mutaween religious police with more moderate individuals and the appointment of the country's first female deputy minister.
On 29 January , hundreds of protesters gathered in the city of Jeddah in a rare display of criticism against the city's poor infrastructure after deadly floods swept through the city, killing eleven people.
Since , Saudi Arabia has been affected by its own Arab Spring protests. Although male-only municipal elections were held on 29 September ,   Abdullah allowed women to vote and be elected in the municipal elections , and also to be nominated to the Shura Council.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. In the absence of national elections and political parties,  politics in Saudi Arabia takes place in two distinct arenas: By custom, all males of full age have a right to petition the king directly through the traditional tribal meeting known as the majlis.
Tribal identity remains strong and, outside of the royal family, political influence is frequently determined by tribal affiliation, with tribal sheikhs maintaining a considerable degree of influence over local and national events.
The rule of the Al Saud faces political opposition from four sources: Sunni Islamist activism; liberal critics; the Shi'ite minority —particularly in the Eastern Province ; and long-standing tribal and regionalist particularistic opponents for example in the Hejaz.
The king combines legislative, executive, and judicial functions  and royal decrees form the basis of the country's legislation.
The royal family dominates the political system. The family's vast numbers allow it to control most of the kingdom's important posts and to have an involvement and presence at all levels of government.
Long term political and government appointments have resulted in the creation of "power fiefdoms" for senior princes,  such as those of King Abdullah, who had been Commander of the National Guard since until , when he appointed his son to replace him ,  former Crown Prince Sultan , Minister of Defence and Aviation from to his death in , former crown prince Prince Nayef who was the Minister of Interior from to his death in , Prince Saud who had been Minister of Foreign Affairs since  and current King Salman , who was Minister of Defense and Aviation before he was crown prince and Governor of the Riyadh Province from to The royal family is politically divided by factions based on clan loyalties, personal ambitions and ideological differences.
There were divisions within the family over who should succeed to the throne after the accession or earlier death of Prince Sultan. The Saudi government and the royal family have often, over many years, been accused of corruption.
However, nepotism and patronage are widespread when doing business in the country. The enforcement of the anti-corruption laws is selective and public officials engage in corruption with impunity.
A number of prominent Saudi Arabian princes, government ministers, and businesspeople, including Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal , were arrested in Saudi Arabia in November There has been mounting pressure to reform and modernize the royal family's rule, an agenda championed by King Abdullah both before and after his accession in The creation of the Consultative Council in the early s did not satisfy demands for political participation, and, in , an annual National Dialogue Forum was announced that would allow selected professionals and intellectuals to publicly debate current national issues, within certain prescribed parameters.
In , the first municipal elections were held. In , the Allegiance Council was created to regulate the succession. Saudi Arabia is almost unique in giving the ulema the body of Islamic religious leaders and jurists a direct role in government.
The ulema have also been a key influence in major government decisions, for example the imposition of the oil embargo in and the invitation to foreign troops to Saudi Arabia in By the s, as a result of oil wealth and the modernization of the country initiated by King Faisal, important changes to Saudi society were under way and the power of the ulema was in decline.
The ulema have historically been led by the Al ash-Sheikh ,  the country's leading religious family. In return, the Al ash-Sheikh support the Al Saud's political authority  thereby using its religious- moral authority to legitimize the royal family's rule.
The primary source of law is the Islamic Sharia derived from the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah the traditions of the Prophet. Saudi judges tend to follow the principles of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence or fiqh found in pre-modern texts  and noted for its literalist interpretation of the Qur'an and hadith.
Because the judge is empowered to disregard previous judgments either his own or of other judges and may apply his personal interpretation of Sharia to any particular case, divergent judgements arise even in apparently identical cases,  making predictability of legal interpretation difficult.
Royal decrees are the other main source of law; but are referred to as regulations rather than laws because they are subordinate to the Sharia.
