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USLC: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/satoc.html Some 5,000 princes controlled all power and
(WSJ, 11/12/03, p.A18)
Saudi Arabia holds the Koran as its constitution.
(Econ, 6/23/07, p.56)
The capital is Riyadh. Sunni Muslims comprise the majority and
Shiite Muslims are the minority and live mostly in impoverished
villages in the oil-rich eastern part of the country.
(WSJ, 10/14/95, p.A-11)
Religious purity called for deceased non-Muslims to be sent abroad
(WSJ, 4/9/02, p.A1)
Saudi Arabia is about 1/5 the size of the US.
(SSFC, 10/9/05, Par p.27) c1AD Nabatean
masons carved tombs into solid rock in Madain Salah near Madinah.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
500-600 Arabs about this time brought back home
from India the numerals we refer to as Arabic numbers.
(SFEC, 1/23/00, Z1 p.2)
500-600 The Arabian city of Ubar, disappeared in
the early 6th century. The event was later cited by Muhammad in the
Quran. In 1992 a team of investigators announced the discovery of he
long lost Arabian city of Ubar. George Hedges (1952-2009), a
Hollywood litigator, and filmmaker Nicholas Clapp, participated in
the find. Clapp later authored “The Road to Ubar: Finding the
Atlantis of the Sands” (1999).
(WSJ, 3/20/09, p.A12)
570 Jan 19, Mohammed (d.632),
"The Prophet", founder of Islam and speaker in the “Koran,” was born
into the Quraysh tribe in Makkah. He was orphaned at an early age
and found work in a trade caravan. He married a wealthy widow and
this gave him the freedom to visit Mount Hira each year to think.
His birthday is observed on the 12th day of Rabi ul'Awwal, the 3rd
month of the lunar calendar, in a festival known as Mawlid-al-Nabi.
The Koran was probably not fixed for the 1st two centuries after the
emergence of Islam.
(ATC, p.59)(SFC, 7/6/98, p.A14)(WSJ, 11/15/01,
p.A16)(Econ, 4/28/07, p.97)
610 Apr 6, Lailat-ul Qadar: The
night that the Koran descended to Earth. Muhammad is believed by his
followers to have had a vision of Gabriel. The angel told him to
recite in the name of God. Other visions are supposed to have
Gabriel lead Muhammad to heaven to meet God, and to Jerusalem to
meet Abraham, Moses and Jesus. These visions convinced Mohammad that
he was a messenger of God.
(ATC, p.59)(MC, 4/6/02)
620 Aug 22, This day
corresponds to the 27th day of Rajab, 1427, in the Islamic calendar.
It commemorates to the night flight of Muhammad on the winged horse
Buraq to the farthest mosque, usually identified with Jerusalem, and
then to heaven and back.
620 Mohammad gained about a
hundred converts including some wealthy Meccan families. This made
other Meccans hostile. Mohammad in this year dreamed of being
transported from Mecca to the Rock of Mariah in Jerusalem, from
which he ascended into heaven and received instructions from God for
himself and his followers.
(ATC, p.59)(ON, 7/03, p.6)
622 Jul 16, Islamic Era began.
Mahomet began his flight from Mecca to Medina (Hegira).
622 Sep 20, Prophet Mohammed
Abu Bakr arrived in Jathrib (Medina).
622AD Sep 24, In the Hegira
Muhammed left Mecca for Medina (aka Yathrib) with 75 followers. This
event marked the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar. The new
faith was called "Islam," which means submission to Allah. Believers
in Islam are called Muslims-- "Those who submit to Allah's will." In
Medina Mohammad tried to unite the Jews and Arabs and initially
faced Jerusalem to pray. The Jewish leaders did not accept Mohammad
as a prophet and so Mohammad expelled from the city the Jews who
opposed him. From then on he commanded the Muslims to face the Kaaba
in Mecca when praying.
622 The Constitution of Medina
was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad about this time. It
constituted a formal agreement between Muhammad and all of the
significant tribes and families of Yathrib (later known as Medina),
including Muslims, Jews, and pagans.
624 Muslims engaged
non-believers for the 1st time at the Battle of Badr.
624-628 Several Jewish clans in the Arabian
peninsula joined forces with an Arab tribe, the Quraysh, to make war
on a renegade Qurayshi named Mohammad, who claimed he was a prophet
(Econ, 8/14/10, p.68)
630 Mohammad raised an army of
10,000 and took over Mecca (Makkah). He immediately set out to
destroy all the idols at Kaaba. The black stone remained embedded in
the corner. The area around became the first mosque, or Muslim house
of worship. Mohammad returned from Madinah and began the Islamic
conquest of Arabia.
(ATC, p.60)(WSJ, 11/15/01, p.A16)
632 Jun 8, Mohammed, the
founder of Islam and unifier of Arabia, died. Iqra, which means read
in Arabic, was reportedly the first word that the archangel Gabriel
spoke to Mohammed. His companions compiled his words and deeds in a
work called the Sunna. Here are contained the rules for Islam. The
most basic are The Five Pillars of Islam. These are: 1) profession
of faith 2) daily prayer 3) giving alms 4) ritual fast during
Ramadan 5) Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Sunna also calls for
“jihad.” The term means struggle, i.e. to do one’s best to resist
temptation and overcome evil. Four contenders stood out to succeed
Mohammad. They were Abu Bakr, his trusted father-in-law. Umar and
Uthman, long-time friends and advisers, and Ali, a cousin and blood
relative. Ali was Mohammad’s son-in-law and the father of Mohammad’s
grandsons. Abu Bakr was chosen as caliph i.e. successor. In 2001
Minou Reeves, Iranian-born scholar, authored “Muhammad in Europe: A
Thousand Years of Western Myth-Making.” In 2013 Lesley Hazleton
authored “The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad.”
(ATC, p.60,63)(SFC, 12/15/98, p.A7)(AP,
6/8/03)(SFC, 10/22/98, p.C5)(WSJ, 12/12/01, p.A15)(SSFC, 1/27/13,
632-661 The Rashidun Caliphate, also known as the
Rightly Guided Caliphate, comprising the first four caliphs in
Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death. At its height,
the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant,
Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and
Central Asia in the east. It was the one of the largest empires in
history up until that time.
634 Aug 22, Abu Bekr Abd Allah
(61), [al-Siddik], successor of Mohammed, died. He was a friend, an
Arabic merchant, Mohammed’s father-in-law and the first Caliph.
Before his death he appointed Mohammed's adviser Omar (Umar) as his
(ATC, p.66)(PC, 1992, p.61)
644 Nov 3, Umar of Arabia, the
2nd Caliph of Islam, was stabbed by Abu Lulu while leading the
morning prayers at Medina. He died 4 days later on Nov 7. On his
deathbed Umar named a council to choose the next caliph. The council
appointed Uthman. Uthman continued to expand the Muslim empire.
656 In Saudi Arabia Uthman
(Othman), the 3rd caliph, was murdered. Under his rule a full,
standard text of the Quran was compiled. He had appointed members of
his own family as regional governors and caused bitter jealousy
among other families. This caused an angry mob of 500 to murder him.
This gave Ali an opportunity to claim power. Some claim that Ali
plotted Uthman’s murder. Civil war broke out. Muawija, Uthman’s
cousin and governor of Syria, challenged Ali’s right to rule. Ali
prepared for war but was murdered by an angry former supporter. The
followers of Ali became known as Shiites from the Arabic meaning
"the party of Ali." Those who believe that the election of the first
three caliphs was valid and who claim to follow the Sunna reject the
Shiite idea of the Imam, and are called the Sunnis.
(ATC, p.67-68)(WSJ, 1/12/08, p.A6)
656 The Imam Ali mosque in
Najaf marks the grave of Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed and a
central figure in Shiite Islam.
(SFC, 4/23/98, p.A16)
661 Jan 24, Ali ibn Abu Talib,
caliph of Islam (656-61), was murdered. Caliph Ali, son-in-law of
Mohammed, was assassinated and his followers (Shiites) broke from
the majority Muslim group.
(SFC, 3/16/02, p.A14)(MC, 1/24/02)
855 Ahmad ibn Hanbal (b.780),
Muslim scholar, died in Iraq. He is considered the founder of the
4th school of Sunni Islam. The four schools of Sunni Islam include:
a) The Hanafi school, named after Imam Abu Hanifa, predominates in
the territories formerly under the Ottoman Empire and in Muslim
India and Pakistan; it relies heavily on consensus and analogical
reasoning in addition to the Quran and sunna. B) The Maliki school,
named after Malik ibn Anas, is dominant in upper Egypt and West
Africa; developed in Medina, it emphasizes use of hadith (sayings or
acts) that were current in the Prophet's city. C) The school of
Muhammad ibn Idris ash Shafii, prevailing in Indonesia, stresses
reasoning by analogy. D) The fourth legal school is that of Ahmad
ibn Hanbal, which is the school adhered to in Saudi Arabia.
1174 Nureddin, the ruler of
Syria died. Saladin, the vizier of Egypt, married Nureddin’s widow
and assumed control of both state. The Ayyubids under Saladin spent
the next decade launching conquests throughout the region and by
1183, the territories under their control included Egypt, Syria,
northern Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and the North African coast up
to the borders of modern-day Tunisia.
1324-1325 Mansa Musa, king of Mali, made the 3,500
mile pilgrimage to Mecca. He traveled with a very large retinue that
included 80 camels and 500 slaves. An Arab chronicler said he was
surrounded by over 10,000 of his subjects.
(ATC, p.119)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R6)
1400s The Saud dynasty was
founded near Riyadh.
(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1511 In Mecca, Arabia, there
was an attempt to ban coffee.
(Econ, 12/20/03, p.90)
1517 Jan 22, Turks conquered
Cairo. Cairo and Mecca were captured by the Turks and Arabia came
under Turkish rule.
(TL-MB, 1988, p.11)(MC, 1/22/02)
1703 Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
(d.1792), Islamic theologian and founder of Wahhabism, was born in
Arabia. He set out his ideas in “The Book of Unity” (1736).
Wahhabism, a puritan branch of Sunni Islam, was founded by al-Wahhab
in a poor part of Arabia called Najd. Saudi armies helped to spread
Wahhabi Islamic reform. A Salafi, from the Arabic word Salaf
(literally meaning predecessors or early generations), is an
adherent of a contemporary movement in Sunni Islam that is sometimes
called Salafism or Wahhabism. Salafis themselves insist that their
beliefs are simply pure Islam as practiced by the first three
generations of Muslims and that they should not be regarded as a
sect. [see 1744]
1710 Muhammad Ibn Saud was
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1742-1765 In Arabia Muhammad bin Saud Al Saud
allied with Wahhabists and expanded the family domain.
(Econ, 1/7/06, Survey p.6)
1744 In Arabia Muhammad Ibn
Saud, local ruler of Ad-Dar'ia forged a political and family
alliance with Muslim scholar and reformer Muhammad ibn Abd al
Wahhab. Abdul Aziz, the son of Ibn Saud, married the daughter of
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1773 Riyadh fell to Abdul Aziz.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1780 The Ottomans build the
al-Ajyad Castle in Mecca to protect the city and its Muslim shrines
from invaders. The castle was torn down by the Saudis in 2001 to
make way for a trade center and hotel complex. Turkey called this a
(SFC, 1/8/02, p.A6)
1792 Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
(b.1703), conservative Islamic theologian, died. He founded
Wahhabism and set out his ideas in “The Book of Unity” (1736). In
2004 Natana J. Delong-Bas authored “Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and
Reform to Global Jihad.”
(www.concise.britannica.com)(WSJ, 7/20/04, p.D8)
1801 Apr 21, Saudi Arabs led
Sunni raids into Karbala, Iraq, killing about 5,000 people.
(Econ, 10/11/08, p.65)(http://tinyurl.com/5qdnf3)
1803 Saud ibn Abdul Aziz, son
of Abdul Aziz, captured the Holy City of Makkah.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1804 The Wahhabis captured
(NW, 9/30/02, p.33)
1806 Apr 21, Saudi Arabs led
Sunni raids into Najaf, Iraq, killing about 5,000 people.
(Econ, 10/11/08, p.65)(http://tinyurl.com/5qdnf3)
1807 Saud al-Saud invaded
Karbala, Iraq, for the second time in 1807, but he could not occupy
1811 The Turks dispatched
Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali to overthrow the Wahhabis and reinstate
Ottoman sovereignty in Arabia.
(NW, 9/30/02, p.33)
1813 The Wahhabis were driven
from Mecca. They returned a century later as rulers of the new state
of Saudi Arabia.
(WSJ, 7/20/04, p.D8)
1814 Saud ibn Abdul Aziz died.
Prior to his death Muhammad Ali Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, retook
Hijaz, captured the son of Saud ibn Abdul Aziz and executed him in
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1815 Britain took action
against pirate sheikhs protected by the Wahhabis, later rulers of
Saudi Arabia, because ships of the East India Company were attacked
in int'l. waters. Britain allied with the ruler of Muscat and Oman
and Mohamed Ali of Egypt.
(WSJ, 10/9/01, p.A22)
1824 The Saud family
established a new capital at Riyadh.
(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1837 Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali
as-Senussi (1787-1860), an Algeria-born mendicant founded the
Sanusi, a Sufi order, in Mecca. Beida, Libya, later became the seat
of the Sanusi.
1860s-1890s The Saud family moved to exile in
Kuwait when the Ottoman Empire conquered much of Arabia.
(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1865 Faisal bin Turki, the
successor of Turki, died. He won control of most of Nejd and Hasa by
the time of his death.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1880 Sadiq Bey, an Egyptian
army colonel, took the first known photographs of Mecca and Medina.
He traveled extensively between 1860-1880 and kept itineraries of
his travels. The photos were sold to the Saudi government in 1998.
(WSJ, 6/19/98, p.W12)
1883 May 20, Faisal ibn Husayn
(d.1933), the 3rd son of the grand sherif of Mecca, was born in
Mecca. He later became 1st king of Syria (1920) and Iraq (1921).
1891 Muhammad bin Rashid, a
tribal leader in Hail, captured Riyadh. Rashid had already taken
much of Saud territory and concluded a pact with Turkey. Abdul
Rahman bin Faisal, leader of the Al Saud family, was forced to
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1901 Dec, Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud)
left Kuwait with some 40 friends with plans to attack Riyadh.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1902 Jan, Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud)
made an assault on Masmak fort and recaptured Riyadh.
(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1902 Saud ibn Abdul-Aziz, son
of ibn-Saud and brother of Faisal was born. He ruled Saudi Arabia
1904 Faisal ibn Abd al-Aziz
(d.1975) later king Saudi Arabia, was born.
1906 Abdul Aziz regained
control of the Nejd region.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1906-1926 Saudi forces captured the Al Hasa, Asir
and Al Hijaz regions, unifying much of Arabia under Saudi rule.
(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1906 Abdul Aziz regained
control of the Hasa region.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1908 Sep 1, The first railway
in modern Saudi Arabia, the Hejaz railway from Jordan's border to
Medina, reached Medina. This narrow gauge railway was shut down in
1908 Hussein (1854-1931) became
Emir of Mecca and continued to 1917 when he proclaimed himself King
of Hejaz, which received international recognition. He initiated the
Arab Revolt in 1916 against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman
Empire during the course of the First World War.
1916 May 9, The
Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret understanding between the
governments of Britain and France defining their respective spheres
of post-World War I influence and control in the Middle East. The
boundaries of this agreement still remains in much of the common
border between Syria and Iraq. Britain and France carved up the
Levant into an assortment of monarchies, mandates and emirates. The
agreement enshrined Anglo-French imperialist ambitions at the end of
WW II. Syria and Lebanon were put into the French orbit, while
Britain claimed Jordan, Iraq, the Gulf states and the Palestinian
Mandate. Sir Mark Sykes (d.1919 at age 39) and Francois Picot made
1916 Jun 10, Mecca, under
control of the Turks, fell to the Arabs during the Great Arab
Revolt. Sharif Hussein, Arab Emir of Mecca, led the revolt.
(HN, 6/10/98)(ON, 10/05, p.7)
1916 Oct, T.E. Lawrence (of
Arabia) met with Feisal Hussain for the 1st time.
1916 Nov, T.E. Lawrence was
assigned as the British liaison to Arab Prince Feisal Hussain.
1917 Jul 2, An Arab army led by
Feisal Hussein and Bedouin chief Auda Abu Taiya fought Turkish
forces at Aqaba killing 300 and capturing 160 Turkish soldiers.
(ON, 10/05, p.8)
1917 Jul 6, During World War I,
Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence and Auda Abu Tayi captured the port
of Aqaba from the Turks.
1918 Sep 27, Arab forces
attacked and seized Deraa (Jordan).
(ON, 10/05, p.8)
1918 Oct 1, The main Arab force
entered Damascus (Syria).
(ON, 10/05, p.9)
1918 Arab Prince Feisal took
control of Syria.
(ON, 10/05, p.9)
1918 Lawrence of Arabia blew up
the Hijaz railway line in Saudi Arabia.
(Econ, 4/25/09, p.70)
1921 The Ikhwan fighters under
Abdul Aziz took the Jebelshammar region.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)(WSJ, 1/7/02, p.A10)
1921 Winston Churchill and T.E.
Lawrence promoted "the sherifian solution," under which the
Hashemite family- Hussein, the sherif of Mecca, and his sons, would
rule over the region under Britain's eye.
(Econ, 7/19/03, p.69)
1921 At the Cairo Conference
Britain and France carved up Arabia and created Jordan under Emir
Abdullah; his brother Faisal became King of Iraq. France was given
influence over Syria and Jewish immigration was allowed into
(HNQ, 6/20/99)(SSFC, 10/14/01, p.D3)
1923 King Fahd was born in
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A20)(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1924 Mar 3, Kemal Ataturk
forced the abolition of the Muslim caliphate through the protesting
assembly and banned all Kurdish schools, publications and
associations. This ended the Ottoman Empire and created the modern
Middle East, though Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia were still
colonies of Britain and France.
(WSJ, 2/11/99, p.A24)(SSFC, 10/14/01, p.A3)
1924 Oct, The Kingdom of the
Hijaz (later Saudi Arabia) was short lived with King Hussain
abdicating in favor of his son Ali. Hussain was exiled to Cyprus,
eventually dying in Amman in 1930. Ali himself departed the Hijaz in
1924 Ibn Saud, king of the
Nejd, conquered Hussein's kingdom of Hijaz and launched Wahhabi rule
over Saudi Arabia.
(Econ, 7/19/03, p.69)
1924-1926 Abdul Aziz took Makkah, Madina and Asir.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1926 Jan, Abdul Aziz was
declared King of Hejaz and the Sultan of Nejd and its Dependencies.
1927 Jan, Abdul Aziz became
King of Hejaz, Nejd and its Dependencies.
1927 May 20, Saudi Arabia
became independent of Great Britain with the Treaty of Jedda.
1927-1928 King Abd al-Aziz crushed an uprising be
fanatical Islamist tribes of central Arabia.
(WSJ, 6/30/04, p.A7)
1931 Mohammad bin Laden
immigrated to Saudi Arabia from Yemen. He established a construction
business and built close ties with the king.
(NW, 11/19/01, p.35)
1931 Osama bin Laden was born
in Jidda to a Syrian mother. He was the 17th of 51 children of
Muhammad bin Laden, a baggage carrier, who left Yemen in 1931.
Muhammad and his brothers were the founders of a prosperous
construction company. In 2004 Jonathan Randal authored “Osama: The
Making of a Terrorist.”
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B9)(WSJ, 9/2/04, p.D16)
1932 Sep 22, The government of
the Kingdom of the Hejaz and Nejd officially changed its name to
1932 Sep 23, In 2005 King
Abdullah established this day as the official unification date of
Saudi Arabia and made it an official holiday.
(Econ, 10/2/10, p.49)
1932 Nov 23, The kingdoms of
Nejd and Hejaz merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under
King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud. Abdul Aziz (d.1953) proclaimed the unified
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was named after King Ibn Saud,
founder of the Saudi dynasty. Abdul Aziz al-Saud fathered 44 sons.
(SFC, 9/1/96, Z1 p.2)(SFEC, 8/23/98, p.A15)(SFC,
5/26/00, p.D3)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)(AP, 11/23/02)
1932 Dec 22, The Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia was proclaimed.
1933 May, Saudi Arabia gave
Standard Oil of California exclusive rights to explore for oil.
Socal formed the California Arabian Standard Oil Co. to drill for
oil in Saudi Arabia.
(www.chevron.com)(SFC, 10/20/04, p.C6)
1936 Jan, Standard Oil of
California found some gas and oil at their 1st Saudi Arabia test
well, Damman No. 1.
1936 Mar 3, Standard Oil of
California struck oil at Damman No 7. Aramco made the first
commercial oil find in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The English Arabist,
H. St. John Philby, orchestrated the Aramco concession in Saudi
(HN, 3/15/98)(WSJ, 3/8/99, p.A16)(SFEC, 6/27/99,
1936 The Texas Co. joined
Standard Oil in Saudi Arabia. The joint venture eventually became
the Saudi oil giant Aramco.
(SFC, 10/20/04, p.C6)
1938 Norman Lewis (d.2003),
British travel writer, authored "Sand and Sea in Arabia."
(SFC, 7/26/03, p.A22)
1945 Feb 14, Saudi King Abd
al-Aziz and Franklin D. Roosevelt met on a ship in the Suez Canal
and reached an understanding whereby the US would protect the Saudi
royal family in return for preferred access to Saudi oil. William
Eddy, US minister to Saudi Arabia, arranged the meeting.
(WSJ, 10/4/01, p.A1)(Econ, 11/8/08,
1945 Mar 22, The Arab League
was formed with the adoption of a charter in Cairo, Egypt. Saudi
Arabia became a founding member of the UN and the Arab League.
(AP, 3/22/97)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1947 The family-owned Olayan
Group was founded in Saudi Arabia and grew to became one of the
country’s largest private conglomerates.
(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.A10)
1948 May 18, Arab Legion
captured the fort on Mount Scopus.
1948 May 18, Saudi Arabia
joined the invasion of Israel.
1951 Oct 20, Saudi Arabia’s
modern railway was inaugurated. It was initially run by Saudi oil
company, Aramco, but subsequently transferred to the state and since
1968 has been operated as a public corporation and was extended to
the capital, Riyadh.
1951 Saudi Arabia put the
Ghawar oil field into production. It measured 20 miles wide and 175
miles long and was the largest oil field ever found.
(WSJ, 5/6/08, p.A15)
1953 Prince Fahd was
appointed as the 1st Education Minister.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1953 King Abdul Aziz died. He
was the founder of modern Saudi Arabia and fathered a total of 44
sons before his death. Aziz was succeeded by King Saud who ruled to
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)(WSJ, 10/22/01, p.A18)
1953-1964 King Saud ruled.
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)
1956 Feb 18, The US lifted its
arms ban and shipped tanks to Saudi Arabia.
(EWH, 1968, p.1241)
1960 Sep 14, Iraq, Iran,
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela formed OPEC. Fuad Rouhani
(1907-2004) of Iran served as its 1st secretary-general. In 1964 he
was succeeded by Abdul Rahman Bazzaz of Iraq.
(HN, 9/14/98)(WSJ, 7/28/03, p.A8)
1962 May 3, William A, Eddy
(b.1896), former US minister to Saudi Arabia (1944-1946), died. In
2008 Thomas W. Lippman authored “Arabian Knight: Colonel Bill Eddy,
USMC, and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East.”
(Econ, 11/8/08, p.102)
1962 Nov 6, Saudi Arabia
1963 Prince Fahd was
appointed as the Interior Minister.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1964 Nov 2, Faisal ibn Abdul
Aziz Al Saud (1904-1975) succeeded his older brother Saud bin Abdul
Aziz as king of Saudi Arabia.
1964-1975 King Faisal ruled.
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)
1965 Prince Fahd was
appointed as the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1965 Television arrive in Saudi
Arabia. It caused riots until senior clerics grasped that they could
use it to promote their faith.
(Econ, 1/7/06, Survey p.9)
1965-1966 King Faisal bin Abd al-Aziz defied
Islamist opposition and introduced women’s education and television.
There were 70 female university students in Saudi Arabia. In 2001
the number reached 200,000, 54% of the student population.
(WSJ, 1/2/02, p.A1)(WSJ, 6/30/04, p.A7)
1966 In Egypt Sayed Qutb
(b.1906), intellectual godfather of radical Islam, was executed by
Pres. Nasser. Qutb had earlier written: "A Muslim has no nationality
except his belief." He denounced western hedonism and the decadence
of Muslim regimes. Qutb had spent some time in the US (1948-1951)
and authored the 1951 essay “The America I Have Seen.” His brother
Muhammad went into exile in Saudi Arabia where he taught at King
Abdul Aziz Univ. Osama bin Laden was one of his students.
(WSJ, 3/22/04, p.A18)(Econ, 2/4/06, p.24)(Sm,
1967 June 2, Three bombs, one a
car bomb, went off in the Saudi seaport town of Jidda. One outside
the US Embassy, one at Grove Int'l, an American construction comp.,
and one at the US Military Training Mission.
(WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-7)
1967 Jun 6, An Arab oil embargo
began one day after the beginning of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War,
with a joint Arab decision to deter any countries from supporting
1967 Sep 3, Muhammad Bin Laden,
a Yemeni immigrant to Saudi Arabia, died in a plane crash. He left
King Faisal in charge of his ~50 children.
1970 Saudi Arabia’s capital of
Riyadh was home to some 300,000 people. By 2014 the city grew to
some 50 miles across and numbered some 5 million people.
(Econ, 5/31/14, p.76)
1972 Kamal Helbawy, a
London-based Egyptian and speaker on behalf of the Muslim
Brotherhood, was invited to Saudi Arabia to set up the World
Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).
(Econ, 2/4/06, p.24)
1973 Oct 17, Arab oil-producing
nations announced they would begin cutting back on oil exports to
Western nations and Japan; the result was a total embargo that
lasted until March 1974.
(WSJ, 11/4/96, p.C1)(AP, 10/17/97)
1973 Nov 19, Saudi Arabia,
Libya and other Arab states proclaimed a total ban on oil exports to
the United States. Gasoline prices quadrupled from twenty-five cents
per gallon to over one dollar. The New York stock market took its
sharpest drop in 19 years.
1973 Oct 16, OPEC, the Arab
oil-producing nations, announced they would begin cutting back on
oil exports to Western nations and Japan. The next day, the five
Arab members of the OPEC committee were joined in Kuwait by the oil
ministers of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The result
was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974 and caused oil
prices to quadruple.
10/17/97)(WSJ, 7/28/03, p.A8)
1975 Mar 25, King Faisal of
Saudi Arabia was shot to death by a nephew with a history of mental
illness. The nephew was beheaded the following June.
1963 Prince Fahd became
Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister.
(NW, 11/26/01, p.SAS)
1975 Mar 25, King Faisal ibn
Abd al-Aziz (68) of Saudi Arabia was shot to death by a nephew with
a history of mental illness. The nephew was beheaded the following
June. In 2008 Joseph A. Kechichian authored “Faisal: Saudi Arabia’s
King for All Seasons.” In 2013 Alexei Vassiliev authored “King
Faisal of Saudi Arabia: Personality, Faith and Times.” (AP,
3/25/00)(Econ, 10/04/08, p.92)(Econ, 1/26/12, p.74)
1975 Jun 18, Faisal Ibn Mussed
Abdul Aziz, Saudi prince, was beheaded in a Riyadh shopping center
parking lot for killing his uncle the king.
1975 Dec 21, There was a
terrorist kidnapping of Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani
and other ministers at the OPEC gathering in Vienna, Austria. Three
people were killed and 11 taken hostage. The oil ministers were
taken to North Africa in a hijacked plane in a $1 billion ransom
drama. Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, later admitted
to planning the attack. In 2001 Germany sentenced Hans-Joachim Klein
to 9 years for his role in the attack. Klein had accused Sonja Suder
of recruiting him to take part in the bloody Vienna siege. In 2013
Suder was acquitted of having helped Carlos in the OPEC attack. She
was found guilty of having aided in three non-deadly explosives and
arson attacks in Germany in the late 1970s.
(WSJ, 12/4/95, p.B-1)(SFC,12/11/97, p.C2)(SFC,
2/16/01, p.D2)(AFP, 11/12/13)
1975 Saudi Arabia began
nationalizing foreign oil assets with full compensation.
(WSJ, 10/4/01, p.A1)
1975 Jubail was designated as a
site for a new industrial city by the Saudi government, and has seen
rapid expansion and industrialization since.
1975-1982 King Khaled ruled.
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)
1977 Feb 24, Pres. Carter
announced the US was cutting off all military aid to Ethiopia
because of its human rights violations. The unstated reason was the
US desire to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to lure Somalia from the
Soviet camp, an effort which was ultimately successful.
1977 Prince Turki al-Faisal was
promoted to head of the General Intelligence Directorate. He
resigned in 2001.
