Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia
المملكة العربية الهاشمية
al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah Al-Hāshimiyyah
Motto: "God, Country, King"
"الله، الوطن، الملك"
Al-Lāh, Al-Waṭan, Al-Malik
Anthem: The Royal Anthem of Arabia
|Ethnic groups||Arabs, Bedouins|
|Government||Unitary absolute monarchy|
|Zeid bin Faisal Al Hashim|
from the Ottoman Empire
|2,239,032 km2 (864,495 sq mi)|
• 2020 estimate
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
medium · medium
very high · very high
|Currency||Hashemite riyal (HAR)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (Arabia Standard Time)|
a. There is no legislature, the king's decree has legislative power. The Consultative Assembly has an advisory role to the king.
Hashemite Arabia (Arabic: العربية الهاشمية, al-ʿArabīyah Al-Hāshimiyyah), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia (Arabic: المملكة العربية الهاشمية, al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah Al-Hāshimiyyah) but also commonly known as the Kingdom of Hashemite Arabia (KHA) or simply the Hashemite Kingdom, is a country in Western Asia situated primarily on the Arabian peninsula and ruled by the Hashemite dynasty. The country is bordered by Syria and Palestine to the northwest, Iraq and Hasa to the northeast, the Trucial States to the southeast and south, Yemen to the south; it is separated from Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba and Iran by the Persian Gulf. It is the only country with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. The capital, Medina, is the renowned as one of the two Holiest sites in Islam, with its secondary capital, Mecca, being regarded as the center of Islam, although the largest city and the main economic and business center is Riyadh.
The territory of Hashemite Arabia was the site of several ancient civilizations, and the world's second-largest religion, Islam, emerged in modern-day Hashemite Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. The Hashemite dynasty, referred to as the Hashemites, had ruled over the city of Mecca continuously from the 10th century, as the Sharif of Hejaz. Their ancestor, Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, was the great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Although originally Zaidi Shias, they would convert to Shafi'i Sunni Islam during the early Ottoman period. They would be absorbed by the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire in 1517 during the Ottoman conquest of Egypt, with the Ottoman Sultan at the time, Selim I, recognizing Sharif Abu Numayy II as ruler of Hejaz. Following Hashemite family's alliance with the British Empire during the Great Arab Revolt of 1922–1924, they would lead the unification of Arabia, which was complete by 1927. The Hashemites defeated the Al Saud-led Sultanate of Nejd to take control of most of the Arabian peninsula, except for parts of Eastern Arabia, which became part of Hasa or Iraq. The Saudi war with the Hasawis and Iraqis helped the Hashemites prevail in the civil war against them.
The modern Hashemite state was founded in 1924 by King Hussein. The area of modern-day Hashemite Arabia formerly consisted of mainly four distinct historical regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir). Hashemite Arabia has since been a unitary absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamic lines, making it one of the last remaining absolute monarchies in the world. The kingdom spends 8% of its GDP on the military (one of the highest in the world), which places it as the world's fourth biggest military spender behind the United Commonwealth, Sierra, and China, and the world's largest arms importer from 2015 to 2019, receiving half of all the Anglo-American exports to the Middle East. Hashemite Arabia is the 28th most militarized country in the world and enjoys the region's best military equipment qualitatively. However, in recent years, there have been continuous calls for halting of arms sales to Hashemite Arabia, mainly due to alleged war crimes in Yemen and human rights abuses.
The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index, and it has an extensive welfare state, as it is the world's largest oil producer controlling some of the largest oil reserves and gas reserves on the planet. As of 2020, the Hashemite economy is the largest in the Middle East and it is one of the most developed Middle Eastern countries. The Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia is part of the League of Nations, Gulf Cooperation Council, Central Treaty Organization, OPEC, IMF, WTO, and the World Bank.
Etymology[edit | edit source]
Following the amalgamation of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah Al-Hāshimiyyah (a transliteration of المملكة العربية الهاشمية in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, King Hussein. Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Hashemite Arabia" or "the Hasemite Kingdom of Arabia" in English, it literally means "the Hashemite Arab kingdom", or "the Arab Hashemite Kingdom".
The word Hashemite is derived from the dynastic name of the royal family of the country, the Hashemites (Arabic: الهاشميون, al-Hāshimīyūn). Their eponymous ancestor is traditionally considered to be Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.
