Sultan Qaboos of Oman has died

Sad news out of Oman today! Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the Sultan of Oman and Head of the House of Al Said, who was the longest-serving leader in the Middle East and Arab world, has passed away at the age of 79! The only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and Sheikha Mazoon al-Mashani, he grew up and was educated in Oman and England before entering the the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He later joined the British Army and was posted to the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), serving in Germany, before studying local government subjects in England and then going on a world tour chaperoned by Leslie Chauncy. Upon his return in 1966, he was placed under house arrest in the Sultan’s palace in Salalah by his father, kept isolated from government affairs, except for occasional briefings by his father’s personal advisers, while studying Islam and the history of Oman, with only limited contact with people from outside the Palace walls, limited to a few foreigners, who helped him plan, along with the British Government, the successful coup that overthrew his father in 1970, with the aim of ending the country’s isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development. In the almost five decades of the Sultan’s reign, Oman has been a haven of peace and prosperity. However, Sultan Qaboos, who has no publicly acknowledged children, refused to appoint an heir, and the constitution states that the royal family should choose a new sultan within three days of the position falling vacant and if the royal family council fails to agree, a letter containing a name penned by Sultan Qaboos will be opened. There are three likely candidates, his first cousins, who are all ministers in the Omani Government. We offer our condolences to the Omani Royal Family at this difficult time! UPDATE- The new Sultan of Oman is Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the cousin of the late Sultan Qaboos.

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