The death of Sultan Qaboos of Oman
The wonderful yet strategic location of the Musandam Peninsula, Oman.
The end of an era…and I’m really sad.
I’ve just heard of the death of Sultan Qaboos, the long time leader of Oman on the BBC’s breaking news.
This is a huge story in my mind, especially at this particular time.
Sultan Qaboos is Oman…and Oman is Sultan Qaboos.
For around 50 years, he’s kept Oman out of the tragic affairs of the Region. Oman has been at peace since the mid 1970s when the Dhofar War ended there…a magnificent achievement given all the proxies in the Region.
He has always been a neutral player in those Proxy Regional influences, especially between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
When we see what’s going on at present, Oman and in particular the Northern Tip of Oman, the Musandam Peninsula, has never been so critical.
Is there a strong independent successor already placed to take over…or is the country rife for walking into and influencing it’s future?
Iran would love to control the Musandam as it already has the northern shores across that key waterway. For that reason, Saudi Arabia would surely want to influence that southern shores landmass even more.
I love Oman, it was my first war as a young 17 year old soldier back in the early 70s. I learnt my first few words of a foreign language there, Arabic…and it pushed me on to have a huge interest in the Middle East.
Sadly though, the more I loved it, the more I learnt to appreciate it’s many complexities.
I wish Oman well…I wish Oman to remain impartial in all that’s happening in today’s Middle East.
But in reality…it may just be there for the taking?
So…just who will become the new gatekeeper to the Persian Gulf?
Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, perhaps the bigger proxies of China, Russia…or just hopefully it will continue to go on in Omani hands.
This is a huge story, perhaps even bigger than the death of Iran’s General Soleimani. The death of a great statesman, leader and man, Sultan Qaboos, and what he leaves behind.
Sorry to see you go…I hope that the great wee country of Oman and it’s unique independence in the Region doesn’t die along with you.