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Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

Saudi Arabia


Until the 1930s, Abd al Aziz, concerned with conquest and the reestablishment of the House of Saud on the peninsula, showed little interest in developing armed forces for national defense, relying instead on British support and diplomacy. After the clash with Yemen in the early 1930s and the discovery of oil, the Saudi king recognized the need for a standing army and sought assistance from Britain, Egypt, and the United States. By the mid-1940s, the Saudis were relying more on the United States than on any other country, mostly because of the successful relations between Saudi officials and Aramco.

Only nominal sums were spent on defense until Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Yemeni civil war of the early 1960s. When the need for stronger national defense became apparent to the leadership, Saudi Arabia was obliged to turn to foreign sources for armaments, military training, and the construction of facilities. The long-standing military relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States served as a foundation for the buildup of the defense forces and military infrastructure begun under Faisal.

Data as of December 1992