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Saudi Arabia

Yearbook 2018

Saudi Arabia. According to Countryaah.com, UN Independent Expert Group The Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) demanded at the beginning of the year that Saudi Arabia abolish its system of male guardianship. The system requires that women must have the approval of male relatives in order to, for example, be able to obtain passports, travel and study abroad, and seek medical care. Despite this rigorous system, a number of reforms were implemented during the year, many of them just aimed at women. In January, Saudi women saw a football match for the first time, and in February they were granted the right to apply for military service (with some restrictions). After more than 60 years of prohibition, the women were allowed to drive again in June, a law banning sexual harassment was introduced in late May, and in April the 35-year-old cinema ban was abolished. The same month, the first women's cycling competition was held. In 2013, women were allowed to cycle - provided that it was done in certain areas, that they had decent clothes on and that they were accompanied by a male supervisor. But that did not prevent Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's goodwill from turning into badwill due to a conflict with the outside world during the fall. The conflict had its background in a murder.

2018 Saudi Arabia

The conflict, which flared up in October, concerned the regime-critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared in early October in connection with a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi went into exile from the country in 2017 and was active in the United States. Among other things, he had expressed his support for the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Movement prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Turkey concluded early on that there was evidence that the journalist had been murdered inside the consulate, someone whom Saudi Arabia first denied but later acknowledged. However, the Saudis maintained that Khashoggi had been killed in connection with a fight inside the consulate. The incident led to a series of diplomatic conflicts with the outside world during the autumn. The US intelligence service CIA stated that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the one who ordered the assassination and several countries stopped their arms exports to Saudi Arabia, including Denmark and Germany. The US also seemed to want to wind up its arms exports through a Senate decision at the end of November.

Among the princes who were arrested in 2017 on suspicion of corruption are Preem's owners, and one of Sweden's largest foreign investors, Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, still detained at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. However, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from the hotel at the end of January along with several others of the about 200 princes, politicians and businessmen who are trapped in the luxury hotel suspected of corruption. Among those released are the head of the TV channel MBC Waleed al-Ibrahim and the former head of the court Khalid al-Tuwaijiri. Like other released, they have had to pay large sums of money. Whether the charges of corruption against the prisoners are true or not is uncertain, they are probably the victims of a power struggle initiated by the Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman.

On January 1, Saudi Arabia introduced VAT on goods while doubling the price of gasoline. Despite this, fuel prices are among the lowest in the world - 95-octane gasoline cost the equivalent of just under SEK 5 a liter after the increase.

Twelve camels were disqualified in January from a beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia after it emerged that the owner had used botox to make the animals more beautiful. During the camel festival, among other things, the beauty of the camel's lips and humps is judged, but there are also camel springs and camel milk testing. A lot of money is at stake - the total price is equivalent to almost SEK 450 million.

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