Oman. During April’s Democratic Forum in Qatar’s capital Doha, Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi spoke with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni. It was the first public meeting at such a high level between the countries.
During the year, Oman made several efforts to protect the country’s vulnerable nature. Among other things, they participated in a United Nations program that resulted in 100 million trees being planted around the world between July 15 and October 15.
In December, Oman and Libya agreed to start a jointly owned investment company with a focus on, among other things. finance, real estate, tourism and energy.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of OM in general and in geography as Oman in particular.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Oman in 2008 was 3,041,323, ranking number 136 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.910% yearly, and the population density was 9.8269 people per km2.
Despite being one of the less visible countries of the Arabian Peninsula on the international level, Oman is an important player both from a geopolitical point of view and in terms of regional balances. The small sultanate occupies a strategic geographical position that leads it to control, together with Iran on the other side of the Persian Gulf, the vital Strait of Hormuz, an artery of primary importance for trade routes to and from the countries bordering the Gulf. and, above all, for their hydrocarbon exports. Muscat is a member of the organization of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and has a privileged relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which surround two exclaves Oman: the territory of Madha and the Musandam peninsula, located right on the Strait of Hormuz. Until 1964 the island of Zanzibar, on the eastern coast of Africa, also fell under Omani sovereignty.
The Sultanate, like most Arab countries, does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel and, on the other hand, is linked to Iran, above all by the joint management of the Strait of Hormuz. The long diplomatic tradition has allowed Oman to intensify relations with the major Western powers – especially the United Statesand the UK – while maintaining good relations with Iran. The Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said has often mediated between the two sides. In the past, he contributed to the release of US and European citizens held in Tehran, and was among the first to take part in the negotiation process on the Iranian nuclear program. The two states also signed a bilateral gas agreement in August 2013. In August 2014, the two countries signed, together with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of an international transit corridor between the four countries.
The most problematic neighbor is Yemen, with which an agreement on the definition of the common border was reached only in 1992. The outbreak of the civil conflict in Yemen and the intervention of the Saudi-led regional coalition in 2015 saw Oman to withdraw from the positions of the GCC, in an attempt to mediate in the conflict, a choice that has led Muscat to distinguish itself from other Arab monarchies.
At the institutional level, Oman is an absolute monarchy, with a sultanal system at the head of which, since 1970, is Qaboos bin Said al-Said. The sultan has very extensive powers: in addition to being head of state and government, he appoints the executive and holds the positions of foreign minister, defense and finance. The country also has a bicameral parliamentary system, composed of an Advisory Council, called Majlis al-Shura (since 1990), and the Council of State, Majlis al-Dawla (since 1997). The first of these two assemblies has 84 members and, since 2004, is elected by universal suffrage, while the council of state has 53 members appointed directly by the sultan.
After five months of protests in early 2011, some reforms were introduced. The most important concerns the Majlis al-Shura, which has acquired legislative powers. These reforms have been interpreted as the beginning of the transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one, even if there is still a long way to go. The Omani system does not provide for the formation of political parties and, as in many other Arab realities, the relationship of trust between rulers and the governed is mainly based on tribal relations. The issue of succession to the throne represents the main unknown for the future of the country, as the current sultan has had no children and has not yet appointed an heir.