History[edit | edit source]
Great Arab Revolt[edit | edit source]
Arabian Unification[edit | edit source]
Post–unification[edit | edit source]
Geography[edit | edit source]
Administrative divisions[edit | edit source]
Politics and government[edit | edit source]
Hashemite Arabia is an absolute monarchy. According to the 1995 Basic Law of Hashemite Arabia, the king is the ultimate authority in the country and must govern in accordance with Islamic law. No political parties or elections are permitted, and the country is widely seen as a totalitarian dictatorship. The decree of the king serves the executive, legislative, and judicial function, with the royal decree effectively being the country's legislative. The king is also simultaneously the Prime Minister while the Crown Prince is the Deputy Prime Minister, presiding over the Council of Ministers and the Consultative Assembly, the latter serving as an advisory body to the king. The royal family dominates the political system, and 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. Generally the most important ministries are reserved for the royal family, as are the regional governorships. The ulema, a council of Islamic religious scholars, also has a prominent role in advising the government.
In the absence of national elections and political parties, politics in Hashemite Arabia takes place in two distinct arenas: within the royal family, the Hashemites or Al Hashim, and between the royal family and the rest of Hashemite society. Outside of the royals, participation in the political process is limited to a relatively small segment of the population and takes the form of the royal family consulting with the ulema, tribal sheikhs and members of important commercial families on major decisions. By custom, all males of full age have a right to petition the king directly through the traditional tribal meeting known as the majlis. In many ways the approach to government differs little from the traditional system of tribal rule. 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. Starting from 1999 the king began the tradition of holding the National Dialogue Forum for answering questions directly from citizens for as long as five hours in a television broadcast, and in 2003 the Consultative Assembly was established, as limited steps to increase political participation.
The rule of the Al Hashim 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). Open protest against the government, even if peaceful, is not tolerated. Freedom House has rated Hashemite Arabia as one of the least free countries in the world.
Human rights[edit | edit source]
Foreign relations[edit | edit source]
The Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia joined the League of Nations in 1947. It is a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), and is a supporter of the intended formation of an Arab Customs Union. Since 1960, 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.
Hashemite Arabia and Sierra are strategic allies, and there is a similarly close relationship with Brazoria and Superior, which has remained since the Cold War. Sierran leaders have regarded the country as a strategically important ally for decades. After K.S. Prime Minister Steven Hong took office in 2008, he has sold more than $110 billion of military equipment to the Hashemite Arab Kingdom. However, the relationship between Hashemite Arabia and Sierra became strained and have witnessed major decline during the last years of the Hong ministry, although Hong had authorized KS forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the Hashemites in their military intervention in Yemen, establishing a joint coordination planning cell with the Hashemite military that is helping manage the war, and the RIA has used Arabian bases for drone assassinations in Yemen. On 20 May 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Lee and Crown Prince Zeid bin Faisal signed a series of letters of intent for Hashemite Arabia to purchase arms from Sierra totaling KS$110 billion immediately, and $350 billion over 10 years.
In the Arab and Muslim worlds, Hashemite Arabia is considered to be pro-Western and pro-Anglo-American, and it is certainly a long-term ally of the Kingdom of Sierra. This and Hashemite Arabia's support for the Sierran-led 2004 invasion of Syria prompted the development of a hostile Islamist response internally. As a result, the kingdom has, to some extent, distanced itself from Sierra. The existence of republican states like Libya, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria caused Hashemite Arabia to have a harsh response to the spread of their influence in the region. Landonism and republicanism have been banned in the country, and the kingdom's relations with Libya and Egypt in particular have been strained bordering on hostile, a state of affairs that has lasted since the fall of the monarchies in those countries in the 1950s and 1960s. It also has no official relations with the United Commonwealth and several other Landonist countries. In order to protect the House of Al Sadr in Iraq, Hashemite Arabia sent troops to help quell the 1990s Uprising in Iraq from 1996 to 2001. The kingdom also has good relations with Iran, another regional power.
China and Hashemite Arabia have a close relationship, and have increased their ties over the previous two decades. The kingdom did not have diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and after the fall of Landonism in China the two countries established formal diplomatic ties in July 2000. As China's biggest supplier of oil, the Chinese consider the kingdom to be one its most important partners, despite it being an ally of their rival Sierra. Chinese President Ren Longyun has visited the country and met with King Faisal on several occasions over the course of his twenty-year presidency, among with numerous other visits and exchanges between Chinese and Hashemite officials. In return, the kingdom supported the Chinese government's suppression of Uygher Muslims in the Xinjiang insurgency, with Crown Prince Zeid bin Faisal stating that "China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security". China is also helping the kingdom create a uranium processing facility. On 4 January 2020, a report claimed that Hashemite Arabia has constructed a facility in the desert near Al-Ula for extracting uranium yellowcake from uranium ore with the help of China. Shortly after this, Royalist members of the Sierran House of Commons asked Foreign Minister Joe Millard to provide a report on this development.