Additionally, traditional tribal law and custom remain significant. The Saudi system of justice has been criticized for its "ultra-puritanical judges", who are often harsh in their sentencing with beheading for the crime of witchcraft , but also sometimes overly lenient for cases of rape or wife-beating and slow, for example leaving thousands of abandoned women unable to secure a divorce.
Capital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading , stoning to death , amputation , crucifixion and lashing , as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized.
The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September Although repeated theft can be punishable by amputation of the right hand, only one instance of judicial amputation was reported between and Homosexual acts are punishable by flogging or death.
Retaliatory punishments, or Qisas , are practised: Even after allowing women to drive and work, public places in Saudi Arabia are still gender-segregated and the kingdom has very strict laws on how unrelated men and women can dine together.
In September , a man was arrested by the Saudi authorities for appearing in a video with his female colleague while having breakfast at a hotel, where they both work.
Western-based organizations such as Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch and Freedom House condemn both the Saudi criminal justice system and its severe punishments.
There are no jury trials in Saudi Arabia and courts observe few formalities. Those arrested are often not informed of the crime of which they are accused or given access to a lawyer and are subject to abusive treatment and torture if they do not confess.
At trial, there is a presumption of guilt and the accused is often unable to examine witnesses and evidence or present a legal defense.
Most trials are held in secret. Saudi Arabia is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world. Human rights issues that have attracted strong criticism include the extremely disadvantaged position of women see Women below , capital punishment for homosexuality ,  religious discrimination, the lack of religious freedom and the activities of the religious police see Religion below.
To date, the activities of the NSHR have been limited and doubts remain over its neutrality and independence.
In response to the continuing criticism of its human rights record, the Saudi government points to the special Islamic character of the country, and asserts that this justifies a different social and political order.
For example, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr was arrested in when he was 17 years old for taking part in an anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring.
In , the government deported thousands of non-Saudis, many of them who were working illegally in the country or had overstayed their visas.
Many reports abound, of foreigner workers being tortured either by employers or others. Saudi Arabia has a "Counter-Radicalization Program" the purpose of which is to "combat the spread and appeal of extremist ideologies among the general populous sic " and to "instill the true values of the Islamic faith , such as tolerance and moderation.
According to Turkish government sources there is audio and video evidence for him having been murdered and dismembered inside the consulate. Since , as a founding member of OPEC , its oil pricing policy has been generally to stabilize the world oil market and try to moderate sharp price movements so as to not jeopardise the Western economies.
However, there is evidence that the vast majority was, in fact, spent on propagating and extending the influence of Wahhabism at the expense of other forms of Islam.
The relations with the U. Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.
In the Arab and Muslim worlds, Saudi Arabia is considered to be pro-Western and pro-American,  and it is certainly a long-term ally of the United States.
China and Saudi Arabia are major allies, with relationship between the two countries growing significantly in recent decades.
Majority of Saudi Arabians also expressed a favorable view of China. The consequences of the invasion and the Arab Spring led to increasing alarm within the Saudi monarchy over the rise of Iran 's influence in the region.
In order to protect the house of Khalifa, the monarchs of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain by sending military troops to quell the uprising of Bahraini people on 14 March According to the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in March , Saudi Arabia along with Qatar provided political, financial and media support to terrorists against the Iraqi government.
On 25 March , Saudi Arabia, spearheading a coalition of Sunni Muslim states,  started a military intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh , who was deposed in the Arab Spring uprisings.
Saudi Arabia, together with Qatar and Turkey , openly supported the Army of Conquest ,  an umbrella group of anti-government forces fighting in the Syrian Civil War that reportedly included an al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and another Salafi coalition known as Ahrar al-Sham.
Following a number of incidents during the Hajj season, the deadliest  of which killed at least 2, pilgrim  in Mina stampede , Saudi Arabia has been accused of mismanagement and focusing on increasing money revenues while neglecting pilgrims' welfare.
In March , Sweden scrapped an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, marking an end to a decade-old defense agreement with the kingdom.
The decision came after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was blocked by the Saudis while speaking about democracy and women's rights at the Arab League in Cairo.
