(CNN)Here's a look at Saudi Arabia, a large, oil-rich Middle Eastern country bordering Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia is home to Islam's holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Since the end of World War II, Saudi Arabia and the United States have maintained a relationship based on an exchange of oil for security. Their mutual interests have included the free flow of oil, and fighting the spread of communism and extremist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Arabia and the United States have not agreed on support for Israel or engagement with Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran.
The Wahhabi, or Salafi, branch of Sunni Islam has been closely tied to the Saud family since the 18th century. When the Saud family established the modern country of Saudi Arabia in the 1930s, the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam become the country's official state-sponsored religion.
Saudi Arabia has a guardianship system based on strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. The system is not a formal law. Under the guardianship system, women in Saudi Arabia are prohibited from driving. In November 2014, King Abdullah's advisory council recommended easing the ban. It is still under consideration. Under the guardianship system, women also cannot open bank accounts, work, travel or go to school without the express permission of a male guardian. In 2011, King Abdullah announced that women will be allowed to nominate candidates for the next set of municipal elections. In December 2015, women were allowed to vote for the first time, 979 women ran for office, and 17 were elected.
September 23, 1932 - Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abd-al-Rahman Bin-Faysal Bin-Turki Bin-Abdallah Bin-Muhammad Al Saud, also known as Ibn Saud, establishes the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 30 years after Saud's family returned to the Arabian Peninsula from exile.