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Introduction: The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to...

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History: Oman adopted Islam in the seventh century A.D., during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. Ibadhism, a form of Islam distinct from Shiaism and the "Orthodox" schools of Sunnism, became the dominant religious sect in Oman by the eighth century A.D. Oman is the only country in the Islamic world with a majority Ibadhi population. Ibadhism is known for its "moderate conservatism." One ...

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History: Arab Spring

A large number of mainly peaceful protests have taken place across the country since February, with a wide range of demands, including more jobs, higher salaries, increased media freedoms, and an end to corruption. There have been no calls for regime change.

Whilst strategic direction from the Sultan has been unequivocal: to avoid causing loss of life at all costs, there were two deaths in Sohar, in separate incidents. At the end of February (26/27), the security forces deployed rubber bullets and tear gas to quell unrest, resulting in the death of one protestor. This was in response to ...

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The Persian Gulf lies between two of the major breadbaskets of the ancient world, the Tigris-Euphrates area (Mesopotamia, meaning "between the rivers") in present-day Iraq and the Nile Valley in Egypt. Mesopotamia, a part of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, was important not only for food production but also for connecting East to West.

Rivers provided the water that ...

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Area Handbook Series
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