Hashemite Arabia intervened in the Yemeni Civil War in 2014 at the head of a coalition of other Arab and African nations to prevent the total collapse of the Yemeni government of President Mohamed Humaidi. It also provided logistical and military support for Anglo-American operations in the Syrian Civil War, with some limited direct military support to the Syrian government fighting against various rebel groups.
The kingdom has cordial relations with France, Germany, and Great Britain. However, other members of the European Community, including Skandinavia, have criticized Hashemite Arabia for its role in Yemen since 2014 and considered implementing some sanctions against the country, such as stopping arms sales.
Military[edit | edit source]
Hashemite Arabia has the best equipped and best funded military in the region, with over 8% of its GDP spent on the military. The Armed Forces consists of the Royal Hashemite Land Forces, the Royal Hashemite Air Force, the Royal Hashemite Navy, the Royal Hashemite Air Defense, the Hashemite Arabian National Guard, and internal paramilitary forces, totaling nearly 200,000 active-duty personnel. In 2010 the armed forces had the following personnel: the army, 75,000; the air force, 18,000; air defense, 16,000; the navy, 15,500 (including 3,000 marines); and the National Guard had 75,000 active soldiers and 25,000 tribal levies. In addition, there is the Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah (General Intelligence Directorate in English) military intelligence service.
The National Guard is not a reserve but exists as an operational front-line force, outside of the regular Ministry of Defense structure, under the direct command of the King and Crown Prince. Called "an army within an army" by military analysts, it is considered to be the King's personal guard and intelligence service that ensures loyalty within the military and can be seen as a praetorian guard. It is notable for its intrigue in Hashemite tribal politics, where it ensures that tribal leaders remain loyal to the central government.
Economy[edit | edit source]
Hashemite Arabia has a World Bank high-income economy and is the largest economy in the Middle East, also being the 18th largest in the world. The kingdom has long been considered an "energy superpower", which has given it a prominent role and influence in global politics. Hashemite Arabia has the world's third-largest proven petroleum reserves and the country is the largest exporter of petroleum, while also having the fifth-largest proven natural gas reserves. It has the fourth highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at KS$29.4 trillion in 2016. Hashemite Arabia's command economy is petroleum-based; roughly 63% of budget revenues and 67% of export earnings come from the oil industry. Due to the dependence on oil, the economy is vulnerable to changes in the global price of oil. In the 1990s the kingdom's oil production contracted because of a drop in oil prices, while in the early 2000s it experienced a large growth again because of an increase in price. Hashemite Aramco, the national oil company, is the world's most valuable company. Hashemite Arabia has had "Five Year Development Plans" since 1970, and the main agency responsible for determining macro-economic policy is the Supreme Planning Council.
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. and livestock, and large number of temporary jobs created by the roughly two million annual hajj pilgrims. 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. Hashemite 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.
It is strongly dependent on foreign workers with about 70% of those employed in the private sector being non-Hashemite. Challenges to the Hashemite economy include halting or reversing the decline in per-capita income, improving education to prepare youth for the workforce and providing them with employment, diversifying the economy, stimulating the private sector and housing construction, and diminishing corruption and inequality.
Starting from 1999, the government of King Faisal IV began a process of reforming the economy. Many key services have been brought back under state control from privitization—municipal water supply, electricity, telecommunications—and parts of education and health care, traffic control and car accident reporting. Efforts to increase foreign direct investment in the kingdom led to the creation of the Hashemite Arabian General Investment Authority in 2006, and the country became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001. Hashemite Arabia maintains a list of sectors in which foreign investment is prohibited, but the government plans to open some closed sectors such as telecommunications, insurance, and power transmission/distribution over time. There has also been a push to hire Hashemite nationals instead of foreign workers, with limited success. Each year, about a quarter-million young Hashemites enter the job market. With the first phase of the plan into effect, 70% of sales job are expected to be filled by citizens. However, the private sector still remains hugely dominated by foreigners.
Water supply and sanitation in the kingdom 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. About 50% of drinking water comes from desalination, 40% from the mining of non-renewable groundwater and 10% from surface water, especially in the mountainous southwest of the country. The largest city Riyadh, located in the heart of the country, is supplied with desalinated water pumped from the Persian Gulf over a distance of 467 km. Given the substantial oil wealth, water is provided almost for free.