Middle Eastern country bordering Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Mostly desert (and a number of its borders with other countries through the desert are not clearly defined). It's a monarchy which was unified into the country it is today in 1932. Has the largest crude oil reserves in the world.

Saudi is quite possibly the strangest country in the world. In many ways, Saudi Arabia is more medieval than the quite cosmpoliton actual medieval Islamic world - and yet at the same time the influence of vast quantities of petroleum money and its erstwhile Western allies conspires to drag the whole country into the modern world. Mercedez Benzes and camels. American oilmen and Morality Police. Bedouins and international jet-setters.

Because the state religion is the ultra-conservative Wahabbi school of sunni thought - a sort of Islamic Hardshell Baptism which Saudi shares with the Taleban in Afghanistan - the official tone of the country can often veer towards an almost hysterical level of orthodoxy. By comparison, Iran, where by now the average man on the street could care less, is a liberal free-thinker's paradise. At the same time, the royal family, which now numbers at least in the thousands, are immune from every rule they make, and make very little effort to conceal their habit of out-decadenting the infidels.

Saudi Arabia issues no tourist or transit visas, and when a Westerner is in the country at all, it's usually to live in the country-within-a-country of American military bases and Saudi Aramco compounds. Doing business in Saudi is difficult due to the constant meddling, nepotism, and favoritism of the royals. Foreign women in particular tend not to linger long in Saudi; Saudi Arabia does not issue or honor driver's licenses for women, and even foreign women are nominally required to dress to Wahabbi standards of modesty outside foreign compounds(think headscarves and usually veils), on pain of beating by the Morality Police.

There is almost certainly a great deal of resentment towards the royal family by Saudi commoners, and many people I know that have spent time in the country feel that in the absence of a strong American military presence, the 'ibn Sauds would be deposed very quickly. Nobody's quite sure if this would mean a turn towards even more conservative Islam, in the style of the Taleban and native son Osama bin Laden, or a weakening of the bonds of religion which already make the country a virtual theocracy. Everybody agrees that it would be violent.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932 by the union of Hejaz and Nejd, which had been under the same emir since 1925.

The emirate of Nejd, in the centre of Arabia and with capital at Riyadh, was always independent, and was unified by Wahhabi emirs around 1800. Sources sometimes disagree slightly about years, even into the 1900s. This is (I think) Eastern Nejd, which conquered an emirate of Western Nejd in 1892.

  1. Muhammad ibn Saud 1744-1765
  2. Abdulaziz ibn Muhammad 1765-1803
  3. Saud ibn Abdulaziz 1803-1814
  4. Abdullah ibn Saud 1814-1818
    Deposed 1818 and Turkish rule lasted in Riyadh until 1824.
  5. Mishari ibn Saud 1819-1820
  6. Turki ibn Abdullah 1821-1834
    a grandson of Muhammad ibn Saud
  7. Faisal ibn Turki 1834-1837
  8. Khalid ibn Saud 1837-1841
  9. Abdullah ibn Thunaian 1841-1843
    a descendant of Saud ibn Abdulaziz
  10. Faisal ibn Turki restored, 1843-1865
  11. Abdullah ibn Faisal 1865-1871
  12. Saud ibn Faisal 1871
  13. Abdullah ibn Faisal restored, 1871-1873
  14. Saud ibn Faisal restored, 1873-1875
  15. Abdurrahman ibn Faisal 1875-1876
  16. Abdullah ibn Faisal restored again, 1876-1887
  17. Muhammad bin Rashid 1887-1897
    a usurper
  18. Abdulaziz ibn Mitab 1897-1902
    connected with the Rashidi usurpation but I don't know how
  19. Abdulaziz ibn Abdurrahman 1902-1932(-1953)
Abdulaziz, commonly called Ibn Saud, was the son of Abdurrahman ibn Faisal and restorer of the Saudi dynasty: Emir of Nejd 1902, conquered Hasa 1914, Asir 1920, Hejaz 1925, King of Hejaz 1926, Sultan of Nejd 1927, King of Saudi Arabia 1932.

Hejaz is the coastal country containing Mecca. It was taken by Egypt at the beginning of the nineteenth century then by Turkey in 1845. In the Arab Revolt of 1916 it became independent under the Sharif, the ruler of Mecca.

  1. Hussein ibn Ali 1916-1924
  2. Ali ibn Hussein 1924-1925
  3. Abdulaziz ibn Abdurrahman 1925-1932(-1953)
Saudi Arabia
  1. Abdulaziz ibn Abdurrahman "Ibn Saud" 1932-1953
  2. Saud 1953-1964
  3. Faisal 1964-1975
  4. Khalid 1975-1982
  5. Fahd 1982-
All kings after the first have been his sons; the element "ibn Abdulaziz" is omitted because they are familiar under their own name. The word ibn means "son of", and genealogy can usually be tracked by bearing in mind that succession passes to brothers as often as to sons. X ibn Y will be the son of the latest ruler named Y above him in the list. I have tried to note wherever the succession did not follow that principle.

