Essay Sample on Oman: A Diverse Land of Plains, Mountains & Seas

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1786 Words
Date:  2023-01-30


Sultanate of Oman occupies the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and comprises of various topographic areas including plains, dry riverbeds, and mountains. The Sultanate of Oman covers an area of about 212,457 square kilometers, but the estimates do vary considerably depending on various researches. Oman is bordered adequately by Yemen to the southwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, the Gulf of Oman to the north, and the Arabian Sea to the east and south. Oman has been divided into eleven governorates consisting of sixty-one Wilayat commonly known as provinces. They include Muscat, Dhofar, Musandam, Al Buraymi, Ad Dakhliyah, North Al Batinah, South Batinah, North Ash Sharqiyah, South Sharqiyah, Dhahirah, and Al Wusta ( 2019). The overall population in 2018 was approximately 4, 620, 136, the total number of Omanis is 2, 659,766 (57.60%) and the total number of the expatriate is 1, 960, 370 (42. 40%) ( 2019).

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Oman Background

Oman tends to be the oldest independent state in the Arab world, whereby it is one of the most traditionally centered countries in the Gulf of Oman region. And not until the 1970s, Oman became the most isolated area. The state of Oman is located strategically at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman south-east corner of Arabian Peninsula. In the 19th century, the nation vied with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. The country has so far been spared by the militant Islamist violence that has plagued some of its neighbors. Oman has not been immune from the groundswell of political dissent in the region. In 2011, protests demanding reforms were dispersed by riot police, and the government began a crackdown on Internet criticism the following year ( 2019).

Political Overview

Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said assumed office in 1970 through a palace coup and changed the country's name to the Sultanate of Oman (Scholz, 2018). Sultan Qaboos is credited for developing the country's infrastructure through channeling oil and gas revenue, modernizing the Omani state, and also introducing a constitution (Oman's Basic Law) in 1996. However, the sultan's office is not yet separated from other vital official posts in the country. The sultan also serves as prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, finance minister, chairman of the central bank, and supreme commander of the armed forces.

The aging Qaboos has not identified his heir, and it is an issue of growing importance in light. His current condition of poor health has led to an eight-month medical visit to Germany between July 2014 and March 2015. Qaboos was born in Salalah the capital city of southern Oman's Dhofar province on 18th November 1940. He is the only son of the late sultan Said bin Taimur and happens to be the eighth in the line of the al-Busaidy dynasty. In 1960, he entered the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst as an officer cadet. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined a British infantry battalion on operational duty in Germany for one year and also held a staff appointment with the British Army. He was also privileged to study local government in England and went on a world tour before returning in 1964.

Sultan Qaboos carefully controls the royal family's involvement in government and military institutions; hence, reducing the risk of disagreements over succession, which can threaten the country's stability. Qaboos is childless, and the planned succession process highlighted within Oman's Basic Law has never been tested. He tends to be reluctant in officially naming a crown prince, instead leaving the question of succession to be decided by the Royal Family Council within three days after his death. If the council does not come into terms on who will be the official successor, Qaboos has nominated one whose name is kept in sealed envelopes in Salalah and Muscat. Members of the Defence Council, Supreme Court chiefs, and the heads of the lower and upper houses of parliament (Council of Oman) would be obligated to witness the opening of the envelopes.

On 2nd March 2017, the elevation of Sultan Qaboos's cousin, General Sayyid Asaad bin Tariq who was formerly Brigadier-General to deputy prime minister of foreign affairs highly reduced related risks of succession. Asaad continues to serve as the sultan's representative; a position he has held since 2002. The positive reaction to Asaad's appointment, particularly across critical tribal constituencies in the western, interior, and southern regions, and also the prevalent perception that he is Sultan Qaboos's successor of choice, indicates that he will probably be groomed for succession by the sultan. In addition to the unpredictable government instability risks, this would also improve the likelihood of policy continuity after Sultan Qaboos's death, specifically for balancing complex bilateral relations with the United States, Iran, and other Gulf Co-operation Council states. Restricting Asaad's role to foreign affairs will help safeguard his present popularity, and shield him from manageable levels of discontent with austerity measures implemented to accommodate low global oil prices, including upcoming electricity and water subsidy cuts.

The military's loyalty is to the sultan and the state, as opposed to individual royal family members, ensuring its support for whoever succeeds Qaboos. The Defence Council is more likely to enforce compliance with the planned succession process to preserve the cohesion of military and security institutions and prevent them from losing public support, as opposed to siding with potential heirs and allowing rivalry within the royal family to surface and threaten state stability. This is enabled by the royal family's current minimal interaction in military and security institutions.