(WSJ, 10/22/01, p.A18)
1978 Fred Dutton (1923-2005),
Washington counsel and lobbyist for Saudi Arabia, helped get US
congressional approval for a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 6/28/05, p.B5)
1979 Apr 4, Bechtel Corp.
announced that it had won a contract to manage construction of a
115-square-mile airport for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The cost was
estimated a $3 billion.
(SFC, 4/2/04, p.F3)
1979 Apr 11, Idi Amin was
deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by
Tanzanian forces seized control of Kampala. Amin escaped to Libya
and settled into exile in Saudi Arabia.
(AP, 4/11/97)(SFC, 10/15/99,
1979 May 20, Helen Smith
(b.1956), a British nurse, died after reportedly fall from a balcony
in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The bodies of Helen and Johannes Otten
(35), a Dutch tugboat captain, were found in the street 70 feet
below a sixth floor balcony. Helen was found lying in the road fully
clothed and Johannes, whose underpants were around his thighs, was
impaled upon the spiked railings surrounding the apartment block.
Helen’s father, Ron Smith, did not allow her burial because he did
not believe official Saudi and British reports that the death was an
accident. He believed his daughter was murdered and that her body
could provide forensic evidence to expose a cover up. In 2009 Smith
and his exwife decided to cremate their daughter before they both
1979 Nov 20, Some 200 armed men
and women, Mahadiists, seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca. They
denounced the monarchy and demanded an end to corrupting
modernization and "foreign ways." Saudi preacher Juhayman al Uteybi
(Juhayman al-Otaibi) led the radicals. French special forces shot
dead all the Wahhabi extremists.
p.C3)(WSJ, 11/12/03, p.A18)(WSJ, 9/18/07, p.A8)
1979 Dec 4, In Saudi Arabia
security forces overran the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which had been
seized on Nov 16. One of two African-American converts, who had
participated in the takeover of the mosque, was killed. The other
was later released and returned to the US. In 2007 Yaroslav Trofinov
authored “The Siege of Mecca.”
(WSJ, 9/18/07, p.A8)
1979 Osama bin Laden left Saudi
Arabia to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, where he laid
the groundwork for his al-Qaeda network.
(NW, 11/19/01, p.35)
1980 Jan 9, Saudi Arabia
beheaded 63 people in towns across the country for their roles in
the November 1979 raid on the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
(AP, 1/9/00)(SSFC, 10/21/01, p.C3)
1980 Aug 19, 301 people aboard
a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency
landing at the Riyadh airport.
1981 Apr 21, Pres. Reagan
called for support for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. The
proposed AWACS sale was just the beginning of a secret $50 billion
plan to build surrogate military bases in Saudi Arabia.
1981 May 25, Sheik Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004), United Arab Emirates President, urged
in 5 other Arab monarchies (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi
Arabia) to form the Gulf Cooperation Council. The unified economic
agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council was
signed on 11 November 1981 in Riyadh.
1981 Oct 28, The US Senate
voted for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. Fred Dutton
(1923-2005), Washington counsel and lobbyist for Saudi Arabia,
helped get US congressional approval for a 2nd major arms sale to
(http://tinyurl.com/98qre)(SFC, 6/28/05, p.B5)
1981 Prince Fahd of Saudi
Arabia proposed an 8-point peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli
conflict. It was adopted by the Arab League after some controversy.
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.71)
1982 Jun 13, King Khalid of
Saudi Arabia died at the age of 69; he was succeeded by a half
brother, Crown Prince Fahd.
(WSJ, 1/9/96, p.A-10)(AP,
1982 Adnan Khashoggi, an arms
dealer from Saudi Arabia, settled divorce proceedings with his wife
Soraya for $950 million plus property.
(SFC, 2/14/98, p.E6)
1983 Nov 25, Syria and Saudi
Arabia announced a cease-fire in PLO civil war in Tripoli.
1983 In Saudi Arabia the King
Khalid Int'l. Airport opened in Riyadh and was touted as the largest
in the world. One of the terminals was mothballed at opening and
remained so in 2008.
(WSJ, 8/20/96, p.A1)(Econ, 4/26/08, p.15)
1983 Sulaiman Al Rajhi and his
brother Saleh won permission to open Saudi Arabia’s first Islamic
bank. They had begun changing money for traders and pilgrims in the
1940s. In 2007 Sulaiman Al Rajhi’s fortune was estimated at $12
billion and the Al-Rajhi Bank was the largest Islamic bank in Saudi
(WSJ, 1/26/07, p.A1)
1983-2005 Prince Bandar bin Sultan served as Saudi
Arabia’s ambassador in Washington. In 2006 William Simpson authored
“The Prince: The Secret Story of the World’s Most Intriguing Royal,
Prince Bandar bin Sultan”
(Econ, 12/2/06, p.86)
1984 Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) members (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAR)
agreed on the creation of a two-brigade (10,000 troops) Peninsula
Shield Force, based in Saudi Arabia near the Kuwaiti and Iraqi
1985 Sep, Saudi Arabia
announced a quadrupling of oil production. This led to a collapse in
oil prices and helped contribute to the collapse of the Soviet Union
five years later.
(Econ, 12/6/14, p.24)
1985 Britain under PM Thatcher
signed an $80 billion contract with Saudi Arabia to provide 120
fighter jets and other military equipment over a period of 20 years.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US,
helped negotiate the deal.
(SFC, 6/8/07, p.A16)
1986 Apr 1, World oil prices
dipped below $10 a barrel.
1987 Jul 31, Iranian pilgrims
and riot police clashed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi
Arabia. The Saudi government blamed Iranians for the resulting 402
(AP, 7/31/97)(AP, 2/1/04)
1987 Aug 1, Iranians attacked
the Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti embassies in Tehran as word spread of
rioting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a day earlier that claimed some 400
lives, most of them Iranian pilgrims.
1987 Aug 25, Saudi Arabia
denounced Iran's government as a "group of terrorists," and said its
forces would deal firmly with any Iranian attempts to attack the
Saudis' Muslim holy places or vast oil fields.
1988 Saudi-born Osama bin Laden
founded al Qaida (the base), a Sunni fundamentalist operational hub
for terrorist activities. The organization’s intent was to establish
an Islamic caliphate throughout the world.
(SFC, 8/28/98, p.A3)(SSFC, 7/30/06, p.A10)
1989 Jan 12, Idi Amin was
expelled from Zaire (later CongoDRC) and forced to return to Saudi
1989 Jul 9, Two bombs explode
in Mecca, killing one pilgrim, wounding 16. Saudi authorities blame
Iranian-inspired terrorists and later beheaded 16 Kuwaiti Shiite
Muslims for bombings. Iran denied involvement.
1989 Rafik Hariri financed a
gathering of Lebanese politicians at the Saudi city of Taif to
hammer out a deal to disband militias and distribute power more
equitably. The Taif Agreement maintained sectarian divisions in
government and led to the end of the civil war. It stipulated that
Syria withdraw its troops to the border and leave within 2 years.
(SFC, 9/28/98, p.A10)(SFC, 4/4/02, p.A13)(Econ,
1989 The $140 million King Fahd
Cultural Center was completed on the outskirts of Riyadh. It has
never been opened to the public and was maintained by a fulltime
staff of 180 people.
(SFC, 11/22/96, p.A20)
1990 Jul 2, Some 1402 Muslim
pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel
leading to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It was worst hajj tragedy of
(AP, 7/2/00)(AP, 2/1/04)
1990 Aug 7, President Bush
ordered U.S. troops and warplanes to Saudi Arabia to guard the
oil-rich desert kingdom against a possible invasion by Iraq. The US
Persian Gulf War began. Operation Desert Shield ended Feb 28, 1991.
It cost $8.1 billion and left 383 US casualties with 458 wounded.
(AP, 8/7/99)(WSJ, 9/22/99, p.A8)(MC, 8/7/02)
1990 Aug 8, As the Persian Gulf
crisis deepened, American forces began taking up positions in Saudi
Arabia; Iraq announced it had annexed Kuwait as its 19th province;
President Bush warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that "a line
has been drawn in the sand."
(AP, 8/8/00)(MC, 8/8/02)
1990 Aug 11, Egyptian and
Moroccan troops arrived in Saudi Arabia to join US forces in helping
to protect the desert kingdom from possible Iraqi attack.
1990 Aug, 540,000 American
troops assembled to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
(WP. 6/29/96, p.A22)
1990 Sep 22, Saudi Arabia
expelled most of the Yemeni and Jordanian envoys in Riyadh, accusing
them of unspecified "activities jeopardizing the peace and security
of the kingdom."
1990 Nov 6, In Saudi Arabia a
group of women got into cars and drove the streets of Riyadh in
defiance of a government ban. The protest, which made headlines
around the world, cost the 47 female drivers and passengers dearly.
They were arrested, lost their jobs for 2 1/2 years, were banned
from travel for a year and were condemned by the powerful clergy as
harlots. The led interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz to
ban women from driving.
(AP, 11/14/08)(AFP, 6/16/12)
1990 Nov 21, President Bush
arrived in Saudi Arabia, where he conferred with Saudi King Fahd and
Kuwait's exiled emir.
1990 Yemen’s refusal to endorse
military action against Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait so
annoyed the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that they
expelled a million Yemeni migrant workers, costing the country huge
sums in remittances.
(Econ, 7/23/11, p.45)
1991 Jan 17, On the first day
of Operation Desert Storm, US-led forces hammered Iraqi targets in
an effort to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. A defiant Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein declared that the "mother of all battles" had begun.
Iraq attacked Israel with ten Scud missiles. The US Patriot defense
missile was used in battle for the first time to shoot down a Scud
fired at Saudi Arabia.
1991 Jan 22, During the Gulf
War, Iraq fired six Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia; all were either
intercepted, or fell into unpopulated areas. However, in Tel Aviv, a
Scud eluded the Patriot missile defense system and struck the city,
resulting in three deaths.
1991 Jan 24, A brief skirmish
occurred high above the Persian Gulf as a Saudi warplane shot down
two Iraqi jets.
1991 Jan 29, Iraqi forces
attacked into Saudi Arabian town of Kafji, but were turned back by
1991 Jan 30, The first major
ground battle of the Gulf War was fought at the frontier port of
Khafji in Saudi Arabia; eleven US Marines were killed, seven of them
by "friendly fire."
1991 Jan 31, During the Gulf
War, Army Specialist Melissa Rathbun-Nealy and Army Specialist David
Lockett were captured by Iraqi forces near the Kuwaiti-Saudi border;
both were eventually released. Allied forces claimed victory against
Iraqi attackers at Khafji, Saudi Arabia.
1991 Feb 23, French forces
unofficially started the Persian Gulf ground war by crossing the
Saudi-Iraqi border. Lessons learned in the savage 1972 Eastertide
Offensive paid off at the Battle of Khafji in the Gulf War almost
two decades later.
1991 Feb 25, During the Persian
Gulf War, 28 Americans were killed when an Iraqi Scud missile hit a
U.S. barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
1991 Mar 24, General H. Norman
Schwarzkopf, the American commander of Operation Desert Storm, told
reporters in Saudi Arabia the United States was closer to
establishing a permanent military headquarters on Arab soil.
1991 Apr 29, US troops
continued airlifting Iraqi refugees from a camp in southern Iraq to
1991 Jul 11, A Nigerian
Airlines jet carrying Muslim pilgrims crashed at the Jiddah, Saudi
Arabia, int'l airport, killing all 261 people on board. The plane
was a Canadian-chartered DC-8.
(AP, 7/11/97)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1991 Khalid bin Sultan was the
commander of the Saudi military forces during the Gulf war. He later
became the principal owner of Al-Hayat, an Arabic language daily
published in London.
(SFC, 1/4/97, p.A3)
1991 A Saudi businessman
started the 1st independent Arabic news and entertainment channel,
the London-based Middle East Broadcasting Co.
(WSJ, 10/25/00, p.A17)
1992 Sep 11, President Bush
announced he was approving the sale of 72 F-15 jet fighters to Saudi
1992 In Saudi Arabia King Fahd
decreed a basic law that for the 1st time outlined an institutional
structure for the country. A law was passed that allowed the king to
name any of his brothers or nephews as a successor, and to replace
him at will.
(WSJ, 9/25/02, p.A11)(Econ, 1/7/06, Survey p.6)
1992 A team of investigators
announced the discovery of he long lost Arabian city of Ubar, which
had disappeared around the early 6th century. George Hedges
(1952-2009), a Hollywood litigator, and filmmaker Nicholas Clapp,
participated in the find. Clapp later authored “The Road to Ubar:
Finding the Atlantis of the Sands” (1999).
(WSJ, 3/20/09, p.A12)
1993 Saudi wheat production,
part of a self-sufficiency program, grew from a few thousand tons on
the mid 1970s to 4.5 million tons. The production was having a
negative impact on water reserves and production was cut.
(SFC, 3/29/97, p.A10)(Econ, 5/23/09, p.62)
1994 May 23, Some 270 pilgrims,
most of them Indonesian, were killed in a stampede in Mecca as
worshippers surge toward cavern for symbolic ritual of "stoning the
1994 The Saudis chose AT&T
for a $4 billion telecommunications project.
(WSJ, 12/18/95, p.A-10)
1994 The Saudi family of Osama
bin Laden disowned him. The Binladin Group later invested with the
Washington-based Carlyle Group, which also employed George Bush Sr.
(NW, 11/19/01, p.35)
1994 In Saudi Arabia Osama Bin
Laden, the scion of a wealthy Saudi family, was stripped of his
Saudi citizenship. He financed a host of hardline groups from Egypt
to Algeria. His fortune was estimated at $250 mil.
(SFC, 8/14/96, p.A10,12)
1994 Safar al-Hawaly and Salman
al-Awdeh, religious militants and critics of the government, were
(SFC, 8/15/96, p.C3)
1994-1996 The BBC ran an Arabic language satellite
TV service from a Saudi-backed company called Orbit. It ended after
Saudi’s objected to the BBC’s programming.
(Econ, 10/29/05, p.57)
1995 Nov 13, A car bomb killed
7 people, including five Americans, and injured about 60 at a
military training facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(WSJ, 10/14/95, p.A-1)(SFC, 6/27/96, p.A10)(SFEC,
11/10/96, p.T5)(AP, 11/13/00)
1995 Crown Prince Abdullah bin
Abdel-Aziz has been in charge of the 80,000 man national guard since
the early 60's.
(WSJ, 10/14/95, p.A-11)
1995 A record 192 people were
(SFC, 8/27/96, p.A10)
1996 May 31, Four Saudi
citizens were beheaded for the bombing of a US facility last Nov 13.
The explosion shattered the Saudi Arabian National Guard training
center, and killed 5 Americans and 2 Indians. [the date doesn't seem
(SFC, 6/1/96, p.A12)
1996 May, Osama bin Laden was
driven out of Sudan under pressure from the Clinton administration.
His horse, “Swift Like the Wind,” was left behind. He had lived
there for some years running a construction company and allegedly
recruiting and training terrorists. Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a Saudi
Arabian-backed jihadist leader, invited bin Laden back to
Afghanistan and bin Laden returned.
(SFC, 8/21/98, p.A2)(SFC, 12/17/04, p.W4)(Econ,
9/17/05, p.40)(WSJ, 8/21/98, p.A4)
1996 Jun 4, The Saudi debt load
is already equal to about $100 bil.
(WSJ, 6/4/96, p.A12)
1996 Jun 25, At least 19
Americans were killed at a US base near Dhahran. Another 105
suffered serious injuries from a truck bomb estimated at 5,000
pounds at the Khobar Towers apartment complex adjacent to King Abdul
Aziz Air Base. About 5,000 US troops served in Saudi Arabia. US,
French and British aircraft resumed flying 100 missions per day over
southern Iraq from Saudi Arabia. In 1997 intelligence information
tied a senior Iranian intelligence officer to Hani Abd Rahim Sayegh,
a man who fled Saudi Arabia shortly after the bombing. In 1999 the
US threatened was set to deport Hani al-Sayegh to Saudi Arabia.
Sayegh feared torture and asked for US asylum. Sayegh was deported
Oct 10. In 2000 Ahmad Behbahani told a 60 Minutes journalist from a
refugee camp in Turkey that he proposed the Pan Am operation and
coordinated the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
In 2001 13 Saudis and one Lebanese man were indicted for the bombing
that killed 19 American airmen and wounded nearly 400 others. In
2006 a US judge ruled that Iran financed the bombing and owes
families of those killed $254 million.
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A22)(SFEC, 4/13/97, p.A14)(WSJ,
10/5/99, p.A10)(SFC, 10/12/99, p.C16)(SFC, 6/5/00, p.A9)(SFC,
6/22/01, p.A1)(WSJ, 12/23/06, p.A1)
1996 Jun 25, Later reports said
that Osama bin Laden, an exiled Saudi billionaire, bankrolled the
bombing of the US base that killed 19 US servicemen. He was an
advocate of strict Islamic rule and had said that he would campaign
to overthrow the Saudi royal family. He had lived in the Sudan for 5
1/2 years and recently moved to Afghanistan and was accepted by the
Taliban. In 1998 a senior Saudi official absolved Iran of any
involvement in the bombing. In 2000 it was reported that the Bin
Laden family firm was awarded the contract to rebuild the Khobar
(SFC, 3/7/97, p.A17)(SFC, 5/23/98, p.A12)(SFC,
1996 Dec, Yvonne Gilford (55),
an Australian nurse, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death at the King
Fahd Military Medical Center in Dammam. Two other nurses, Deborah
Parry (38) and Lucille McLaughlan (30) were accused of the murder.
Their sentences were commuted and the accused nurses were released
May 20, 1998. McLaughlan faced charges in Scotland of stealing
$2,800 from a dying AIDS patient in 1996 before leaving for Saudi
(SFC, 9/26/97, p.A14)(SFEC, 3/1/98, p.A19)
1996 Dec, Abdul-Karim
Naqshabandi, a foreign worker, was executed after refusing to
falsely testify against another employer. His employer, a nephew of
the king, demanded his death on false charges of witchcraft.
(SFC, 10/7/97, p.A15)
1996 Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd
(73) ceded power to his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, who is
considered to be more of a traditionalist.
(WSJ, 1/2/96, p. A-1)
1996 The United Arab Emirates,
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan recognized the Taliban after they seized
the Afghan capital Kabul. All three countries cut ties with the
Taliban after it sheltered al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden following
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
1997 Mar 2, Saudi Arab
billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal acquired 5% of Apple.
1997 Apr 15, In Saudi Arabia at
least 343 Muslim pilgrims died in a fire on a plain outside the holy
city of Mecca and injured 1290. The fires stemmed from cooking gas
canisters. Aid workers and diplomats said the death toll was at
(SFC, 4/16/97, p.A1)(WSJ, 4/16/97, p.A1)(WSJ,
4/17/97, p.A1)(AP, 4/15/98)(AP, 2/1/04)
1997 Dec 18, It was reported
the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud was building a
984-foot structure called "The Kingdom Centre" in central Riyadh at
a cost of $427 million.
(WSJ, 12/18/97, p.A1)
1998 Mar, Saudi Arabia,
Venezuela and Mexico began talking to reduce oil output. They
pledged to take 2-3% of the world's oil production off the market in
what came to be called the Riyadh Pact.
(WSJ, 6/23/98, p.A1)
1998 Apr 9, In Saudi Arabia it
was reported that 2.3 million Muslims made the pilgrimage, hajj, to
Mecca this year. Over 150 pilgrims died at the "stoning of the
devil" ritual during a stampede that occurred on the last day of the
annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 4/9/98, p.A10)(SFC, 4/10/98, p.A14)(SFC,
2/12/03, p.A9)(AP, 4/9/08)
1998 Jun 4, Mexico, Saudi
Arabia and Venezuela agreed to cuts in oil production and exports
for the 2nd time this year in order to raise prices.
(WSJ, 6/5/98, p.A2)
1998 Jun, Prince Turki al
Faisal of Saudi Arabia, chief of Saudi intelligence, negotiated with
the Taliban in Kandahar for the ouster or custody for trial in Saudi
Arabia of Osama bin Laden. Negotiations broke down after the Aug 7
US embassy bombings in Africa.
(SFEC, 8/8/99, p.A15)
1998 Jul 20, Saudi Arabia
attacked a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and killed 3 guards. 3
islands and parts of the Empty Quarter, a vast desert with potential
for oil, were under contention.
(SFEC, 7/21/98, p.A7)
1998 Saudi Arabia, in response
to a massive outbreak of rift-valley fever, imposed a trade ban to
prevent nomadic herders from selling sheep and goats for sacrifice
during the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The government opted to buy
more expensive Australian livestock instead.
(Econ, 2/3/07, p.80)
1998 The Saudi population was
about 12 million. In 2006 it reached 23 million. The forecast for
2020 was 33 million.
(SFC, 5/23/98, p.A12)(Econ, 1/7/06, Survey p.12)
1999 Mar 19, Saudi Arabia
permitted some 18,000 destitute Iraqis to cross the border for the
annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
(SFC, 3/20/99, p.A8)
1999 Jun 27, It was reported
that Saudi Arabia had recently opened its borders to upscale travel
(SFEC, 6/27/99, p.T3)
1999 Aug 21, Prince Faisal bin
Fahd, the eldest son of King Fahd, died of a heart attack at age 54.
He headed the Arab Sports Federation and had just returned from the
Arab Games in Jordan.
(SFEC, 8/22/99, p.D5)
1999 Nov 27, Yemeni military
sources reported that 2 Yemeni soldiers had been killed over the
last few days in border clashes with Saudi Arabia.
(SFEC, 11/28/99, p.A26)
1999 Dec 9, The first day of
Ramadan. In Saudi Arabia a young man was scheduled to be beheaded by
this day unless the family of a man he killed, while performing the
mizmar dance, receive some $1.3 million in blood money.
(SFC, 12/6/99, p.A13)
1999 Anthony Cave Brown
published "Oil, God, and Gold: The Story of Aramco and the Saudi
(WSJ, 3/8/99, p.A16)
1999 Saudi police arrested
Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal and jailed him for 14 months for maintaining
contact with Osama bin Laden. He was then deported to Yemen.
(SFC, 11/26/03, p.A10)
2000 Jun 12, Saudi Arabia and
Yemen signed an agreement to end decades of border disputes.
(SFC, 6/13/00, p.A11)
2000 Oct 14, A Saudi jetliner
was hijacked with over 100 people and landed in Baghdad. 2 hijackers
(SFEC, 10/15/00, p.A10)
2000 Nov 8, Saudi Arabia opened
its border with Iraq and signed export contracts to nearly $600
million under exceptions to US sanctions.
(WSJ, 11/8/00, p.A1)
2000 Nov 17, A car bomb in
Riyadh killed Christopher Rodway, a British technician. In 2001 3
Westerners were arrested in connection with the bombing.
(SFC, 11/18/00, p.A12)(SFC, 2/5/01, p.A10)
2000 Nov 22, In Riyadh an
explosion hit a car and injured 3 British citizens. In 2001 3
Westerners were arrested in connection with the bombing.
(SFC, 11/24/00, p.D8)(SFC, 2/5/01, p.A10)
2000 Nov 22, Yemen identified
the bombers of the USS Cole as 2 Saudi Arabian citizens with Yemeni
family roots. One was named Abdul Mohsen al-Taifi and both had
suspected ties to Osama bin Laden.
(SFC, 11/23/00, p.A22)
2000 Dec 31, Six Persian Gulf
nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates) signed a regional defense pact.
(SFC, 1/1/01, p.A10)
2001 Jan 26, A UN panel
criticized Saudi Arabia for discriminating against women, harassing
minors and for punishments that included flogging and stoning.
(SFC, 1/27/01, p.C16)
2001 Jan, Abdulaziz al-Kohaji,
engineering student and son of a Saudi oilman, went missing from the
Community College of Denver. His body was found in a landfill in
Erie, 15 miles north of Denver, a month later and police said he had
been taped to a chair and strangled before being thrown into a trash
bin. Mishal al-Suwaidi, Tariq al-Dossary and al-Yousif, suspects in
the murder, were acquaintances of al-Kohaji and prosecutors said the
motive was robbery. Suwaidi and Dossary fled to Saudi Arabia. Yousif
was convicted in the US and sentenced to life. In 2004 the family of
Kohaji pardoned the Suwaidi and Dossary and save them from
2001 Mar 4, Muslim pilgrims
climbed Mount Arafat as some 2 million gathered for the annual hajj
(WSJ, 3/5/01, p.A1)
2001 Mar 5, Muslim pilgrims
began the stoning of the three pillars symbolizing the devil as part
of the annual hajj to Mecca. 35 people suffocated to death during
the stoning of the devil ritual.
(WSJ, 3/5/01, p.A1)(SFC, 3/6/01, p.A11)
2001 Mar 15, Chechen rebels
hijacked a Russian plane with 174 people after it left Turkey. They
forced a landing in Medina.
(SFC, 3/16/01, p.A14)
2001 Mar 16, Saudi commandos
freed over 100 hijacked hostages held by Chechen rebels. 3 people
were killed including a hijacker, a flight attendant and a
(SFC, 3/17/01, p.A10)
2001 Mar 25, The Higher
Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law claimed that
Pokemon games and cards have "possessed the minds" of Saudi
(SFC, 3/27/01, p.F2)
2001 Apr 16, Iran and Saudi
Arabia signed a pact to fight terrorism and drug trafficking.
(SFC, 4/18/01, p.A13)
2001 Aug 4, In Florida an
immigration official turned back Muhammed al-Kahtani (al-Qahtani), a
Saudi who had flown in from London with $2,800 in cash and no return
ticket. He was later captured in Afghanistan and detained at
Guantanamo after officials suspected that he was the intended 20th
hijacker for the Nov 11 attacks. In 2008 the Pentagon dropped
charges against al-Qahtani.
(Econ, 2/16/08, p.39)(AP, 5/13/08)
2001 Aug 31, Prince Turki
al-Faisal resigned as head of the General Intelligence Directorate
and Prince Nawwaf took over.
(WSJ, 10/22/01, p.A18)
2001 Sep 13, A private Lear jet
with 3 Saudi passengers flew from Tampa, Fla., to Lexington, Ky., as
part of an effort to help prominent Saudis, who feared reprisals
over the Sep 11 attack by al-Qaida in NYC.
(WSJ, 6/1/04, p.A1)
2001 Sep 14-24, Six chartered
flights carrying mostly Saudi nationals departed from the US. [see
(WSJ, 6/1/04, p.A4)
2001 Sep 20, A chartered flight
left the US with members of the sprawling bin Laden family. The FBI
interviewed 22 of the 26 people aboard.
(WSJ, 6/1/04, p.A4)
2001 Sep 23, The 6-member
Persian "Gulf Cooperation Council" (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, UAR) met in Jidda and pledged support for an int'l.
coalition against terrorism.
(SFC, 9/24/01, p.A7)
2001 Sep 25, Saudi Arabia
withdrew diplomatic recognition of the Afghan Taliban government.
(SFC, 9/26/01, p.A1)
2001 Oct 6, A bomb exploded in
Khobar. 2 people were killed and 4 were injured.
(SSFC, 10/7/01, p.A17)
2001 Oct 15, It was reported
that Sheik Hamoud bin Uqlaa al-Shuaibi (80), a militant Wahhabi,
called on Muslims to wage jihad on supporters of the US military
action in Afghanistan.
(WSJ, 10/15/01, p.A12)
2001 Oct 31, The Bush
administration said the Saudi government has issued an order to
freeze assets of people and groups suspected of links to terrorism.
(SFC, 11/1/01, p.A5)
2001 At Washington’s request
the UN Security Council ordered that the assets of Yassin Qadi, a
Saudi businessman and multimillionaire, be frozen soon after the Sep
11 attacks in NYC. He was alleged to be a financier of Islamic
terrorism with close links to al-Qaida. The EU froze the assets of
Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman, and the Al-Barakaat
International Foundation, a Sweden-based charity suspected of
funding al-Qaida terror groups. In 2008 the EU's highest court
overturned the decision saying the order failed to offer those on a
terror blacklist any legal rights to a judicial review under
European law. Also frozen were the assets of Omar Mohammed Othman,
also known as Abu Qatada, an extremist Muslim preacher from Jordan.
In 2009 an EU court voided the freeze on Othman due to lack of
proper judicial review. Othman has lived in Britain since 1993, has
been arrested several times there under anti-terrorist legislation
and currently faced deportation to Jordan.
(WSJ, 8/29/07, p.A1)(AP, 9/3/08)(AP, 6/11/09)
2002 Jan 4, A WSJ editorial by
former US Army officer Ralph Peters blamed Saudi Arabia as the
source of fundamentalist terrorism. "We must be prepared to seize
the Saudi oil fields and administer them for the greater good."
(WSJ, 1/4/02, p.A12)
2002 Jan 13, Muslim scholars
concluded a 6-day conference in Mecca and issued a definition of
terrorism as: "all acts of aggression committed by individuals,
groups or states against human beings, including attacks on their
religion, life, intellect or property.
(WSJ, 1/14/02, p.A12)
2002 Jan, Saudi Arabia began
the demolition of the 222-year-old Al Ajyad Ottoman fortress on
Bulbul Mountain in Mecca. A $120 million hotel complex was planned.
