This article may primarily relate to a different subject, or place undue weight on a particular aspect rather than the subject as a whole. Specifically, a potential majority of quotes and sum of their text relate to global political debates of much recency. (July 2021)
Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area (approximately 2,150,000 km2 [830,000 sq mi]), constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest geographically in the Arab world.
- Alphabetized by author
- We have to all realise that criticising some phenomena in our home country does not equate to hating it, wishing evil upon it nor is it an attempt to shake its balance, it's the total opposite. Any Saudi citizen might be upset by some incidents that occur in the Kingdom, but that is only a direct sign of one's interest in the betterment of one's own country and one's hope to see Saudi Arabia as a global leader.
- If you go to school in Saudi Arabia, what do you learn about people who are not followers of Wahhabi, of the prophet? The religious curriculum in Saudi Arabia teaches you that people are basically two sides: Salafis [Wahhabis], who are the winners, the chosen ones, who will go to heaven, and the rest. The rest are Muslims and Christians and Jews and others. Even muslims of other sects, all of these people are not accepted by Salafi as Muslims. As I said, "claimant to Islam." And all of these people are supposed to be hated, to be persecuted, even killed. And we have several clergy -- not one Salafi clergy -- who have said that against the Shi'a and against the other Muslims. And they have done it in Algeria, in Afghanistan. This is the same ideology. They just have the same opportunity. They did it in Algeria and Afghanistan, and now New York.
- Ahmed Ali, Wahhabism: Analysis. PBS.
One of the most devout and insular countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has emerged from being an underdeveloped desert kingdom to become one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to vast oil resources.
- The growing confrontation in the Gulf between the US and its Saudi-led allies on one side and Iran and its proxies... which have been blamed by the US on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. This is a standoff that has been coming... Iran’s actions can hardly be said to have occurred in a vacuum... it has been the recent policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran under the incoherent foreign policy of the Trump administration that has exacerbated the current tensions... the Trump administration has withdrawn unilaterally from the internationally agreed – and successful – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015... In tandem with the US moves, Saudi Arabia – one of the countries seen as pushing US policy – has increased its oil production to sell to former buyers of Iranian oil, while at the same time vocally supporting moves to strangle Iranian exports.
- Saudi Arabia propagates terrorism.
- Saudi Arabia has become a firm friend of the United States. As its influence dramatically expands in the world, Saudi Arabia has been not only a firm supporter of the peace process but a moderating and conciliatory force on a wide range of global issues.
- Jimmy Carter, Letter to Members of Congress on Middle East Arms Sales (12 May 1978).
- And, once and for all, the Saudis, the Qataris, and others need to stop their citizens from directly funding extremist organizations, as well as schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path toward radicalization. When it comes to blocking terrorist recruitment, we have to identify the hotspots—the specific neighborhoods and villages, the prisons and schools—where recruitment happens in clusters.
- I think that the Saudis have a multiple level of responsibilities, first and foremost, stopping their own citizens from continuing the financing for extremists. And, you know, Saudi financing is still a major source of revenue for terrorist groups inside Syria, inside Iraq elsewhere.
- I know that the — that Saudi individuals have certainly funded other related terrorist groups over time and also exported a lot of Wahhabi radicalism by kicking out or sending out imams and teachers to set up schools and mosques to preach that particularly harsh brand of Islam. So the Saudis have a lot that they can do to both stop and then to help.
- It is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.
- Well it's a gloomy, rainy old day to be here in London, but it could be worse; I could be in Saudi Arabia where men are men, and women are cattle. Can I say that?
- One guy said, "I'm from Saudi Arabia and I'm proud of my country." Well, good for you, but forgive me for asking why. If you live in Saudi Arabia, what on Earth have you got to be proud of? If you couldn't dig money straight out of the ground, you'd all be starving. The only thing your country has to offer the world is oil. Well, it's not the only thing, but we don't need any sand, and we're all up to here with Jihad, thanks very much.
- [Saudi Arabia] is the Keeper of the Two Holy Cities, giving her an Islamic orientation of responsibility; she is the counsellor of the Arab world, due to her religious standing, her wealth, and her domestic stability and cohesion.
