Mostly uninhabited, sandy desert.
Harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes.
Nationality: Saudi or Saudi Arabian. Population: 26,939,583 (July 2013 est.). Language: Arabic (official).
Has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. Encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs.
TOP OIL EXPORTING COUNTRIES (1:21)
LEADING OPEC OIL EXPORTER (:50)
LARGEST MIDEAST OIL EXPORTERS (:51)
Saudi Arabia has many modern airports, and the national airline, Saudia, is the largest in the Middle East. Telephone, telex, pager, and cellular phone services are available. Modern health care and education are available free of charge to all Saudi citizens and pilgrims. Social services provide for workers and families in case of disability, retirement, or death. All adult Saudis, if not independently wealthy, are entitled to a plot of land and a loan to build a home.
US Military Presence/Support
Saudi Arabia and the United States share and work together on a number of common geo-political concerns, including anti-terrorism and security issues in the Middle East. The United States has also sold Saudi Arabia military weapons, aircraft, vehicles and other equipment. It supports Saudi military troops through modernization efforts, training exercises and weapons instruction. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regularly assists the Saudis with civilian and military construction projects.