Saudi Arabia. During the year, militant Islamists stepped up their attacks on Western companies and their employees, as well as against Saudi Arabian police and other authorities. On May 29, 29 people were killed, among them a Swedish, when militant Islamists stormed a residential area in the oil metropolis of al-Khubar in eastern Saudi Arabia, where westerners preferred to live. One of the attackers was arrested while three escaped. A group that called itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took responsibility for the attack. The same group said it was behind the attack on the US consulate in the port city of Jeddah on December 6, when five local employees and four attackers were killed.
In October, over the past year, militant Islamists have reportedly killed over 100 people, many of them single Westerners who were kidnapped and then shot or beheaded. The objectives of the militant groups seemed to be, by damaging the oil industry, destabilizing Saudi Arabia’s economy and thus accessing the royal house. The country’s authorities went against the offensive. Most of the 26 people who in 2003 had been called for suspecting to be leading militant Islamists had either been killed, arrested or handed over to the authorities in November in connection with a shorter amnesty. Among those killed was Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who was shot dead in a fire in June. Only eleven were still said to be on the loose.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Saudi Arabia is 34,813,882 people in 2020. Saudi Arabia’s security cooperation with the US increased. On June 2, Saudi authorities announced their intention to close the country’s largest aid body, the Islamic Foundation al-Haramayn. The US had long accused al-Haramayn of transferring money to the al-Qaeda terror network.
The first human rights organization in Saudi Arabia was formed in March under the name of the National Human Rights Association (NHRA). Its mission was to receive and investigate reports from the public about human rights violations. At least eight intellectuals were reported on March 17, having been arrested since demanding that general elections be held and a constitution established. In August, three of the arrested were reported to have been charged with “criticizing the political establishment”.
The local elections that had been promised in 2004 were postponed several times. But in November voter registration began before the election, which was then scheduled to be held in several rounds starting February 10, 2005.
At least 251 Muslim pilgrims were trampled to death in Mina outside the holy city of Mecca on February 1, when panic ensued in a crowd in conjunction with Hajj, the annual pilgrimage period.
In March 2011, Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain to fight the rebellion against Bahrain’s sovereign ruler. Saudi Arabia feared that in the months before the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings would spread and topple the fundamentalist dictatorships in the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudi regime has been armed to the teeth of the United States for 30 years, and after the Bahrain invasion and occupation, it was revealed that the country’s special forces – anti-terror corps and sniper – had been trained by British soldiers shortly before. Saudi Arabia also gathered significant troop forces at the border with Yemen to help the country’s distressed dictator, Abdullah Saleh.
While Qatar already supported the rebels in Libya in March 2011, Saudi Arabia’s relationship was more pending. The withdrawn attitude was gone when it came to the rebellion against the second non-conservative regime in the Arab world – Syria. Here, in mid-2011, Saudi Arabia began military support for the country’s rebels and at the same time had Syria expelled from the Arab League. The country also made contacts with both the military dictatorship and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Saudi Arabia was trying to replace Egypt as the leading country in the Arab League and at the same time move the league a big step to the right.
Saudi Arabia executed 82 people in 2011. A triple-digit increase in 2010, including 5 women and 28 foreign nationals. Over 100 were fined. In 2012, at least 79 were executed. In the first 11 months of 2013, at least 64 were executed. In 2014, that figure rose to at least 76.
In July 2013, the Jeddah Criminal Court sentenced internet activist Raif Badawi to 7 years in prison and 600 whips for having created a Web site. was possible to discuss social issues and religion. The judgment was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in April 2014 sharpened the sentence to 10 years in prison, US $ 266,000 in fines and 1000 strokes distributed over 20 whips. The first whipping took place on January 9, 2015 in front of a crowded mosque in Jeddah. It was two days after the Western media had gone self-inflicted over the murders of 12 magicians and journalists in Paris. The suppression of freedom of speech in western ally Saudi Arabia did not trigger a memo, but nonetheless sparked strong protests from human rights organizations. The following week, Badawi couldn’t get his next 50 whips, as his health was too poor after the first lap.