Qaboos acceded to the throne on 23 July 1970 following a successful coup against his father, with the aim of ending the country’s isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development. He declared that the country would no longer be known as Muscat and Oman, but would change its name to “the Sultanate of Oman” in order to better reflect its political unity.
There were few rudiments of a modern state when Qaboos took power in July 1970. Oman was a poorly developed country, severely lacking in infrastructure, healthcare, and education, with only six kilometers of paved roads and a population dependent on subsistence farming and fishing. Qaboos modernized the country using oil revenues. Schools and hospitals were built, and a modern infrastructure was laid down, with hundreds of miles of new roads paved, a telecommunications network established, projects for a port and airport that had begun prior to his reign were completed and a second port was built, and electrification was achieved. The government also began to search for new water resources and built a desalination plant, and the government encouraged the growth of private enterprise, especially in development projects. Banks, hotels, insurance companies, and print media began to appear as the country developed economically. The Omani rial was established as the national currency, replacing the Indian rupee and Maria Theresa thaler. Later, additional ports were built, and universities were opened. Oman was transformed from an economic backwater to a modern country with a well-developed infrastructure. In his first year in power, Qaboos also abolished slavery in Oman.
The political system which Qaboos established is that of an absolute monarchy. The Sultan’s birthday, 18 November, is celebrated as Oman’s national holiday. The first day of his reign, 23 July, is celebrated as Renaissance Day.
Oman has no system of checks and balances, and thus no separation of powers. All power is concentrated in the sultan, who is also chief of staff of the armed forces, Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the Central Bank. All legislation since 1970 has been promulgated through royal decrees, including the 1996 Basic Law. The sultan appoints judges, and can grant pardons and commute sentences. The sultan’s authority is inviolable and the sultan expects total subordination to his will.
Qaboos officially keeps Oman neutral, having contacts and normal relations with Iran while being an ally of western states like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Oman has more normal relations with Iran than Arab States of the Persian Gulf, and is careful to appear neutral and maintain a balance between the West and Iran. As a result, Oman has often acted as an intermediary between the United States and Iran.
Qaboos is a Muslim of the Ibadi denomination, which has traditionally ruled Oman. Although Oman is predominantly Muslim, Qaboos has granted freedom of religion in the country since his reign and has financed the construction of four Catholic and Protestant churches in the country as well as Hindu temples.
All the things I miss about Oman (and the Khaleej in general):
my amazing family (including my cousins, aunts, etc.)
my wonderful maids
my friends from school
hearing, listening and speaking Arabic (and Swahili)
C A M E L S (ukhti/my sister says when I get married to a nice Omani boy she’ll make sure it includes a couple of expensive camels preferably the pretty ones from Dhofar or Saudi…Chad and Somalia have really quality camels too…)
eating on the floor
people teasing me for my American accent
saying assalamualaikum and wa alaikum assalam
kissing female friends and family on cheek as a greeting
shaking the hands of new acquaintances, friends and male family members as a common greeting
people being fascinated that I can be both black and American at the same time
people asking me if I know or are friends with famous African-Americans such as Kobe Bryant, Oprah or Obama etc.
hearing the call to prayer (especially before sunrise and sunset)
feeding Sasha (our kitty)
helping my little brother with his homework
signs in Arabic
the gorgeous house I lived in
wandering through busy, buzzing markets and the narrow roads and alleyways
the incredible food
Arab and Turkish mosalsalat/soap operas
Arabs Got Talent!
abayas and dishdashas
the heat (sort of…)
replying insha'allah when teachers told me to do my work/homework
stuffing my face with snacks from the dukan with my sister
sandstorms (wallah ya3ni they’re so cool)
having two mukayyef/AC units in my room
playing “the who has the better license plate number” game
Truly living by the motto YOLO whenever in my older brother’s or friends’ cars (you’re at the mercy of their insanely fast driving and road rules/rage)
cruising the Seeb beach area at night
cruising around shatti/Jawhara
arguing and playing around with my knucklehead little brothers
the mountains surrounding Muscat
riding to school with LJ every morning
Dajaj Kentucky aka KFC
QUALITY halal chicken nuggets from McDonalds
Living a relatively short driving distance from Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Saying al-hamdulillah as a response to questions on how I am or others are feeling
The hospitality of Omanis/Arabs in general
The love everyone has for Sultan Qaboos (real talk I love him too he’s great)
Teasing the girl’s in my family and class about their huge kambou3’s
Saying TGIF and giggling because literally we thank God it’s Friday
Saying juma3a mubarak on Fridays
Good rice! (The rice commonly eaten in America is different. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s weird and not as good.)
The brown onion strip thingys in the rice! (Are they even onions?)
VIMTO! *weeps from deep-longing for Vimto*
Trying to eat with my hands, failing epicly and then Nura or Aisha bringing me a fork or spoon and setting it on the table after thoroughly struggling
mishakek and kebabs
Having the craziest experiences that I look back on and can barely believe myself