This also led to Saudi Arabia recalling its ambassador to Sweden. Saudi Arabia has been seen as a moderating influence in the Arab—Israeli conflict , periodically putting forward a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians and condemning Hezbollah.
In August both countries appeared to be exploring ways of ending the rift. In , Saudi Arabia imposed a land, naval and air blockade on Qatar.
Tensions have escalated between the Saudi and its allies after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish officials are highly skeptical of Khashoggi being murdered inside the consulate; this has strained the already suffering Saudi Arabia—Turkey relations.
The relations have the potential of evolving into a crisis at any moment. Theresa May backed the US call to end the coalition.
In the armed forces had the following personnel: The kingdom has a long-standing military relationship with Pakistan , it has long been speculated that Saudi Arabia secretly funded Pakistan's atomic bomb programme and seeks to purchase atomic weapons from Pakistan, in near future.
Its modern existence, however, is attributable to it being effectively Abdullah's private army since the s and, unlike the rest of the armed forces, is independent of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation.
The late prince Sultan, former Minister of Defense and Aviation, was one of the so-called 'Sudairi Seven' and controlled the remainder of the armed forces until his death in Its modern high-technology arsenal makes Saudi Arabia among the world's most densely armed nations, with its military equipment being supplied primarily by the US, France and Britain.
The package represents a considerable improvement in the offensive capability of the Saudi armed forces. The United Kingdom has also been a major supplier of military equipment to Saudi Arabia since Major imports in —14 included 45 combat aircraft from the UK, 38 combat helicopters from the USA, 4 tanker aircraft from Spain and over armoured vehicles from Canada.
Saudi Arabia has a long list of outstanding orders for arms, including 27 more combat aircraft from the UK, combat aircraft from the USA and a large number of armoured vehicles from Canada.
Because the country's southern borders with the United Arab Emirates and Oman are not precisely marked, the exact size of the country is undefined. Saudi Arabia's geography is dominated by the Arabian Desert , associated semi-desert and shrubland see satellite image and several mountain ranges and highlands.
The fertile areas are to be found in the alluvial deposits in wadis, basins, and oases. On the Red Sea coast, there is a narrow coastal plain, known as the Tihamah parallel to which runs an imposing escarpment.
Except for the southwestern province of Asir , Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with very high day-time temperatures and a sharp temperature drop at night.
Annual rainfall is extremely low. The Asir region differs in that it is influenced by the Indian Ocean monsoons , usually occurring between October and March.
Wildlife includes the Arabian leopard ,   wolf , striped hyena , mongoose , baboon , hare , sand cat , and jerboa. Animals such as gazelles, oryx , leopards and cheetahs  were relatively numerous until the 19th century, when extensive hunting reduced these animals almost to extinction.
Birds include falcons which are caught and trained for hunting , eagles, hawks, vultures, sandgrouse , and bulbuls.
There are several species of snakes, many of which are venomous. Saudi Arabia is home to a rich marine life.
The Red Sea in particular is a rich and diverse ecosystem. The reefs form platforms and sometimes lagoons along the coast and occasional other features such as cylinders such as the Blue Hole Red Sea at Dahab.
These coastal reefs are also visited by pelagic species of Red Sea fish, including some of the 44 species of shark. The Red Sea also contains many offshore reefs including several true atolls.
Many of the unusual offshore reef formations defy classic i. Domesticated animals include the legendary Arabian horse , Arabian camel , sheep, goats, cows, donkeys, chickens etc.
Reflecting the country's dominant desert conditions, Saudi Arabia's plant life mostly consists of herbs, plants and shrubs that require little water.
The date palm Phoenix dactylifera is widespread. Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 regions  Arabic: The regions are further divided into governorates Arabic: This number includes the 13 regional capitals, which have a different status as municipalities Arabic: The governorates are further sudivided into sub-governorates Arabic: As of October , Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world.
Saudi Arabia is considered an " energy superpower ". Saudi Arabia officially has about billion barrels 4.
