John Kerry meets King Abdullah
Saudi Arabia is ruled by the al-Saud family, which gives the country its name. The state was established in 1932 after a long campaign to unify the Arabian peninsula. Before then, the country had been little more than an undeveloped desert fought over by warring tribes and plagued by bandits. ... Saudi Arabia would have remained a primitive desert wasteland largely ignored by the rest of the world, except for one fact - it is sitting on a quarter of the globe's oil. This gives the Saudi ruling family enormous power - at a stroke, they can raise or lower the price of oil by cutting or increasing their output. Saudi oil, discovered by accident in 1938, has made the al-Saud clan incredibly rich. ... Oil is the basis of Saudi Arabia's relationship with the U.S., its most important ally. ... The Americans and British are prepared to ignore the many criticisms levelled at the Saudis so long as the oil keeps flowing.
Saudi Arabia is said to be the world's largest source of funds and promoter of Salafist jihadism, which forms the ideological basis of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and others.
The Saudis are the single most prolific financial and ideological supporters of radical (Wahhabi) Islam in the world.
The United States has assembled a superficially impressive international coalition against the threat of terrorism. Many countries in that coalition, however, contribute little of significance to the fight. Even worse, the willingness of some members of the coalition to actually combat terrorism is doubtful. Indeed, given their record, some of those countries appear to be part of the problem, not part of the solution. That concern is especially acute with respect to Saudi Arabia...
George W. Bush leading Saudi King Abdullah by the hand
The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.
Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has the fourth highest military expenditure in the world, and in 2010-14, SIPRI found that Saudi Arabia was the world's second largest arms importer.