Chronology: Saudi Arabia

The Middle East Journal, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Saudi Arabia


Aug. 6: Six states of the Gulf Cooperationa Council (GCC), including Saudi Arabia, broke their silence to issue a statement on the violence in Syria. They called for an immediate end to the violence and the implementation of reforms. The US estimated that 2,000 individuals were killed in the violence, and reports circulated that the city of Hama was under siege. [VOA, 8/6]

Under pressure from international human rights groups Saudi Arabia revised an anti-terrorism law that, according to activists, would have formalized the practice of holding people in prison without charge or access to lawyers. Amnesty International said in July that authorities could use the law to stifle dissent and pro-democracy protests. [Haaretz, 8/6]

Aug. 12: Saudi Arabian security forces arrested 164 Syrian expatriates as they rallied in Riyadh to support the popular anti-government uprising in Syria. The protesters were motivated by a speech that King 'Abdullah made days earlier, breaking Saudi silence over the issue and condemning violence in Syria. [DS, 8/25]

Aug. 13: The leaders of Saudi Arabia, the US, and the UK called for the immediate end to the government crackdown on protests in Syria. US President Barack Obama spoke with leaders of Saudi Arabia and Britain and issued the statement after three more Syrians were killed by government forces in Latakia and 20 people the day before in nationwide marches. The US had also applied new sanctions on Syria earlier in the week. [Haaretz, 8/13]

Aug. 19: Saudi Arabia began the expansion of Islam's holiest site in order to raise its capacity to over 2 million pilgrims, the largest of all previous expansions combined. The Grand Mosque was the main attraction for over 6 million pilgrims that visited the site every year. The project followed similar expansion projects like a railway linking Mecca with other holy sites and a highspeed rail linking Mecca and Medina to ease road congestion. [Reuters, 8/20]

Aug. 27: The Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia attempted to increase the number of local Saudis to 30% of the work force in a new program called Nitaqat. Unlike the unsuccessful "Saudization" program, Nitaqat would use a more nuanced system and a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage the hiring of local Saudis. …

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