In the unlikely event that the royal family was unable to agree on a successor, and the sealed envelope process did not yield a consensus candidate, this would probably give impetus to the Council of State (appointed legislature) and the Consultative Assembly (elected government) to convene the Council of Oman and nominate a prime minister as a preliminary step (Plekhanov, 2004). Sultan Qaboos's lengthy absence due to the medical attention that he requires, and also the failure of potential successors to present themselves as contenders capable of fulfilling Qaboos's role, have increased public questioning of the reliability and resilience of government institutions, and shortcomings in front-line government services. Although there is broad consensus over Qaboos's rule, with any re-emerging protests highly unlikely to demand his removal, there is a growing risk of citizens demanding a more significant say in policy-making. Due to industrialization and civilization the citizens of Oman are focused on creating a space to criticize the existing government services whereby they are aggressively demanding for change within the governmental setup without affecting the authority of the sultan since by criticizing the capabilities of the sultan is considered to be a punishable offense in Oman.

State Institutions


Oman is an absolute hereditary monarchy. On 6th November 1996The country's first written constitution, the Basic Statute of the State or Basic Law, was enacted by Sultan Qaboos to provide political and social stability while guaranteeing individual freedom and rights. The Basic Law also laid down a procedure for choosing a successor to the sultan, made provision for the post of the prime minister that would prohibit ministers from holding positions in private companies, and established an upper chamber (Majlis al-Dawla) to the Consultative Council (Majlis al-Shura). For the first time, the sultan clarified his powers and those of his ministers and councils. Constitutional amendments adopted in 2011 increased the legislative powers of the Majlis al-Dawla and the Majlis al-Shura, although not to the point where they impinge on the authority of the sultan.


The sultan is the head of state, head of government, the supreme commander of the armed forces, and also rules by decree and appoints a cabinet to assist him in various policy-making decisions. As well as being prime minister, the present sultan is also minister of foreign affairs, finance, and defense. The sultan presided over the Council of Ministers and specialized councils, whereby he can appoint and dismiss deputy prime ministers, ministers, and senior judges, issues and ratifies existing laws and also waive or commute punishments (Plekhanov, 2004). The Council of Ministers formulates, proposes, and implements general policies for the economic, social, and administrative development of the state and monitors the implementation of all laws, decrees, ordinances, and decisions, as well as treaties, agreements, and court judgments, to ensure compliance. All ministers, including the prime minister, must be at least 30 years of age, according to the Gregorian calendar, and of Omani nationality. The members of the Council of Ministers are collectively and individually responsible for responding to the sultan.

The Sultan of Oman has the overall mandate over the; Prime Minister; Commander-in-Chief of the Omani Armed Forces Deputy Prime Minister for Relations and International Co-operation Affairs Deputy Prime Minister for Cabinet Affairs; Minister of Financial Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs , Minister of Defence Affairs, Minister of Legal Affairs, Minister of Justice, Minister of Oil and Gas, Minister of Manpower, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Health, Minister of Education, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Minister of State; Governor of Dhofar, Minister of State; Governor of Muscat, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Minister of the Civil Service, and the Minister of Social Development (Crouzet, 2016).


The Council of Oman which is a bicameral parliament with some legislative and oversight authority comprising of the State Council (appointed by the sultan to serve a four-year term) and the Shura (Consultative) Council (elected every four years). The Council of Oman does not enact laws or amend existing legislation; however, all regulations that are drafted from the Council of Ministers must be referred to the council for approval whereby the sultan ratifies the legislations (Crouzet 2016). Membership to the Council of Oman and public-sector employment is not permitted, and any such appointment happens to be terminated effectively upon confirmation of the candidate's election.

The Shura Council has eighty-four elected members whereby areas that are inhabited by fewer than 30,000 individuals select only one candidate. Other rural constituencies across the sultanate elect two candidates, while in urban areas four candidates are elected. The Consultative Council has the ultimate authority to question the government inclusive of cabinet members. Since August 1997, the consultative council has been open to women by royal decree. In May 2000, the method for choosing the Consultative Council was modified before the elections in July the same year. Voting was opened to 25% of Omanis over the age of 21 who contributed to approximately 175,000 people, three times the previous number of eligible voters. In November 2002, it was announced that all citizens over 21 would be able to vote in the October 2003 Majlis al-Shura elections (Scholz 2018).


The Basic Law strongly affirms the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. In June 2000, the Royal Decree came into force, established four levels of courts in Oman which included a Supreme Court, App...

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Essay Sample on Oman: A Diverse Land of Plains, Mountains & Seas. (2023, Jan 30). Retrieved from

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