Qaboos bin Said al Said

Qaboos bin Said Al Said is the Sultan of Oman and its Dependencies.

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Qaboos bin Said Al Said (Arabic: قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد‎ Qābūs bin Saʿīd ʾĀl Saʿīd; born 18 November 1940[1]) is the Sultan of Oman and its Dependencies. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty.[2]

Early life

Sultan Qaboos bin 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 received his primary and secondary education at Salalah and Pune, India and was sent to a private educational establishment in England at age sixteen.[3] At 20 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined the British Army and was posted to the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), serving 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.

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.[4] The British government helped to consolidate Qaboos' power.

Qaboos acceded to the throne on 23 July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development,[5] 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 the Shah of Iran, Jordanian troops sent from his friend King Hussein of Jordan, British Special Forces, and the Royal Air Force.

Reign as Sultan

Sultan Qaboos meets with United States Vice President Dick Cheney during his visit to the Middle East in 2002.

The political system which Qaboos established is that of an absolute monarchy. Unlike the situation in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Qaboos' decisions are not subject to modification by other members of Oman's royal family. Government decisions are said to be made through a process of decision-making by "consensus" with provincial, local and tribal representatives, though critics allege that Qaboos exercises de facto control of this process.[citation needed] 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.[6]

More recently, Qaboos has allowed parliamentary elections (in which women have voted and stood as candidates) and pledged greater openness and participation in government. The parliament enjoys legislative and oversight powers.[7] In 1979 Oman was the only Arab state to recognize Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's peace agreement with Israel.[8]

Qaboos' supporters point to his relative success in governing the country. By Gulf standards, Oman boasts good public order,[9] middling prosperity,[10] and a relatively permissive society.[11] 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.[4]

In September 1995, he was involved in a car accident in Salalah just out side his palace, which claimed the life of one of his most prominent and influential ministers and his right hand man, Qais Bin Abdul Munaim Al Zawawi.

In October 1998, Qaboos bin Said was presented with the International Peace Award by the National Council on US-Arab Relations.[12] He also forges and maintains good relations with other Arab states and partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).[13]

Foreign policy

Qaboos officially keeps Oman neutral, having contacts and normal relations with Iran while being an ally of western states like Britain and America. In talks with American officials released by wikileaks, Qaboos dodged requests by the Americans for Oman to invest in Iraq and Afghanistan, switching to other topics. Qaboos was against Americans withdrawing quickly from Iraq.

Oman has more normal relations with Iran than the other Gulf Arab states, careful to appear neutral and maintain a balance between the West and Iran.[14]

Views on Ideology

Qaboos criticized the Arab Nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser in private discussions with American officials which were released by Wikileaks. He claimed Nasser deliberately used inflammatory speeches and rhetoric to make his people stupid, and accused Nasser of having "set the region back", holding a position of "anti-everything". Qaboos concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood obtained support from the uneducated people.[15]

Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is a Muslim of the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, which has traditionally ruled Oman.[16] 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.


Unlike the heads of other Persian Gulf states, Qaboos bin Sa‘id has not publicly named an heir. Article 6 of the Constitution says the royal family should choose a new sultan within three days of the position falling vacant. If the royal family council fails to agree, a letter containing a name penned by Sultan Qaboos should be opened in the presence of a defense council of military and security officials, supreme court chiefs, and heads of the two quasi-parliamentary advisory assemblies.[17] Analysts see the rules as an elaborate means of Sultan Qaboos securing his choice for successor without stirring the pot by making it public during his lifetime.[18]

Qaboos bin 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 Sayyid Tariq bin Taimur Al Said, Oman's first prime minister before Sultan Qaboos took over the position himself.[19] Oman watchers believe the top contenders to succeed Qaboos are three of Tariq's sons: Assad bin Tariq Al Said, the personal representative of the Sultan; Shihab bin Tariq, a retired naval commander; and Haytham bin Tariq, the Minister of Heritage and National Culture.[20] [21] First Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmud al-Said, a distant cousin of the Sultan, and Taimur bin Assad, the son of Assad bin Taimur, are also mentioned as potential candidates.[22]

Personal life

Qaboos bin Said 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.[4] Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin was commissioned to compose a work entitled Symphonic Impressions of Oman[23] and the Sultan is particularly enthusiastic about the pipe organ.[24] 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.

In 1976 Qaboos bin Said married his cousin, Kamila, née Sayyidah Nawwal bint Tariq (born 1951), daughter of HH Sayyid Tariq ibn Taymur. The marriage ended shortly in divorce[25] and the Sultan has been unmarried ever since.


Name City Area Coordinates Features
Al Alam Palace Muscat 1.4kmX1.4 km 23°36′52.86″N 58°35′43.90″E / 23.6146833°N 58.595528°E / 23.6146833; 58.595528

Super yachts

Name Length (m) Shipyard Year Description
Al Said 155[26] Lürssen 2007 Contains a Helipad, an orchestra and swimming pool. Berthed most of the time in Mutrah port.
Fulk al Salamah[27] 136 Lürssen 1987 It has participated in Ship for World Youth.[28]
Loaloat Al Behar 103.85 Picchiotti Italy 1982 Largest yacht built in Italy in the 1980s
Zinat al Bihaar 61 Oman Royal Yacht Squadron[29] 1988 Luxury sailing yacht with worlds largest sail built in Oman with imported engine from Siemens.
Al-Noores 33.5[30] K. Damen Netherlands 1982 Specialized tug boat for the other royal yachts.