In the s, Saudi Arabia experienced a significant contraction of oil revenues combined with a high rate of population growth.
From — "several key services" were privatized—municipal water supply, electricity, telecommunications—and parts of education and health care, traffic control and car accident reporting were also privatized.
According to Arab News columnist Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, "in almost every one of these areas, consumers have raised serious concerns about the performance of these privatized entities.
Negotiations to join had focused on the degree to which Saudi Arabia is willing to increase market access to foreign goods and in , the government established the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority to encourage foreign direct investment in the kingdom.
The government has also made an attempt at " Saudizing " the economy, replacing foreign workers with Saudi nationals with limited success.
Saudi Arabia has had five-year "Development Plans" since Among its plans were to launch "economic cities" e. King Abdullah Economic City to be completed by , in an effort to diversify the economy and provide jobs.
As of [update] four cities were planned. In addition to petroleum and gas, Saudi also has a significant gold mining sector in the ancient Mahd adh Dhahab region and significant other mineral industries, an agricultural sector especially in the southwest but not only based on vegetables, fruits, dates etc.
Statistics on poverty in the kingdom are not available through the UN resources because the Saudi government does not issue any.
In December , the Saudi interior ministry arrested three reporters and held them for almost two weeks for questioning after they uploaded a video on the topic to YouTube.
Source close to Bloomberg claimed the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will receive additional cash after two years of major new investments.
Each year, about a quarter-million young Saudis enter the job market. However, the private sector still remains hugely dominated by foreigners.
The rate of local unemployment is at its peak in more than a decade, with According to a report published by Bloomberg Economics in , the government needs to produce , jobs by to meet its unemployment rate.
Serious large-scale agricultural development began in the s. The government launched an extensive program to promote modern farming technology; to establish rural roads, irrigation networks and storage and export facilities; and to encourage agricultural research and training institutions.
As a result, there has been a phenomenal growth in the production of all basic foods. Saudi Arabia is now completely self-sufficient in a number of foodstuffs, including meat, milk and eggs.
The country exports wheat, dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to markets around the world. Dates, once a staple of the Saudi diet, are now mainly grown for global humanitarian aid.
In addition, Saudi farmers grow substantial amounts of other grains such as barley, sorghum and millet. As of , in the interest of preserving precious water resources, domestic production of wheat has ended.
The Kingdom likewise has some of the most modern and largest dairy farms in the Middle East. Milk production boasts a remarkably productive annual rate of 1, gallons per cow, one of the highest in the world.
The local dairy manufacturing company Almarai is the largest vertically integrated dairy company in the Middle East. The Kingdom's most dramatic agricultural accomplishment, noted worldwide, was its rapid transformation from importer to exporter of wheat.
In , the country built its first grain silos. By , it had become self-sufficient in wheat. Shortly thereafter, Saudi Arabia began exporting wheat to some thirty countries, including China and the former Soviet Union, and in the major producing areas of Tabuk, Hail and Qasim, average yields reached 3.
The Kingdom has, however, stepped up fruit and vegetable production, by improving both agricultural techniques and the roads that link farmers with urban consumers.
Saudi Arabia is a major exporter of fruits and vegetables to its neighbors. Among its most productive crops are watermelon, grapes, citrus fruits, onions, squash and tomatoes.
At Jizan in the country's well-watered southwest, the Al-Hikmah Research Station is producing tropical fruits including pineapples, paw-paws, bananas, mangoes and guavas.
The olive tree is indigenous to Saudi Arabia. In the Al Jouf Agricultural Development Company received a certificate of merit from The Guinness World Records for the largest modern olive plantation in the world.
The farm covers hectares and has 5 million olive trees. The Guinness World Records also took into consideration their production capacity of tonnes of high quality of olive oil, while the kingdom consumes double that.
The Al Jouf farms are located in Sakaka , a city in the north-western part of Saudi Arabia, which is a deeply-rooted in history. Sakaka dates back more than 4, years.
