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Oman’s new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, at the Royal Family Council in Muscat, Oman Oman’s new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, at the Royal Family Council in Muscat, Oman, Jan. 11, 2020 (Oman News Agency photo via AP Images).

In Oman, Sultan Qaboos Leaves a Legacy of Nonalignment. Can It Survive?

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020

For years, a cloud hung over a corner of the Middle East, containing fears of yet another conflict suddenly erupting. They centered on what would happen after the death of the longest reigning monarch in the Gulf, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who ruled over the Sultanate of Oman for half a century without leaving behind an heir apparent. Qaboos had been ill for years, and yet, if you tried to gently broach the subject of his successor with Omani citizens, they would recoil. The sultan had set up a system for succession and everyone knew it. But no one knew if it would work.

After Qaboos died last Friday, it didn’t take long to find out. By Saturday, his successor —his cousin, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said—had been named to the throne, vowing to continue the policies that turned tiny Oman into a key player in a region of much larger, wealthier and aggressive nations unafraid to pummel, pressure and dominate their neighbors. ...

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