The ports of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's ports grew as separate entities without much standardization though their multi-century history. For many years, they were similar to the stereotype in Lawrence of Arabia. They, like all ports were designed to handle breakbulk goods only. In the 1970s, the Saudi government started to restructure the port system. They were re-engineered to handle containerization and the growing non-oil Saudi economy. In 1976, a centeral Ports Authority was created to administer the ports. Tariffs, handling rates and even equipment were standardized across the kingdom's six major ports. The ports are now standardized completely and employ almost exclusivly Saudi (male) nationals. The pilotage is exclusivly composed of Saudi citizens in good social standing.

Saudi Arabia has six major ports. Two are in the Persian gulf and four are in the Red Sea. The ports are capable of handling all types of cargo. Crude oil is handled mainly by privately owned terminals.

The six ports are:

  • Jeddah Islamic Port-This port is in the middle of the Red Sea and has 58 berths,which can load all types of containerized cargo, bulk goods and grain. It is also a passenger port that handles many Muslims making the journey to Mecca. This port also does repairs in the King Fahad Ship Repair Yard. The shipyard is fully equipped with two drydocks and quite a bit of equipment. It can handle both 60Hz and 50Hz electrical systems as well.
  • King Abdul Aziz Port, Dammam-This is one of two Persian Gulf ports, and is ideally situated for moving equipment to oil fields. This port has Ro-Ro berths, enabling the fast unloading of cars and military vehicles.
  • King Fahad Industrial Port, Jubail-This port, along with the Yanbu port is named for the current king. Jubail is the other port city on the Persian Gulf. There is a small refinery here that exports refined petrochemical products, mainly to other Muslim countries. This port is also a major agriculture export/import center.
  • Jubail Commercial Port-This is a newly constructed port designed to handle passengers, along with most shipped goods. The main feature of this port is its ability to store several square kilometers worth of containers and bulk goods. This port also features spill containment and fire fighting equipment in abundance. Heavy equipment can also be unloaded at this port, making it a strategic port in a wartime situation.
  • King Fahad Industrial Port, Yanbu-This port handles mainly oil that is not pumped through a privately owned terminal. Containers are also loaded here.
  • Yanbu Commercial Port-Passenger ships use this facility. Pilgrims traveling to Madinah disembark here. Some cargo is imported here, as the facility can handle medium sized Ro-Ro ships. Barley and grain is exported from this port as well.
  • Jizan Port-This port is in the southern part of the Red sea. This port handles goods for the southern provinces of the Kingdom. This is the smallest of the Saudi ports, and vessels are limited to 220 meters long and 10 meters deep. Like all the other ports, it can handle containers. It also exports bulk barley and imports livestock (except pork).
  • Dhiba Port-This is located in the north of the read sea, near the Suez canal. This is a small port, and handles livestock, barley and Ro-Ro cargo. Its one advantage is its proximity to the Suez canal.

The US military has an interesting relationship with the kingdom and its ports. The US military has yet to ship any materials or soldiers into Saudi ports in preparation for a second gulf war. Saudi Arabia has so far forbade it. Instead, the military is using Kuwaiti and UAE ports and bases.

Moving Oil: Who, where, and how

Saudi Arabia exports mainly oil. There are many miles of pipelines carrying crude oil, natural gas, and refined products. The Arabian American Oil Company is similar to Alyeska in Alaska. This conglomerate owns the Saudi oil depots. It was started by Standard Oil, later BP and other oil companies bought into it, and in 1973, the Saudi government aqquired a 25 percent stake in the company. In 1988 it became Saudi Aramco, and included pipelines, oil depots, ships, and all the neccissary infastructure. Oddly, a south Korean company has a large stake in Aramco.The Price of Oil, by Jennifer details supply and demand issues for crude and refined petrolium quite well.

The Aramco conglomerate includes the following major components:

  • Oil Fields-Ghawar and Safaniya are the two major oil fields owned and operated by Aramco. Ghawar is the world's largest, and is about 70 billion barrels large. It measures 280 by 30 kilometers. Safaniya is 50 by 15 kilometers and holds 35 billion barrels. It is an offshore field in the persian gulf.
  • Pipelines-There are currently 20000 kilometers of pipeline in the Kingdom. They handle natural gas, crude oil, and LPG. The pipes run from the oil fields to the terminals and refineries, and amongst the refineries and ports.
  • Oil Terminals-The terminals handle 4000 tankers a year. They are located at Ras Tanura and Ju'aymah in the Persian gulf and Jiddah, Rabigh, Jaizan, Yanbu and Duba on the Red Sea, convieniently near the Suez canal. Yanbu and Ju'aymah are equipped for Liquified petrolium (butane and proprane) transfers.
  • Refineries-There are major refineries located at Rabigh, Yanbu,and Jiddah. The refined product is then loaded onto ships at these ports. Ju'aymah is also equipped to refine LPG gasses only.
  • Shipping-A subsidiary called Vela International Marine is the shipping component of Aramco. They own 21 tankers and four specialty ships built for refined petrochemical products like butane and propane.


  • Personal knowledge of shipping
  • http://www.ports.gov.sa/ -the Saudi ports authority.
  • http://www.saudiaramco.com/ -Saudi Oil Company

If I need to add anything or made mistakes, please inform me so I can fix them. Thanks. Written for that quest

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