The ideological and economic leader of the Arab world, Saudi Arabia wields influence far beyond its region. The world's largest oil exporter dictates the global price of crude more than any other nation. It has used its wealth to spread Salafist Islam across Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia. It — along with the CIA — financed the mujahideen that defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Today, it's fighting military wars in Yemen and economic ones against Qatar, effectively led by a prince who is also trying to modernize the country.
Need to Know
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