Saudi Arabia: Current Issues and U.S. Relations [Updated August 4, 2003]   [open pdf - 121KB]

"Saudi Arabia, a monarchy ruled by the Saudi dynasty, enjoys special importance in the international community because of its unique association with the Islamic religion and its oil wealth. Since the establishment of the modern Saudi kingdom in 1932, it has benefitted from a stable political system based on a smooth process of succession to the throne and an increasingly prosperous economy dominated by the oil sector. Decrees by King Fahd in March 1992 establishing an appointive consultative council and provincial councils and promulgating a basic law providing for certain citizens' rights could signal a gradual trend toward a more open political system. The United States and Saudi Arabia have long-standing economic and defense ties. A series of informal agreements, statements by successive U.S. administrations, and military deployments have demonstrated a strong U.S. security commitment to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was a key member of the allied coalition that expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. Saudi Arabia hosted U.S. aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq; between the two Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003; however, Saudi Arabia did not offer the use of its territory for major air strikes against Iraq in response to Iraqi obstruction of U.N. weapons inspections. Moreover, Saudi officials expressed opposition to the U.S.-led military campaign launched against Iraq in March- April 2003, although they reportedly permitted certain support operations by U.S. and British military forces, as well in addition to making some facilities available to them. […] Other principal issues of bilateral interest include the Saudi position on the Arab-Israeli conflict, security in the post-war Gulf region, arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, Saudi external aid programs, bilateral trade relationships, and Saudi policies involving human rights and democracy."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB93113
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
Media Type:
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