The demolition angered Turkey and destruction was halted.
(WSJ, 1/10/02, p.A9)
2002 Feb 17, Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah presented a Middle East peace plan to NY Times columnist
Thomas Friedman. It included Arab recognition of Israel's right to
exist if Israel pulled back from lands that were once part of
Jordan, including East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
(SFC, 2/26/02, p.A1)
2002 Feb 19, In Saudi Arabia
some 2 million Muslims gathered in Mecca for the annual hajj.
(SFC, 2/20/02, p.A11)
2002 Mar 7, Doctors in Saudi
Arabia reported that the world's 1st uterus transplant lasted 99
days before it began to deteriorate.
(SFC, 3/7/02, p.A5)
2002 Mar, A fire at a girl's
school in Mecca killed 15 students.
(WSJ, 3/19/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr 4, The UN released
$995 million in compensation to Kuwait for Iraq's 1990 invasion.
Most went to 1,058 individuals. Saudi Arabia received $82.6 million
and Jordan got $44.9.
(SFC, 4/5/02, p.A12)
2002 Apr 13, Ghazi Algosaibi,
Saudi ambassador to Britain, published a poem in the Saudi daily Al
Hayat titled "The Martyrs," in praise of Ayat Akhras, the Mar
29 Palestinian suicide bomber.
(SFC, 4/16/02, p.A9)
2002 Apr 20, It was reported
that recent flash flooding from torrential spring rains had killed
at least 19 people.
(SFC, 4/20/02, p.A24)
2002 Apr 25, Pres. Bush met
with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, who told him bluntly that the US
must temper its support of Israel. Abdullah gave Bush an 8-point
proposal for Middle East peace.
(SFC, 4/26/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr, The Saudi government
cracked down on factories producing women's cloaks that violated
(SSFC, 5/5/02, p.A16)
2002 May, Saudi diplomats
clashed with the UN Committee Against Torture over whether flogging
and the amputation of limbs are violations of the 1987 Convention
(SSFC, 5/19/02, p.A18)
2002 Jun 11, Moroccan police
arrested three Saudi nationals who were allegedly planning attacks
against U.S. and British war ships in the Strait of Gibraltar. They
were identified as: Hilal Jaber al-Assiri, Abdellah Ali al-Ghamdi
and Zuher al-Tbaiti.
2002 Jun 13, Pres. Bush met
with Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal and indicated that he would support
the creation of a Palestinian state.
(SFC, 6/14/02, p.15)
2002 Jun 18, Saudi Arabia
announced its first al-Qaida-related arrests since Sept. 11 and said
it was holding 11 Saudis, an Iraqi and a Sudanese man behind a plot
to shoot down a U.S. military plane taking off from a Saudi air
(Reuters, 6/18/02)(AP, 6/18/02)
2002 Jun 20, In Saudi Arabia
John Veness, a British employee at Al Bank al Saudi al Fransi, was
killed in a car bomb explosion in Riyadh.
(WSJ, 6/21/02, p.A7)
2002 Jun, Iran transferred 16
al Qaeda suspects to Saudi Arabia.
(SSFC, 8/11/02, p.A13)
2002 Jul 19, In Saudi
Arabia a passenger bus collided head on with a truck and caught fire
outside the holy city of Mecca, killing 26 people and injuring 24
2002 Jul 22, Ahmed bin Salman
bin Abdulaziz (43), the genial Saudi prince who dominated racing the
last two years with Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem and 2001 horse
of the year Point Given, died.
2002 Aug 7, Saudi Arabia's
Foreign Minister Prince Saud said his country had made it clear to
Washington, publicly and privately, that the U.S. military will not
be allowed to use the kingdom's soil in any way for an attack on
Iraq. Saud said the longtime U.S. ally does not plan to expel
American forces from an air base used for flights to monitor Iraq.
(AP, 8/7/02)(AP, 8/8/02)
2002 Aug 13, The minaret at the
Imam Ali al Uraidh Islamic shrine complex in Medina was demolished
(WSJ, 8/18/04, p.A1)
2002 Aug 27, Pres. Bush met
with Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, who said war with
Iraq was not acceptable and that Saudi Arabia would not cooperate.
(SFC, 8/28/02, p.A1)
2002 Sep 6, US officials
reported that the assets of Wa'el Hamza Julaidan, alleged al Qaeda
financier, had been frozen, and that he had been located in Saudi
(SFC, 9/7/02, p.A8)
2002 Sep 29, A Saudi prince
signed deals worth $330 million to export Sudanese livestock and
build a five-star hotel in Sudan's capital.
2002 Nov 3, Saudi Arabia said
it would not permit bases on its soil in an attack against Iraq and
would not grant flyover rights to US military planes even if the UN
sanctions an invasion. Prince Saud later said a final decision had
not been made.
(SFC, 11/4/02, p.A3)(SFC, 11/5/02, p.A7)
2002 Dec 10, Saudi dissidents
reported a new radio station, Sawt al-Islah (the Voice of Reform),
had started broadcasting from Europe to push for reforms.
(SFC, 12/11/02, p.A14)
2002 Dec 12, OPEC agreed to cut
oil production by as much as 7%, well ahead of a seasonal decline.
(SFC, 12/13/02, p.B1)
2003 Feb 8, Nearly 2 million
Muslims converged on Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. Some of the
faithful offered prayers to avert a U.S.-led war on Iraq.
2003 Feb 11, In Mina, Saudi
Arabia, 14 Muslim pilgrims were trampled to death when some
worshippers tripped amid a jostling crowd during the devil-stoning
ritual of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
(AP, 2/11/03)(SFC, 2/12/03, p.A9)
2003 Feb 18, Saudi Arabia said it has
referred 90 Saudis to trial for alleged al Qaeda links. Another 250
were reported under investigation.
(SFC, 2/19/03, A10)
2003 Feb 20, In Saudi Arabia a British
defense worker was killed by Saud bin Ali bin Nasser, a Saudi
(SFC, 2/21/03, A1)
2003 Mar 25, Saudi Arabia
contacted the United States and Iraq with a peace proposal and was
still awaiting a response.
2003 Apr 28, The US moved an
air operation center from Saudi Arabia to Qatar.
2003 Apr 29, The US said it
would withdraw all combat forces from Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 4/29/03, A14)
2003 May 6, Saudi authorities
seized a weapons cache and foiled plans by suspected terrorists. At
least 19 men were sought.
(SFC, 5/8/03, p.A1)
2003 May 12, In Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia, multiple, simultaneous suicide car bombings at 3 foreign
compounds killed 26 people, including 9 US citizens. The next day
Saudi authorities linked Khaled Jehani (29) head of a 19-member
al-Qaida team to the carnage. Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi,
a senior al Qaeda figure, surrendered Jun 26. On Jan 8, 2004, 8
accomplices were arrested in Switzerland.
(SFC, 5/14/03, p.A1)(WSJ, 5/14/03, p.A1)(SFC,
6/27/03, p.A16)(SFC, 1/10/04, p.A3)(AP, 5/12/08)
2003 Jun 7, The Saudi interior
minister linked last month's Riyadh bombings to the al-Qaida terror
network in an interview, and his ministry identified 12 of the
2003 Jun 15, The Saudi
government said it foiled "an imminent terrorist" attack with an
overnight raid on a bomb-filled, booby-trapped apartment in the holy
city of Mecca that left five suspects and two security agents dead.
2003 Jun, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
(22), a US citizen, was arrested in Medina as Saudi authorities were
investigating a wave of bombings. He was convicted in 2005 in a
Virginia federal court of conspiring with Al-Qaida. In 2008 a
federal appeals court upheld the conviction, but ordered a new
sentencing hearing. In 2009 he was sentenced to life in prison for
plotting to kill Pres. George W. Bush.
(SFC, 11/23/05, p.A14)(SFC, 6/7/08, p.A3)(SFC,
2003 Jul 3, In Suweir, Saudi
Arabia, Turki Nasser al-Dandani, the top suspect wanted in the May
12 Riyadh suicide bombing, was killed along with three other
militants in a gunbattle when police raided their hideout.
2003 Jul 21, The Saudi
government announced that police arrested 16 al-Qaida-linked terror
suspects over the last 4 days and used tractors to dig up an
underground arsenal: 20 tons of bomb-making chemicals, detonators,
rocket-propelled grenades and rifles.
2003 Jul 28, In Saudi Arabia 6
suspected militants were killed in a firefight with Saudi police,
who raided a farm where they were hiding out. Two police also were
2003 Aug 10, Saudi police
arrested 10 suspected Muslim militants following a gunfight after
police tried to stop their cars outside Riyadh.
(WSJ, 8/12/03, p.A1)
2003 Aug 11, Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah flew to Morocco for talks with King Mohammed VI about Iraq
and the Palestinian territories.
2003 Aug 15, Saudi police
arrested at least 11 suspected militants and seized a large weapons
cache in southern Jazan province that included rockets and explosive
2003 Aug 16, Former Ugandan
dictator Idi Amin, blamed for the murder of tens of thousands of his
people in the 1970s, died in a Saudi hospital where he had been
critically ill for weeks.
2003 Sep 2, Saudi Arabia's
Crown Prince Abdullah met Russia's Pres. Putin on the first visit to
post-Soviet Russia by a Saudi leader, aimed at coordinating oil
exports and soothing Russian concerns about alleged funding of
Chechen rebels by Saudi charities.
2003 Sep 14, A Saudi importer
of some 58,000 Australian sheep was reported to be trying to
give them away for free. The sheep had been stranded for five
weeks on the ship, the Cormo Express, due to a 6% infection rate for
scabby mouth disease. Australia in 2002 had imposed tougher rules on
ships exporting livestock to the Persian Gulf after it was revealed
that 14,500 sheep had died from heat stress in one month. Some 5,700
sheep aboard the Cormo Express died before Eritrea accepted the
(AP, 9/14/03)(Econ, 12/2/06, p.88)
2003 Sep 14, Dhaher bin Thamer
al-Shimry, a Saudi marijuana trafficker, was beheaded, bringing the
number of beheadings in the kingdom this year to 41.
2003 Sep 15, In Saudi Arabia a
fire that swept through el-Haer prison in Riyadh and 94 were
initially reported killed. 67 inmates died in the worst prison fire
in Saudi Arabian history.
(AP, 9/16/03)(AP, 2/16/12)
2003 Sep 23, A raid in Saudi
Arabia on Islamic militants left three suspects dead, including
Jubran Sultan al-Qahtani (aka as Zubayr al-Rimi), an al-Qaida figure
wanted by the US.
2003 Oct 13, The Saudi Cabinet
announced that first-ever elections would be held for local councils
in 14 municipalities throughout the country.
2003 Oct 14, In Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia, hundreds took to the streets demanding reforms, the first
large-scale protest in this conservative kingdom where
demonstrations are illegal.
2003 Oct 20, Saudi authorities
announced the arrests of terrorist suspects and the discovery of
large quantities of weapons and ammunition during raids around the
2003 Nov 3, Saudi police
battled militants in the streets of the holy city of Mecca, killing
two of the suspects and uncovering a large cache of weapons. Police
arrested six al-Qaida suspects.
(AP, 11/3/03)(AP, 11/4/03)
2003 Nov 6, In Saudi Arabia 2
suspected militants blew themselves up in Mecca when security forces
tried to arrest them. A 3rd was shot to death by police during a
raid in Riyadh.
2003 Nov 8, In Saudi Arabia a
suicide car bombing that devastated a Riyadh housing complex,
killing 17 people and wounding more than 120. Officials pointed to
al-Qaida terrorists as responsible.
(SSFC, 11/9/03, p.A1)(AP, 11/8/04)
2003 Nov 25, Saudi police
killed 2 militants and seized a car bomb ready for detonation in
post Ramadan celebrations.
(WSJ, 11/26/03, p.A1)
2003 Nov 27, Talal
al-Rasheed, a prominent Saudi poet, was shot to death by attackers
while on a hunting trip in Algeria.
2003 Dec 6, Saudi Arabia issued
the names and photos of its 26 most wanted terrorist suspects and
increased protection around Western housing compounds in the
2003 Dec 7, Saudi security
forces stormed a gas station and killed one of the country's most
wanted terrorist suspects and a second militant.
2003 Rachel Ehrenfeld authored
“Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It.” The
book sold 23 copies in Britain, over the Internet. She later lost a
libel case concerning the book brought in the English High Court of
Justice by Saudi businessman Khalid bin Mahfouz, who was awarded
2003 Dore Gold authored
"Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global
(WSJ, 3/27/03, p.D7)
2003 In Saudi Arabia Ati Bt
Abeh Inan, an Indonesian maid, was accused by her employer of
casting a spell on him and his family. She was sentenced to death.
In 2014, after 10 years in prison, she was pardoned and sent back to
(SSFC, 2/16/14, p.A6)
2003 Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul
All-Share Index posted a 76% gain for the year.
(WSJ, 4/4/05, p.C18)
2003 The Saudi-owned news
channel al-Arabiya was launched from Dubai.
(Econ, 2/26/05, p.25)
2003 A CIA report said that the
Al-Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia had served as a conduit for terrorist
transactions since at least the mid-1990s.
(WSJ, 1/26/07, p.A10)
2003 Libya planned a covert
operation to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
according to 2004 testimony by 2 jailed participants.
(SFC, 6/10/04, A10)
2003 Doctors at St. Vincent
Medical Center in LA, Ca., performed a liver transplant on a Saudi
citizen, who was 52nd on a transplant list. The Saudi Arabian
Embassy paid $339,000 for the operation. In 2005 the hospital
suspended its liver program after determining that the 2003
operation was improper.
(SFC, 9/28/05, p.A7)
2004 Jan 8, Teams of Swiss
police in 5 cantons arrested 8 suspected accomplices in the May 12
al Qaeda car bomb attack in Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 1/10/04, p.A3)
2004 Jan 29, In Saudi Arabia
some 2 million Muslims from around the world gathered at the start
of the annual Hajj.
2004 Feb 1, In Saudi Arabia 251
Muslim worshipers died in a hajj stampede during the annual stoning
of Satan ritual.
(AP, 2/2/04)(WSJ, 2/3/04, p.A1)
2004 Mar 15, In Saudi Arabia
authorities killed Khaled Ali Haj, a Yemeni, and Ibrahim bin
Abdul-Aziz bin Mohammed al-Mezeini, a Saudi. Haj, who also uses the
name Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, was the "most dangerous" al-Qaida
operative in the region. Haj was third on the government's list of
Saudi Arabia's 26 most wanted militants.
2004 Apr 10, Rania al-Baz, a
popular Saudi TV host, was severely beaten by her husband. She
suffered 13 facial fractures that required 12 operations. She
allowed photos to be broadcast and opened discussions of ongoing
violence against women in Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 4/20/04, p.A6)
2004 Apr 13, In Saudi Arabia
militants near Unaizah opened fire on a police checkpoint at dawn,
killing four police officers and fleeing in security agents' cars.
2004 Apr 19, Saudi police
seized 2 explosives packed SUVs on a highway outside Riyadh. It the
3rd day in a row that such a seizure was announced.
(WSJ, 4/20/04, p.A1)
2004 Apr 21, Two car bombs
blasted the Saudi security headquarters, killing at least 4 people
and wounding 148.
(AP, 4/21/04)(SFC, 4/22/04, p.A16)
2004 Apr 22, Saudi security
forces killed five wanted militants and were pursuing others after
shootouts that spread over two days in the port city of Jiddah.
2004 May 1, In Yanbu, Saudi
Arabia, suspected militants sprayed gunfire inside the offices of
Houston-based ABB Ltd., an oil contractor, killing at least six
people — including two Americans and three other Westerners — and
wounding dozens. Police killed four brothers in a shootout after a
car chase in which the attackers reportedly dragged the naked body
of one victim behind their getaway car.
(AP, 5/1/04)(SFC, 5/3/04, p.A7)(WSJ, 2/25/06,
2004 May 10, Saudi oil
ministers called on OPEC to pump more oil.
(SFC, 5/11/04, p.A1)
2004 May 20, Four suspected
Saudi militants and a policeman were killed in a shootout the Saudi
city of Buraida.
2004 May 28, In Saudi Arabia
suspected Islamic militants sprayed gunfire inside two oil industry
compounds on the Persian Gulf, killing at least 10 people including
(AP, 5/29/04)(SSFC, 5/30/04, p.A1)
2004 May 29, In Saudi Arabia
gunmen shot down security guards and entered 2 office complexes in
Khobar searching for and murdering anyone looking western.
(Econ, 6/5/04, p.41)
2004 May 30, Saudi commandos
stormed the expatriate resort of Khobar to free up to 60 foreign
hostages seized by Islamic militant gunmen who had attacked oil
industry compounds, killing 22 people. Americans were among those
killed and taken captive. 3 suspects escaped.
(AP, 5/31/04)(WSJ, 6/1/04, p.A1)
2004 Jun 2, Saudi security
forces killed two suspected militants linked to a weekend shooting
2004 Jun 6, In Saudi Arabia
Simon Cumbers (36), an Irish cameraman working for the BBC, was
killed in a shooting in Riyadh. BBC correspondent Frank Gardner was
left paralyzed. In 2014 eight men, part of an 86-member terrorist
cell, were found guilty of attacks against foreigners that included
Cumbers and Gardner
(SFC, 6/7/04, A8)(AP, 11/18/14)
2004 Jun 8, In Saudi Arabia an
American citizen who worked for a US defense contractor was shot and
killed in Riyadh.
2004 Jun 12, In Saudi Arabia an
American was kidnapped. An al-Qaida statement, posted on an Islamic
Web site, showed a passport-size photo of a brown-haired man and a
Lockheed Martin business card bearing the name Paul M. Johnson.
Islamic militants shot and killed Kenneth Scroggs of Laconia, New
Hampshire, in his garage in Riyadh. In 2014 a court in Riyadh
sentenced an Al-Qaeda member to death for the kidnapping and murder
(AP, 6/13/04)(AP, 6/20/04)(AFP, 8/19/14)
2004 Jun 13, Saudi Arabia held
a 3-day “national dialogue” in Medina on how women’s lives could be
improved. On Jun 15, recommendations (19) were given to Crown Prince
(Econ, 6/19/04, p.26)
2004 Jun 15, A Saudi al Qaeda
group threatened to execute Paul M. Johnson Jr. within 72 hours
unless fellow jihadists were released were released from prison.
(SFC, 6/19/04, p.A15)
2004 Jun 18, A Saudi al-Qaida
group said it killed American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., posting 3
photos on the Internet showing his body and severed head. Hours
later Saudi security forces killed Abdulaziz al-Moqrin (31), a top
al-Qaida leader, and 3 other militants in Riyadh.
(AP, 6/18/04)(AP, 6/19/04)
2004 Jun 23, Saudi Arabia
offered Islamic militants a limited amnesty, saying their lives
would be spared if they surrendered but they would face the "full
might" of state wrath if they did not. Prince Nayef said foreign
residents may be allowed to carry guns.
(AP, 6/23/04)(SFC, 6/25/04, p.A10)
2004 Jun 27, Saudi Arabia
dispatched two planeloads of aid to Sudan's war-torn western region
2004 Jun, The Saudi parliament
passed legislation overturning a law banning girls and women from
participating in physical education and sports. In August the
ministry of education announced that it had no intention of honoring
(SFC, 8/26/04, p.B1)
2004 Jun, Fawaz al-Nashimi (aka
Turki bin Fuheid al-Muteiry), an al-Qaida operative, was killed in a
gunbattle with Saudi forces. He was involved in the May 29 attack
inside two oil industry compounds. In 2006 an al-Qaida statement
identified him as the would-be 20th hijacker for the Sep. 11
(SFC, 6/21/06, p.A3)
2004 Jul 1, Saudi security
forces traded gunfire with militants in a Riyadh, killing one
militant and wounding one. A police officer was killed and two were
2004 Jul 12, A Sri Lankan woman
was beheaded in the Saudi capital for murdering her employer. Bader
el-Nisaa Mibari had been convicted of killing Sara bint Mohammed
al-Haqeel, a Saudi woman, after trying to rob her with the help a
2004 Jul 13, A confidant of
Osama bin Laden (Khaled bin Ouda bin Mohammed al-Harby) surrendered
to Saudi diplomats in Iran and was flown to Saudi Arabia.
2004 Jul 16, A Saudi transport
company said it had pulled out of Iraq to save the life of an
Egyptian truck driver taken hostage by kidnappers who demanded the
firm leave the country.
2004 Jul 20, In Saudi Arabia
the head of slain American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., who was
kidnapped and decapitated by militants last month, was found by
security forces during a raid that targeted the hideout of the Saudi
al-Qaida chief. Two militants were killed.
2004 Jul 29, In Saudi Arabia
Colin Powell met with Iraq’s PM Alawi to talk about a Muslim
(WSJ, 7/30/04, p.A1)
2004 Jul 30, Abdurahman
Alamoudi pleaded guilty in a Virginia court to moving cash from
Libya and involvement in a plot to assassinate Saudi Prince
(SFC, 7/31/04, p.A3)
2004 Aug 4, The official Saudi
Press reported that municipal elections across Saudi Arabia, the
first such polls in decades, have been have been pushed back two
months to November.
2004 Aug 6, Saudi officials
reported the capture of Faris Ahmed Jamaan al-Showeel al Zahrani,
No. 12 on their list of 26 most wanted terrorism suspects.
(SFC, 8/7/04, p.A10)
2004 Sep 1, In Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia, 3 people were killed in a stampede to a newly opened Ikea
(SFC, 9/2/04, p.C2)
2004 Sep 2, In Saudi Arabia one
policeman was killed and three others wounded in clashes with
militants in a town northeast of Riyadh.
2004 Sep 15, In Saudi Arabia
Edward Stuart Muirhead-Smith (55) was killed at the Max shopping
center in eastern Riyadh.
2004 Sep 26, A French national
was shot and killed in the Saudi Arabian city of Jiddah.
2004 Sep 28, Saudi Arabia's
highest religious authority issued an edict barring the use of cell
phones with built-in cameras, blaming them for "spreading
2004 Oct 16, Saudi security
forces captured four suspected militants in the Khaleej neighborhood
2004 Nov 6, In an open letter
to the Iraqi people and posted on the Internet, 26 Saudi scholars
and religious preachers stressed that armed attacks launched by
militant Iraqi groups on U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq were
2004 Nov 8, Saudi Arabia's
Crown Prince Abdullah launched $8 billion in development projects in
(WSJ, 11/9/04, p.A1)
2004 Nov 16, Saudi police
arrested 5 suspected militants in al-Qassim, 220 miles northwest of
Riyadh, following a shootout that killed a policeman.
2004 Nov 27, Saudi security
forces killed a suspected militant in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
2004 Dec 6, In Saudi Arabia
Islamic militants threw explosives at the gate of the heavily
guarded US consulate in Jiddah in a bold assault, then forced their
way into the building, prompting a gunbattle that left 9 people dead
and several injured. In 2005 two AK-47 assault rifles used in the
attack were later traced to Yemen’s Ministry of Defense.
(AP, 10/12/05)(AP, 12/06/05)
2004 Dec 22, Saudi Arabia
announced it was withdrawing its ambassador to Libya and ordered out
Libya's envoy in response to reports that Tripoli plotted to
assassinate the Saudi crown prince.
2004 Dec 28, In Saudi Arabia
security forces killed three suspected militants in a raid on their
hideout in Riyadh.
2004 Dec 29, In Saudi Arabia
insurgents bombed two security headquarters in Riyadh, setting off
violence that left 10 attackers and one bystander dead.
2004 Carmen bin Ladin authored
“Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia.” Carmen, the ex-wife
of Osama’s older brother Yeslam, grew up in Geneva.
(SFC, 7/29/04, p.D8)
2004 In Saudi Arabia women
until this year were legally required to conduct business through a
(Econ, 4/12/08, p.86)
2004 Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul
All-Share Index posted a 85% gain for the year.
(WSJ, 4/4/05, p.C18)
2005 Jan 1, In Saudi Arabia 2
men, a Pakistani and an Iraqi, were beheaded for smuggling in drugs.
2005 Jan 1, Saudi Arabia was
forecast for 2.3% annual GDP growth with a population at 25.7
million and GDP per head at $4,110.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.94)
2005 Jan 9, Saudi police killed
four terrorists believed linked to al-Qaida after the militants fled
their desert tent while throwing hand grenades at surrounding
2005 Jan 13, Saudi judicial
officials said a religious court has sentenced 15 Saudis, including
a woman, to as many as 250 lashes each and up to six months in
prison for participating in a protest against the monarchy.
2005 Jan 15, Police and
militants fought a gun battle in a small Kuwaiti town near a US
military logistics center, leaving one Saudi gunman dead and two
2005 Feb 5, The crown prince of
Saudi Arabia called for the creation of an international
anti-terrorism center to trade information in an effort to prevent
2005 Feb 7, A Saudi woman was
beheaded after she was convicted of murdering her mother-in-law.
Noura bint Khalaf al-Harbi was found guilty of setting her
mother-in-law, Noura bint Salem al-Harbi, on fire as she slept
following a dispute.
2005 Feb 10, Male voters
converged at polling stations in the Riyadh region to participate in
city elections, marking the first time Saudis are taking part in a
vote that largely conforms to international standards. Women were
banned from casting ballots.
2005 Feb 10, Saudi Arabia
confirmed a 2nd case of polio from 2004 and feared pilgrims to Mecca
might spread the disease.
(SFC, 2/11/05, p.A13)
2005 Feb 12, Saudi newspapers
said dozens of losing candidates in Saudi Arabia's first regular
election will contest results from the opening round of municipal
balloting, arguing that conservative religious candidates won
unfairly by claiming support from clerics.
2005 Mar 3, Men in eastern and
southern Saudi Arabia turned out in the thousands to vote in
municipal elections. They expect to provide their first say in
decision-making in this absolute monarchy.
2005 Mar 3, An Arab League
meeting opened in Cairo. An Arab diplomat said Syria has told Arab
countries it needs to keep 3,000 troops and early-warning stations
inside Lebanon to maintain its security despite international
pressure for a full withdrawal. Saudi Arabia told Syria to withdraw
(AP, 3/3/05)(SFC, 3/4/05, p.A3)
2005 Mar 13, Saudi police
killed an alleged Islamic militant and arrested three others in a
shootout at a suspected terror cell hideout in the Red Sea city of
2005 Apr 1, Saudi Arabia
beheaded 3 men in public in the northern city of al-Jawf where in
2003 they killed a deputy governor, a religious court judge and a
2005 Apr 1, Saudi Arabia’s
Tadawul All-Share Index reached a record 10853, up 28% for the year
(WSJ, 4/4/05, p.C18)
2005 Apr 3, In central Saudi
Arabia a gun battle began that left 7 suspected al-Qaida militants
killed in a shootout with Saudi security forces in ar-Rass.
2005 Apr 5, Saudi police killed
2 more militants, bringing the total to 9, as security forces
continued a tense standoff in ar-Rass. Among those killed were
Moroccan Kareem Altohami al-Mojati and Saudi Saud Homood Obaid
al-Otaibi, who were ranked 4 and 7 respectively on Saudi Arabia's
list of 26 most wanted al-Qaida-linked terror suspects.
(AP, 4/5/05)(SFC, 4/5/05, p.A3)
2005 Apr 6, Security forces
killed one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted Islamic militants. At least
14 militants were killed over the 4 straight days of shootouts with
extremists in different parts of the kingdom.
(AP, 4/6/05)(SFC, 4/6/05, p.A3)
2005 Apr 21, Saudi authorities
extended their limited experiment in democracy to the holiest cities
of Islam with elections for some local council seats in Mecca and
Medina, in the third and final round of the kingdom's first
2005 Apr 21, Islamic militants
clashed with Saudi security forces in Islam's holiest city of Mecca
and nearby Jiddah, killing two militants and two policemen.
2005 Apr 25, President Bush
sought relief from record-high gas prices and support for Middle
East peace as he opened his Texas ranch to Crown Prince Abdullah of
2005 May 8, In Saudi Arabia a
Pakistani man was beheaded for attempting to smuggle heroin into the
2005 May 15, In Saudi Arabia 3
reform advocates were sentenced to terms ranging from six to nine
years in prison, prompting a human rights activist to call their
trial a "farce."
2005 May 15, Ali al-Dimeeni
(al-Domeini), already jailed more than a year in a Saudi prison
outside Riyadh, was sentenced to nine years in prison for sowing
dissent, disobeying his rulers and sedition. His 1998 novel "A Gray
Cloud," centered on a dissident jailed for years in a desert nation
prison where many others have done time for their political views.
(AP, 5/25/05)(Econ, 5/21/05, p.51)
2005 May 27, King Fahd, Saudi
Arabia's monarch for the last 23 years was hospitalized for
2005 Jun 15, OPEC agreed to
increase its production quota by half a million barrels a day in an
effort to cool high crude oil costs that have dampened the global
2005 Jun 16, Board members of
the UN atomic watchdog agency approved a deal that exempts Saudi
Arabia from nuclear inspections, despite serious misgivings about
the arrangement in an era of heightened proliferation fears.
