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Crude oil is such an essential part of our modern lives that we can often take for granted that our supply of it will remain constant. Small, unstable countries often hold great amounts of this precious resource, along with the ability to cut our supply in a moment's notice. Therefore, the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia caused a dramatic increase in the revenue of the country. Saudi Arabia's newfound wealth was exploited to serve the political and economic needs of an opportunistic Islamic monarchy, while the concerns and rights of its subjects were consistently cast to the wayside. Through a global trade network, Saudi Arabia found great prosperity at the cost of sacrificing its founding principles. Stability of the Arabian Peninsula created the opportunity for the newly formed Saudi Arabia to encourage foreign investments, and thus the eventual oil industry. The Arabian Peninsula of the early 20th Century was characterized by diverse and militant Islamic groups (Federal Research Division, 2004, p. 10). Although oil was discovered by 1938, Saudi Arabia did not begin to reap its benefits and face its problems until after World War 2. Oil has often been described as a 'transforming force', and this description is easy to apply to Saudi Arabia. Prior to World War 2, government yearly revenues barely reached half of a million dollars (Mansfield, A History of the Middle East, 1991, p. 281). By 1950, revenues were up to $56 million, and by 1956, they were at an unprecedented $200 million. While oil revenue has been observed to bring positive effects to Saudi Arabia, large amounts of money have the intrinsic ability to corrupt leaders and produce negative effects. The extravagance of the Saudi Royal Family has drawn particular attention to the issue of unequal distribution of wealth (Abir, 1988, p. 3). Members of the royal family would live in ornamental palaces similar to that shown in figure 2. Meanwhile, the United Nations Statistics Division reported in 2001 that 3.6 million, or almost 15 percent of people in Saudi Arabia live in substandard slum housing. This is unacceptable for a country that possesses the incredible wealth of oil production, and shows that the government of Saudi Arabia only cares for its citizens when it is convenient for it to do so. The Saudi Arabian government's disregard for the welfare of its citizens also extends to unashamed Human Rights violations. According to reports conducted by both Amnesty International (2007) and the Human Rights Watch (2004), Saudi Arabia has denied many of the freedoms described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, despite being a member of the UN. Instead, Saudi Arabia directly follows the body of Islamic shari'a law. However, these laws do not seem to offer any protection to the residents of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, shari'a law is even more hostile to the foreign workers who make up about a third of the population of the Saudi kingdom. It was previously mentioned that oil revenue allowed for the modernization of education in Saudi Arabia. Within the context of human rights, it is then important to note that there is a great disparity between the rates of literacy of men and women (CIA, 2008). This indicates a society that places more importance on education of boys than of girls. Unfortunately for Saudi Arabia, their oil profits have not solved many problems. A few may even have been created by oil profits. Oil has created the issue of unlikely intervention by foreign forces due to human rights abuses. Lewis (1995, p. 10) argued that foreign countries are basically concerned with two things in Saudi Arabia. They are concerned because of their energy needs, and the discovery of a growing market for goods and services. To maintain these elements, it is required that law and order is kept in Saudi Arabia. Foreign forces cannot intervene in cases of human rights violations for fear that their oil supply would be cut. According to a BBC (2006, January 16) report, the European Union in particular has disregarded cases of human rights abuses so that they could swiftly close business deals related to oil. It is only natural that the government of Saudi Arabia would try to extend its influence over foreign powers. The 1973 oil crisis was an event that sums up Saudi Arabia's attempt to gain international power using the concept of "the oil weapon". The crisis had its origins in the foundation of OPEC, or, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC includes twelve states that convene to set the price of crude oil at levels that safeguard the economic interests of members (BBC, 2003). Achieving competitive prices in the oil market is incredibly important to nations that rely on oil to contribute a majority of revenue to society. On the other hand, OPEC has the power to set oil prices at arbitrary levels, leading to some criticism. Saudi Arabia attempted to use its power as an OPEC member to achieve diplomatic goals. It is likely that Saudi Arabia will remain a force in the international community for as long as they have oil.
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The Importance of Oil in Saudi Arabia
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The Importance Of Oil In Saudi Arabia

Words: 830    Pages: 3    Paragraphs: 8    Sentences: 46    Read Time: 03:01
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              Crude oil is such an essential part of our modern lives that we can often take for granted that our supply of it will remain constant. Small, unstable countries often hold great amounts of this precious resource, along with the ability to cut our supply in a moment's notice. Therefore, the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia caused a dramatic increase in the revenue of the country. Saudi Arabia's newfound wealth was exploited to serve the political and economic needs of an opportunistic Islamic monarchy, while the concerns and rights of its subjects were consistently cast to the wayside. Through a global trade network, Saudi Arabia found great prosperity at the cost of sacrificing its founding principles.
             
              Stability of the Arabian Peninsula created the opportunity for the newly formed Saudi Arabia to encourage foreign investments, and thus the eventual oil industry. The Arabian Peninsula of the early 20th Century was characterized by diverse and militant Islamic groups (Federal Research Division, 2004, p. 10). Although oil was discovered by 1938, Saudi Arabia did not begin to reap its benefits and face its problems until after World War 2.
             
