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Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

Saudi Arabia


This edition of Saudi Arabia: A Country Study replaces the previous edition published in 1984. Like its predecessor, the present book attempts to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant historical, social, economic, political, and national security aspects of contemporary Saudi Arabia. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs; official reports and documents of governments and international organizations; and foreign and domestic newspapers and periodicals. Relatively up-to-date economic data were available from several sources, but the sources were not always in agreement. Most demographic data should be viewed as estimates.

Chapter bibliographies appear at the end of the book; brief comments on some of the more valuable sources for further reading appear at the conclusion of each chapter. Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided to assist those who are unfamiliar with the metric system (see table 1, Appendix). The Glossary provides brief definitions of terms that may be unfamiliar to the general reader.

The transliteration of Arabic words and phrases posed a particular problem. For many of the words--such as Muhammad, Muslim, Quran, and shaykh--the authors followed a modified version of the system adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Permanent Committee on Geographic Names for British Official Use, known as the BGN/PCGN system; the modification entails the omission of all diacritical markings and hyphens. In numerous instances, however, the names of persons or places are so well known by another spelling that to have used the BGN/PCGN system may have created confusion. For example, the reader will find Mecca rather than Makkah and Medina rather than Al Madinah. In addition, although the government of Saudi Arabia officially rejects the use of the term Persian Gulf and refers to that body of water as the Arabian Gulf, the authors followed the practice of the United States Board on Geographic Names by using Persian Gulf or gulf.

Saudi Arabia uses the lunar Islamic calendar, in which the first year was that of the Prophet's migration to Medina in A.D. 622. The year has 354 days in twelve lunar months, a month being the time between two new moons, approximately twenty-nine and one-half days. Months alternately consist of twenty-nine and thirty days; to adjust for a slight overlap, an additional day is added eleven times during normal years. Months thus have no fixed relation to the seasons but make a complete circuit every thirtythree Gregorian years; Gregorian years are used in this book.

Data as of December 1992