Consuming non-renewable groundwater resulted in the loss of an estimated four fifths of the total groundwater reserves by Water supply and sanitation in Saudi Arabia is characterized by significant investments in seawater desalination , water distribution, sewerage and wastewater treatment leading to a substantial increase in access to drinking water and sanitation over the past decades.
Given the substantial oil wealth , water is provided almost for free. Despite improvements service quality remains poor. For example, in Riyadh water was available only once every 2.
Since , the government has increasingly relied on the private sector to operate water and sanitation infrastructure, beginning with desalination and wastewater treatment plants.
Since , the operation of urban water distribution systems is being gradually delegated to private companies as well. Although most tourism in Saudi Arabia still largely involves religious pilgrimages, there is growth in the leisure tourism sector.
According to the World Bank , approximately Starting December , the kingdom will offer an electronic visa for foreign visitors to attend sport events and concerts.
The old city of Jeddah. A farm in Al-Qassim Province. Faifa mountains in Jizan Province. Snowy mountains in Tabuk Province. The population of Saudi Arabia as of July is estimated to be As late as , most Saudis lived a subsistence life in the rural provinces, but in the last half of the 20th century the kingdom has urbanized rapidly.
Its population is also quite young with over half the population under 25 years old. As recently as the early s, Saudi Arabia's slave population was estimated at , The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic.
The three main regional variants spoken by Saudis are Hejazi Arabic about 6 million speakers  , Najdi Arabic about 8 million speakers  , and Gulf Arabic about 0.
Saudi Sign Language is the principal language of the deaf community. The large expatriate communities also speak their own languages, the most numerous of which are Tagalog , , Rohingya , , Urdu , , and Egyptian Arabic , Virtually all Saudi citizens are Muslim  officially, all are , and almost all Saudi residents are Muslim.
Other denominations, such as the minority Shia Islam , are systematically suppressed. According to estimates there are about 1,, Christians in Saudi Arabia, almost all foreign workers.
The percentage of Saudi Arabian citizens who are Christians is officially zero,  as Saudi Arabia forbids religious conversion from Islam apostasy and punishes it by death.
There may be a significant fraction of atheists and agnostics in Saudi Arabia,   although they are officially called "terrorists". In its religious freedom report, the U.
Foreign Muslims  who have resided in the kingdom for ten years may apply for Saudi citizenship. Priority is given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields,  and exception made for Palestinians who are excluded unless married to a Saudi national, because of Arab League instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship.
As Saudi population grows and oil export revenues stagnate, pressure for " Saudization " the replacement of foreign workers with Saudis has grown, and the Saudi government hopes to decrease the number of foreign nationals in the country.
Various Human Rights entities have criticised Saudi Arabia's handling of the issue. Saudi Arabia has centuries-old attitudes and traditions, often derived from Arab civilization.
This culture has been heavily influenced by the austerely puritanical Wahhabi form of Islam, which arose in the eighteenth century and now predominates in the country.
Wahhabi Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture. Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims.
Proponents call the movement " Salafism ",  and believe that its teachings purify the practice of Islam of innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of Muhammad and his companions.
More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that have " religious police " known as Haia or Mutaween , who patrol the streets " enjoining good and forbidding wrong " by enforcing dress codes , strict separation of men and women , attendance at prayer salat five times each day, the ban on alcohol, and other aspects of Sharia Islamic law.
In the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports from the Daily Mail and WikiLeaks indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex.
Until , the kingdom used the lunar Islamic calendar , not the international Gregorian calendar ,  but in the kingdom announced its switch to the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes.
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Businesses are closed three or four times a day  for 30 to 45 minutes during business hours while employees and customers are sent off to pray.
As of [update] approximately half of the broadcast airtime of Saudi state television was devoted to religious issues. In contrast, assigned readings over twelve years of primary and secondary schooling devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world comes to a total of about 40 pages.
Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression, buildings, annual festivals and public events.
Proselytizing by non-Muslims and conversion by Muslims to another religion is illegal,  and as of [update] the distribution of "publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam" such as Bibles , was reportedly punishable by death.