Military ranks

Qaboos holds the following ranks:[citation needed]

  • 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
  • Honorary General, British Army

Foreign honours

  • Austria: Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (31 March 2001)[citation needed]
  • Bahrain: Member 1st Class of the Order of Al Khalifa[citation needed]
  • Brunei: Member of the Royal Family Order of the Crown of Brunei (15 December 1984)[citation needed]
  • Egypt: Grand Collar of the Order of the Nile (1976)[citation needed]
  • France: Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (31 May 1989)[citation needed]
  • Germany: Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany[citation needed]
  • India: Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (2004) (Award yet to be presented)[31]
  • Indonesia: Recipient of the Star of the Republic of Indonesia, 1st Class or Adipurna[citation needed]
  • Iran: Grand Collar of the Order of Pahlavi (3 March 1974)[citation needed]
  • Italy: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (22 April 1974)[citation needed]
  • Japan: Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum[citation needed]
  • Jordan: Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali[citation needed]
  • Kuwait: Order of Mubarak the Great (28 December 2009)[citation needed]
  • Lebanon: Collar of the Order of Merit[citation needed]
  • Malaysia: Member of the Order of the Crown of the Realm (DMN)[citation needed]
  • Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (2012)
  • Pakistan: Recipient of the Nishan-e-Pakistan, 1st Class[citation needed]
  • Qatar: Collar of the Order of the Independence[citation needed]
  • Saudi Arabia: Recipient of the Badr Chain[citation needed]
  • Saudi Arabia: Collar of the Order of Abdulaziz al Saud (23 December 2006)[citation needed]
  • Singapore: Member 1st Class of the Order of Temasek (12 March 2009)[citation needed]
  • South Africa : Grand Cross of the Order of Good Hope (1999)[32]
  • Spain: Knight of the Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (18 December 1985)[citation needed]
  • Syria: Collar of the Order of Omayyad[citation needed]
  • Tunisia: Collar of the Order of Independence[citation needed]
  • UAE: Collar of the Order of Etihad[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB, 18 March 1982)[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG, 8 July 1976)[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO, 28 February 1979)[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Royal Victorian Chain (27 November 2010)[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John (KStJ, 8 November 1976)[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom: Bailiff Grand Cross of the Venerable Order of Saint John (GCStJ, 19 March 1984)[citation needed]


  1. Al Sa'id, Qaboos (1940–) – Personal history, Biographical highlights, Personal chronology, Influences and contributions, The world’s perspective, Legacy. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  2. "Qaboos bin Said". Webster's Concise Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Gramercy Books. 1998. pp. 520.
  4. Trofimov, Yaroslavth (14 December 2001). "Oman has oil, but it had no orchestra". Wall Street Journal: A6.
  5. PROFILE-Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said. (2011-03-25). Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  6. Qaboos on 'Meet the People' tour. Khaleej Times. 20 January 2003
  7. "Oman's Sultan Granting Lawmaking Powers to Councils | Middle East | English". 13 March 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  8. Oman's Renaissance Man. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  9. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  10. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  11. "Freedom in the World 2009 – Oman". Freedom House. 16 July 2009.,,,,OMN,4562d8cf2,4a6452939,0.html. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  12. Council Chronicle. (PDF) . National Council on the US-Arab Relations. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  13. The Final Communiqué of the 29th Session of the Supreme Council of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council. 29–30 December 2008
  14. Slackman, Michael (16 May 2009). "Oman Navigates Between Iran and Arab Nations". The New York Times.
  15. "US embassy cables: Oman sultan resists Iranian charm offensive". The Guardian. 28 November 2010.
  16. Though Ibadhis are the majority in Oman, with Sunnis a minority, exact percentages are unavailable; 75% for the Ibadhis is often cited, while the Sunnis, followed by a small amount of local Shiites and foreign Hindus, Christians, and others make up the remaining 25%.[citation needed]
  17. Dokoupil, Martin (24 May 2012). "Succession Question Fuels Uncertainty in Oman". Reuters. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  18. Dokoupil, Martin (24 May 2012). "Succession Question Fuels Uncertainty in Oman". Reuters. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  19. HH Prince Sayyid Tarik bin Taimur al-SAID. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  20. Dokoupil, Martin (24 May 2012). "Succession Question Fuels Uncertainty in Oman". Reuters. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  21. "The Question of Succession". Muscat Confidential. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  22. Dokoupil, Martin (24 May 2012). "Succession Question Fuels Uncertainty in Oman". Reuters. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  23. [1][dead link]
  24. Carlo Curly & Mathis Music
  25. Joseph A. Kechichian (December 17, 2010). "Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed: A democrat visionary". Weekend Review. Gulf News. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  26. Top 100. (2010-07-27). Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  27. Access Perpetual Wellbeing in Excess: Sultan Qaboos's extravaganza. (2009-01-01). Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  28. Central and South Asia. Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  29. Sailing Yacht – Zinat al Bihaar – Oman Royal Yacht Squadron – Completed Superyachts on Superyacht Times .com. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  30. Motor Yacht – Al-Noores – K. Damen – Completed Superyachts on Superyacht Times .com. Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  31. HM deserves much more than awards and medals. Times of Oman (2007-01-28). Retrieved on 14 July 2011.
  32. 1999 National Orders awards