Oman’s Looming Succession Crisis Is a Warning Sign in an Already Fractured Gulf

A traditional Omani dagger and a scarf bearing images of Sultan Qaboos, Muscat, November 5, 2016 (Press Association photo by John Stillwell via AP).
A traditional Omani dagger and a scarf bearing images of Sultan Qaboos, Muscat, November 5, 2016 (Press Association photo by John Stillwell via AP).
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Three years ago, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, Oman’s 76-year-old ruler, left for an eight-month stint of medical treatment in Germany. It wouldn’t be his last. Since then, the sultan’s continued deteriorating health and lack of a clear heir—he has no children and has kept any plans for a successor vague—have fueled a succession debate both within Oman and among its neighbors. Now, amid the significant rift in the Gulf resulting from the Saudi- and Emirati-led blockade of Qatar, the potential for a looming succession crisis in Oman could affect not just domestic stability in the Gulf’s quietest state, […]

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