Saudi Wahhabism is hostile to any reverence given to historical or religious places of significance for fear that it may give rise to 'shirk' idolatry , and the most significant historic Muslim sites in Mecca and Medina are located in the western Saudi region of Hejaz.
In June , the Council of Ministers approved a law that gives the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage the means to protect Saudi Arabia's ancient relics and historic sites.
Within the framework of the National Transformation Program, also known as Saudi Vision , the kingdom allocated million euros to preserve its historical and cultural heritage.
Saudi Arabian dress strictly follows the principles of hijab the Islamic principle of modesty , especially in dress.
The predominantly loose and flowing, but covering, garments are suited to Saudi Arabia's desert climate. Traditionally, men usually wear a white ankle length garment woven from wool or cotton known as a thawb , with a keffiyeh a large checkered square of cotton held in place by an agal or a ghutra a plain white square made of finer cotton, also held in place by an agal worn on the head.
For rare chilly days, Saudi men wear a camel -hair cloak bisht over the top. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers everything under the neck with the exception of their hands and feet, although most women cover their head in respect for their religion.
This requirement applies to non-Muslim women too and failure to abide can result in police action, particularly in more conservative areas of the country.
Women's clothes are often decorated with tribal motifs, coins, sequins, metallic thread, and appliques. During the s, cinemas were numerous in the Kingdom although they were seen as contrary to Wahhabi norms.
From the 18th century onward, Wahhabi fundamentalism discouraged artistic development inconsistent with its teaching.
In addition, Sunni Islamic prohibition of creating representations of people have limited the visual arts, which tend to be dominated by geometric , floral , and abstract designs and by calligraphy.
With the advent of oil-wealth in the 20th century came exposure to outside influences, such as Western housing styles, furnishings, and clothes.
Music and dance have always been part of Saudi life. Traditional music is generally associated with poetry and is sung collectively. Censorship has limited the development of Saudi literature, although several Saudi novelists and poets have achieved critical and popular acclaim in the Arab world—albeit generating official hostility in their home country.
Football is the national sport in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia national football team is considered as one of Asia's most successful national teams, having reached a joint record 6 AFC Asian Cup finals, winning three of those finals , , and and having qualified for the World Cup four consecutive times ever since debuting at the tournament.
Scuba diving , windsurfing , sailing and basketball which is played by both men and women are also popular with the Saudi Arabian national basketball team winning bronze at the Asian Championship.
A stadium in Riyadh holds races in the winter. The annual King's Camel Race, begun in , is one of the sport's most important contests and attracts animals and riders from throughout the region.
Falconry , another traditional pursuit, is still practiced. Women's sport is controversial due to the suppression of female participation in sport by conservative Islamic religious authorities  , however this restriction has eased slightly in recent years.
Segregated seating, allowing women to enter, has been developed in three stadiums across major cities. Saudi Arabian cuisine is similar to that of the surrounding countries in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Arab world, and has influenced and been influenced by Turkish, Indian, Persian, and African food.
Islamic dietary laws are enforced: Flat, unleavened taboon bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as are dates , fresh fruit, yoghurt and hummus.
Dozens of human rights defenders and activists are serving long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms.
Authorities systematically discriminate against women and religious minorities. In , Saudi Arabia carried out executions, 59 for non-violent drug crimes.
A Saudi-led coalition continued an airstrike campaign against Houthi forces in Yemen that included the use of banned cluster munitions and apparently unlawful strikes that killed civilians.
Help free the real champions behind the lifting of the driving ban. Take action today and call on car companies to support the release of the detained Saudi women activists.
Trump's asylum proposal violates US law; LGBT harassment in Indonesia; torture against activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo; three million Venezuelans have fled the country; Mauritania should release unlawfully detained blogger; Indian women use MeToo to publicly denounce their harassers; Rwandan opposition leader disappeared for one month; and where does the UN Security Council stand on Yemen?
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