- Mohammad Saleh Al-Daham, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Contribution to Stability in the International Arena (May 1988)
- Seductive mirages of progress notwithstanding, nowhere in the world is apartheid practiced with more cruelty and finality than in Saudi Arabia. Of course, it is women who are locked in and kept out, exiled to invisibility and object powerlessness within their own country. It is women who are degraded systematically from birth to early death, utterly and total and without exception deprived of freedom. It is women who are sold into marriage or concubinage, often before puberty; killed if their hymens are not intact on the wedding night; kept confined, ignorant, pregnant, poor, without choice or recourse. It is women who are raped and beaten with full sanction of the law. It is women who cannot own property or work for a living or determine in any way the circumstances of their own lives. It is women who are subject to a despotism that knows no restraint. Women, locked out and locked in. Mr Carter, enchanted with his good friends, the Saudis. Mr Carter, a sincere advocate of human rights. Sometimes even a feminist with a realistic knowledge of male hypocrisy and a strong stomach cannot believe the world she lives in.
- Andrea Dworkin, "A Feminist Looks at Saudi Arabia" (1978)
- No one should be fooled into believing that Saudi Arabia is striving towards a more open and pluralistic form of government. ... The very opposite is true, what we are witnessing is a regime that is tightening its grip on the social fabric of society, choking all forms of open debate, suffocating civil society, silencing the voice of reform and imprisoning those who are striving towards modernity.
- Ben Emmerson, as quoted in Saudi Arabia using anti-terror laws to detain and torture political dissidents, UN says (8 June 2018), The Independent.
- Saudi Arabia's addiction to the blood cult of public execution demeans and humiliates not only the victims, but all those who participate in the process and Saudi society as a whole.
- Ben Emmerson, as quoted in Saudi Arabia using anti-terror laws to detain and torture political dissidents, UN says (8 June 2018), The Independent.
- In the heartlands of Islam, from Saudi mansions to ISIS dungeons, there are still slaves, laboring, beaten, bought, sold, raped and disposed of in Mohammed's name.
- Louie Gohmert, speech to the United States House of Representatives (10 July 2015) video
- From Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world.
- We must make it clear to the Saudis that the time of looking the other way is over.
- We will prevent Saudi help in the building or financing of mosques in Germany where Wahhabi ideas are to be disseminated.
- The discovery of oil in 1938 launched the transformation of a mostly desert kingdom into a modern country. The country was barely six years old and its founder, King Abdelaziz ibn Saud, was already courted by world powers. In 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt struck a deal with the Saudi monarch, sitting aboard the USS Quincy on the Great Bitter Lake. The two men agreed that Saudi Arabia would provide America with unimpeded access to exploit the oil, in exchange for military protection and support. The price of a barrel was low for years, the revenues limited, but it was more than enough to build a country from scratch, and by the late 1960s a wave of construction was under way across the kingdom. There was no local expertise, but plenty of money to hire help. Then, in the fall of 1973, the price of oil quadrupled almost overnight from $3 to $12—roughly the equivalent of $50 in 2019. That October, Egypt and Syria had gone to war against Israel, hoping to regain land lost in the Six-Day War of 1967. Oil-producing Arab countries declared an embargo on exports to the United States and other countries that supported Israel in the conflict. Saudi Arabia was reluctant to undermine its alliance with the US but ultimately led the charge and reaped the benefits: Arab hearts filled with pride, briefly grateful to the kingdom for standing up to the West and Israel—a small consolation for past humiliations. Most important, the young country was now awash with cash as billions of dollars flooded the kingdom. Between 1970 and 1974, Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues ballooned from $1.2 billion to $22.5 billion.
- Kim Ghattas, Black Wave : Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2020)
The Saudis can't rein in Islamic State. They lost control of global Salafism long ago. (2016) edit
F. Gregory Gause III, The Saudis can't rein in Islamic State. They lost control of global Salafism long ago. Los Angeles Times (July 19, 2016)
- Can a state be both the target of Islamist extremists and responsible for their actions? The attacks on July 4 in three Saudi Arabian cities, almost certainly perpetrated by adherents of Islamic State, have once again raised this question for drive-by analysts. They point out that the official interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia, which outsiders refer to as Wahhabism and Saudis refer to as Salafism, shares many elements with extremist ideology. Then they argue that Saudi efforts to proselytize Salafism played a role in the development of the global jihadist movement, and that the Saudis thus bear a special responsibility to rein in their support for Muslim institutions outside their borders and to moderate their practice of Islam at home. The implication is that if the Saudis would only change their behavior, the threat represented by the radicals would be greatly reduced.
- With the oil revolution of the 1970s, the Saudis had enormous resources to support that effort. In the 1980s, the Saudis (along with the United States) supported a campaign in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union that both they and Washington were happy to call a jihad. At that point, the Saudis lost control of global Salafism, if they ever really had it.