              Oil has often been described as a 'transforming force', and this description is easy to apply to Saudi Arabia. Prior to World War 2, government yearly revenues barely reached half of a million dollars (Mansfield, A History of the Middle East, 1991, p. 281). By 1950, revenues were up to $56 million, and by 1956, they were at an unprecedented $200 million.
              While oil revenue has been observed to bring positive effects to Saudi Arabia, large amounts of money have the intrinsic ability to corrupt leaders and produce negative effects. The extravagance of the Saudi Royal Family has drawn particular attention to the issue of unequal distribution of wealth (Abir, 1988, p. 3). Members of the royal family would live in ornamental palaces similar to that shown in figure 2. Meanwhile, the United Nations Statistics Division reported in 2001 that 3. 6 million, or almost 15 percent of people in Saudi Arabia live in substandard slum housing. This is unacceptable for a country that possesses the incredible wealth of oil production, and shows that the government of Saudi Arabia only cares for its citizens when it is convenient for it to do so.
             
              The Saudi Arabian government's disregard for the welfare of its citizens also extends to unashamed Human Rights violations. According to reports conducted by both Amnesty International (2007) and the Human Rights Watch (2004), Saudi Arabia has denied many of the freedoms described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, despite being a member of the UN. Instead, Saudi Arabia directly follows the body of Islamic shari'a law. However, these laws do not seem to offer any protection to the residents of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, shari'a law is even more hostile to the foreign workers who make up about a third of the population of the Saudi kingdom. It was previously mentioned that oil revenue allowed for the modernization of education in Saudi Arabia. Within the context of human rights, it is then important to note that there is a great disparity between the rates of literacy of men and women (CIA, 2008). This indicates a society that places more importance on education of boys than of girls. Unfortunately for Saudi Arabia, their oil profits have not solved many problems. A few may even have been created by oil profits.
             
              Oil has created the issue of unlikely intervention by foreign forces due to human rights abuses. Lewis (1995, p. 10) argued that foreign countries are basically concerned with two things in Saudi Arabia. They are concerned because of their energy needs, and the discovery of a growing market for goods and services. To maintain these elements, it is required that law and order is kept in Saudi Arabia. Foreign forces cannot intervene in cases of human rights violations for fear that their oil supply would be cut. According to a BBC (2006, January 16) report, the European Union in particular has disregarded cases of human rights abuses so that they could swiftly close business deals related to oil. It is only natural that the government of Saudi Arabia would try to extend its influence over foreign powers.
             
              The 1973 oil crisis was an event that sums up Saudi Arabia's attempt to gain international power using the concept of "the oil weapon". The crisis had its origins in the foundation of OPEC, or, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC includes twelve states that convene to set the price of crude oil at levels that safeguard the economic interests of members (BBC, 2003). Achieving competitive prices in the oil market is incredibly important to nations that rely on oil to contribute a majority of revenue to society. On the other hand, OPEC has the power to set oil prices at arbitrary levels, leading to some criticism. Saudi Arabia attempted to use its power as an OPEC member to achieve diplomatic goals.
             
              It is likely that Saudi Arabia will remain a force in the international community for as long as they have oil.
Saudi Arabia Essay 
Abir, M. (1988). Saudi Arabia in the Oil Era. Routledge.
Abramowitz, M. (2008, January 16). Bush urges more oil output during Saudi Arabia visit. Houston Chronicle .
Amnesty International. (2007). Saudi Arabia. Retrieved August 6, 2008, from Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/middle-east-and-north-africa/west-gulf/saudi-arabia#report
BBC. (2006, January 16). EU under fire over human rights. Retrieved August 6, 2008, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4624578.stm
BBC. (2003, February 12). OPEC: The Oil Cartel. Retrieved August 5, 2008, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/689609.stm
BBC. (2008, April 4). Timeline: Saudi Arabia. Retrieved July 25, 2008, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/820515.stm
BBC. (2008, February 1). UN call for Saudi women's rights. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7222869.stm
Bowcott, O. (2004, January 1). UK feared Americans would invade Gulf during 1973 oil crisis. Retrieved July 30, 2008, from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/jan/01/uk.past3
Bronson, R. (2006). Thicker Than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia. Oxford University Press.
CIA. (2008, July 15). Saudi Arabia. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
Facing a Powerful Cartel. (1972, January 24). Retrieved August 5, 2008, from TIME Magazine: /www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,905688,00.html
Federal Research Division. (2004). Saudi Arabia: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing.
Goodwin, W. (2001). Saudi Arabia. San Diego: Lucient Books.
Greenwald, J. (1986, April 21). Saudi Arabia Facing a Double-Barreled Gun. Time .
G?len, G. (1996). Is OPEC a Cartel? Evidence from Cointegration and Causality Tests. Department of Economics - Boston College.
Harper, R. A. (2003). Saudi Arabia. Chelsea House Publishers.
Human Rights Watch. (2004, July 15). Saudi Arabia: Foreign Workers Abused. Retrieved August 20, 2008, from Human Rights News: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/15/saudia9061.htm
Lewis, B. (1995). The Middle East - 2000 years of history from the rise of Christianity to the present day. London: Phoenix.
Mansfield, P. (1991). A History of the Middle East. Victoria: Penguin Group.
Mansfield, P. (1992). The Arabs. Victoria: Penguin Books.
Taylor, J., & van Doren, P. (2003, October 17). Time to Lay the 1973 Oil Embargo to Rest. Retrieved July 30, 2008, from CATO Institute: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3272
The Saudi Contradiction. (2001, October 30). Wall Street Journal .
Wells, C. (2003). Understanding Saudi Arabia. Indianapolis: Penguin Group.
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