History of Saudi Arabia: Boom & Dissent

History of Saudi Arabia: Boom & Dissent Last updated on Saturday 24th April 2010

It was during the late King Khalid's reign that Saudi Arabia enjoyed the prosperity and enormous wealth of the so-called 'boom years'. The physical growth of the Kingdom's cities during those years was amazing.

It was also during King Khalid's reign that the first serious evidence of public dissension and disagreement surfaced within Saudi society. In November 1979 several hundred armed radicals seized control of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and used the public address system to denounce the Royal family and the country's rush to modernisation. The people of the country, however, failed to support them and government troops were involved in a 10-day operation to regain control of the mosque. At the end of the operation, 117 of the radicals had died and 63 were captured by government troops. Six weeks later, they were executed in various cities throughout the Kingdom.

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