Saudi Arabia. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the royal house's fight against jihadist
groups continued. In March, 113 people were arrested on
suspicion of planning attacks against various authorities.
Most of them were Saudis and Yemenites and were arrested in
the province of Jizan at the border with Yemen. Twelve of
them reportedly had direct contact with the militant
Islamist network al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi
Arabia cooperated more and more with Western authorities in
the fight against jihadists. When, in connection with the
questioning of a jihadist who surrendered to the police in
October, they received information that two explosive
charges were on their way from Yemen to the United States,
both US and British intelligence services were notified,
which could disarm the explosive charges.
A border dispute between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates opened up in March. A Saudi warship and a United
Arab Emirates Coast Guard fired each other on the Khor
al-Udaid fairway. Two Saudi flotists were arrested for later
release. Saudi Arabia, with reference to a 1974 agreement,
considered itself entitled to the fairway and the
surrounding area, including the Shaybah oil field. The
United Arab Emirates questioned the agreement.
Several of the members of the royal house were ill during
the year. King Abdullah, 86, was operated in November and
December for herniated disc in New York and Crown Prince
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, also over 80, was then allowed to
return from Morocco where he was on convalescence,
reportedly due to cancer. In order to prevent unrest in the
oil market, the king set up a new body, the Council of
Faith, in which a group of princes would in future appoint
the successor to the throne. So far, the king had simply
appointed his successor. The new system would come into
force after King Abdullah's death, when the current Crown
Prince succeeded him.
In the spring, the authorities began demanding that
prospective married couples fill out a marriage contract
where the bride's age appeared. The purpose was to prevent
child marriage, a practice which, however, was not
prohibited by law.