Share of global reserves: 22.9%
Share of global production (2003): 12.8%
Share of petroleum sector in the economy: oil revenues making up around 90-95% of total Saudi export earnings, 70%-80% of state revenues, and around 40% of the country's GDP.
Population: 25.8 million
Population growth rate: 2.44% (2004 est.)
GDP per capita: $11,800 (2004 est.)
Government type: monarchy
Religions: Muslim 100%
Freedom House Ranking: not free
Political situation: No Arab country is governed more strictly by the strictures of Islam than Saudi Arabia. The Islamic opposition in the country has challenged the legitimacy of the House of Saud and has posed a serious to U.S. forces that provide a security umbrella to the Gulf.
June 1996: Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia killed 19 U.S. servicemen.
September 2001: 15 Saudis hijacked U.S. commercial planes, crushed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and killed 3,000 civilians.
October 2002: a Saudi citizen crashed his car into the U.S. consulate in Jeddah.
November 2002: An armed Saudi citizen torched a McDonald's fast food restaurant in Alkharj, 80 miles (130 km) south of Riyadh.
May 2003: Suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers shot their way into three housing compounds in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, killing 35 people, including 9 Americans.
November 2003: 18 killed in terrorist attack on the al-Muhaya housing enclave in Riyadh on Nov. 8
April 2004: Six people were killed and 148 wounded in a suicide attack on the General Security building in Riyadh.
April 2004: April 2004: a group of Saudi militants sprayed gunfire in the offices of a Houston-based oil contractor in Yanbu, killing two Americans and four others and injuring 25 people.
"Our country is targeted," said Crown Prince Abdullah after the incident, "You know who is behind all of this. It is Zionism. This is clear now."
May 2004: Gunmen opened fire on oil company compounds in Khobar, 250 miles northeast of Riyadh. At least 22 people were killed.
June 2004: Paul Johnson, a 49 year old American engineer for Lockheed Martin that had worked in the Kingdom for over a decade, was taken hostage on June 12 and decapitated. Photographs and a video of his murder were distributed over the internet.
February 25, 2005: A suicide bomb attack at Abqaiq processing plant was thwarted when guards fired on the suicide bombers' cars, causing the vehicles to explode. At least two militants died, and two security guards were killed. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.
Saudi Arabia in Crisis
The Oil Kingdom: A Royal House of Cards
Minding Its Business - Saudi Arabia has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq
U.S. Dept. of Energy country analysis brief
CIA World Factbook
Library of Congress
CFR: relationship to terrorism