1. “The House of Saud”
Saudi Arabia is governed as a complete and absolute monarchy. According to their 1992 basic law of governance, it is stated that the rulers of the country “shall be amongst the sons of the founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al-Faisal al-Saud, and their descendants”.
The origins of Al-Sauds trace back all the way to the 1700s. It was forged as a new state by Prince Muhammad bin Saud and his ally, Muhammad Abdul Wahhab, in 1744. Later on, the majority of their land was taken by the Ottomans in 1818. In 1902, Abdul Aziz bin Saud reclaimed Riyadh. And in 1932, he declared himself as King. Since then, the nation has been run by male descendants of the family.
- No Parliament or Politics
As earlier mentioned, Saudi Arabia is a complete monarchy. This means that they do not conduct formal national elections, no parliament representatives, no political parties and no constitution*. They do have an advisory board however that said board has no power to enforce of inflict any laws. The power is retained to the leader of the country : the Crowned King.
*They have declared that the Quran and the Sharia Law is their constitution.
Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative Islamic movement founded by Muhammad Abdul al-Wahhab. He was the same man who allied with Prince Muhammad bin Saud in 1744. He was known, at the time, to be a Islamic scholar and preacher. The doctrine is claimed to be a reform movements whose main objective is to restore pure tawhid (monothesistic worship). However, one of their main principles is a takfir (kafir; those who do not strictly follow the faith of Islam with accordance to Sharia Law) is to be excommunicated and prosecuted.
- Worth $14 Trillion
It is estimated new worth of the collective royal family is approximately $14 Trillion. This includes all living members of the family (princes that bear the royal name), which are over 7,000 family members. Their wealth comes from many sectors, however the most commonly known sector is their massive oil reserves within the country. The Royal Family gains a significant amount of revenue and profits via the state owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co, which contributes to around $270 billion a year revenue.
- Crown Prince of KSA : Mohammad bin Salman
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been appointed since 21st June 2017. He now currently holds the title of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, First Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs and Minister of Defence.
- The ‘royal’ purge
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman called for the arrest of about 11 royal family members over claims of corruption and possible opposition to the Crown. One of those who was arrested in the purge was the Saudi prince and billionaire: Al-Waleed bin Talal. The allegations against Prince Al-Waleed was money laundering, bribery and extorting officials.
- Prince who is apart of the UNESCO
Prince Talal binAbdulaziz, who is also commonly known as the Red Prince, was more known for his politically liberal views. The father of accused Al-Waleed was the man who led the Free Princes movement in 1960s. The movement called for order and the removal of absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia and to bring about awareness of civil rights. However, the other members of the royal family disagreed and shot down his reform. He is a current member of UNESCO.
- Prince who was an astronaut
Prince Sultan bin Salman is pretty notable due to his credentials. He is not only a prince, but at the age of 28, the became the first royal, the first Muslim and the first Arab to visit space. He was on the American STS-51-G Discovery mission as a payload specialist.