Submitted by Mousumi Roy…
I am very saddened to hear about the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman who ruled for nearly a half century. Because Qaboos had no children, according to the constitution, the Royal Family will need to name a successor within a time frame of three days. If the family does not choose a successor within this time period, then a council of military and security officials, supreme court chiefs and heads of the two assemblies will put in power a person whose name has been secretly written by Qaboos (In the form of a letter) to be the successor. Asad bin Tariq, the former Deputy Prime Minister for International Affairs and Cooperation has been a name that stands out to become the next Sultan of Oman.
Sultan Qaboos had his own vision for his country and on assuming power he immediately set about transforming Oman using the new oil wealth (interestingly, only in 1962 oil is discovered in Oman) and modernizing the infrastructure. In 1970, Oman had only three primary schools, 10 km of paved roads, two health centers, no infrastructure to speak of and a per capita income of less than $50 a year. Today, only after little over three decades the situation in the Sultanate is radically different, it is now a middle-income developing country with 18th most liberal economy in the world, free universal welfare services and impressive infrastructure.
Many Indian Expatriates come here, may with intention or plan for short stint then start loving the place and continue to stay. The same story is true for the nationals from many other countries too. Many Europeans over age of 55 years are heard to express their preference to stay back in Oman even after retirement because of peaceful and clean environment, lower cost of living with the amenities and facilities as compared to taxation policies in their home countries. Oman is liberal as couple of temples are there wherein worshipping allowed.
Oman, Situated in the south –eastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman is bordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the West, Yemen to the South-West and the United Arab emirates (UAE) to the North –West. The total land area of 309,500 sq. km makes it third largest country in the peninsula; Oman’s countryside is among the most stunning and varied in the Gulf …region– predominantly valleys and deserts(82%) , mountain ranges (15%) and a narrow strip of coastal plains(3%) – interestingly Oman’s coast line is about 2000 km long extending to Gulf of Oman , the Arabian Sea and as well as the Indian Ocean.
Early form of civilization existed in Oman at least 5,000 years ago, the name ‘Oman’ is said to come from the Arab tribes that migrated to the area from a place in Yemen called Uman. The Omanis were among the first Arabs to embrace Islam, back in 630 AD and is quite liberal to other religions. In 1507 the Portuguese established their control over Oman by force-they were finally driven out from Hormuz in 1622, and eventually from Muscat in 1650 by Sultan bin Saif Al-Ya’arubi—which marked the start of full Oman independence making the country the oldest independent state in Arabia.
However, the history of Oman has always been a struggle for economic and political power between the interior (ruled by an Imam), and the coastal areas and Muscat (ruled by a Sultan). In 1744, Omani tribes elected Imam Ahmed bin Said, founder of the present Al Busaidi dynasty. He also adopted the title of Sultan, which remains to this day. In 1890 Oman became a British protectorate while maintain its independence while in return Britain could maintain the supply route in the Far East. Dhofar rebellion aided by South Yemen that surfaced in 1960 through 1965 was suppressed, and on 23rd July 1970 thirty year old Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the current Sultan assumed power and in Oman 23rd July is celebrated as Renaissance Day.
It is peaceful, stable and relatively prosperous. The Capital Muscat is blessed with natural beauty of ‘sabka’(salt flats) ‘khwars’ ( lagoons), oases , stark mountains of rock & brownish –green ranges of ophiolites stretches of sand and gravel plains and , beautiful coast line—all beautifully kept and maintained through unique architecture and intensive creative effort of appropriate greenery and flower beds. Today Oman has become modern but at the same time preserving much of the character and heritage of the country, making Oman a unique place to visit.
A wise man and a peacemaker in a very turbulent region. He was 79. He was that only one who could make USA & Iran relationship Easy. A really good man, a true friend of Iran and an impartial go-between, irrespective of what government ran the country. A unique mediator who facilitated U.S-Iran talks that led to the JCPOA.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.