2005 Jun 18, A senior Saudi
police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting in Mecca.
2005 Jun 21, Saudi security
forces killed two suspected terrorists accused of fatally shooting a
senior security official outside his home.
2005 Jun 28, Saudi Arabia
issued a list of 36 men wanted for acts of terror and called on
people to report them to the police.
2005 Jul 8, In China Exxon
Mobil Corp., Saudi Aramco and top Asian refiner Sinopec signed a
$3.5 billion deal to expand a refinery in south China, sealing what
they called the country's largest oil project.
2005 Jul 25, Saudi authorities
arrested a number of suspected militants in Arar, Medina and Riyadh.
Among those arrested Mohammed Saeed Mohammed al-Sayam al-Umari (25)
was No. 10 on Saudi list of 36 most wanted terrorists.
2005 Aug 1, King Fahd (83),
Saudi ruler since 1982, died at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital
in Riyadh. He moved Saudi Arabia closer to the US but ruled the
nation in name only since suffering a stroke in 1995. His half
brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, was named to replace him.
(AP, 8/1/05)(Econ, 8/6/05, p.71)
2005 Aug 5, VP Dick Cheney,
accompanied by former President George H.W. Bush and former
Secretary of State Colin Powell, paid respects to new Saudi King
(AP, 8/5/05)(Econ, 8/6/05, p.10)
2005 Aug 8, In Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah pardoned 4 prominent activists who were jailed after
criticizing the strict religious environment and the slow pace of
2005 Aug 18, Saleh Mohammed
al-Aoofi, Al-Qaida's leader in Saudi Arabia, was killed along with 5
others during clashes with police in the western city of Medina.
Majed Hamed Abdullah al-Haasiri (29), who was No. 14 on a list of 36
most wanted terrorists sought for connection to terror attacks in
the kingdom dating back to 2003, was killed in a shootout with
police in Riyadh.
(AP, 8/18/05)(AP, 8/27/05)
2005 Aug, Saudi Arabia granted
a 15% pay raise to government employees, their 1st pay raise in 22
(Econ, 1/7/06, Survey p.11)
2005 Sep 4, Saudi Arabia said
it had signed a bilateral free trade agreement with the US.
2005 Sep 4, In eastern Saudi
Arabia police fought running gun battles with al-Qaida militants in
Dammam in clashes that killed two extremists and a police officer.
The militants aimed to attack oil facilities.
(AP, 9/4/05)(WSJ, 2/25/06, p.A1)
2005 Sep 6, Saudi security
forces stormed a villa in Dammam where Islamic militants were holed
up, ending 3 days of fierce fighting that killed 4 policemen and a
number of militants.
2005 Sep 8, The Saudi Interior
Ministry said security forces killed five of Saudi Arabia's
most-wanted al-Qaida militants in a three-day battle in an eastern
city earlier this week and arrested 11 other suspects.
2005 Sep 15, The Saudi
government ordered a Jiddah chamber of commerce to allow female
voters and candidates.
2005 Sep 21, In Saudi Arabia 2
men were beheaded in Riyadh, after being convicted of kidnapping and
raping a woman.
2005 Sep 25, Sudanese President
Omar al-Beshir met with King Abdullah in the Saudi city of Jeddah to
discuss cooperation between their countries and regional
2005 Sep, The novel “The Girls
of Riyadh” by Rajaa al-Sanie (23) was published in Lebanon. Only
pirated copies were available in Saudi Arabia. Rajaa Alsanea wrote
the novel as a series of anonymous e-mails about the protagonists.
In 2007 the book became available in English.
(SFC, 12/16/05, p.A29)(WSJ, 6/29/07, p.W2)
2005 Oct 4, A new Syrian TV
series began broadcasting around the Middle East. It tells the story
of Arabs living in residential compounds in Saudi Arabia and the
militant Islamists who want to blow them up so they can collect
their rewards in heaven, 72 beautiful virgins.
2005 Oct 19, The International
Organization for Migration (IMO) said "Ethiopian women and girls who
migrate to Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia suffer from
maltreatment, physical, sexual and emotional abuses," in a report
based on interviews with 443 women returning from the region.
2005 Oct 28, Saudi Arabia was
given a green light to join the World Trade Organization, in time to
participate in December's crucial ministerial summit in Hong Kong.
2005 Nov 8, The US State
Department issued its 7th annual report to Congress on religious
freedom. It cited Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam as restricting religious freedom.
2005 Nov 11, The World Trade
Organization (WTO) approved Saudi Arabia's bid to become the 149th
member of the global group, winding up a 12-year negotiating process
slowed by the country's participation in the Arab League boycott of
2005 Nov 13, Prince Saud
al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, said he is less worried
that US policies in Iraq will bring on a civil war there, and
pledged anew to contribute $1 billion for rebuilding that
war-ravaged country's shattered infrastructure.
2005 Nov 14, It was reported
that a consortium led by Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecom has signed a
deal to take a majority stake in state-owned telecommunications
company Turk Telekom, sealing Turkey's largest privatization worth
6.55 billion dollars. Oger Telecom, part of the Oger group owned by
the family of slain former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri, had won the
tender for the 55% stake in July, in partnership with Italian
operator Telecom Italia.
2005 Nov 17, Saudi judicial
officials said a Saudi high-school chemistry teacher, accused of
discussing religion with his students, was sentenced to 750 lashes
and 40 months in prison for blasphemy following a trial on Nov 12.
2005 Nov 27, Two women were
elected to a chamber of commerce in Jiddah, the first to win any
such post in Saudi Arabia, where women are largely barred from
2005 Dec 6, In Saudi Arabia
representatives of Islamic countries met ahead of a two-day summit,
with delegates saying the world's largest Islamic organization must
reform to face new challenges.
2005 Dec 8, In Saudi Arabia
leaders from more than 50 Muslim countries promised to fight
extremist ideology, saying they would reform textbooks, restrict
religious edicts and crack down on terror financing.
2005 Dec 27, Saudi police
arrested Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mohammed al-Suwailmi, a terror
suspect on the country's list of most wanted militants.
2005 Dec 28, Saudi police shot
dead a militant on Saudi Arabia's most-wanted list, the second major
terror suspect to die in the country in 24 hours.
2005 Pascal Menoret authored
“The Saudi Enigma: A History.”
(Econ, 11/19/05, p.87)
2005 Saudi Arabia enacted a law
that banned state employees from saying anything in public that
conflicts with official policy.
(Econ, 3/3/07, p.53)
2006 Jan 5, In Saudi Arabia a
building used as a hostel by pilgrims in Mecca collapsed as millions
of Muslims converged for the annual hajj, and at least 76 people
2006 Jan 12, Thousands of
Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during
the hajj tripped over luggage, causing a crush in which 363 people
2006 Jan 23, Saudi King
Abdullah met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing, amid
efforts by China to secure overseas oil and gas reserves for its
2006 Jan 26, Saudi Arabia
recalled its ambassador in Denmark to protest a published series of
caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. Protests spread across the
Muslim world for weeks, and dozens of people were killed.
2006 Jan 31, Saudi Arabia and
Jordan pressed the Islamic militant group Hamas to moderate its
stand on Israel and to entice the defeated Fatah party into a deal
to share power.
2006 Feb 19, Almost five months
after publishing 12 cartoons of the prophet to highlight what it
described as self-censorship, Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper
printed a full-page apology in a Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper.
2006 Feb 24, Suicide bombers in
explosives-laden cars attempted to attack an oil processing facility
at the Abqaiq facility that handles about two-thirds of Saudi
Arabia's petroleum output, but were stopped when guards opened fire
on them, causing the cars to explode.
2006 Feb 26, The Saudi Interior
Ministry identified two Feb 24 attackers as Abdullah Abdul-Aziz
al-Tweijri and Mohammed Saleh al-Gheith. Both were on a list of the
15 most-wanted terrorists the kingdom issued in June.
2006 Feb 27, Saudi security
forces in Riyadh shot dead five suspected terrorists believed to be
involved in a foiled attack on the world's biggest oil processing
complex. A sixth suspect was arrested. Fahd Faraaj al-Juwair, the
leader of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, and two men who helped attack
the world's largest oil-processing complex were among five militants
killed during the police raids.
(AP, 2/27/06)(AP, 2/28/06)
2006 Feb 28, Iraqi border
guards captured, Abdullah Salah al-Harbi, a Saudi who admitted he
was involved in the suicide attack on the Abqaiq oil facility in
2006 Mar 5, French President
Jacques Chirac on a trip to Saudi Arabia preached greater tolerance
and respect after the publication of satirical cartoons of the
Prophet Mohammad a month ago whipped up protests around the world.
2006 Mar, Persian Gulf stock
markets suffered their 1st serious correction after years of 6-7%
annual gains. Stock market reversals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the
UAR, along with Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia triggered outrage
among local small investors.
(WSJ, 3/27/06, p.C1)
2006 Mar 29, The Saudi Press
Agency reported that Saudi authorities had arrested 40 suspected
members of al-Qaida, including some allegedly involved in last
month's attempted bombing of a key oil complex, and seized a large
cache of weapons and explosives.
2006 Apr 6, Japan said it would
launch free trade talks with six Gulf kingdoms that provide
three-quarters of its oil imports, during a visit by a Saudi crown
prince aimed at expanding business ties.
2006 Apr 6, Cheese and butter
from the Danish company Arla were back on supermarket shelves in
Saudi Arabia after an Islamic group ended a boycott of the dairy
producer sparked by Denmark's publication of drawings of the Prophet
2006 Apr 15, Saudi Arabia's
Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz began a two-day visit to Pakistan
during which he is expected to discuss a possible arms deal.
2006 Apr 18, A security
official said Saudi authorities arrested five suspected terrorists
linked to the February 24 deadly attack on the world's largest oil
2006 Apr 22, Saudi Arabia and
China signed defense, security and trade agreements in Riyadh on the
first day of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit.
2006 Apr 30, Saudi King
Abdullah issued a decree lowering domestic gasoline prices by about
25%. That would lower the cost to about 16 cents per liter.
2006 Apr, Saudi Arabia
announced plans to build an electrified fence along its 560-mile
border with Iraq.
(WSJ, 9/13/06, p.A1)
2006 May 9, Cuba, Saudi Arabia,
China and Russia won seats on the new UN Human Rights Council
despite their poor human rights records. Two rights abusers, Iran
and Venezuela, were defeated.
2006 May 16, Saudi newspapers
reported that King Abdullah has told Saudi editors to stop
publishing pictures of women as they could make young men go astray.
2006 Jun 10, Three Guantanamo
Bay detainees, 2 from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen, hanged
themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes, bringing further
condemnation of the isolated camp where hundreds of men have been
held for years without charge. Yasser Talal al-Zahrani (21) of Saudi
Arabia, captured in Pakistan in 2002, was one of the 3 Gitmo
detainees who committed suicide.
(AP, 6/11/06)(Econ, 6/17/06, p.92)
2006 Jun 23, Saudi security
forces stormed a suspected al-Qaida hideout in Riyadh, killing six
militants and arresting a seventh after an exchange of gunfire.
2006 Jun 24, Saudi Arabia’s
Interior Ministry said security forces had arrested 42 suspected
terrorists, including four foreign nationals, allegedly involved in
earlier attacks across the kingdom. 27 of the detainees, including
an Ethiopian and two Somalis, were rounded up May 9-23 in Riyadh,
Mecca, the Eastern Region province and the Hafer al-Baten province
that borders Iraq. An Iraqi and three Saudis were detained in a June
17 raid on a desert camp in Hafer al-Baten. Another nine, all
Saudis, also were captured at a desert hideout in Hafer al-Baten.
Two more suspected were arrested after the June 23 raid.
2006 Jul 8, Saudi officials
said 7 suspected terrorists had escaped from a prison in Riyadh a
few days earlier.
2006 Jul 21, It was reported
that Saudi Arabia has ordered 76 artillery howitzers from the French
armaments manufacturer Giat Industries as defense minister Crown
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz completed a two-day visit.
2006 Aug 18, The Financial
Times reported that Britain has agreed to a multi-billion-dollar
defense deal to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to Saudi
2006 Aug 21, Saudi police
killed two armed men during clashes in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.
2006 Sep 8, It was reported
that Saudi Arabia’s religious police have issued a decree in Jiddah
and Mecca banning the sale of the pets, seen as a sign of Western
2006 Sep 9, It was reported
that some 15,000 students from Saudi Arabia were enrolling on
college campuses across the United States this semester under a new
educational exchange program brokered by President Bush and Saudi
2006 Oct 20, Saudi Arabia's
state-run news agency reported that the king gave new powers to his
brothers and nephews in an overhaul of the way the kingdom chooses
future monarchs, in what appeared to be an attempt to defuse
internal power struggles. King Abdullah established the allegiance
council, a body of 30-odd senior princes, as a new succession
mechanism aimed in the long term to choose the crown prince.
(AP, 10/20/06)(AFP, 6/16/12)
2006 Oct 20, Shiite and Sunni
religious figures met in Mecca in a bid to stop sectarian bloodshed,
and issued a series of edicts forbidding violence between Iraq's two
2006 Nov 25, US Vice President
Dick Cheney arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah,
apparently seeking the Sunni royal family's influence and tribal
connections to calm Iraq after an especially violent week..
2006 Dec 2, Saudi news said
authorities have arrested 136 suspected militants over the past
three months, accusing some of plotting to carry out suicide attacks
inside the kingdom.
2006 Dec 6, Saudi Arabia said
it had fired a security adviser who wrote in The Washington Post
that the world's top oil exporter would intervene in Iraq once the
United States withdraws troops. Saudi Arabia beheaded a
Pakistani citizen and his daughter for smuggling heroin into the
kingdom. The kingdom beheaded 83 people in 2005 and 35 people in
(AP, 12/6/06)(Reuters, 12/7/06)
2006 Dec 7, In Saudi Arabia
armed men shot and killed two guards outside a prison in the western
city of Jiddah before taking cover in a residential building where
they were surrounded by Saudi security forces.
2006 Dec 10, The oil-rich Arab
states on the Persian Gulf said that they will consider starting a
joint nuclear program for peaceful purposes. The six-nation Gulf
Cooperation Council included Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab
Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
2006 Dec 11, More than 30
prominent Islamic clerics from Saudi Arabia called on Sunni Muslims
around the Middle East to support their brethren in Iraq against
Shiites and praised the insurgency.
2006 Dec 26, The Saudi
government said it had released 18 men who were detained after
returning to their homeland from the US military prison in
2006 Dec 28, Nearly 3 million
Muslims from around the world, chanting and raising their hands to
heaven, marched through a desert valley outside Mecca on the first
day of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
2006 William Simpson authored
“The Prince: The Secret Story of the World’s Most Intriguing Royal,
Prince Bandar bin Sultan.” Bandar (b.1949) had served over 20 years
as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington (1983-2005).
2006 The Saudi offshoot of
Emaar, one of Dubai’s big-three developers, raised 2.55 billion
riyals ($680 million) to build a metropolis on the Red Sea coast.
The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) was due for completion in
(Econ, 4/26/08, p.38)
2007 Jan 3, In Saudi Arabia
Muslims circled the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, for a final time,
bringing to a close what may have been the largest hajj pilgrimage
2007 Jan 29, Saudi Arabia said
it would begin a 158,000 barrel-a-day cut in oil production
effective Feb 1.
(WSJ, 1/30/07, p.A1)
2007 Jan 30, The Saudi foreign
minister said Saudi Arabia and Iran are working together to try to
calm the crises in Iraq and Lebanon.
2007 Jan 30, Jamal Khalifa, a
Saudi citizen married to a sister of Osama bin Laden, was killed
when gunmen broke into his house in village in Madagascar in an
2007 Feb 3, The interior
ministry spokesman said Saudi police have arrested 10 people who are
accused of collecting donations and recruiting on behalf of militant
2007 Feb 4, A Saudi newspaper
reported that a Saudi Arabian judge sentenced 20 foreigners to
receive lashes and spend several months in prison after convicting
them of attending a party where alcohol was served and men and women
2007 Feb 7, In Saudi Arabia
rival Palestinian leaders began open-ended talks in Mecca optimistic
that they could reach an agreement to end their bloody street
battles and resume the peace process with Israel.
2007 Feb 8, A Fatah official in
Saudi Arabia said that rival Palestinian factions had reached an
agreement on how to divide up Cabinet posts in a power-sharing
2007 Feb 11, President Vladimir
Putin, making the first visit by a Russian leader to Saudi Arabia,
met King Abdullah and other senior officials for talks that touched
on regional tensions including Iraq and the Palestinian territories.
2007 Feb 17, A US human rights
watchdog that recently sent a team to Saudi Arabia to investigate
abuses said in a new report the kingdom keeps thousands of prisoners
in jail without charge, sentences children to death and oppresses
2007 Feb 19, A Saudi court
ordered the bodies of four Sri Lankans to be displayed in a public
square after being beheaded for armed robbery.
2007 Feb 21, Seven Saudis
released from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay returned home and were
promptly detained to see if they had terrorist connections.
2007 Feb 26, Three Frenchmen
who lived in Saudi Arabia were killed by gunmen on the side of a
desert road leading to the holy city of Medina in an area restricted
to Muslims only. Soon after a 4th died from his wounds. An
investigation later revealed that Waleed bin Mutlaq al-Radadi, among
the kingdom's most wanted terrorists, was the mastermind and one of
the triggermen in the shooting. Al-Radadi was killed on April 6 in a
gunbattle with Saudi forces.
(AP, 2/26/07)(AP, 4/18/07)
2007 Feb, Saudi Arabia arrested
10 intellectuals for signing a polite petition suggesting it was
time for the kingdom to consider a transition to constitutional
(Econ, 3/17/07, p.54)
2007 Mar 3, Saudi Arabia's king
personally welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his
arrival, a rapprochement many hope will help calm sectarian tensions
threatening the Middle East. The leaders pledged to fight the spread
of sectarian strife in the Middle East, which they said was the
biggest danger facing the region.
(AP, 3/3/07)(AP, 3/4/07)
2007 Mar 26, Israel welcomed
the idea of a regional peace summit and Saudi Arabia suggesting it
would consider changes in a dormant peace initiative to make it more
acceptable to Israel.
2007 Mar 29, Arab leaders at
their summit in Riyadh agreed on a call for Israel to accept their
land-for-peace offer and open direct negotiations with the Arabs.
Unlike past summits that at times saw overt feuds break out, the
gathering of Arab kings, emirs and presidents showed unusual public
unity as it revived the peace offer, which they first made in 2002
only to meet rejection from Israel.
2007 Mar, Britain's anti-fraud
agency told a private OECD meeting in Paris that they had evidence
that BAE paid more than 70 million pounds ($113 million) to a Saudi
prince with influence over arms deal contracts. A US diplomatic
cable regarding this was only made public in 2011.
2007 Apr 2, Saudi Arabia
signaled it is unlikely to accept an Israeli invitation to a
regional peace conference, saying that Israel must first stop
mistreating Palestinians and move to withdraw from Arab lands.
2007 Apr 5, US House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi said that she raised the issue of Saudi Arabia's lack
of female politicians with Saudi government officials on the last
stop of her Mideast tour.
2007 Apr 6, In Saudi Arabia
Waleed bin Mutlaq al-Radadi, among the kingdom's most wanted
terrorists, was killed in a gunbattle with Saudi forces. Al-Radadi
was implicated in the Feb 26 killing of 4 French nationals.
2007 Apr 15, The official Saudi
news agency reported that Sudan has signed a joint agreement with
the UN and the African Union that defines their respective roles in
2007 Apr 27, Saudi Arabia’s
Interior Ministry said police had arrested 172 Islamic militants,
some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft
in attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields. A spokesman said all that
remained in the plot "was to set the zero hour." More than $32.4
million was seized in the operation, one of the largest sweeps
against terror cells in the kingdoms.
2007 Apr 29, Saudi Arabia's
King Abdullah held an unannounced meeting with Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the recent escalation in
Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Saudi Arabia banned the sale of
concentrated fertilizer, a favorite component of homemade terrorist
(AP, 4/30/07)(Econ, 5/5/07, p.60)
2007 May 3, African neighbors
Sudan and Chad signed a Saudi-brokered reconciliation deal in Saudi
Arabia, requiring both sides to cooperate with the United Nations to
stabilize Darfur and the adjacent region in Chad.
2007 May 5, Prince Abdul-Majid
bin Abdul-Aziz (65), the governor of Mecca, died after a long
2007 May 8, A newspaper owned
by Saudi Arabia's royal family said one of seven recently exposed
Saudi terrorist cells used Syria as a base for coordinating with
al-Qaida in Iraq and held training camps in the desert of
2007 May 9, Saudi authorities
beheaded an Ethiopian woman convicted of killing an Egyptian man
over a dispute. Khadija Bint Ibrahim Moussa was the second woman to
be executed this year. The kingdom last beheaded two women in 2005.
Beheadings are carried out with a sword in a public square.
2007 May 9, In France Nayef
al-Shaalan, a Saudi Prince, was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in
jail on charges of involvement in a cocaine smuggling gang.
2007 May 30, A Saudi Arabian
detainee died at Guantanamo Bay prison and the US military said he
apparently committed suicide.
2007 Jun 7, British media
reported that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin Sultan pocketed about
$2 billion in secret payments as part of an $80 billion arms deal
between Britain and Saudi Arabia first signed in 1985.
(SFC, 6/8/07, p.A16)
2007 Jun 23, In Saudi Arabia a
judge postponed the trial of 3 members of the religious police for
their alleged involvement in the death of a man arrested after being
seen with a woman who was not his relative.
2007 Jul 15, The Los Angeles
Times reported that about 45 percent of all foreign militants
targeting US troops and Iraqi security forces were from Saudi
Arabia, 15 percent from Syria and Lebanon, and 10 percent from North
2007 Jul 17, The US freed 16
Saudis from Guantanamo and flew them home, where they were taken
into custody for investigation of possible links to terrorism.
(WSJ, 1/17/07, p.A1)
2007 Jul 30, UN inspectors
visited a nuclear reactor being built in central Iran, a facility
that has been off limits since April. Iran's foreign ministry
spokesman criticized a US plan to sell state-of the-art weapons to
2007 Jul 31, In Egypt US Sec.
of State Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a joint show
of diplomatic force during two days of meetings with Arab allies,
part of an 11th-hour effort to rally diplomatic and practical help
for the US-backed Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The tour opened
talks on a proposed US arms package for Arab states worth more than
$20 billion. US officials extended a 10-year pledge to continue $1.3
billion in annual aid to Egypt’s military. Military aid to Israel
was raised to $3 billion. Weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and 5
smaller monarchies was said to be $20 billion. Total US military aid
to the region over the next decade amounted to $63 billion.
(AP, 7/31/07)(Econ, 8/4/07, p.39)
2007 Aug 17, Saudi King
Abdullah ordered two aid packages worth 20 million dollars each be
dispatched to Sudan and Mauritania to help the impoverished African
countries hit by severe floods.
2007 Aug 28, Journalists and
diplomats said Saudi Arabia has banned the influential Arab
newspaper Al Hayat from distribution in the kingdom, just days after
it reported a Saudi man had served as a key figure for an al-Qaida
front group in Iraq.
2007 Sep 6, A Pentagon
spokesman said 16 detainees from the US military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been transferred to the custody of Saudi
2007 Sep 8, Saudi Arabia and an
influential Lebanese politician joined calls by Pakistan for former
prime minister Nawaz Sharif to scrap plans to return to the country
2007 Sep 10, Former PM Nawaz
Sharif returned to Pakistan from a seven-year exile, hoping to
campaign against the country's US-allied military ruler, but was
immediately charged with corruption and deported to Saudi Arabia
hours later. Pro-Taliban militants freed more than 260 Pakistani
troops who were kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in a restive tribal
region near the border with Afghanistan.
2007 Sep 16, Saudi King
Abdullah oversaw the signing in Jiddah of a reconciliation agreement
negotiated by several Somali factions in an attempt to stabilize
their country and battle the Islamic opposition.
2007 Sep 17, Saudi Arabia
announced it has signed a 4.43 billion pound (8.86 billion dollar)
deal to buy 72 Eurofighter planes, after tortuous negotiations on
one of the largest ever British export orders.
2007 Oct 5, Abdullah bin
Abdul-Aziz, Saudi Arabia's king, announced an overhaul of the
country's judicial system, fulfilling a pledge he made several
months ago to reform the current heavily-criticized administration.
2007 Oct 6, A Saudi newspaper
said the Saudi Arabian government will temporarily release 55
prisoners recently transferred from the US military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and will give each of them about $2,600 to
celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
2007 Oct 23, First lady Laura
Bush helped launch a screening facility in Saudi Arabia as part of a
U.S.-Saudi initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in the
kingdom where doctors struggle to break long-held taboos about the
2007 Oct 30, In London Saudi
Arabia's King Abdullah received a lavish welcome from Queen
Elizabeth II as he started a state visit amid angry protests and
headlines after accusing Britain of anti-terrorism failures. The
Policy Exchange, an independent think tank, said Agencies linked to
the Saudi government have distributed extremist literature to
mosques and Islamic centers in Britain.
2007 Oct 31, In London King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met PM Gordon Brown to discuss Middle East
issues and counter-terrorism, amid a swirl of protests.
2007 Nov 6, In the Vatican
Benedict XVI raised concerns about restrictions on Christian worship
in Saudi Arabia in the first meeting ever between a pope and a
reigning Saudi king.
2007 Nov 9, Saudi authorities
beheaded Saudi citizen Khalaf al-Anzi in Riyadh for kidnapping and
raping a teenager.
2007 Nov 10, Saudi authorities
received a group of 14 Saudis Saturday from the US military prison
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Saudi authorities beheaded a Pakistani for
drug trafficking. This execution brought to 131 the number of people
beheaded in the kingdom this year. Saudi Arabia beheaded 38 people
last year and 83 people in 2005.
2007 Nov 12, Airbus said it was
building a custom, 380 VIP double-decker jet for Saudi Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal with a price tag of over $320 million.
2007 Nov 14, A Saudi court
sentenced a woman (19) who had been gang raped to six months in jail
and 200 lashes, more than doubling her initial penalty for being in
the car of a man who was not a relative. The court also roughly
doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the
woman. Their new sentences range from two to nine years. The court
also banned the lawyer from defending her, confiscated his license
to practice law and summoned him to a disciplinary hearing later
2007 Nov 18, In eastern Saudi
Arabia an explosion and fire on a gas pipeline killed 40 workers.
The cause of the fire was an accident during maintenance work and
Aramco said it did not expect a disruption in gas supplies.
(AP, 11/18/07)(AP, 11/20/07)
2007 Nov 23, Saudi Arabia and
other Arab nations grudgingly agreed to attend an upcoming
US-sponsored Mideast peace conference, despite failing to get any
guarantee of Israeli concessions.
2007 Nov 28, Authorities in
Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of 208 suspected terrorists in six
cells and thwarted several planned attacks in the kingdom's largest
terror sweep to date. They included 8 al-Qaida linked men allegedly
planning to attack oil installations.
2007 Dec 16, Millions of
Muslims from around the world gathered in Mecca for the start of the
annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage, as the Saudi Interior Ministry
announced tough security precautions.
2007 Dec 17, In Saudi Arabia a
gang-rape victim who was sentenced to six months in prison and 200
lashes for being alone with a man not related to her was pardoned by
the Saudi king after the case sparked rare criticism from the United
States, the kingdom's top ally.
2007 Dec 21, In Saudi Arabia
the annual 5-day hajj come to a close as some 3 million pilgrims
2007 Dec 23, Saudi Arabia’s
Interior Ministry said police have arrested 28 men for allegedly
planning to attack holy sites around Mecca and Medina during the
recently finished Muslim hajj.
2007 The population of Saudi
Arabia passed 24 million. The country imported $6 billion in food
(WSJ, 12/12/07, p.A17)(WSJ, 8/26/08, p.A12)
2008 Jan 12, Saudi authorities
beheaded an Indonesian maid convicted of killing her employer. The
Interior Ministry said the maid used a pillow to suffocate her
employer Aisha Al Makhaled and then stole her jewelry in the
southern province of Asir.
2008 Jan 14, In Saudi Arabia
President Bush, on his first visit to this oil-rich kingdom,
delivered a major arms sale to its ally in a region.
2008 Jan 15, In Saudi Arabia
Pres. Bush urged OPEC nations to put more oil on the world market
and warned that soaring prices could cause an economic slowdown in
the US. The kingdom's oil minister said Saudi Arabia will raise oil
production when the market justifies it.
2008 Jan 21, In Saudi Arabia
the daily Al-Watan, which is deemed close to the Saudi government,
reported that the Interior Ministry issued a circular to hotels
asking them to accept lone women, as long as their information is
sent to a local police station.
2008 Jan 29, Saudi Arabia said
it had killed some 158,000 chickens after the deadly H5N1 bird flu
strain was found at an infected farm. The agriculture ministry also
said more than 4.5 million fowl have been killed in provinces around
the capital, but it did not specify when the killing took place.