- What had been a largely apolitical phenomenon of Muslims emulating Saudi Wahhabism in their personal lives became, for part of the global Salafi movement, an element of their political identity.
- Global Salafism is now unmoored from its Saudi origins.
- The Saudis can also contribute to the ideological fight against Salafi jihadism, but not in the way most Western liberals think. The admonition for “tolerance” has much to recommend it as Saudi leaders think a long term, but the more immediate task is a to convince those attracted to Salafism that the violent path is, as the Saudi clerics say, “deviant.” Liberal “reforms” in Saudi Arabia are not going to convince pious Salafis that their interpretation of Islam is incorrect. Rather, the Saudis have to redouble their efforts to use the domestic and international institutions of Islam that they created and funded to convince believers that Salafi Islam itself prohibits the acts of violence perpetrated in its name.
- I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
- Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.
- Ed Husain, Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism: ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate, New York Times, August 22, 2014
- In Saudi Arabia, women can’t vote, run for public office, or drive cars. Women are routinely jailed and beaten for merely being in the presence of a man not related to them. The Saudi version of Dr. Phil provides televised lessons to men on how to properly beat their wives.
- Saudi Arabia is the heart of the Muslim world … even if all the Muslim countries in the world were steeped in inequity and laxity it would not cause as much harm to the cause of Islam, as it would if, God forbid, Saudi Arabia starts showing these trends ...
- Abul A'la Maududi, quoted in Asaf Hussain, Islamic movements in Egypt, Pakistan, and Iran (Mansell Pub., 1983), p. 72.
- After the US came to the rescue of Israel during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, Saudi Arabia used oil to reset global politics. Angered by Israeli’s successful counterattack and push into Arab territory, Riyadh announced a complete oil embargo against the US. To ensure that Washington felt economic pain even if oil slipped in through the back door, Saudi Arabia – followed by the OPEC cartel which it dominated – cut production ultimately by 25 per cent, and between September 1973 and March 1974 the oil price quadrupled. Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi Arabian oil minister, declared: ‘What we want is a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Arab territories and then you will have the oil.’ The Saudis thus launched what became known as the ‘oil weapon’. Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state, referred to these démarches as ‘political blackmail’ and as the ‘most important of our century’. The Saudi oil minister spelled out the geopolitical implications by referring to a ‘new type of relationship’ where ‘you have to adjust yourself to the new circumstances’. The US secretary of state adjusted, Israel retreated back east of the Suez Canal and the embargo was lifted, but global politics would never be the same again. Saudi Arabia, as the swing producer, had demonstrated that it possessed the power to drive up inflation and break economies, regardless of politics in the West. That threat has been Saudi Arabia’s entry pass to the global political stage, and it is still there today, but that entry pass is only valid as long as Riyadh is the swing producer. It was the first time that a group of relatively weak states had provoked such dramatic changes in the lives of the vast majority of people on the planet. The consequence eventually was a world economic crisis, but the raising of the oil price was only one factor. The US had abandoned the gold standard in 1971, and as a consequence the Bretton Woods system collapsed. Thereby the long period of economic growth in the developed world ended. In West Germany driving was banned on Sundays, and the autobahn was given over to pedestrians and cyclists. GDP there fell by 1.5 per cent, and unemployment climbed above one million.
- Martin McCauley, The Cold War 1949-2016 (2017)
- Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of executions in the world in both absolute numbers and per capita. The death penalty applies to a wide range of non-violent activities such as apostasy and "witchcraft", "sexual offences", acts deemed to amount to "corruption on earth", and crimes such as drug dealing.
- NRI Press, "NRI beheaded in Saudi Arabia for murder" (25 July 2005), NRIinternet.
- In a huge embarrassment to the Saudi authorities, the Islamic State adopted official Saudi textbooks for its schools until the extremist group could publish its own books in 2015. Out of 12 works by Muslim scholars republished by the Islamic State, seven are by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Saudi school of Islam.
- Jacob Olidort, Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’, New York Times
- The Saudis have never shown any respect for human rights, either now or in the past. Even a petty burglar faces having one of his hands chopped off. The liberal press in America prefers to ignore all this, although they don't hesitate to blacken the reputation of Iran.
- Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, as quoted in Alam, Asadollah, The Shah and I (1991), I. B. Tauris, p. 535.
- The West’s medieval client, Saudi Arabia – to which the US and Britain sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms – is at present destroying Yemen, a country so poor that in the best of times, half the children are malnourished. Look on YouTube and you will see the kind of massive bombs – “our” bombs – that the Saudis use against dirt-poor villages, and against weddings, and funerals. The explosions look like small atomic bombs. The bomb aimers in Saudi Arabia work side-by-side with British officers. This fact is not on the evening news.
