Sultan bin Said Al Said Qaboos
- Category : Royalty
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 4
Qaboos bin Said Al Said (born 18 November 1940 in Salalah) is the Sultan of Oman, the first since the country gained independence. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Sa‘id ibn Taymur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th descendant of the Al Bu Sa‘idi dynasty.
Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id was born in Salalah in Dhofar on 18 November 1940. He is the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and princess Mazoon al-Mashani. He is one of the 8th generation of the Al Bu Sa‘idi dynasty. He received his primary and secondary education in Salalah and at Pune, in India, and was sent to a private educational establishment in England at age sixteen. At 20 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined a British Infantry regiment, The Cameronians, and served in the 1st Battalion in Germany for one year. He also held a staff appointment with the British Army.
After his military service, Sultan Qaboos studied local government subjects in England and, after a world tour, returned home to Salalah where he studied Islam and the history of his country. Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is a Muslim of the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, which has traditionally ruled Oman. A religious liberal, he has financed the construction or maintenance of a number of mosques, notably the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, as well as the holy places of other religions.
In 1976 Qaboos ibn Sa‘id married his cousin, Kamila, née Sayyidah Nawwal bint Tariq (born 1951), daughter of HH Sayyid Tariq ibn Taymur, but the marriage soon ended in divorce.
Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is an avid fan and promoter of classical music. His 120-member orchestra has a high reputation in the Middle East. The orchestra consists entirely of young Omanis who, since 1986, audition as children and grow up as members of the symphonic ensemble. They play locally and travel abroad with the sultan. Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin was commissioned to compose a work entitled Symphonic Impressions of Oman and is particularly enthusiastic about the pipe organ.
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.
Rise to power
For six years prior to Said bin-Taymur's overthrow, Qaboos experienced virtual house-arrest in the Royal Palace of Salalah. In July 1970, soldiers supporting Qaboos clashed with forces loyal to Said bin-Taymur and deposed him. Qaboos maintains that his father abdicated the throne. The British government helped to consolidate Qaboos' power.
Qaboos acceded to the throne on 23 July 1970, moving to Muscat. There 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.
The first pressing problem that Qaboos bin Said faced as Sultan was an armed communist insurgency from South Yemen, the Dhofar Rebellion (1965–1975). The Sultanate eventually defeated the incursion with help from Iran, Jordanian troops sent from his friend the late King Hussein of Jordan, British Special Forces, and the Royal Air Force.
Reign as Sultan
The political system which Qaboos established is that of an absolute monarchy. Unlike the situation in neighboring Saudi Arabia, Qaboos' decisions are not subject to modification by other members of Oman's sultanic family. Government decisions are said to be made through a process of decision-making by "consensus" with federal, provincial, local and tribal representatives, though critics allege that Qaboos exercises de facto control of this process. Qaboos also regularly engages in tours of his realm, in which any citizen with a grievance or request is allowed to appeal to the Sultan in person. Critics claim these meetings to be scripted as well.
More recently, Qaboos has allowed parliamentary elections (in which women have voted and stood as candidates) and pledged greater openness and participation in government. As yet, however, this parliament lacks substantial political power.
Qaboos' supporters point to his relative success in governing the country. By Persian Gulf standards, Oman boasts good public order , middling prosperity , and a relatively permissive society . Since he acceded to the throne, Oman has broadened international relations, allowed newspapers, established high schools, built highways, opened hotels and shopping malls and spends a substantial portion of its dwindling oil revenues on health care and education. Full democracy, they say, might threaten these accomplishments.
In October 1998, Qaboos bin Said was presented with the International Peace Award by the National Council on US-Arab Relations. He also forges and maintains good relations with other Arab states and partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Unlike the heads of other Persian Gulf Arab states, Qaboos ibn Sa‘id has not publicly named an heir. Article 6 of the constitution actually provides that the Ruling Family Council chooses the successor after the throne becomes vacant, and that the Sultan's preference, to be expressed in an official letter (which Qaboos says has already been sealed and delivered to the defence minister), is only resorted to in the event of lack of familial consensus.
Qaboos ibn Sa‘id has no children and has three sisters; there are other male members of the Omani royal family including several paternal uncles and their families. Using primogeniture the successor to Qaboos would appear to be the children of his late uncle, His Royal Highness Prince Tariq bin Taimur Al-Said, the former, first and only Prime Minister in Oman's history. .
Qaboos holds the following ranks:
* Field Marshal, Royal Army of Oman
* Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy of Oman
* Marshal of the Royal Air Force of Oman
* Supreme Commander, Royal Oman Police
* General (honorary), British Army