2008 Feb 14, A leading human
rights group appealed to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to stop the
execution of a woman accused of witchcraft and performing
2008 Feb 23, In Saudi Arabia
bus plunged over a cliff, killing at least 25 people on board.
2008 Mar 3, Saudi police
arrested 28 suspected militants accused of trying to rebuild
al-Qaida’s terror network in the kingdom.
(WSJ, 3/4/08, p.A1)
2008 Mar 22, US Vice President
Dick Cheney completing a two-day stay in Saudi Arabia, discussed
ways to stabilize the energy market with Saudi King Abdullah.
2008 Mar 23, Saudi Arabia said
inflation reached a 27-year high of 8.7% in February.
(WSJ, 3/24/08, p.A6)
2008 Mar 24, Saudi Arabia said
its king would send a lower level diplomat to the March 29 Arab
League summit in Syria, which hoped to help solve the stalemate in
(WSJ, 3/25/08, p.A1)
2008 Mar 25, King Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia made a proposal for dialogue among the world’s
monotheistic religions. Abdullah said Saudi Arabia's top clerics
gave him a green light.
2008 Apr 13, The Saudi Arabia
beheaded two Nigerian men convicted of smuggling cocaine into the
kingdom. 42 people have been beheaded this year, according to an AP
2008 May 2, In Saudi Arabia a
German-based quartet staged the first-ever performance of European
classical music in a public venue before a mixed gender, largely
2008 May 16, Pres. Bush arrived
in Saudi Arabia and appealed for increased oil production just as
prices hit another record high.
2008 May 19, Matrook al-Faleh
was arrested at King Saud University in the Saudi capital Riyadh,
where he teaches political science. A rights group said it came
after al-Faleh publicly criticized conditions in a prison where two
other human rights activists are serving jail terms. Faleh was
released in January, 2009.
(AP, 5/25/08)(AP, 1/11/09)
2008 May 23, A UN food aid
agency said the response to its appeal for money to help meet
soaring fuel and food costs went beyond what it had hoped to
collect, saying $500 million from Saudi Arabia means it won't have
to cut rations.
2008 May 24, In Saudi Arabia
authorities beheaded a local man convicted of armed robbery and
raping a woman. The execution brings the number of people beheaded
this year to 55.
2008 Jun 5, In Italy a 3-day UN
summit aimed at fighting hunger worldwide ended with pledges to
boost food output, calls to cut trade barriers and more research on
biofuels. Just before the meeting Saudi Arabia announced a donation
of $500 million.
(WSJ, 6/6/08, p.A10)(Econ, 6/7/08, p.70)
2008 Jun 20, In Saudi Arabia
religious police arrested 21 allegedly homosexual men and
confiscated large amounts of alcohol at a large gathering of young
men at a rest house in Qatif.
2008 Jun 22, Saudi Arabia held
meeting in Jiddah between oil producing and consuming nations as a
way to show that it was not deaf to international cries that high
oil prices have caused social and economic turmoil. Oil Minister Ali
al-Naimi said Saudi Arabia is willing to produce more oil if
customers need it without citing any specific output increase.
Britain’s PM Gordon Brown called for cash-rich Gulf nations to
invest in renewable and nuclear energy production in Britain and
2008 Jun 25, Saudi officials
said authorities have arrested hundreds of suspected al-Qaida-linked
militants this year. Some of those arrested are suspected of
plotting attacks against the kingdom's oil and economic
installations. Of the 701 arrested 181 were released because there
was no proof linking them to the terror network.
2008 Jul 8, A human rights
group said domestic workers in Saudi Arabia often suffer abuse that
in some cases amounts to slavery, as well as sexual violence and
lashings for spurious allegations of theft or witchcraft.
2008 Jul 16, In Spain King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia kicked off an interfaith conference in
Madrid, an effort to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews closer
together amid a world that often puts the three faiths at odds.
2008 Jul 18, In Spain a
Saudi-organized conference of the world's great religions called for
an international agreement to combat terrorism, "a universal
phenomenon that requires unified international efforts."
2008 Jul 28, Tarek bin Laden
signed a deal with Djibouti to build Noor City, the first of a
hundred “Cities of Light” that the Saudi Binladen Group planned
around the world. Plans called for the city to have 2.5 million
people by 2025 and 4.5 million for its Yemeni twin.
2008 Jul 30, Saudi Arabia's
Islamic religious police banned the sale dogs and cats as pets, as
well as walking them in public due to “the rising of phenomenon of
men using cats and dogs to make passes at women and pester families"
as well as "violating proper behavior in public squares and malls."
2008 Aug 13, An alleged assault
by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (b.1955) reportedly took place on
a young model (20) on a yacht on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.
An investigating magistrate on the resort island closed the case in
2010 on grounds of insufficient evidence. In 2011 Spain reopened a
rape probe after tests done by a forensic lab found semen in the
woman and traces of a sedative called nordazepam.
2008 Sep 11, Sheik Saleh
al-Lihedan (79), Saudi Arabia's top judiciary official, issued a
religious decree saying it is permissible to kill the owners of
satellite TV networks that broadcast immoral content. On Sep 14 he
adjusted his comments saying owners who broadcast immoral content
should be brought to trial and sentenced to death if other penalties
do not deter them.
(AP, 9/12/08)(SFC, 9/15/08, p.A3)
2008 Oct 12, The United Arab
Emirates said it would guarantee domestic bank deposits and with
Saudi Arabia promised fresh financial support to domestic banks.
(WSJ, 10/13/08, p.A5)
2008 Oct 21, Saudi Foreign
Minister Saud al-Faisal confirmed for the first time that the
kingdom has been sponsoring talks between the Afghan government and
the Taliban militia.
2008 Oct 21, Saudi Arabia’s
interior minister said authorities have indicted 991 suspected
militants on charges that they participated in terrorist attacks
carried out in the kingdom over the last five years.
2008 Nov 2, British PM Gordon
Brown said he is confident that Saudi Arabia will contribute to the
International Monetary Fund's bailout reserves after he promised
business leaders in the Gulf that they would have a say in any
future new world economic order.
2008 Nov 6, A group of Saudi
activists began a rare public hunger strike to demand judiciary
reform and draw attention to the detention without trial of 11
2008 Nov 15, Gunmen hijacked a
freighter with 23 crew off the coast of Somalia. The crew of the
Japanese-owned Chemstar Venus consisted of five South Koreans and 18
Filipinos. Somali pirates hijacked the Sirius Star, a newly
commissioned supertanker, more than 450 nautical miles southeast of
Mombasa, Kenya, along with its 25-member crew. The ship, owned by
Saudi oil company Aramco, was capable of carrying about 2 million
barrels of oil. The ship was released on Jan 9, 2009.
(AP, 11/16/08)(AP, 11/17/08)(AP, 1/9/09)
2008 Nov 18, Owners of a Saudi
oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates grappled with how to
respond, as navies patrolling the region said they would not
intervene to stop or free the captured vessel.
2008 Nov 23, Saudi Arabia
slashed a key lending rate and cut reserve requirements amid
intensifying economic headwinds.
(WSJ, 11/24/08, p.A8)
2008 Nov, A US diplomatic cable
said donors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are sending
an estimated $100 million annually to radical Islamic schools in
Pakistan that back militancy. The cable was leaked to the public on
May 22, 2011.
2008 Dec 5, In Saudi Arabia
nearly 3 million Muslims from all over the world gathered in Mecca,
on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
2008 Dec 7, In Saudi Arabia
nearly 3 million Muslims converged on a rocky desert hill outside
Mecca to perform the ritual of forgiveness marking the climax of the
2008 Dec 10, In Saudi Arabia
Muslims poured into Mecca for a final day of the hajj.
2008 Dec 10, The European
Commission awarded the first Chaillot Prize to the Al-Nahda
Philanthropic Society for Women, a Saudi charity which helps
divorced and underprivileged women.
2008 Dec 14, It was reported
that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns a double-decker
"flying palace" and recently raised his bet on Citigroup, lost $4
billion in the past year.
2008 Steve Coll authored “The
Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century.”
(Econ, 4/12/08, p.92)
2008 David B. Ottaway authored
“The King’s Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s
Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
(Econ, 11/8/08, p.101)
2008 Saudi Arabia abandoned its
self-sufficiency agricultural program when it discovered that
farmers were burning through water coming from a non-replenishable
(Econ, 5/23/09, p.62)
2008 In Saudi Arabia Raif
Badawi co-founded a website as a platform for open debate on
religion. He was banned from travel in 2009 after criticizing the
official Wahhabist doctrine. In 2012 he was jailed for ridiculing
Islamic religious figures.
(Econ, 4/6/13, p.58)(Econ, 5/17/14, p.46)
2008 UNESCO proclaimed Madain
Saleh, as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia's first World
Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from
late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with
their elaborately ornamented facades, of the Nabatean kingdom.
2009 Jan 9, Somali pirates
released the MV Sirius Star, an oil-laden Saudi supertanker seized
on Nov 15, after receiving a $3 million ransom.
2009 Jan 14, Saudi Arabia's
most senior cleric was quoted as saying it is permissible for
10-year-old girls to marry and those who think they're too young are
doing the girls an injustice.
2009 Jan 19, The Saudi king
said his country will donate $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza
Strip after the devastating Israeli offensive and told Israel that
an Arab initiative offering peace will not remain on the table
forever. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency cut its benchmark lending
rate a half point to 2%, and its deposit rate by three-quarters
point to .75%.
(AP, 1/19/09)(WSJ, 1/20/09, p.A11)
2009 Jan 20, Saudi Arabia’s
prince Alwaleed bin Talal said his conglomerate Kingdom Holding Co.
lost about $7.9 billion in 2008.
(WSJ, 1/21/09, p.A11)
2009 Jan 21, In Pakistan a
Saudi called Zabi ul Taifi was among seven Al-Qaida suspects caught
when government forces mounted a raid near the northwestern city of
2009 Jan 23, Said Ali
al-Shihri, a Saudi man released from Guantanamo after spending
nearly six years inside the US prison camp, is now the No. 2 of
Yemen's al-Qaida branch, according to a purported Internet statement
from the terror network.
2009 Feb 2, Saudi Arabia issued
a list of its 83 most wanted suspects living abroad, including six
Saudis released from Guantanamo Bay, and asked Interpol for help in
arresting them. On Feb 10 Interpol put out an international alert
for 85 alleged terrorists suspected of plotting attacks against
(AP, 2/2/09)(WSJ, 2/11/09, p.A1)
2009 Feb 14, Saudi King
Abdullah (86), in an apparent bid to reform the religious
establishment, dismissed the head of the feared religious
police and a hard-line cleric who issued an edict last year saying
it was permissible to kill owners of satellite TV stations that show
"immoral" content. King Abdullah also appointed Noura al Fayez as
deputy minister of women’s education, the 1st female to hold a
(AP, 2/14/09)(SSFC, 2/15/09, p.A6)(Econ, 2/21/09,
2009 Feb 17, The Yemeni
Interior Ministry announced the surrender of Abu al-Hareth Muhammad
al-Oufi, a former Guantanamo detainee who later became an al-Qaida
field commander. He was handed over to Saudi authorities.
2009 Feb 19, Naser Abdel Karim
al-Wahishi, Yemen's most wanted fugitive and leader of al-Qaida in
the Arabian Peninsula, used an audio recording to urge Yemenis to
rise up against the government and called on Arabs in Saudi Arabia
and Gulf countries to help their brothers in Yemen.
2009 Feb 25, Saudi police were
reported to have clashed with Shiite pilgrims over several days near
a cemetery in Islam's second-holiest city, leading Shiite Cleric
Sheik Nimr al-Nimr to appeal to the king to put a stop to the
"insults" of the religious police. Shiites make up a small minority
of the country's 22 million people. Following the incendiary sermon,
more than 35 people were arrested in a government crackdown and
al-Nimr went into hiding.
(AP, 2/25/09)(AP, 4/1/09)
2009 Mar 3, In Saudi Arabia
Khamisa Sawadi, a 75-year-old widow, was sentenced to 40 lashes and
four months in jail for mingling with two young men who are not
close relatives. The case drew new criticism for the kingdom's
ultraconservative religious police and judiciary.
2009 Mar 10, In Saudi Arabia a
huge sandstorm blanketed the city of Riyadh with a thick layer of
2009 Mar 11, Saudi Arabia
hosted the leaders of Egypt and Syria in an effort to persuade
Damascus to move away from Iran and join with US-allied Arab
countries in working to blunt Tehran's influence.
2009 Mar 22, A group of Saudi
clerics urged the kingdom's new information minister to ban women
from appearing on TV or in newspapers and magazines, making clear
that the country's hardline religious establishment is skeptical of
a new push toward moderation.
2009 Mar 25, Fahad al-Ruwaily,
a senior al-Qaida leader, returned to Saudi Arabia voluntarily and
turned himself in. He was on a list of the kingdom's 85 most wanted
militants living abroad.
2009 Mar 27, Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah (84) appointed his half-brother, Prince Nayef (75), as
his 2nd deputy prime minister.
(Econ, 4/4/09, p.51)
2009 Apr 1, Sudanese President
Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Saudi Arabia for a brief
pilgrimage, his latest trip abroad in defiance of an international
arrest warrant against him.
2009 Apr 7, Saudi authorities
beheaded 3 Pakistanis convicted of killing a fellow Pakistani during
a jewelry heist. This brought to 20 the number of beheadings in the
kingdom this year.
2009 Apr 11, A Saudi man
convicted of rape and robbery was beheaded, becoming the 22nd
prisoner to be executed by sword this year in the kingdom. An
Interior Ministry statement says the man committed the crimes after
2009 Apr 30, In Saudi Arabia a
lawyer said an 8-year-old girl has divorced her middle-aged husband
after her father forced her to marry him last year in exchange for
about $13,000. Saudi Arabia has come under increasing criticism at
home and abroad for permitting child marriages. The United States, a
close ally of the conservative Muslim kingdom, has called child
marriage a "clear and unacceptable" violation of human rights.
2009 May 12, The US won a seat
on the UN Human Rights Council for the first time along with Cuba,
Saudi Arabia, China and Russia, four countries accused of serious
human rights violations.
(SFC, 5/13/09, p.A2)
2009 May 23, It was reported
that Saudi Arabian investors were spending $100 million to raise
wheat, barley and rise on land leased from the government of
Ethiopia. The World Food Program estimated that it would spend
almost the same amount between 2007 and 2011 to provide 230,000 tons
of food aid to some 4.6 million Ethiopians threatened by hunger and
(Econ, 5/23/09, p.61)
2009 May 28, The Saudi Arabia,
Monetary Agency froze the bank accounts of Maan al-Sanea, head of
the Saad Group and ranked recently as the 3rd richest Arab
(Econ, 6/20/09, p.70)
2009 May 29, Saudi authorities
beheaded and crucified a man convicted of brutally slaying an
11-year-old boy and his father.
2009 May, The Int’l. Banking
Corporation (TIBC), a Bahraini bank, defaulted. It was owned by the
Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company of Saudi Arabia. The
group later alleged the default was due to fraud orchestrated by
Maan Al-Sanea, a Saudi billionaire born in Kuwait. The Gosaibis
estimated that Al-Sanea had misappropriated some $9.2 billion.
(Econ, 7/11/09, p.65)(Econ, 2/20/10, p.61)
2009 Jun 3, Iranian nuclear
scientist Shahram Amiri vanished during a pilgrimage to the Saudi
kingdom. In October Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
said: "We hold Saudi Arabia responsible for Shahram Amiri's
situation and consider the US to be involved in his arrest."
2009 Jun 3, President Barack
Obama began his latest bid to open a dialogue with the Muslim world
by paying a call on King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Pres. Obama spoke
to King Abdullah about a host of thorny problems, from Arab-Israeli
peace efforts to Iran's nuclear program.
2009 Jun 6, In Saudi Arabia a
screening of the Saudi film, "Menahi," brought a taste of the
moviegoing experience to Riyadh more than 30 years after the
government began shutting down theaters. No women were allowed. Men
and children, including girls up to 10, were allowed to attend the
show at a government-run cultural center.
2009 Jun 7, Bahrain, Kuwait,
Qatar and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement paving the way for a
monetary union and plans for a unified regional currency.
(SFC, 6/8/09, p.C1)
2009 Jun 12, Guantanamo
detainee Ahmed Zuhair and two others were reported to have been sent
home to Saudi Arabia, where they would be subject to judicial review
before entering a government-run "rehabilitation" program. Zuhair
had been held at Guantanamo since June 2002 and had refused to eat
since the summer of 2005. He was force-fed a liquid mix to keep him
2009 Jun 14, Yemen accused a
Shiite rebel group of kidnapping nine foreigners while on a picnic
in northern Saada province. The Interior Ministry official said
Hassan Hussein Bin Alwan, a Saudi man suspected of financing
Al-Qaida cells in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, has been arrested.
2009 Jun 24, The Gosaibi family
of Saudi Arabia held a creditor’s meeting in Bahrain. Their
representatives revealed that the group owed $9.2 billion to over
120 banks all over the world.
(Econ, 7/11/09, p.65)
2009 Jul 15, Mazen Abdul-Jawad
(32), a Saudi man, appeared on the Lebanese-based LBC satellite TV
station’s "Bold Red Line" program and shocked Saudis by publicly
confessing to sexual exploits. More than 200 people soon filed legal
complaints against Abdul-Jawad, dubbed a "sex braggart" by the
media, and many Saudis said he should be severely punished. On July
31 Abdul-Jawad was detained for questioning. The Jiddah offices of
the LBC station were closed soon thereafter.
(AP, 8/6/09)(AP, 8/9/09)
2009 Jul 8, Saudi officials
said a criminal court has convicted and sentenced an al-Qaida
militant to death and given more 330 others jail terms, fines and
travel bans in the country's first known terrorism trials for
suspected members of the terror network. The 330 are believed to be
among the 991 suspected militants that Interior Minister Prince
Nayef has said had been charged with participating in terrorist
attacks over the past five years.
2009 Jul 9-2009 Aug 2, Saudi
Arabian authorities arrested 44 suspected militants who sought to
recruit youths and finance their "deviant activities" through
2009 Jul 22, Amnesty
International reported that Saudi Arabia is holding more than 3,000
people in secret detention and has used torture to extract
confessions in its anti-terrorism crackdown since the Sept. 11, 2001
2009 Jul 23, Arab health
ministers decided to ban children, the elderly and those with
chronic medical conditions from attending the annual Muslim
pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this year in effort to slow the spread of
2009 Aug 9, Italians newspapers
reported that burglars earlier in the week had made off with jewels
and cash worth 11 million euros (15.6 million dollars) from the
hotel room of a Saudi princess in Sardinia, sparking a diplomatic
incident. On Sep 15 Sardinia police said most of the jewels had been
(AFP, 8/9/09)(AP, 9/15/09)
2009 Aug 19, Saudi authorities
said they have arrested 44 suspected militants with al-Qaida links
in a yearlong sweep that also uncovered dozens of machine guns and
electronic circuits for bombs.
2009 Aug 27, In Saudi Arabia a
suicide bomber targeted the assistant interior minister, Prince
Mohammed bin Nayef, and blew himself up just before going into a
gathering of well-wishers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in
Jiddah. Nayef was slightly wounded.
2009 Sep 14, The Saudi Interior
Ministry said on Jan 18, 2010, that an investigation has shown that
three Saudi militants were killed in a Sept. 14 blast outside the
country [see Afghanistan and Pakistan Sep 14, 2009].
2009 Sep 23, Saudi Arabia
opened a new multibillion dollar coed university outside the coastal
city of Jeddah. The King Abdullah Science and Technology University,
or KAUST, boasts state-of-the-art labs, the world's 14th fastest
supercomputer and one of the biggest endowments worldwide. 817
students representing 61 different countries were currently
enrolled, with 314 beginning classes this month.
2009 Oct 7, A Saudi court
convicted Mazen Abdul-Jawad for publicly talking about sex after he
bragged on a TV talk show about his exploits, sentencing him to five
years in jail and 1,000 lashes. The program, which aired July 15 on
the Lebanese LBC satellite channel, was seen in Saudi Arabia and
scandalized conservative viewers where such frank talk is rarely
heard in public.
2009 Oct 7, Saudi Arabia's King
Abdullah made his first visit to Syria since becoming monarch, the
strongest indication yet of thawing relations between the two rival
nations following years of tension. The 2-day talks between Abdullah
and Assad focused on the need for Arab solidarity in view of the
numerous challenges facing the Arab world.
(AP, 10/7/09)(AP, 10/9/09)
2009 Oct 13, In Saudi Arabia a
shootout between Saudi security forces and al-Qaida militants near,
two of whom were disguised as women and wearing explosives belts,
left two of the militants and a soldier dead near the southern Yemen
border. One of the assailants, Abdullah Hassan Tali Assiri, was
captured. The two al-Qaida militants killed were planning to carry
out a massive attack. 6 Yemeni accomplices. who were coordinating
with the two militants, Youssef al-Shihri and Raed al-Harbi, were
(AP, 10/14/09)(AP, 10/18/09)
2009 Oct 24, A Saudi court
convicted a female journalist for her involvement in a TV show, in
which a Saudi man, Abdul-Jawad, publicly talked about sex, and
sentenced her to 60 lashes. Rozanna al-Yami (22) is believed to be
the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The
same court sentenced Abdul-Jawad earlier this month to five years in
jail and 1,000 lashes. 3 other men who appeared on the show, "Bold
Red Line," were also convicted of discussing sex publicly and
sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each. Saudi
Arabia's King Abdullah waived the flogging sentence of the female
journalist, the second such pardoning of such a high profile case by
the monarch in recent years. He ordered al-Yami's case and that of
another journalist, a pregnant woman also accused of involvement in
the program, be referred to a committee in the ministry.
(AP, 10/24/09)(AP, 10/26/09)
2009 Oct, The Bin Laden family
went under the spotlight in "Growing Up Bin Laden," written by Omar
bin Laden and his mother, Najwa bin Laden. In Dec, 2009, Omar bin
Laden, revealed that many of the children who had been with their
father in Afghanistan escaped to Iran following the 2001 US-led
invasion, and were still together in a walled compound under Iranian
2009 Nov 1, A Saudi Arabia
Interior Ministry spokesman said authorities have discovered large
quantities of weapons in the capital Riyadh belonging to al-Qaida
terror network. The discovery included 281 assault rifles and 51
2009 Nov 3, Unidentified gunmen
infiltrated from Yemen and attacked Saudi security guards patrolling
the Mount Dokhan border area. 3 senior security men were killed.
(AP, 11/5/09)(Econ, 11/7/09, p.47)
2009 Nov 4, Saudi Arabia
launched a large military incursion across the border into northern
Yemen, using fighter jets and artillery bombardments to try to end a
Shiite rebellion inside its troubled southern neighbor.
2009 Nov 6, Saudi Arabia said
it carried out airstrikes against "infiltrators" from Yemen that
were limited to areas inside Saudi territory, and vowed to press on
with the military action until the border with its restive neighbor
was secure. In Yemen, however, a military official said Saudi forces
continued to shell rebel position in Saada.
2009 Nov 8, Saudi Arabia’s
assistant defense minister said Saudi forces have taken control of
Dokhan mountain straddling the border with Yemen and cleared it of
Shiite rebels, in five days of fighting that saw three soldiers
killed and 15 wounded.
2009 Nov 9, In Saudi Arabia Ali
Sibat (49), a Lebanese psychic who made predictions on a satellite
TV channel from his home in Beirut, was sentenced to death for
practicing witchcraft. He was arrested by religious police in Medina
during a pilgrimage there in May, 2008. In 2010 Saudi authorities
said Sibat would not be beheaded. A 3-judge panel said that there
was not enough evidence that Sibat's actions harmed others. They
ordered the case to be retried in a Medina court and recommended
that the sentence be commuted and that Sibat be deported.
(AP, 11/25/09)(AP, 4/21/10)(AP, 11/13/10)
2009 Nov 10, A Saudi Arabian
government adviser says the kingdom has imposed a naval blockade on
northern Yemen's Red Sea coast to try to prevent weapons and
fighters flowing to Shiite rebels in the area.
2009 Nov 21, Saudi health
officials announced the first deaths from swine flu of this year's
annual pilgrimage to Mecca, as four pilgrims succumbed to the
disease soon after arriving in Saudi Arabia.
2009 Nov 23, Shiite rebels in
northern Yemen accused Saudi forces of launching a major
cross-border ground and air attack, a day after an alleged failed
2009 Nov 25, In Saudi Arabia
rare, heavy rainstorms soaked pilgrims and flooded the road into
Mecca, snarling Islam's annual hajj as some 2.5 million Muslims
headed for the holy sites. The downpours add an extra hazard on top
of intense concerns about the spread of swine flu. The torrential
rains killed at least 106 people. Most of the deaths occurred in
Jiddah, where streets were swamped with water, some houses collapsed
and mudslides took place, and in areas around the main highway to
(AP, 11/25/09)(AFP, 11/25/09)(AP, 11/26/09)(AP,
2009 Nov 27, In Saudi Arabia
vast crowds of pilgrims cast stones at walls representing the devil
on the third day of the annual hajj as Muslims around the world
began celebrating Eid al-Adha, the most important holiday of the
2009 Nov 27, Saudi Arabia said
nine of its soldiers fighting Yemeni rebels on the border were
missing and Saudi King Abdullah vowed to defend the country.
2009 Nov 29, Saudi officials
said 5 people died from swine flu during the hajj, a relatively
small number considering the event is the largest annual gathering
in the world and was seen as an ideal incubator for the virus.
2009 Nov 29, Somali pirates
seized the Greece-flagged Maran Centaurus, a tanker carrying more
about $150 million of crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the US, in the
waters off East Africa.
(AP, 11/30/09)(AP, 12/4/09)
2009 Dec 12, Saudi newspapers
said Saudi ground forces and Apache attack helicopters had battled
Huthi fighters for two days at the Al-Jabri post on the Yemeni
border in the southern province of Yemen, and repulsed attempted
Huthi incursions. Saudi military denied a claim by Yemen's Huthi
rebels that they seized a Saudi border post.
2009 Dec 13, In Yemen air
strike killed at least 35 people in the northwest where rebels have
been fighting a guerrilla war against Yemeni and Saudi forces.
Rebels said 70 civilians were killed as fighter jets struck the town
(SFC, 12/14/09, p.A2)
2009 Dec 15, In Kuwait Gulf
Arab nations put into force a monetary pact, moving a step closer
toward the elusive goal of a single regional currency and greater
integration between the mainly oil-rich states. The announcement was
made by Kuwait's finance minister came as leaders from the
six-member Gulf Cooperation Council nations were wrapping up a
two-day summit in which they launched a regional electricity
project. The GCC groups Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab
Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.
2009 Dec 22, Saudi Arabia said
that 73 Saudis have been killed and 26 gone missing since the
kingdom launched an offensive against Yemeni Shiite rebels along the
border last month. Rebels, known as Hawthis, have alleged dozens of
civilian deaths in Saudi air assaults.
(SFC, 12/23/09, p.A2)
2009 Dec 28, In Niger
unidentified gunmen in the remote western desert shot dead 3
tourists from Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 12/29/09, p.A2)
2009 Robert Lacey, British
journalist, authored “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics,
Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia.”
(Econ, 10/10/09, p.88)
2010 Jan 12, Saudi Arabia said
that 82 Saudi soldiers been killed and 21 are missing since November
when it joined the fighting in battling rebels along the
2010 Jan 19, A Saudi court
sentenced a teenage girl (13) to a 90-lash flogging and two months
in prison as punishment for assaulting a teacher. The assault
happened after the girl was caught with a camera phone at school.
2010 Jan 23, Saudi Arabia’s
assistant defense minister said Saudi forces have recovered the
bodies of 20 soldiers who had been reported missing in fierce
battles with Yemeni rebels on the border, raising the Saudi death
toll in the conflict to 133.
2010 Jan 25, A Saudi foreign
ministry spokesman said Saudi Arabia has donated $50 million in
relief to Haiti to cope with the devastating earthquake that hit the
country nearly two weeks ago, making it the largest donation from
the Middle East to date.
2010 Jan 25, It was reported
that Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, the leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels, has
declared the war with Saudi Arabia over and that he will pull his
fighters out of Saudi territory. At least 133 Saudis soldiers have
died in the months of fierce fighting in the rugged border region.
2010 Jan 27, A top Saudi
defense official said Saudi forces have driven Yemeni rebels out of
the border region between the two countries, suggesting that the
three month conflict along the mountainous frontier may be winding
2010 Feb 2, Saudi Arabia said
it will not get involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the
Taliban stops providing shelter and severs all ties with Osama bin
Laden and Al-Qaeda. Afghan Pres. Karzai was in Saudi Arabia hoping
for an active Saudi role to persuade Taliban militants to switch
(SFC, 2/3/10, p.A4)
2010 Feb 8, Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula number two Said al-Shihri called for attacks
against US interests "everywhere," in an audio message released on
2010 Feb 11, The Saudi
religious police launched a nationwide crackdown on stores selling
items that are red or in any other way allude to the banned
celebrations of Valentine's Day.
2010 Feb 15, Yemeni Shiite
rebels handed over the first of five Saudi soldiers held captive
since their border war.