- John Pilger, Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump, Information Clearing House, October 28, 2016
- The women of Saudi Arabia are not just folded away behind swathes of hot black cloth — they live segregated lives.
- Rachel Reid, in "Making a public splash in Saudi|" in BBC News (5 May 2007)
- They respect the value of my worth in Maui, Malaysia, Iran, and Iraq, Saudi Arabia!
- The formula that food is the way to derive peace actually should be more properly understood in reverse. The answer to my question of why we have so many hungry people on the planet when there is no need for that is that it is a deliberate decision that some human beings make in order to appropriate the resources of others, or, as in the case of one of the hot spots on the planet right now for hunger, which is Yemen, it was a deliberate strategy to disrupt the food system specifically to weaken the country in the pursuit of the war between proxies, Saudi Arabia and Iran. And so, it’s important to remember that hunger does not always happen because of natural disasters, which is a mental model that most of us fall back upon; it is often the result of things that we actually do to each other deliberately.
- Ricardo Salvador, in As Food Insecurity Surges, Leading Scientist Says Hunger Is a Deliberate Choice by Those in Power, Democracy Now! (10 December 2020)
- The kingdom has oil - and lots of it. But that's only part of the story. Saudia Arabia is important to the West not despite of its brutality but because of it, for the Saudi dictatorship's seen as a buttress against "instability" in a strategic region. Riyadh's deeply conservative leaders did everything they could to derail the Arab spring, suppressing an upsurge of democratic sentiment that threatened the regimes with whom the West had always done business. ... We're all familiar with the outrage that politicians display about certain human rights violations in the Middle East - generally, those committed by regimes or organisations we're about to bomb. But the more usual attitude is a realpolitik in which the West either supports or quietly ignores the barbarities of favoured states. ... The same kind of logic holds in respect of Saudi Arabia. The regime might inflict punishments every bit as obscene as those enforced by the Islamic State. But it's a reliable ally, prepared to enforce the status quo in an oil rich region - and that matters more to the West than the life of a democracy protester.
- Jeff Sparrow, Why the West turns a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's brutality, ABC News (September 29, 2015)
- If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don’t think it would be around.
- Donald Trump, interview on foreign policy (25 March 2016), as quoted in "In Donald Trump’s Worldview, America Comes First, and Everybody Else Pays", The New York Times (26 March 2016)
- I love the Saudis. Many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We say “we’re gonna protect.” What are we doing? They’ve got nothing but money... Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They're gone... Saudi Arabia is in big, big trouble. Now, thanks to fracking and other things, the oil is all over the place. And I used to say it, there are ships at sea, and this was during the worst crisis, that were loaded up with oil, and the cartel kept the price up, because, again, they were smarter than our leaders. They were smarter than our leaders.
- Donald Trump, at Trump Tower, 2015-06-16, speech announcing his candidacy for U.S. president — "Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid", The Washington Post, 16 June 2015
- I get along great with all of them [Saudi Arabians]... They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!
- Donald Trump, as quoted in "Saudi disappearance puts spotlight on Trump's business ties" (12 October 2018), by Erica Orden, CNN
- The case of Saudi Arabia highlights the difficulties that democracies face in trying to support freedom, human rights, and democracy. King Abdullah heads a royal family that completely controls Saudi society. Thanks to the fact that they own the world's largest reserves of oil, they are virtually immune from international criticism and they do not bother to hold even fake national elections. By law, all Saudi citizens must be Muslims. It is illegal for Saudis to follow a different religion. A Saudi woman cannot appear in public with a man who is not a relative. Women are required to completely cover their bodies in public and they must wear veils. Some Saudi women have expressed satisfaction with the restrictions in the country. However, the strict suppression of women is not voluntary, and Saudi women who would like to live a freer life are not allowed to do so. King Abdullah and his relatives follow an intolerant version of Islam known in the West as Wahhabism. Since 1975, the Saudi royal family has spent more than $70 billion financing mosques and Islamic centers worldwide, including more than $300 million in the United States, where most Muslims studying in Arabic use Saudi textbooks, some of which are virulently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. If Saudi Arabia did not control so much oil, King Abdullah and the Saudi royal family would be treated just as much as pariahs as are Than Shwe and the Burmese generals.
- David Wallechinsky, Tyrants: The World's 20 Worst Living Dictators (2006), p. 2
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