Saudi Arabia 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saudi Arabia
Formal Name:
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Nationality: Saudi
Population: 23,513,330
*includes 5,360,526 non-nationals
Ethnic groups:
Arab 90%
Afro-Asian 10%
Muslim 100%

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Anytime you go on a trip, it is fun to "read up" on where you're going! The ARAMCO people sent us packets to read on "travel tips", "phrases", and related information. They also gave us the book, The History of Saudi Arabia by James Wynbrandt (2004) which has been a great overview. In addition, this fall I have read:
The Sword of the Prophet (1979) by Robert Goldston gave an in-depth history of the foundation and spread of Islam. It examined the contributions of the Arab culture as well as the roots of conflict between Arabs and others.
Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia (2004) by Carmen Bin Ladin detailed her life before, during, and after being married to Osma's half-brother Islam. The reader gets a sense of what women must face in Saudi society, the modernization of the country, and what it means to carry the Bin Ladin name both before and after 9/11/2001.
House of Bush House of Saud (2004) by Craig Unger closely details the relationship between the ruling Saudis and the Bush dynasty and how it has shaped foreign diplomacy with that country and the region of the middle east.
Secrets of the Kingdom (2005) by Gerald Posner is subtitled "the inside story of the Saudi-US connection. It too goes into the politics, machinations, and personalities of those who shape foreign policy.
The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini was a side trip I took through Afghanistan learning about muslim life under the king, the soviets, the Taliban, and after. A powerful piece of fiction that touched on the conflict between Sh'ite and Sunni muslims, rich and poor, as well as ethnicity by focusing on the life of one young man and the people closest to him.


The following websites contain information on the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Some are portals with extensive links to other sites. As with all information on the internet, please evaluate these sites critically and determine how to best utilize the information you find on Saudi Arabia.

African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress

Al-Balagh Bookstore

Al-Jazeera (English language site for the controversial Arabic news channel)

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (“The Middle East” - International Arabic/English paper)

Arab-American Cultural Institute

Arab-American National Museum

Arabic K-12 Network

Arabic Literature (Cornell University Middle East and Islamic Studies Collection)

Arab News (English language paper)

Arab World and Islamic Resources (AWAIR)

BBC News: Saudi Arabia Country Profile

Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (Georgetown University)

The Daily Star (English language paper)

International Constitutional Law Project: Saudi Arabia Index (Institute for Common Law, University of Bern)

Islam America (sponsored by Dar al Islam)

Library of Congress Internet Resources Page

Middle East Network Information Center (University of Texas, Austin)

Middle East Information Network

Middle East Institute

Middle East Policy Council Saudi Page

Ministry of Education for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Official Website for the City of Riyadh

Project Look Sharp: “Media Construction of the Middle East” Curriculum Page

Saudi Arabia Information Resource (Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information)

Saudi Arabian Cooking

Saudi Aramco World

The Saudi Gazette (English language paper)

United Nations Development Programme in Saudi Arabia

University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts

Article by Rachel Brons the author of Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is titled The Kingdom's Clock and it appeared in Foreign Policy Sept./Oct. 2006. link provided by a travel colleague)