2010 Feb 15, In London,
England, a 33-year-old man was arrested after the body of a Saudi
man (32) was discovered at the prestigious Landmark Hotel in the
Marylebone area. The suspect claimed to be a member of the Saudi
royal family. Prince Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir Bin Abdulaziz Al
Saud was soon charged for the killing of Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz.
On Oct 19 the prince was convicted of murder. Photographs of
Abdulaziz stored on a mobile phone had shown that there was a
"sexual element" to the abuse.
(AFP, 2/17/10)(AP, 2/19/10)(AP, 10/19/10)
2010 Feb 28, In Saudi Arabia
Indian PM Manmohan Singh pitched for investment in his economy and
closer petroleum sector cooperation with Saudi Arabia, the second
day of a visit to the Middle East oil giant.
2010 Mar 1, Somali pirates
hijacked a Saudi tanker in the Gulf of Aden. The Al Nisr Al Saudi
usually carried fuel oil but was empty when it was taken with 14
crew onboard. NATO said one of its destroyers sank a pirate
mothership off the Somali coast. Pirate crew members were
transferred to a smaller boat and allowed to return to the mainland.
(AP, 3/3/10)(SFC, 3/2/10, p.A2)(SFC, 3/4/10,
2010 Mar 6, The Saudi Civil and
Political Rights Association said that Saudi security officers
stormed a book stall at the Riyadh Int’l. Book Fair last week and
confiscated all work by Abdellah Al-Hamid, a well-known reformer and
critic of the royal family.
(SSFC, 3/7/10, p.A6)
2010 Mar 24, Saudi Arabia said
it has foiled several planned attacks on oil installations with the
arrests of 113 suspected al-Qaida militants in a months-long sweep.
2010 Apr 20, In Saudi Arabia a
police official said that the head of the powerful religious police
has fired the chief of the Mecca branch for advocating the mixing of
the sexes. Ahmed bin Qassim al-Ghamidi's suggestion in a newspaper
interview this week that men and women should be left to mingle
freely directly clashed with a central preoccupation of the force.
2010 May 3, In Saudi Arabia 2
people died in the flooding caused by violent thunderstorms which
paralyzed Riyadh this week.
2010 May 5, Kuwaiti and Saudi
officials said an Iranian espionage group has been dismantled in
Kuwait. The cell was reportedly acting on behalf of Iran's
2010 May 16, Prominent Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi resigned from the helm of Al-Watan daily
in a move believed linked to official displeasure with articles
critical of the state's harsh Islamic rules.
2010 Jun 10, In Saudi Arabia a
government-owned daily reported that a Saudi court has convicted a
man and sentenced him to four months in prison and 90 lashes for
kissing a woman in a mall.
2010 Jun 22, A Saudi court
convicted four women and 11 men for mingling at a party and
sentenced them to flogging and prison terms.
2010 Jun 29, President Barack
Obama and Saudi King Abdullah voiced "strong support" for
international efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program, which the West
says masks a secret drive to develop the capability for an atomic
2010 Jul 5, The US deported
Imam Ahmad Afzali to Saudi Arabia. He had admitted to lying to the
FBI during an investigation into a suicide bomb plot against NYC
subway stations in 2009.
(SFC, 7/6/10, p.A4)
2010 Jul 27, Iranian Shiite
cleric Yasser Khalili was arrested in Saudi Arabia and put on trial
on September 3 charged with "raising a shoe" at Prophet Mohammed's
shrine. He was arrested while on pilgrimage by the Commission for
the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and "jailed for
38 days in handcuffs. A judge ordered him to be whipped 150 times in
public in the prophet's shrine. The story was not made public until
Jan 8, 2011.
2010 Jul 30, The leaders of
Syria and Saudi Arabia, once bitter rivals, made an unprecedented
show of cooperation, traveling together to Lebanon in hopes of
preventing any violence if members of a militant group are indicted
in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri. Saudi
Arabia, which was close to the slain premier, holds sway with
Lebanon's ruling alliance led by his son Saad, while Syria and Iran
support a rival camp led by Hezbollah.
2010 Jul 31, UNESCO added seven
cultural sites to its World Heritage List including Bikini Atoll in
the Marshall Islands, home to nuclear bomb testing in the 1940s and
1950s. Also added to the list were the Turaif District in Saudi
Arabia; Australia's penal colony sites; the Jantar Mantar
astronomical observation site in India; a shrine in Ardabil in Iran;
the Tabriz historic bazaar complex, also in Iran; and the historic
villages of Hahoe and Yangdong in South Korea.
2010 Jul, Saudi Arabia’s
population was estimated at 29.2 million.
(NYT 2011 Almanac, p.673)
2010 Aug 6, Saudi Arabia
suspended BlackBerry messaging services, as concerns spread across
the Middle East and parts of Asia over security issues with the
2010 Aug 10, Saudi Arabia's
telecommunications regulator said it would allow BlackBerry
messaging services to continue in the kingdom, citing "positive
developments" with the device's Canadian manufacturer.
2010 Aug 15, In Saudi Arabia
Ghazi Algosaibi (70), a consummate statesman and liberal writer,
died after a long illness. Algosaibi was close to the kingdom's
ruling family. But his writings, critical of Arab governments, were
banned in the kingdom. Only last month, Saudi Culture Ministry
lifted the ban on his writings citing his contributions to the
2010 Aug 23, Saudi low-cost
private airline Sama, launched in 2007 to serve Gulf and other Arab
states, said it is to suspend services from Aug 24 due to financial
2010 Aug 26, A Sri Lankan
housemaid, L. T. Ariyawathi (49), was admitted to a hospital and
planned to undergo surgery to remove 24 nails embedded in her body.
Ariyawathi said her employer in Saudi Arabia had inflicted the
injuries on her as a punishment. The woman traveled to Saudi Arabia
in March and returned home last week, complaining of abuse by her
2010 Sep 20, Saudi Arabia’s
Shura Council voted 62 to 56 against a memorandum of understanding
on bilateral consultations with Denmark after several members
expressed unhappiness over the publication of cartoons of the
Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.
2010 Sep 26, The Saudi Gazette
quoted Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz as saying: "Saudi Arabia is
tackling terrorism with all its might and authorities have so far
been successful in foiling 230 of 240 terrorist attempts." The
number covers the period from 2003 to the present.
2010 Oct 15, The Saudi
government said Jaber Jabran al-Faifi, a former Guantanamo detainee,
has turned himself in to Saudi authorities. He had rejoined Al-Qaeda
in Yemen after graduating from Saudi Arabia's rehabilitation
2010 Oct 20, British Justice
David Bean sentenced Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud
to a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 20 years
for the brutal assault at the Landmark Hotel in London on Feb 15.
2010 Oct 20, In its biggest
arms deal ever, the United States announced it will sell up to 60
billion dollars worth of warplanes, helicopters and other weapons to
Saudi Arabia, partly to help it counter Iran.
2010 Oct 21, Afghanistan's new
peace council said it would be willing to make concessions to bring
insurgents to the negotiating table, and called for Saudi Arabia's
help in mediating peace talks.
2010 Oct 29, Authorities on 3
continents thwarted attacks when they seized explosives on cargo
planes in the United Arab Emirates and England. The plot sent
tremors throughout the US, where after a frenzied day searching
planes and parcel trucks for other explosives, officials temporarily
banned all new cargo from Yemen. The next day police in Dubai said
that the bomb discovered there contained the powerful explosive PETN
and bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida. One of the two powerful bombs
mailed from Yemen to Chicago-area synagogues traveled on two
passenger planes within the Middle East. A tip of the plot came from
Jabir al-Fayfi, a Saudi who was held for years at the US military
prison at Guantanamo Bay. On Nov 5 al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing
claimed responsibility for the explosive parcels.
(AP, 10/30/10)(AP, 10/31/10)(AP,
2010 Nov 13, Saudi Arabia’s
first metro transit system, officially the Al Mashaaer Al
Muqaddassah Metro, opened in Mecca.
(Econ, 1/5/13, p.50)
2010 Nov 13, Sudanese Pres.
al-Bashir left Khartoum for the annual hajj in Mecca, despite an
outstanding arrest warrant issued for al-Bashir by the International
Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and
genocide in Darfur.
2010 Nov 14, An estimated 2.5-3
million Muslims began the annual hajj pilgrimage. The total number
of tourists to Mecca and Medina, home to the prophet Muhammad, is
expected to rise from about 12 million to almost 17 million by 2025.
The Saudi Arabia government's commission for tourism and antiquities
said revenue from tourism this year would reach $17.6 billion and
double by 2015.
2010 Nov 15, In Saudi Arabia
nearly 3 million Muslims performing the annual hajj pilgrimage began
making their way up the rocky desert Mount Arafat, chanting that
they have come to answer God's call.
2010 Nov 16, In Saudi Arabia
pilgrims performing the annual hajj cast pebbles at three stone
walls representing Satan in a symbolic rejection of temptation, as
Muslims around the world celebrated Islam's biggest holiday, the
festival of sacrifice.
2010 Nov 17, Saudi Arabia's
King Abdullah stepped down as head of the country's National Guard
and transferred the influential position to his son, in an apparent
sign that the elderly monarch is beginning to lessen some of his
2010 Nov 18, In Saudi Arabia
rain soaked crowds of Muslim pilgrims and lightning flashed as they
performed some of the final rituals of the annual hajj, stoning
symbols of the devil and circling the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site.
2010 Nov 19, Indonesian
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that an inquiry will be
launched into a female migrant's suspicious death in Saudi Arabia.
Kikim Komalasari, who had worked in Abha city in Saudi Arabia since
June 2009, had died from abuse. She was from Cianjur in West Java
2010 Nov 20, In Saudi Arabia a
young woman in her twenties defying a driving ban in the capital
died along with three female friends when her car overturned.
2010 Nov 22, Saudi King
Abdullah (86) departed for New York for medical treatment and
temporarily handed control of the world's top oil producer and key
American ally to Crown Prince Sultan, his half brother and heir to
2010 Nov 23, Saudi media said a
Saudi woman (53), accused of torturing her Indonesian maid, has been
sent to jail while the maid, Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa (23),
receives extensive hospital treatment for burns and broken bones.
2010 Nov 26, Saudi Interior
Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said authorities have arrested
nearly 150 al-Qaida suspects over the past eight months, foiling
planned attacks on Saudi government officials, civilians and media
2010 Nov 28, More than 250,000
classified US State Department documents were released by online
whistleblower WikiLeaks. Among the leaked memos was information that
Iranian Red Crescent ambulances were used to smuggle weapons to
Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group during its 2006 war with Israel.
Memos said the "IRC shipments of medical supplies served also to
facilitate weapons shipments." Documents also detailed concerns by
US officials in Baghdad about Iran’s influence on Iraq. Memos also
said King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had repeatedly urged the United
States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program to stop Tehran
from developing a nuclear weapon. One cable revealed that the US
kept nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and
(AP, 11/28/10)(Econ, 12/4/10, p.35)
2010 Dec 6, Saudi Arabia's Rani
Investment Group said it would break ground on a 100-million-dollar
(75-million-euro) resort on a Mozambique island next year, aiming to
cash in on foreign tourists.
2010 Dec 7, In Saudi Arabia the
Omma Conference magazine said in a statement posted on its website
that police arrested its editor Mohammed Al-Abdul Karim at his home
and took him to Hayer prison outside the capital Riyadh. In an
article last week, Al-Abdul Karim predicted that Abdullah's death
might cause the oil-rich kingdom to fall apart.
2010 Dec 7, Leaders of six
US-allied Gulf Arab nations, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),
said they were monitoring with "utmost concern" developments in
Iran's disputed nuclear program and issued a thinly veiled warning
to their Persian neighbor not to meddle in their internal affairs.
The 2-day gathering of leaders from the Emirates, Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman followed the publication of leaked
US diplomatic memos that revealed deeper concern among Gulf Arab
leaders over Tehran's nuclear program than had previously been
2010 Dec 16, In Saudi Arabia
hundreds of Sunni hardliners in Medina attacked those participating
in the commemorations, known as Ashura. The day of mourning marks
the killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein in the year
680 in present day Iraq. Shiites represented 10% of predominantly
Sunni Saudi Arabia's 22.6 million people.
2010 Dec 22, The Saudi Civil
and Political Rights Association said in a statement that the
Interior Ministry summoned the coordinators of the protest to notify
them that their request has been rejected, without giving any
reasons. The group's 20 demands included curtailing privileges of
members of the Saudi royal family, fighting corruption and nepotism,
and creating an independent judiciary.
2010 Dec 24, In Saudi Arabia
police shot dead a man, disguised as a woman, at a checkpoint south
of Riyadh after he opened fire on them. Police later identified the
man as Mohammed Issam Tahir al-Baghdadi, an al-Qaida operative
wanted for terrorist activities.
2010 Thomas Hegghammer authored
“Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism singe 1979.”
(Econ, 3/27/10, p.91)
2010 In Saudi Arabia an
estimated 4 million women over the age of 20 were unmarried in the
country of 24.6 million. Many male guardians forcibly kept women
single, a practice known as "adhl." Saudi feminist Wajeha
al-Hawaidar described male guardianship as "a form of slavery."
2011 Jan 10, Interpol said it
had placed 47 Saudis on its most wanted list after Saudi Arabia
accused them of involvement in the Al-Qaida terror network.
(SFC, 1/11/11, p.A2)
2011 Jan 16, A group of Saudi
activists launched a campaign, named My Country, to push the kingdom
to allow women to run in upcoming municipal election, scheduled this
2011 Jan 21, A Saudi man died
after setting himself on fire in the southwestern town of Samta, in
what could be the latest example of a rash of self-immolations
sweeping the region following events in Tunisia.
2011 Jan 24, The New York-based
Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2011 that Saudi Arabia's
government is harassing and jailing activists, often without trial,
for speaking out in favor of expanding religious tolerance and that
new restrictions on electronic communication in the kingdom were
2011 Jan 29, Saudi Arabia's
stock exchange tumbled by over 6 percent, setting the stage for
other regional markets to drop as concerns mounted about the violent
protests in Egypt.
2011 Jan, In Saudi Arabia
flooding struck Jeddah and 10 people were killed.
(Econ, 3/5/11, p.53)
2011 Feb 9, Ten moderate Saudi
scholars asked the king for recognition of their Umma Islamic Party,
the kingdom's first political party.
2011 Feb 15, A Saudi official
at the Education Ministry said the kingdom plans to remove books
from school libraries that are deemed to encourage terrorism or
2011 Feb 15, The London-based
Gulf Dialogue Forum said intense contacts are under way among Saudi
activists and scholars to form a political party in the oil-rich
absolute monarchy. The online forum said the National Saudi Party
advocates establishing a civil democratic government because of the
recent turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt.
2011 Feb 23, Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah (86) announced an unprecedented economic aid package,
including interest-free home loans totaling some $37 billion.
(Reuters, 2/23/11)(AP, 2/24/11)
2011 Feb 24, In Saudi Arabia
influential intellectuals said in a statement that Arab rulers
should derive a lesson from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and
Libya and listen to the voice of disenchanted young people.
2011 Feb 27, Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah ordered that government sector workers employed under
temporary contracts be given permanent contracts in another to
preempt growing calls for reform.
2011 Mar 4, In Saudi Arabia
about 100 members of the Shiite minority staged a protest in an
eastern region of the kingdom.
2011 Mar 5, Saudi Arabia’s
Interior Ministry said demonstrations won't be tolerated and its
security forces will act against anyone taking part in them.
2011 Mar 10, Saudi police in
the city of Qatif reportedly shot and wounded 3 Shiite protesters,
while trying to disperse a protest calling for the release of
(AFP, 3/10/11)(SFC, 3/11/11, p.A4)
2011 Mar 11, In Saudi Arabia
hundreds of police deployed in the capital and prevented protests
calling for democratic reforms inspired by the wave of unrest
sweeping the Arab world.
2011 Mar 13, More than 200
Saudis were allowed to protest outside the Interior Ministry to
demand the release of detainees in the largest demonstration in the
capital since the regional outbreak of pro-democracy unrest.
2011 Mar 13, In Bahrain riot
police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-government
demonstrators blocking the highway into the capital's financial
district and surrounded the protesters' main camp in the capital.
More than 200 people were injured there in clashes between riot
police and demonstrators.
(AP, 3/13/11)(AFP, 3/14/11)
2011 Mar 14, The 4th $50
thousand International Prize for Arabic Fiction was split between
Mohammed Achaari of Morocco, author of “The Arch and the Butterfly,”
and Raja Alem of Saudi Arabia, author of “The Dove’s Necklace.” Alem
was the first women winner.
(Econ, 3/26/11, p.95)
2011 Mar 14, In Bahrain a
parliament bloc appealed for the king to impose martial law. Some
1,000 Saudi troops entered Bahrain as part of the Gulf countries'
joint Peninsula Shield Force.
(AP, 3/14/11)(Econ, 3/12/11, p.56)
2011 Mar 18, Saudi Arabia's
king promised a multibillion dollar package of reforms, raises,
cash, loans and apartments in what appeared to be the Arab world's
most expensive attempt to appease residents inspired by the unrest
that has swept two leaders from power.
2011 Mar 20, In Saudi Arabia
dozens of Saudi men and women, outnumbered by anti-riot police,
protested outside Riyadh's Interior Ministry, demanding the release
of thousands of detainees held without trial for years.
2011 Mar 25, A Saudi news
agency says several hundred Shiite Muslims have held protests in
eastern Saudi Arabia to demand the release of detainees and show
support for fellow Shiites protesting against the Sunni monarchy in
2011 May 10, The Gulf
Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia,
UAE) said it welcomed Jordan’s request to join the 6-member group.
Jordan had first applied for membership in the mid-1980s. The GCC
said it would encourage Morocco to also join.
2011 May 11, Saudi Arabia said
three al-Qaida members have returned from abroad and turned
themselves in. Officials said four other al-Qaida operatives
surrendered to Saudi security after their leader, Osama bin Laden,
was killed in a US raid May 2 in Pakistan.
2011 May 16, In Pakistan a
Saudi diplomat was killed in a hail of bullets on his way to the
country's consulate in Karachi, the second attack on Saudi interests
in Pakistan's biggest city in less than a week.
2011 May 22, Saudi authorities
rearrested activist Manal al-Sherif, who defied a ban on female
drivers. She was detained for several hours a day earlier by the
country's religious police and released after she signed a pledge
agreeing not to drive. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world
that bans women, both Saudi and foreign, from driving.
2011 May 23, A Saudi pilot died
when his US-made F-15 fighter jet crashed in eastern Saudi Arabia.
2011 Jun 18, Saudi Arabia
beheaded Ruyati binti Satubi (54), an Indonesian grandmother, for
killing an allegedly abusive Saudi employer. In response Indonesia
later enacted a moratorium on labor exports to Saudi Arabia
effective August 1.
(SFC, 8/10/11, p.A3)(http://tinyurl.com/3wvhbpm)
2011 Jun 28, Saudi police
detained one woman while driving in Jiddah on the Red Sea coast.
Four other women accused of driving were later detained in the city.
2011 Jul 2, Der Spiegel
reported that Germany has agreed to sell 200 Leopard tanks to Saudi
2011 Jul 13, The Saudi-funded
Asharq Alawsat daily reported that Saudi authorities have dismantled
an Al-Qaeda-linked group of 16 people plotting to overthrow the
regime. The group, which called itself the "project of the
generation," also engaged in collecting funds under the guise of
charitable activities, which were in fact destined for "suspicious
2011 Jul 15, Saudi authorities
beheaded a man convicted of attacking a woman and snapping nude
photos of her in order to blackmail her for sex.
2011 Jul 18, Spain’s Transport
Minister Jose Blanco confirmed that a Spanish consortium has won a
contract worth 7.0 billion euros ($10 billion) to build a high-speed
rail network linking Medina, Jeddah and the Muslim pilgrimage site
of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
2011 Jul 25, Saudi authorities
blocked the website of Amnesty International inside the kingdom
following criticism of a controversial new anti-terrorism draft law.
2011 Jul 30, Three Saudis were
beheaded in the western city of Taef after being convicted of
killing fellow citizens in two separate incidents.
2011 Aug 3, Saudi Arabia said
Abdel-Salam Rashed al-Farraj, an al-Qaida member on the kingdom's
most-wanted list, has turned himself in after calling his family
2011 Aug 6, In Saudi Arabia
security forces shot dead a gunman as he opened fire on the Jeddah
palace of Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. Another man
was arrested during the attack in which two men opened fire after
midnight on the Qasr Shateh residence of Prince Nayef.
2011 Aug 7, Saudi Arabia’s King
Abdullah demanded a stop to Syria’s “killing machine.”
(Econ, 8/13/11, p.43)
2011 Sep 16, In Yemen thousands
of protesters took to the streets demanding the resignation of Pres.
Saleh, a day after the US State Department said it hoped a power
transfer deal could be signed within a week. Officials in Saudi
Arabia and Yemen said that President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not
return to Sanaa and will, instead, remain in Riyadh.
2011 Sep 18, In Saudi Arabia 10
more men at a special summary court were accused of plotting to
carry out attacks against US forces in Qatar and Kuwait.
(SSFC, 9/25/11, p.A4)
2011 Sep 19, In Saudi Arabia
Abdul Hamid al-Fakki, a Sudanese man, was executed for the crime of
(Econ, 9/24/11, p.73)
2011 Sep 25, Saudi King
Abdullah announced that the nation's women will gain the right to
vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015 in
a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply
conservative Muslim kingdom.
2011 Sep 27, In Saudi Arabia
Shaima Jastaina was sentenced to be lashed 10 times with a whip for
defying the kingdom’s prohibition on driving. King Abdullah quickly
overturned the court ruling.
(SFC, 9/28/11, p.A2)(SFC, 9/29/11, p.A2)
2011 Sep 29, Saudi Arabian men
cast ballots in local council elections, the second-ever nationwide
vote in the oil-rich kingdom. Women don't have the right to vote
this time around, but will be able to do so in 2015. The councils
are one of the few elected bodies in the country but have no real
power, mandated to offer advice to provincial authorities.
2011 Sep 29, Manssor Arbabsiar
(56), a US citizen who holds an Iranian passport, was arrested when
he arrived at New York's Kennedy International Airport. Mexico
worked closely with US authorities to help foil an alleged $1.5
million plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington. On
Oct 11 Arbabsiar was charged in US District Court in New York with
conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat, Adel Al-Jubeir (49).
2011 Oct 13, In Austria a
Saudi-backed interfaith center, the "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz
International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue,"
was inaugurated in Vienna, igniting debate over the subject of
2011 Oct 22, Saudi Crown Prince
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (b.~1928), heir to the Saudi throne, died in
the United States. He had been receiving treatment for colon cancer
since 2009. The most likely candidate to replace Sultan as King
Abdullah's successor is Prince Nayef (78), the powerful interior
minister in charge of internal security forces.
2011 Oct 27, Saudi Arabia's
powerful interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz (78), was
named the new heir to the throne in a royal decree read out on state
2011 Oct 29, Saudi Prince
Khaled bin Talal, brother of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal,
told the kingdom's al-Daleel TV station by telephone that he was
raising a previous offer made by Sheik Awadh al-Qarani, a prominent
Saudi cleric who promised $100,000 for capturing an Israeli soldier.
2011 Nov 3, Saudi authorities
said nearly 2.5 million Muslims have gathered in Mecca ahead of the
annual 5-day hajj pilgrimage, which begins Nov 5.
2011 Nov 5, In Saudi Arabia
millions of Muslims began their annual hajj pilgrimage by climbing a
rocky desert hill outside Mecca. The ascent of Arafat is the first
event associated with the five-day hajj.
2011 Nov 6, In Saudi Arabia
millions of Muslims stoned pillars representing the devil in a
symbolic rejection of temptation on the second day of their annual
hajj pilgrimage, a day that also marks the start of the Islamic
holiday of Eid al-Adha. More than 2.9 million Muslims were
performing the hajj this year.
2011 Nov 15, Saudi Arabia said
it has signed an agreement with South Korea on developing nuclear
power generation to help meet the kingdom's rising demand.
2011 Nov 23, Yemen’s Pres.
Saleh signed a US-backed power-transfer deal, brokered by
neighboring countries in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. It officially
transfers power to his vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in
exchange for immunity from prosecution. The deal also called for
early presidential elections within 90 days.
2011 Nov 24, Saudi Arabia's
Interior Ministry said minority Shiite Muslims have staged protests
in the eastern city of Qatif, and four were shot dead. Shiites make
up 10 percent of the kingdom's 23 million citizens and complain of
2011 Nov 30, Amnesty
International published a new report accusing Saudi Arabia of
conducting a campaign of repression against protesters and
reformists since the Arab Spring erupted.
2011 Dec 6, Saudi Arabia
sentenced an Australian man to 500 lashes and a year in jail after
being found guilty of blasphemy. Reports said Mansor Almaribe (45)
was detained in Medina on November 14 while making the hajj
pilgrimage and accused of insulting companions of the prophet
Mohammed. The father-of-five from Shepparton in Victoria state, who
could not afford a lawyer, suffers from diabetes and heart disease.
2011 Dec 10, Saudi Arabia’s
Okaz newspaper reported that a man convicted of raping his daughter
has been sentenced to receive 2,080 lashes over the course of a
13-year prison term. A court in Mecca found the man guilty of raping
his teenage daughter for seven years while under the influence of
2011 Dec 12, Saudi authorities
executed a woman convicted of practicing magic and sorcery. The
woman was arrested in April, 2009, and later convicted in a Saudi
court. Religious police, who arrested the woman, said she had
tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging
them $800 per session.
2011 Dec 15, In Saudi Arabia 35
Ethiopian Christians, 29 of them women, were arrested after
police raided a private prayer gathering. They later faced
deportation for "illicit mingling."
2011 Dec 19, Saudi billionaire
Prince Walid bin Talal and his Kingdom Holding Company announced a
combined investment of $300 million in the social networking site
2011 Dec 29, The Obama
administration announced an arms deal with Saudi Arabia valued at
nearly $30 billion. It included 84 F-15 fighter jets.
(SFC, 12/30/11, p.A5)
2011 Dec 29, Industry sources
said Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco was seeking to buy fuel
in order to donate about 500,000 tons of products to Yemen in
2011 In Saudi Arabia at least
76 death row inmates were executed this year, according to an AFP
count. Amnesty International believed that at least 79 executions
during this period. In 2010, 27 people were executed, according to
the UN, citing a report by Human Rights Watch.
2011 In Saudi Arabia Satinah
Binti Jumadi Ahmad, an Indonesian maid, was sentenced to death for
murdering her employer's wife in 2007 and stealing money. In 2014
the Indonesian government agreed to pay $1.8 million to free Satinah
(AFP, 3/24/14)(Reuters, 4/4/14)
2011 In Saudi Arabia a teacher
(42) was arrested for abducing and raping a girl (9). In 2013 he was
convicted of kidnapping and raping eight young girls (ages 6 to 11).
In 2014 the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.
2012 Jan 2, Saudi Arabia said
it will begin enforcing a law that allows only females to work in
women's lingerie and apparel stores, effective December 5. The 2006
law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores
has never been put into effect.
2012 Jan 3, Israeli credit card
companies said hackers claiming to be Saudis disclosed credit card
information of thousands of Israelis on the Internet.
2012 Jan 6, An alleged Saudi
hacker (19), oxOmar, posted thousands of Israeli credit card numbers
and other personal data online, his second politically motivated
attack this week.
2012 Jan 12, Saudi security
forces clashed with Shiite protesters in the kingdom's oil-rich east
killing one person and wounding 3. The clashes came after
demonstrations were held in four Qatif region villages to call for
the "release of political detainees, reform and an end to sectarian
discrimination. Most of Saudi Arabia's estimated two million Shiites
live in the Eastern Province.
2012 Jan 13, British PM David
Cameron held talks with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh.
2012 Jan 14, Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao held talks with Saudi officials in Riyadh on the first
stop of a Gulf tour, as tensions over Iran's nuclear program sparked
fears of major oil supply disruptions.
2012 Jan 14, A French Mirage
and a Saudi F-15 collided in the kingdom's northern region of Tabuk
without causing casualties.
2012 Jan 16, A hacker network
that claims to be based in Saudi Arabia paralyzed the websites of
Israel's stock exchange and national airline. El Al Israel Airlines
took down its website after hacker OxOmar, who has been linked to
the Saudi group, warned that both sites would be targeted by allied
2012 Jan 24, Saudi police
detained nine men accused of instigating riots earlier this month in
the eastern city of Qatif.
2012 Jan 30, A Riyadh-based
Afghan diplomat said Afghan officials and representatives of the
Taliban insurgents are to hold peace talks in Saudi Arabia.
2012 Feb 7, South Korean
President Lee Myung-Bak arrived in Riyadh at the start of a two-day
visit to the OPEC kingpin which comes as Seoul seeks to diversify
its oil sources. Lee Myung-Bak held talks with Oil Minister Ali
al-Naimi and the head of Saudi state oil giant Aramco, Khalid
al-Faleh. Saudi Arabia pledged to ensure a stable supply of oil to
(AFP, 2/7/12)(AFP, 2/8/12)
2012 Feb 9, In Saudi Arabia
Munir al-Medani (21) was killed and three wounded when security
forces exchanged gunfire with "masked men" in the Qatif district of
the kingdom's oil-rich Eastern Province. Activists and witnesses
said that security forces opened fire when a Shiite procession
marking the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, a celebration
forbidden in ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, turned
into a demonstration for reform and the release of Shiite detainees.
(AFP, 2/10/12)(AFP, 2/11/12)
2012 Feb 10, In Saudi Arabia
Zuhair al-Said (21) was killed as security forces dispersed a
protest against the death of another Shiite demonstrator the
2012 Feb 12, Malaysia deported
Hamza Kashgari, a young Saudi journalist wanted in his home country
over a Twitter post about the Prophet Mohammed, defying pleas from
human rights group who said he faced execution. His tweet: "I have
loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there
is a lot I don't understand about you. "I will not pray for you."
2012 Feb 19, A Saudi court
acquitted rights activist Said bin Zeghair, who spent five years in
detention accused of supporting al-Qaida's ideology. The court cited
lack of evidence. Bin Zeghair was first detained in 1995 but was
freed after nine years without being charged or tried. Later he was
sentenced to five years in prison but was pardoned when King
Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005. He was detained again in
2012 Feb 29, Saudi Arabia said
that it would honor a pledge of $3.75 billion in aid to Egypt, after
complaints by the Egyptian premier that donor countries were failing
to respect their commitments.
2012 Feb, In Saudi Arabia a
royal order stipulated that women who drive should not be prosecuted
by the courts.
(Econ, 3/3/12, p.60)
2012 Mar 6, In Bangladesh Saudi
diplomat Khalaf bin Mohammed Salem al-Ali was shot and killed on a
residential street in Dhaka. Authorities said the gunman and a
motive were unknown.
2012 Mar 6, Swedish Radio
reported that Sweden has in secret been helping Saudi Arabia plan
the construction of an arms factory to produce anti-tank missiles.
Construction on "Project Simoom" has yet to begin.
2012 Mar 14, Saudi Arabia said
it has closed its embassy in Damascus and pulled out its diplomats
and staff as Syrian President Bashar Assad steps up attacks against
2012 Mar 22, Saudi Arabia media
reports said single men in Riyadh will be able to visit shopping
malls during peak hours after Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz
eased restrictions aimed at stopping harassment of women.
2012 Mar 26, Saudi King
Abdullah ordered the donation of petroleum products to neighboring
Yemen that should cover the impoverished country's needs for two
2012 Mar 28, Yemen's Saudi
Arabia's deputy consul, Abdullah al-Khalidi (Abdullah Mohammed
Khalifa al-Khaldi), was seized by unknown gunmen outside his home in
southern port city of Aden. Al-Qaida's Yemen branch claimed
(AFP, 3/28/12)(AP, 5/26/12)
2012 Mar 26, A Spanish court
dropped a rape probe against a Saudi prince who is one of the
world's richest people, saying his accuser's allegations are
inconsistent and do not stand up. The ruling cleared Prince Alwaleed
bin Talal (57) and was released today by a court in Palma in Spain's
Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. The drugging and sexual
assault of a young Spanish model was alleged to have occurred aboard
a yacht moored at the island of Ibiza in the wee hours of Aug 12,
2012 Apr 1, Syria blasted an
international conference on the country's spreading crisis before it
even started in Istanbul, calling it part of an international
conspiracy to kill Syrians and weaken the country. Monitors said at
least 16 people were killed, including eight soldiers who died
during ambushes and gun battles in the east, northwest and near
Damascus. Participants at the 60-nation “Friends of the Syrian
People” meeting said Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are
creating a multimillion-dollar fund to pay members of the rebel Free
Syrian Army and soldiers who defect from the regime and join
(AP, 4/1/12)(AFP, 4/1/12)(SSFC, 4/1/12, p.A5)
2012 Apr 4, A Saudi official
reiterated a position he announced late last year, confirming that
Saudi Arabia will be fielding only male athletes in London. Prince
Nawaf bin Faisal said, however, that Saudi women taking part on
their own are free to do so and the kingdom's Olympic authority
would "only help in ensuring that their participation does not
violate the Islamic sharia law."
2012 Apr 4, Saudi Arabia
beheaded a man found guilty of shooting dead a fellow Saudi. His
execution in Riyadh brought the total number of beheadings so far
this year to 17.
2012 Apr 4, Iraq's fugitive
Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, accused of running a death squad,
left the Gulf state of Qatar for Saudi Arabia.
2012 Apr 10, In Saudi Arabia a
Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh found al-Bajady guilty of
several offenses, including participating in the establishment of a
human rights organization and harming the image of Saudi Arabia in
media articles. He was reportedly tried in secret sentenced to four
years in prison.
2012 Apr 17, A prominent
Egyptian human rights lawyer, Ahmed el-Gezawi, was arrested upon his
arrival in the Saudi port of Jiddah. He was on his way to perform a
minor pilgrimage. El-Gezawi had earlier filed a lawsuit in Egypt
against King Abdullah over the alleged arbitrary detention of
hundreds of Egyptians living in the kingdom. A rights group said he
has criticized the monarch in television interviews.
2012 Apr 18, Iran welcomed
Saudi Arabia suspending death sentences against several of its
nationals convicted for drug trafficking.
2012 Apr 24, Hundreds of
Egyptians noisily protested outside the Saudi Embassy to demand the
release of an Egyptian human rights lawyer detained on April 17 in
Saudi Arabia for allegedly insulting the kingdom's monarch.
2012 Apr 26, Pakistani
authorities deported Osama bin Laden's three widows and his children
to Saudi Arabia.
(AP, 4/27/12)(SFC, 4/27/12, p.A2)
2012 Apr 28, Saudi Arabia's
official news agency said the kingdom has closed its embassy and
consulates in Egypt and recalled its ambassador following protests
over a detained Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed el-Gezawi.
2012 May 14, Liberal civil
society groups in Gulf states called on Saudi and Bahraini leaders
to postpone plans to announce a union between them, saying such a
step must be preceded by a referendum.
2012 May 18, It was reported
that Saudi Arabia has banned all government and private agencies
from using the Gregorian calendar in official dealings. The use the
English language to answer calls or communicate, mainly in companies
and hotels, has also been banned in an effort to preserve the Arabic
(SSFC, 5/20/12, p.A4)
2012 May 18, In Iran thousands
of people demonstrated in Tehran to protest a proposed union of
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
2012 May 23, Saudi Arabia’s SPA
state news said Saudi Arabia has signed a $3-billion deal with
Britain to buy Hawk trainer jets for the Gulf kingdom's air force.
The majority of the Hawks will be made at BAE's plants in Samlesbury
and Warton in Lancashire, northwest England.
(AFP, 5/23/12)(Reuters, 5/23/12)
2012 May 23, Saudi Arabia said
it will give its impoverished neighbor Yemen aid worth $3.25 billion
and urging other nations to take similar steps.
2012 May 23, In Saudi Arabia a
Saudi woman defied orders by the notorious religious police to leave
a mall because she is wearing nail polish and recorded the
interaction on her camera. Her video went viral, attracting more
than a million hits in just five days.
2012 Jun 16, Saudi Crown Prince
Nayef bin Abdul Aziz (79), a half brother of King Abdullah, died,
leaving the oil powerhouse with no apparent successor to the throne.
2012 Jun 18, Saudi Arabia’s
Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz (76), a half brother
to the king, was named the country’s new crown prince.
(SFC, 6/19/12, p.A2)
2012 Jun 24, In Saudi Arabia a
man (60) died from severe pneumonia complicated by renal failure. He
had arrived at a Jihad hospital 11 days earlier with symptoms
similar to severe case of influenza or SARS. In September an
Egyptian virologist said it was caused by a new coronavirus. Months
later the illness was named MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory
(SFC, 8/14/13, p.E1)
2012 Jun 26, Saudi authorities
beheaded four of its citizens for murder and a Syrian national for
2012 Jun, In Saudi Arabia
blogger Raif Badawi was jailed for ridiculing Islamic religious
(Econ, 4/6/13, p.58)
2012 Jul 8, In Saudi Arabia
Sheik Nimr al-Nimr was arrested after he and followers exchanged
fire with security forces and crashed into one of the patrol
vehicles. Al-Nimr, who was wounded in the leg, faced charges of
instigating unrest in the oil-rich eastern province.
2012 Jul 8, Saudi Arabia’s
Prince Mohammed bin Saud (78), a senior prince and former defense
minister, died. He wielded influence as part of a council of royal
family members that helps select the heirs to rule the country.
2012 Jul 9, In Saudi Arabia 2
Shiites were killed in overnight clashes with police in the eastern
province of Qatif following the arrest of a prominent Shiite cleric
and government critic. The new deaths bring to nine the number of
people killed in clashes between Saudi authorities and protesters in
the Shiite-populated region.
2012 Jul 13, In Saudi Arabia a
gunman was killed during an attack on a police station in the Shiite
town of Al-Awamiya. Two security forces' patrols came under gunfire
from masked armed men on motorbikes in the town of Saihat, wounding
2012 Jul 17, A Saudi newspaper
reported that a Lebanese man, nicknamed the "tattoo king," has been
sentenced to one year in prison and 200 lashes. Charges included
having met privately with women.
2012 Jul 20, Saudi authorities
warned non-Muslim expatriates against eating, drinking or smoking in
public during Ramadan, or face expulsion. The monthlong
sunrise-to-sunset fast began today for Sunni Muslims.
2012 Jul 24, Saudi state TV
announced that the government has collected about $32.5 million in
donations as part of a national drive to support "our brothers in
2012 Jul 27, Saudi authorities
detained a number of protesters in the restive eastern Shiite region
after they set tires ablaze during an overnight rally. Security
forces opened fire on Shiite protesters in the tense Qatif district
of Eastern Province, wounding several as hundreds marched to demand
the release of detainees.
2012 Jul 30, Saudi Arabia
implemented a ban on smoking in government offices and most public
places, including restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets and
2012 Aug 4, A Saudi policeman
and an armed protester were killed in overnight clashes in the
kingdom's Shiite-populated Eastern Province. the attackers were
participating in a protest that took place in Qatif late on Friday.
2012 Aug 15, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Qatar all ordered their citizens to leave
2012 Aug 15, The Organization
of Islamic Cooperation, comprised of 57 member states, released a
final statement from its two day summit in Saudi Arabia's Muslim
holy city of Mecca urging support of Syria’s opposition.
2012 Aug 15, A person with
privileged access to the Saudi state-owned oil company’s computers,
unleashed a computer virus to initiate what is regarded as among the
most destructive acts of computer sabotage on a company to date. The
virus erased data on three-quarters of Aramco’s corporate PCs —
documents, spreadsheets, e-mails, files — replacing all of it with
an image of a burning American flag.
2012 Aug 16, In Mecca, Saudi
Arabia, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the top world
Muslim body, suspended Syria, saying it can no longer accept a
regime that "massacres its people", as rights groups accused
Damascus of a new atrocity against civilians.
2012 Sep 18, YouTube said that
it was stopping users in Saudi Arabia from viewing “Innocence of
Muslims,” an anti-Islam video that has sparked protests across the
Muslim world, after the kingdom's press agency reported that the
ruler had banned all access to the film and the site appeared to be
2012 Sep 24, Saudi Arabian
authorities began holding some 908 female Nigerian pilgrims heading
to Mecca over a rule requiring them to travel with a husband or male
(SFC, 9/27/12, p.A2)(AP, 9/28/12)
2012 Sep 28, Saudi Arabia began
expelling over a thousand Nigerian women on religious pilgrimage to
the country because they had arrived without male guardians.
2012 Oct 11, A former US
government official said US authorities believe that Iranian-based
hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated Persian
Gulf oil and gas companies. Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared
that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is
threatened by a computer-based assault.
2012 Oct 14, Iranian officials
denied any role in recent online attacks against oil and gas
companies in the Persian Gulf and denounced American allegations of
an Iranian link to the Shamoon virus that hit Saudi state oil
company Aramco and Qatari natural gas producer RasGas.
(SFC, 10/15/12, p.A2)
2012 Oct 25, Some 3.4 million
Muslims from 300 nations started their annual hajj pilgrimage by
ascending Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on a day pilgrims believe
offers them a chance to repent their sins.
2012 Oct 28, In northern Yemen
a suspected US drone airstrike targeted al-Qaida militants in a
house in Saada province, killing 3 people, two of them said to be
Saudis. Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan
and spent six years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was
wounded in the attack. On Jan 24 a security official said al-Shihri,
Al-Qaida's No. 2 in Yemen, had died from wounds suffered in the
(AP, 10/28/12)(AP, 1/24/13)
2012 Oct 30, In Saudi Arabia
celebratory gunfire, common at weddings, brought down a power line
that touched off a fire in the Eastern Province, killing at least 23
women and children.
2012 Nov 1, In Saudi Arabia a
fuel truck exploded after hitting portions of a bridge in the Saudi
capital, Riyadh, engulfing buildings and cars in flames and killing
at least 22 people and injuring more than 110.
2012 Nov 5, In Saudi Arabia a
group of 11 al-Qaida fighters killed two border guards while trying
to cross into Yemen before they themselves were captured.
2012 Nov 26, In Austria
ceremonies were held to launch a Saudi-sponsored and funded center
in Vienna meant to promote dialogue between the world's main
religions. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke and urged Israel and
Hamas to respect their cease-fire.
2012 Nov 28, Gunmen in Yemen
opened fire on the car of a Saudi Arabian army officer working with
his embassy's military section, killing him and his Yemeni
2012 Dec 27, In Saudi Arabia a
man was killed in clashes with police in an oil-rich eastern region,
where the country's Shiite minority has been holding protests
against the Sunni ruling monarchy.
2012 Dec 31, Residents of Saudi
Arabia, where booze and New Year's celebrations are banned, flooded
into neighboring Bahrain in search of festivities to ring in 2013.
2012 In Saudi Arabia the Abraj
Al-Bait Towers, also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, was
completed. It was the tallest clock tower in the world, the world's
largest clock face and the building with the world's largest floor
area. The hotel tower became the second tallest building in the
world, surpassed only by Dubai's Burj Khalifa.
2012 Germanys’ Bild am Sonntag
reported that Saudi Arabia wanted to buy 600-800 Leopard battle
tanks from Germany, more than twice as many as originally envisaged.
2013 Jan 9, Saudi authorities
beheaded a Sri Lankan domestic worker for killing a Saudi baby in
her care in 2005. Rizana Nafeek, 17 at the time of the killing, had
denied strangling the 4-month-old boy.
(AP, 1/9/13)(SFC, 1/10/13, p.A2)
2013 Jan 11, Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah issued two royal decrees granting women 30 seats on
the Shura Council, which has 150 members plus a president. The
council reviews laws and questions ministers, but doesn't have
2013 Jan 15, A Saudi court
convicted an Egyptian human rights lawyer for smuggling drugs into
the kingdom. He was sentenced to five years in prison and 300
lashes. The case of Ahmed el-Gezawi caused an outcry in Egypt where
rights groups claimed he was initially detained in April 2012 for
criticizing the kingdom's monarch. They claimed he confessed to the
smuggling charges under duress.
2013 Jan 15, In Saudi Arabia
dozens of conservative clerics picketed the royal court to
condemn the recent appointment of 30 women to the 150-member Shura
(Econ, 1/19/13, p.52)
2013 Feb 25, Jordan said it has
no official word from Saudi Arabia about one of its citizens, youth
activist Khaled Natour, apprehended by authorities there 50 days
2013 Mar 13, In Saudi Arabia 7
men convicted of theft, looting and armed robbery were beheaded,
more than a week after their families and a rights group appealed to
the king for clemency. One of the men told The Associated Press in
early March that he was only 15 when he was arrested as part of a
ring that stole jewelry in 2004 and 2005. Nasser al-Qahtani said he
was tortured to confess and had no access to lawyers.
2013 Mar 19, A British court
ruled that two Saudi princes involved in litigation in London over a
business dispute did not have immunity from being sued, a new blow
to the royal pair after they failed in an attempt to have the case
heard in secret. The litigation, which has been going through
British courts since December 2011, stems from sales in 2010 and
2011 of shares in Fi Call Ltd, a company jointly owned by Prince
Abdulaziz and Jordanian businessman Faisal Almhairat.
2013 Mar 26, Saudi Arabia said
investigations have shown that members of a spy ring arrested last
week were working for Iranian intelligence.
2013 Apr 1, A Saudi newspaper
said the kingdom's religious police are now allowing women to ride
motorbikes and bicycles but only in restricted, recreational areas.
They also have to be accompanied by a male relative and dressed in
the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.
2013 Apr 14, Saudi billionaire
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal indicated support of allowing women there
to drive. He also said that he would help the kingdom's campaign to
cut down on the number of foreign workers.
2013 Apr, A subsidiary of Saudi
Arabia's Kingdom Holding Co agreed to refinance the debt it used to
buy London's Savoy Hotel with a new 200 million-pound loan.
2013 Apr, Saudi media said an
Eritrean military pilot sent by Asmara to reclaim a jet stolen by
two fellow officers when sought asylum in the kingdom had herself
2013 May 2, Saudi Arabia's
Health Ministry said that five people have died and two other
patients were in critical condition with confirmed cases of a new
respiratory coronavirus related to SARS. The new virus was first
identified last year in the Middle East and several of the people
infected had all traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or
2013 May 3, The Saudi Justice
Ministry said a special security court has issued 2,145 jail
sentences for "supporting terrorism" since it was formed four and a
half years ago.
2013 May 5, In Tanzania a bomb
thrown from a motorcycle on a Catholic church in Arusha left 2
people dead. 4 Saudi Arabian citizens were among 6 people arrested.
2013 May 14, Saudi Arabia
confirmed four new cases of the deadly new coronavirus virus related
to SARS that appears centered in the Arabian Peninsula but that has
also been reported in Europe.
2013 May 16, In Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia, vegetable seller Muhammad Harissi set himself on fire after
police confiscated his goods for standing in an unauthorized
area. He died the next day.
(AP, 5/19/13)(Econ, 7/13/13, SR p.10)
2013 May 20, Saudi Arabia
recorded another death from a new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom to 16. More than
20 people have died from the virus worldwide.
2013 May 21, Saudi Arabia
executed five Yemenis convicted of crimes and displayed their bodies
in public as a deterrent for future criminals. A sixth man, a Saudi,
was executed for murder.
2013 May 30, Saudi Arabia
reported that 3 more people have died from a new respiratory virus
related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths globally to 30.
2013 Jun 2, Saudi Arabia
reported that 3 more people have died from a new respiratory virus
related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom
2013 Jun 17, A Gulf source told
Reuters that Saudi Arabia had equipped fighters for the first time
with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Rebels said Riyadh had
also sent them anti-tank missiles.
2013 Jun 19, Doctors
investigating a new respiratory virus related to SARS, said it
spreads easily between people and appears to be more deadly than
SARS. The biggest outbreak of the virus, now called MERS, was
in Saudi Arabia.
(SFC, 6/20/13, p.A2)
2013 Jun 20, Saudi Arabia said
it plans to deport Lebanese citizens who support Hezbollah because
of the militant group's role in the Syrian civil war.
2013 Jul 3, Saudi businessmen,
expatriates and several countries welcomed a four-month extension to
an amnesty for foreign workers with visa violations, saying it
allowed businesses to operate as usual in the world's top oil
2013 Jul 6, In Saudi Arabia two
more people died from the new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing to 38 the number of deadly cases in the kingdom at the
center of the growing outbreak.
2013 Jul 9, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirate promised $8 billion in grants, loans and
badly needed gas and oil to Egypt.
2013 Jul 18, The European
Union's top court ruled that EU authorities unfairly froze assets of
Yassin Kadi, a Saudi businessman who was accused of financing
al-Qaida, by failing to explain why he was targeted.
2013 Jul 27, In Saudi Arabia
one more man died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing to 39 the number of deadly cases in the kingdom at the
center of the growing outbreak.
2013 Jul 29, In Saudi Arabia
Raif Badawi, editor of the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, was
sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for founding an
Internet forum that violates Islamic values and propagates liberal
thought. Badawi has been held since June 2012 on charges of cyber
crime and disobeying his father.
2013 Aug 9, Saudi Arabia's
Interior Ministry said police have arrested two foreign residents
suspected of having contacts with al-Qaida's offshoot in Yemen over
imminent suicide attacks in the region.
2013 Aug 25, Saudi Arabia said
a Saudi man (51) has died of the coronavirus MERS, bringing the
kingdom's death toll from the SARS-like virus to 41, while two new
cases were registered.
2013 Aug 28, Saudi health
authorities said another Saudi man has died of the coronavirus MERS,
bringing the kingdom's death toll from the SARS-like virus to 42,
adding a new case was registered.
2013 Aug 30, In Saudi Arabia
another Saudi man died of the coronavirus MERS, bringing the
kingdom's death toll from the SARS-like virus to 43.
2013 Sep 6, Saudi Arabia’s
health ministry said 2 women have died of MERS, bringing the total
number of fatalities in the kingdom to 44.
2013 Sep 8, In Saudi Arabia
another three people were reported dead after contracting the MERS
coronavirus, bringing the kingdom's total fatalities of the
SARS-like virus to 47.
2013 Sep 20, US prosecutors
dropped charges against Meshael Alayban, a Saudi princess accused of
enslaving a Kenyan woman as a housemaid, forcing her to work in
abusive conditions and withholding her passport. Lawyers for the
Saudi royal accused the 30-year-old Kenyan, who has not been named,
of lying in an attempt to obtain a visa to stay in the US.
2013 Sep 27, A Saudi diplomat,
involved in a fatal road accident, left Iran. An Iranian citizen was
killed mid-March when the diplomat's car reportedly hit another
vehicle on a expressway in Tehran while speeding at 130 kph (80
mph). Iranian authorities said the accident happened because the
diplomat had been driving while drunk.
2013 Oct 4, The World Health
Organization said the global number of infections with the deadly
MERS virus has risen to 136, after hard-hit Saudi Arabia confirmed
six new cases.
2013 Oct 8, A Saudi court
sentenced a preacher convicted of raping his five-year-old daughter
and torturing her to death to eight years in prison and 800 lashes.
The court also ordered Fayhan al-Ghamdi to pay his ex-wife, the
girl's mother, one million riyals ($270,000) in "blood money.”
Ghamdi's second wife, accused of taking part in the crime, was
sentenced to 10 months in prison and 150 lashes.
2013 Oct 10, Saudi authorities
beheaded a citizen in the western province of Taif after he was
convicted of shooting dead another man.
2013 Oct 13, In Saudi Arabia
Muslims from across the world poured into a sprawling tent city in
the Saudi desert before the start of the annual Islamic hajj
pilgrimage. The number of the pilgrims this year has been reduced in
part by concerns over a respiratory virus centered in Saudi Arabia.
2013 Oct 17, In Saudi Arabia
some 1.4 million Muslim pilgrims from 188 countries started to leave
Mecca at the end of what authorities hailed as a successful and
incident-free hajj. The hajj now brings in $16.5 billion, about 3%
of Saudi GDP.
(AFP, 10/17/13)(Econ, 10/12/13, p.74)
2013 Oct 17, The UN General
Assembly elected five new members to the Security Council. The
uncontested seats included Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi
2013 Oct 18, Saudi Arabia, in
an unprecedented show of anger at the failure of the international
community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East
issues, said it would not take up its seat on the UN Security
2013 Oct 22, A source close to
Saudi policy said Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has said the
kingdom will make a "major shift" in relations with the United
States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and
its overtures to Iran.
2013 Oct 24, Saudi Arabia
warned it will take measures against activists who go ahead with a
planned weekend campaign to defy a ban on women drivers in the
conservative Muslim kingdom.
2013 Oct 26, Saudi activists
said more than 60 women claimed to have answered their call to get
behind the wheel in a rare show of defiance against a ban on female
driving. At least 16 Saudi women received fines for taking the wheel
in defiance of the traditional ban on female driving.
(AP, 10/26/13)(AFP, 10/27/13)
2013 Oct 27, Saudi police
detained Tariq al-Mubarak, a columnist who supported ending his
country's ban on women driving.
2013 Oct 28, Saudi Arabia said
one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to
SARS, bringing to 52 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the
center of the outbreak.
2013 Nov 3, A Kuwaiti newspaper
reported that a Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia for
trying to drive her father to hospital.
2013 Nov 4, Saudi authorities
began a clampdown on illegal immigrants after the end of an amnesty
that gave overstayers and workers a grace period to leave or
legalize their status.
2013 Nov 5, Saudi media said
authorities have rounded up over four thousand of illegal foreign
workers at the start of a nationwide crackdown ultimately aimed at
creating more jobs for locals.
(Reuters, 11/5/13)(SFC, 11/6/13, p.A2)
2013 Nov 6, A Saudi-owned
newspaper reported that authorities have detained more than 16,000
migrant workers in the first 48 hours of a security sweep targeting
foreigners working illegally in the kingdom.
2013 Nov 6, Saudi authorities
beheaded a Pakistani man in the eastern Qatif province after he was
convicted of drug trafficking in the kingdom.
2013 Nov 10, In Saudi Arabia
thousands of illegal migrants targeted in a nationwide crackdown
surrendered to police. In Riyadh 2 people were killed when a police
raid targeting Ethiopian residents sparked a minor riot.
(AFP, 11/10/13)(SFC, 11/11/13, p.A2)(Econ,
2013 Nov 10, Saudi Arabia
announced another fatality from the MERS virus, taking its toll to
53, as neighbouring Oman recorded its first death from the
2013 Nov 12, Saudi media said 3
Eritrean military officers have asked for political asylum in Saudi
Arabia after Saudi air force jets forced their aircraft to land in
the southern part of the kingdom.
2013 Nov 12, In Saudi Arabia
thousands of Africans, mostly Ethiopians, surrendered to authorities
for a second day Ethiopia announced the death of three citizens
during clashes in the Gulf kingdom.
2013 Nov 12, China, Cuba,
Russia and Saudi Arabia won seats on the UN Human Rights Council,
despite fierce international criticism of their records.
2013 Nov 13, In Saudi Arabia
Ethiopia’s ambassador in Riyadh said some 23,000 Ethiopians have
handed themselves in since Saudi authorities clamped down on illegal
foreign workers 10 days ago. A Sudanese man was killed in a second
flare of clashes since Nov 9 between Saudi riot police, citizens and
foreign workers in Riyadh.
(AFP, 11/13/13)(Reuters, 11/13/13)
2013 Nov 20, Saudi health
authorities announced a new MERS death, raising to 54 the number of
people killed by the coronavirus.
2013 Nov 21, Saudi local media
reported that religious police have arrested two young men in Riyadh
for offering a "free hug" to passers-by.
2013 Nov 24, Saudi press said a
court has sentenced a man to death and 19 others to prison terms of
up to 25 years in connection with the 2004 armed assault on the US
Consulate in Jiddah that killed five employees in an attack blamed
2013 Nov 24, Saudi Arabia said
one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to
SARS, bringing to 55 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the
center of the outbreak.
2013 Nov 30, Sudanese media
said more than 11,000 Sudanese workers have returned voluntarily
from Saudi Arabia after an amnesty for foreign employees to legalise
2013 Dec 4, OPEC leaders
meeting in Austria agreed to hold its crude production ceiling at 30
million barrels per day despite oversupply concerns and competition
from cheaper shale oil.
2013 Dec 5, Ethiopia said it
has repatriated over 100,000 citizens from Saudi Arabia, following a
violent crackdown against illegal immigrants in the oil-rich
2013 Dec 5, In Yemen a suicide
bomber detonated his explosives-laden car at the Defense Ministry in
Sanaa, killing 18 soldiers and wounding at least 40. Officials said
11 gunmen also were killed in a firefight between troops and a
carload of attackers who arrived after the blast. Gunmen shot and
killed a Western doctor and a Filipina nurse in front of their
colleagues in a hospital inside the compound of the defense
ministry. A total of 56 people were killed in the attack. Most of
the attackers were Saudi nationals. Yemen’s branch of al-Qaida took
(AP, 12/5/13)(Reuters, 12/5/13)(Reuters,
12/6/13)(SFC, 12/7/13, p.A4)
2013 Dec 8, Saudi authorities
beheaded Mohammed Zayer Khan Qol, a Pakistani man, after he was
convicted of smuggling drugs into the ultra-conservative Gulf state.
An AFP count put this as no. 73.
2013 Dec 10, A Saudi court
jailed an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist for 16 years for plotting to kill
the kingdom's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh,
and other clerics. The sentence which includes 40 lashes and a
16-year travel ban.
2013 Dec 11, Saudi Arabia and
its Gulf Arab neighbors wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait by
agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for
tighter security coordination.
2013 Dec 12, Saudi Arabia's
Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the birthplace of
Islam, condemned suicide bombings as grave crimes, reiterating his
stance in unusually strong language in the Saudi-owned Al Hayat
2013 Dec 16, US officials said
two Saudis from Guantanamo have been transferred to the custody of
their own government after a security review. The men are Saad
Muhammad Husayn Qahtani (35) and Hamood Abdulla Hamood (48).
2013 Dec 17, Saudi authorities
beheaded a Syrian man convicted of smuggling drugs to the
2013 Dec 19, Saudi Arabia’s
Al-Hayat newspaper reported that a Saudi court has jailed a man for
15 years after convicting him of recruiting 14 nationals to join
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in neighbouring Yemen.
2013 Dec 20, Saudi Arabia
beheaded another drug trafficker. 77 people have been executed in
Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP count.
2013 Dec 21, Saudi Arabia said
one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to
SARS, bringing to 56 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the
center of the outbreak.
2013 Dec 22, Saudi Arabia's
official news agency says King Abdullah has appointed his son,
Prince Mishaal, as the new governor of Mecca.
2013 Dec 23, A Saudi court
sentenced a citizen to 30 years in prison for leading demonstrations
in 2011 against a crackdown on Shiite Muslims in neighboring
2013 Dec 26, In Saudi Arabia a
73-year-old man died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing to 57 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of
2013 Dec 27, An oil platform
belonging to Saudi oil giant Aramco sank as it was being used to
carry out maintenance work at an oil well in Safaniya. The bodies of
3 Asian workers who went missing were recovered over the next 24
2013 Dec 28, Saudi police
pulled over a woman minutes after she got behind the wheel in the
Red Sea city of Jeddah after activists called for a new challenge to
a driving ban.
2013 Dec 29, French President
Francois Hollande arrived in Saudi Arabia for a visit aimed at
boosting prospects of commercial cooperation between the countries
and addressing escalating tensions in the Middle East.
2013 Dec 29, Lebanon's
President Michel Suleiman said Saudi Arabia is giving the Lebanese
army $3 billion to buy equipment from France, calling it the largest
grant ever given to the country's armed forces.
(Reuters, 12/29/13)(SSFC, 1/5/14, p.A5)
2014 Jan 1, Lebanon’s defense
minister said Lebanese troops have arrested Saudi citizen Majid
al-Majid, the "emir" of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an
al-Qaeda-linked group that claimed a double suicide bombing at the
Iranian embassy in Beirut in November. DNA testing confirmed the
identity of al-Majid.
(AFP, 1/1/14)(AP, 1/3/14)
2014 Jan 4, The Lebanese army
said Saudi citizen Majid al-Majid, the "emir" of the Abdullah Azzam
Brigades fighting in Syria, died while undergoing treatment at the
central military hospital.
2014 Jan 5, In Saudi Arabia
human body parts fell from the sky in the city of Jeddah, with
police saying they could be the remains of a person trapped in an
airplane's wheel bay.
2014 Jan 5, A Saudi court
jailed five people for up to 30 years on charges including plotting
to blow up an oil refinery on behalf of Al-Qaeda.
2014 Jan 12, A Saudi court
sentenced to death an Al-Qaeda militant and jailed 10 others over
the May 1, 2004, attack that killed six Westerners and a policeman.
2014 Jan 29, Saudi health
authorities announced a new MERS death, bringing to 59 the number of
people who have died from the coronavirus in the country with the
2014 Feb 2, Saudi Arabia put
into effect jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist
groups" and fighting abroad, as it struggles to deter Islamist
Saudis from becoming jihadists.
(AFP, 2/3/14)(SFC, 2/3/14, p.A4)
2014 Feb 3, Saudi Arabia’s King
Abdullah issued a royal decree that punishes citizens who fight in
conflicts outside the kingdom with prison sentences ranging from 3
to 20 years.
(SFC, 2/4/14, p.A2)
2014 Feb 4, Saudi authorities
beheaded two citizens after convicting them of two separate murders.
2014 Feb 4, Saudi
officials signed an agreement with SunEdison Inc. of Belmont, Ca.,
to explore building a $6.4 billion solar panel factory in Saudi
Arabia. SunEdison moved from Maryland to Belmont in 2011.
(SFC, 2/5/14, p.C4)
2014 Feb 8, In Saudi Arabia a
hotel fire in Medina killed 13 people including 9 Egyptian pilgrims.
2014 Feb 10, Saudi state media
said a court has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for
protesting and disseminating photos of demonstrations online.
2014 Feb 13, Saudi Arabia said
Yemen has handed over 29 Saudis wanted for suspected links to
2014 Feb 18, Saudi crown prince
Alwaleed bin Talal and deputy prime minister Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al
Saud concluded a three-day-visit to Pakistan. Pakistani Finance
Minister Ishaq Dar announced the creation of the new fund, the
Pakistan Development Fund, to channel money from "friendly
countries" like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
2014 Feb 18, Human Rights Watch
said Saudi Arabian authorities have deported more than 12,000
migrants held under "appalling conditions" back to their native
Somalia. The International Organization for Migration said the
Somali government expects Saudi Arabia to deport another 30,000
people in the coming weeks.
2014 Feb 19, Europe's largest
defense contractor BAE Systems says the governments of the United
Kingdom and Saudi Arabia have agreed on new pricing for a massive
sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.
2014 Feb 20, Two Saudi security
officers and two people they were trying to detain were killed in a
gunfight in the eastern town of al-Awamiya, an area where minority
Shi'ite Muslims have staged regular anti-government protests.
2014 Feb 20, The Organization
of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest bloc of Islamic
countries, agreed to send a high-level fact-finding mission to the
Central African Republic. The Saudi Arabia-based OIC also agreed to
appoint a special representative to coordinate efforts with the
African Union and the United Nations.
2014 Feb 20, Rights groups
criticized an agreement between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia aimed at
giving Indonesian maids more protection in the kingdom, with one
saying "justice is still far away" for them.
2014 Feb 23, In Saudi Arabia a
woman (81) died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing to 61 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of
2014 Feb 24, In Saudi Arabia
three security officers were wounded, one critically, by gunfire
outside a police station in a flashpoint village in the mostly
Shi'ite Muslim area of Qatif.
2014 Feb 26, Saudi Arabia
beheaded one its citizens in Eastern Province after he was convicted
of murdering a compatriot.
2014 Mar 2, In Saudi Arabia a
foreign detainee died and nine others were injured in a riot at a
center housing people awaiting deportation. Yemeni online forums
reported that 10 Yemenis were killed when police opened fire on
rioters demanding that Saudi authorities speed up their deportation.
2014 Mar 5, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from
Qatar in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies who
have fallen out over the role of Islamists in a region in turmoil.
2014 Mar 6, Saudi state news
said a court has sentenced three men to death and jailed two others
for up to 17 years for their part in a series of militant attacks
including the deadly bombing of a foreign housing compound on Nov 8,
2014 Mar 7, Saudi Arabia
identified the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group along with
al-Qaida and two Syrian jihadist groups, warning those who join them
or support them they could face five to 30 years in prison.
(AP, 3/7/14)(AFP, 3/7/14)
2014 Mar 14, Saudi Arabia said
a man (19) has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS,
bringing to 63 the deaths in the kingdom at the center of the
2014 Mar 16, In Saudi Arabia
the local Okaz daily reported that organizers at the Riyadh
International Book Fair had confiscated "more than 10,000 copies of
420 books" during the exhibition, which began March 4. Organizers
had announced ahead of the event that any book deemed "against
Islam" or "undermining security" in the kingdom would be
2014 Mar 20, Saudi Arabia said
it has deported 370,000 foreign migrant workers over the past five
(SFC, 3/21/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 24, A Saudi man
convicted of shooting dead a compatriot in a dispute was beheaded by
the sword. His execution in Hafr al-Batin brings to 12 the number of
death sentences carried out this year in Saudi Arabia.
2014 Mar 27, Saudi Arabia’s
reigning King Abdullah (~89) appointed by royal decree his youngest
surviving brother, Muqrin (b.1945), as 2nd in line to the throne
after ailing crown prince Salman (78).
(Econ, 4/5/14, p.40)
2014 Mar 28, President Barack
Obama opened a fence-mending visit to Saudi Arabia, arriving in the
oil-rich Gulf nation for meetings to reassure its elderly monarch of
the US commitment to the Arab world.
2014 Apr 2, A Saudi Arabian
court sentenced Faris al-Zahrani, a top al-Qaeda strategist, to
death and jailed 15 others for their role in a series of attacks in
the kingdom last decade. Zahrani was arrested in Abha, a city near
the Yemeni border, in August 2004.
2014 Apr 8, Saudi Arabia’s
Shura Council recommended that a longstanding ban on sports in
girls' state schools, relaxed in private schools last year, be ended
2014 Apr 8, The Organization of
Islamic Cooperation said that 14 non-governmental organizations have
pledged $300,000 dollars to establish a new office at its
headquarters in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, that seeks to improve
international coordination to assist Muslims affected by natural
disasters and wars around the world.
2014 Apr 9, Two Saudi border
guards were killed by unidentified gunmen who fired shots from
2014 Apr 9, Saudi health
authorities said that 11 people in the western city of Jiddah have
contracted the Middle East respiratory syndrome, resulting in two
recent deaths, bringing to at least 66 the number of people who have
died of MERS in the kingdom.
2014 Apr 12, In Saudi Arabia
the death of a foreign man (45) due to MERS brought the nationwide
toll in the world's most-affected country to 68.
2014 Apr 13, German media
citing official sources said the government will not approve a
reported deal to sell up to 800 Leopard-2 battle tanks to Saudi
2014 Apr 13, A Malaysian man
(54), who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, became the first
death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
2014 Apr 14, In Yemen suspected
smugglers shot dead a Saudi Arabian border guard and wounded another
in the early hours today, in what would be the second such incident
in five days. Saudi troops seized 14 guns left behind by the
smugglers at the site of the clash.
(Reuters, 4/14/14)(AFP, 4/15/14)
2014 Apr 20, Saudi Arabia's
health ministry said three more patients who contracted a
potentially fatal Middle East virus related to SARS have died amid a
recent increase in infections.
2014 Apr 21, Saudi media
reported that a court has sentenced to death five people over deadly
2003 attacks that marked the start of a wave of Al-Qaeda violence.
2014 Apr 21, Saudi Arabia
announced 17 new cases of MERS, bring the total number of Saudi
infections to 261, of whom 81 have died. King Abdullah fired health
minister Abdullah al-Rabiah.
(SFC, 4/22/14, p.A2)(Reuters, 4/22/14)
2014 Apr 23, Saudi Arabia
announced 11 new cases of MERS, including a 13-year-old child.
Acting health minister Adel Fakieh vowed to keep the public better
informed on the coronavirus.
2014 Apr 24, Saudi Arabia's
health ministry said two more patients who became infected with a
Middle East virus related to SARS have died, and that 13 others have
contracted the MERS virus. The deaths bring to 83 the number of
people who have died in the kingdom since contracting the virus in
2014 Apr 25, Saudi Arabia's
Health Ministry said that five more people in the kingdom have died
from MERS. The ministry says 92 people have died and 313 have
contracted the virus in Saudi since September 2012.
2014 Apr 26, Two Saudi
nationals died from MERS, taking the death toll from the coronavirus
in the worst-hit country to 94.
2014 Apr 30, Saudi Arabia
launched an experimental Internet site for Saudi citizens to
petition King Abdullah (90) directly and lodge complaints at the
initiative of the monarch himself.
2014 May 4, Saudi Arabia's
health ministry said one more patient who contracted the potentially
fatal Middle East virus related to SARS has died and that 14 new
cases have been detected. The new 14 cases raised the number of
those infected in Saudi Arabia to 411.
2014 May 4, In Saudi Arabia a
maid (23) from the Philippines was allegedly scalded with water
deliberately poured down her back. An investigation was launched
jointly by Riyadh police and the Philippines embassy after images of
burns allegedly suffered by the woman, who had arrived in the
kingdom in March, surfaced on social media and online.
2014 May 6, Saudi Arabia said
it had uncovered an al Qaeda militant group with links to "extremist
elements" in Syria and Yemen that had been plotting to assassinate
officials and attack government and foreign targets.
2014 May 7, A state-linked
Saudi newspaper said Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been sentenced to
ten years in prison and 1000 lashes on charges related to
accusations that he insulted Islam on an online forum. He was also
ordered to pay a fine of about $266,000.
(SFC, 5/8/14, p.A2)
2014 May 7, Saudi health
authorities said four more people have died after contracting MERS,
a Middle East respiratory virus. Saudi Arabia has reported 449 cases
and 121 deaths from MERS.
2014 May 9, Saudi Arabia's
health ministry said the death toll from MERS has risen by five to
126 fatalities since the mystery respiratory virus first appeared in
the kingdom in 2012.
2014 May 11, Saudi Arabia
reported that three new deaths from MERS had taken its death toll
from the disease to 142.
2014 May 13, Saudi health
authorities reported another 5 deaths from MERS. The potentially
fatal Middle Eastern respiratory virus has sickened hundreds in the
kingdom. A total of 152 people have now died and 495 have been
confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia since it was
discovered in 2012.
2014 May 27, Saudi media said a
court has sentenced to death Rida Rabih, son of Shiite cleric Jaafar
Rabih. The Shiite protester was convicted of opening fire on a
police patrol during unrest in the kingdom's east.
2014 May 29, Saudi Arabia's
Health Ministry said 13 people have died over the last two weeks
from the Middle Eastern respiratory virus and that 186 people in
total have died from the MERS virus since it was discovered in 2012.
2014 Jul 3, Saudi-owned
al-Arabiya television said the government has deployed 30,000
soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers abandoned the
area. Baghdad denied this and said the frontier remained under its
2014 Jul 4, Six Saudi members
of al Qaeda, already wanted by authorities, struck the town of
al-Sharurah between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in an attack that left 4
border guards and 3 of the gunmen dead. Two of the militants grabbed
10 hostages and fought their way into a government building where
they blew themselves up the next day.
(AP, 7/5/14)(Reuters, 7/6/14)(Reuters, 7/8/14)
2014 Jul 6, In Saudi Arabia
Waleed Abul Khair, a lawyer and founder of a local rights center,
was sentenced to 15 years in jail and a 15 year travel ban upon
release for allegedly “distorting the kingdom’s reputation” and
“inflaming public opinion.
(Econ, 7/12/14, p.41)
2014 Jul 7, In Saudi Arabia
three mortar bombs landed near Arar, close to the northern border
with Iraq, where Islamist militants have grabbed land in a lightning
2014 Aug 4, Saudi authorities
in Arar beheaded a Nepalese housemaid convicted of murdering a
two-year-old boy by slitting his throat. Saudi national Hamad
al-Ahmadi was decapitated in Medina for stabbing his wife to death
while she was asleep.
2014 Aug 5, Saudi Arabian King
Abdullah granted $1 billion to help the Lebanese army to bolster
security as they battle militants who have seized the border town of
Arsal on the Syrian frontier.
2014 Aug 6, A Saudi Arabian who
had travelled to Sierra Leone and had symptoms similar to those
found in Ebola sufferers died of a heart attack. Samples submitted
to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came back
negative for the Ebola virus.
(AFP, 8/6/14)(AP, 8/10/14)
2014 Aug 6, In Saudi Arabia the
Makkah newspaper said Saudi men have been banned from marrying women
from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and Chad as the Gulf state
toughens the rules restricting marriage with foreigners.
2014 Aug 10, King Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia discussed developments in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Libya
with Egypt’s Pres. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during Sisi's first visit
to his regime's powerful ally since winning May elections.
2014 Aug 15, The UN Security
Council unanimously adopted a resolution intended to weaken the
Islamic State - an al Qaeda splinter group that has seized swaths of
territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate - and al
Qaeda's Syrian wing, Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait the next
day agreed to comply with the resolution after four of their
nationals were named among a group blacklisted by the international
2014 Aug 17, In Saudi Arabia
the local al-Medina newspaper reported that a judge has upheld a
sentence of a month in prison and 50 lashes for a businesswoman
convicted of insulting members of the morality police during an
2014 Aug 17, In France heavily
armed robbers attacked the motorcade of a Saudi prince in Paris,
making off with 250,000 euros ($335,000) in cash and reportedly
stealing "sensitive" documents.
2014 Aug 18, Saudi Arabia
executed four people from the same family for attempting to smuggle
"large quantities" of hashish into the kingdom.
2014 Aug 20, Siluria
Technologies of California said a $30 million fundraising round was
led by Saudi Aramco. Siluria said it can make gasoline from gas for
about $1 per gallon.
(SFC, 8/21/14, p.C1)
2014 Aug 21, Saudi police
arrested at least 400 mostly African illegal migrants south of
Riyadh. Authorities have been cracking down on illegal migrants
since the expiration in November of a seven-month amnesty during
which they had to regularize their status or leave the kingdom.
2014 Aug 22, The US imposed
sanctions on Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al Sharekh, a Saudi
citizen and allegedly the head of Al-Qaeda operations in Syria, and
Hamid Hamad Hamid al-Ali of Kuwait.
2014 Aug 27, Saudi authorities
beheaded three citizens after they were convicted of murder in
separate cases, bringing to 41 the number of executions there this
2014 Aug 30, A Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) meeting in the Saudi Red Sea resort of Jeddah ended.
An Omani minister said the Gulf Arab monarchies have resolved a
six-month dispute with Qatar, which they had accused of
destabilizing the region by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
2014 Sep 1, A Saudi Arabian
court jailed 17 men for up to 26 years for seeking to fight in Iraq
and funding militants.
2014 Sep 2, A top Saudi
security official said that police had arrested 88 men suspected of
being part of an al-Qaida cell that was plotting attacks inside and
outside of the kingdom.
2014 Sep 3, A court in Saudi
Arabia sentenced an American and 23 other people to prison on
charges they created a terrorist cell and planned attacks on
foreigners and oil pipelines.
2014 Sep 5, Saudi Arabia’s King
Abdullah announced the launch of the first stage of a border
security program, covering 900 km (560 miles) of the northern
frontier. Saudi police raided a house in Khafji, near the Kuwaiti
border, and charged 27 Asian Christians with holding a church
ceremony. Saudi Arabia forbids non-Muslim religious practice.
(AFP, 9/6/14)(Econ, 9/20/14, p.43)
2014 Sep 21, Saudi Arabia’s
official SPA news agency reported that four Saudi men have been
sentenced to death for their role in one of the kingdom's "bloodiest
terror cells." A special criminal court in Riyadh also jailed "as
many as 20" others for between two and 23 years for a variety of
crimes that included embracing "deviant" thinking contrary to the
2014 Sep 23, The United States
and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time. Bahrain,
Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
participated in or supported the strikes against Islamic State
targets. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 70
Islamic State fighters were killed in strikes that hit at least 50
targets in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor and Hasakah provinces. It also said
at least 50 fighters and 8 civilians were killed in strikes
targeting al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, in northern
Aleppo and Idlib provinces.
2014 Sep 27, Air strikes hit
Islamic State and other Islamist groups in eastern Syria. US strikes
hit the besieged area around Kobani and forces from Saudi Arabia,
Jordan and the UAE contributed to strikes around the country.
(Reuters, 9/27/14)(SSFC, 9/28/14, p.A8)
2014 Oct 4, In Saudi Arabia
some two million Muslims ritually stoned the devil in the last major
rite of this year's hajj, while fellow believers around the world
celebrated Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice.
2014 Oct 8, France said it will
soon provide weapons and military equipment to the Lebanese army as
part of a $3 billion grant from Saudi Arabia to help it fight
jihadis encroaching into Lebanon from Syria.
2014 Oct 12, The US Central
Command said warplanes from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates conducted four airstrikes in Syria over the
weekend, including three in Kobani that destroyed an Islamic State
fighting position and staging area.
2014 Oct 13, US Central Command
said the US and Saudi Arabia launched eight airstrikes yesterday and
today against Islamic State targets in Syria, including seven near
2014 Oct 14, In Saudi Arabia a
US national was shot dead and another wounded in Riyadh. Police
later shot and wounded an assailant and then arrested him.
2014 Oct 15, A Saudi court
sentenced prominent Shiite cleric and anti-government protest leader
Nimr Bakir al-Nimr to death after convicting him of sedition.
(AFP, 10/15/14)(Econ, 10/18/14, p.49)
2014 Oct 16, Saudi Arabia’s
health ministry said it is seeing "sporadic" cases of the Middle
East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has killed
324 people in the country since 2012.
2014 Oct 21, A Saudi court
sentenced 13 people to prison for planning a series of attacks
against US forces in Qatar and Kuwait. 11 Saudis, a Qatari and an
Afghan national were given varying sentences of between 18 months to
30 years in prison.
2014 Oct 23, Saudi Arabia
authorities said female drivers will be dealt with "strictly",
before a right-to-drive campaign culminates at the weekend.
2014 Nov 3, In Saudi Arabia
gunmen shot dead at least 6 people in eastern al-Ahsa district.
Local residents said it was an attack on Shi'ite Muslim worshippers.
(Reuters, 11/4/14)(AFP, 11/5/14)
2014 Nov 4, In Saudi Arabia 2
policemen and 2 suspects, allegedly linked to the deadly gun attack
in eastern al-Ahsa district, were killed. Saudi authorities arrested
15 people in connection with the shooting that left 6 people dead.
(AP, 11/4/14)(AFP, 11/5/14)
2014 Nov 4, Saudi Arabia
ordered closed the offices of Wesal TV, a religious television
channel accused of fomenting sectarian tension, after at least eight
people were killed in an attack on Shi'ite Muslims marking a major
2014 Nov 4, France and Saudi
Arabia signed an agreement for Paris to provide the Lebanese army
with $3 billion worth of weapons paid for by Riyadh.
2014 Nov 7, A Saudi Arabia
advisory committee recommended that the government lift its ban on
female drivers for women over 30. It said the women must be off the
road by 8pm and cannot wear makeup behind the wheel.
(SFC, 11/8/14, p.A2)
2014 Nov 18, Saudi press
reported that a court has found eight men guilty of involvement in a
series of deadly attacks against foreigners in 2004, among them an
assault that killed a BBC cameraman and paralyzed the news
2014 Nov 19, Saudi Arabia
executed Salih bin Yateem bin Salih al-Qarni. He had donned women's
clothing in a bid to escape after shooting dead a soldier and police
2014 Nov 16, Gulf states agreed
to welcome Qatar back to the fold following a row over its support
for Islamists. Last March Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
announced the withdrawal of their envoys from Qatar in protest at
its "interference" in their internal affairs by supporting
2014 Nov 22, In Saudi Arabia
Danish national Thomas Hopner was shot and wounded in Riyadh. On Dec
11 Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said three supporters of the
Islamic State group have been arrested for the shooting.
2014 Nov 22, The Pentagon said
Saudi citizen Muhammad al-Zahrani, who has spent the past 12 years
detained at Guantanamo Bay, has been released to return to Saudi
Arabia. 142 men now continued to be held, including 73 already
cleared for release.
2014 Nov 23, Saudi
telecommunications company Etihad Etisalat, known as Mobily on the
Saudi stock exchange, said it has suspended its chief executive
officer after accounting errors forced the operator to restate 18
months of earnings.
2014 Nov 27, Saudi Arabia led
the 12-member OPEC oil ministers meeting in Austria. OPEC opted to
keep their production target at 30 million barrels a day, despite an
oversupply of crude and plunging prices.
2014 Nov 29, A Saudi man was
arrested after he stabbed a Canadian citizen shopping in a mall with
his family in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province.
2014 Dec 4, Yemeni and Western
sources said Saudi Arabia has suspended most of its financial aid to
Yemen, in a clear indication of its dissatisfaction with the growing
political power of Shi'ite Houthi fighters friendly with Riyadh's
regional rival, Iran.
2014 Dec 8, Saudi King Abdullah
announced a Cabinet shakeup, naming new ministers to key portfolios
overseeing the kingdom's universities and mosques where
ultraconservative clerics and their supporters hold sway.
2014 Dec 9, The six-member Gulf
Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
UAE) agreed to create a joint naval force based out of Bahrain and
announced a police force based in Abu Dhabi.
(SSFC, 12/14/14, p.A22)
2014 Dec 11, Saudi Arabia-based
Islamic Development Bank said the Saudi king has pledged $35 million
to help fight Ebola in hard-hit West African countries.
2014 Dec 12, A Saudi woman
arrested for attending a soccer game at Jiddah's new
2014 Dec 14, A Saudi security
officer was killed in an operation to free three foreign laborers
taken hostage by a gunman in Riyadh. The attacker was wounded and
captured in the shoot-out. A Saudi policeman was shot and killed in
the eastern town of al-Awamiya by an unidentified assailant.
2014 Dec 15, Saudi Arabia's
Interior Ministry said a Yemeni man convicted of robbery has had his
right hand cut off, the first such punishment carried out in the
kingdom this year.
2014 Dec 15, In Austria school
officials in Vienna ordered the closure of a Saudi Arabian school
accused of teaching anti-Semitism, after it refused to comply with a
request to identify the institution's director and teachers.
2014 Dec 20, Saudi security
forces killed 4 militants in a clash in Awamiya region. An ministry
spokesman said the dead were behind the killing of a member of the
security forces and wounding of another on Dec 14. Residents said a
teenager was accidentally killed during the raid.
(Reuters, 12/20/14)(AFP, 12/21/14)
2014 Dec 24, A Saudi Arabian
court sentenced a man to death for links to a 2006 attack claimed by
Al-Qaeda on the kingdom's biggest oil facility. Two other Saudis
were jailed for 33 and 27 years respectively.
2014 Dec 25, Saudi Arabia's
Cabinet endorsed a 2015 budget that projects a slight increase in
spending and a significant drop in revenues due to sliding oil
prices, resulting in a nearly $39 billion deficit.
2014 Dec 25, Saudi activists
said two detained women's rights campaigners have been transferred
to a special tribunal for terrorism.
2014 Dec 31, Saudi authorities
beheaded a Pakistani man convicted of smuggling "large quantities"
of heroin. An Associated Press tally showed 83 people have been
beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 2014.
2014 Pascal Menoret authored
Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt in Saudi Arabia.
(Econ, 5/31/14, p.75)
2014 Ziauddin Sardar authored
“Mecca: The Sacred City.”
(Econ, 10/25/14, p.85)
2014 In Saudi Arabia the first
female-run law firm opened this year after authorities lifted a ban
preventing women law graduates from practicing.
(Econ, 5/17/14, p.45)
2015 Jan 1, Saudi security
forces arrested Montadhar Ali Saleh Alsbaitiin, a man believed to
belong to a Shi'ite Muslim group blamed for instigating protests and
unrest in the country's Eastern Province.
2015 Jan 5, In Saudi Arabia 3
guards including a top commander were killed in a rare attack and
suicide bombing by "terrorists" on the border with Iraq. 4 attackers
were also killed in the clash, 2 in suicide blasts.
2015 Jan 9, In Saudi Arabia
blogger Raif Badawi was flogged 50 times, the first set of 1000
lashes over 20 weeks. He was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison
plus the lashes for criticizing clerics.
(SFC, 1/10/15, p.A2)
2015 Jan 12, Saudi Arabia said
it has beheaded a Myanmar female child-killer, bringing to 7 the
number of death sentences it has carried out this year. Layla bint
Abdul Mutaleb Bassim is later seen screaming her innocence in a
video posted on the Internet on Jan 17.
(AFP, 1/12/15)(AFP, 1/17/15)
2015 Jan 14, Saudi Arabia
beheaded a convicted Pakistani drug trafficker and one of its own
citizens who killed a soldier.
2015 Jan 16, Saudi Arabia
postponed the 2nd round of flogging for blogger Raef Badawi,
sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, because his wounds
from last week's 50 lashings have not yet healed.
2015 Jan 16, Saudi Arabia
beheaded one of its citizens for shooting dead a compatriot with a
machine gun, bringing to 10 the number of executions in just over
2012 Jan 21, Germany’s
Chancellor Angela Merkel and eight ministers decided to halt arms
exports to Saudi Arabia because of instability in the region.
2015 Jan 22, Saudi Arabia
postponed the flogging of blogger Raef Badawi, whose case has
sparked international criticism, for a second week on medical
2015 Jan 22, Saudi Arabia’s
King Abdullah (b.1924) died after a short illness. He was
immediately succeeded by Crown Prince Salman (79).
2015 Jan 23, Saudi King Salman
pledged to maintain existing energy and foreign policies and settled
the succession by appointing his youngest half-brother Muqrin (69)
as Crown Prince and nephew Mohammed bin Nayef (55) as Deputy Crown
2015 Jan 30, In Saudi Arabia
two US citizens came under gunfire, and one of them was wounded but
in stable condition.
2015 Jan 30, Saudi Arabia
postponed for a third week in a row the flogging of blogger Raef
2015 Feb 1, Outspoken
billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal launched a pan-Arab
satellite news channel aimed at challenging established networks in
the region. The Bahrain-based Alarab News Channel took to the air,
leading with a story about Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
2015 Feb 1, In Saudi Arabia the
daughter of Suad al-Shammari, co-founder of the Saudi Liberal
Network Internet discussion group with blogging activist Raef
Badawi, said her mother has been freed after about three months in