DUBAI/CAIRO (Reuters) – Oman’s ailing Sultan Qaboos bin Said, one of many Middle East’s longest serving rulers, died on Friday and the Gulf state’s excessive navy council known as on the ruling household to convene to decide on a successor, state media stated.
FILE PHOTO: Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al-Said on the Beit Al Baraka Royal Palace in Muscat, Oman January 14, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool through REUTERS
Three days of official mourning have been declared with flags flown at half-mast for 40 days, for the Western-backed Qaboos, 79, who had dominated since taking on in a cold coup in 1970 with the assistance of former colonial energy Britain.
State information company ONA didn’t give a explanation for demise, however Qaboos had been unwell for years and spent per week in Belgium present process medical therapy in early December.
Qaboos had no kids and had not publicly appointed a successor. A 1996 statute says the ruling household will select a successor inside three days of the throne changing into vacant.
The excessive navy council, in a press release carried on state media on Saturday, known as on Oman’s ruling household council to convene to decide on a brand new ruler.
If the council fails to agree, a council of navy and safety officers, supreme courtroom chiefs and heads of the 2 consultative assemblies will put in energy the individual whose identify has been secretly written by the sultan in a sealed letter.
There has been large hypothesis over the succession as home challenges loom massive, from strained state funds to excessive unemployment.
Oman observers say the sultan’s three cousins – Assad, Shihab and Haitham bin Tariq al-Said – stand the most effective probability.
“I imagine that the succession itself will be a smooth process within Oman,” Kristian Coates Ulrichsen of the Texas-based Rice University’s Baker Institute instructed Reuters.
“But the wildcard is whether any of Oman’s neighbors might try to pressure the new sultan as he settles into power – just as the Saudis and Emiratis tried to pressure Emir Tamim in the weeks and months after he assumed power in Qatar in 2013.”
Oman has lengthy been to the Middle East what impartial Switzerland is to world diplomacy, balancing ties between two huge neighbors locked in a regional battle, Saudi Arabia to the west and Iran to the north.
Muscat didn’t take sides in a Gulf dispute that noticed Riyadh and its allies impose a boycott on Qatar in mid-2017 and didn’t be part of a Saudi-led navy coalition that intervened in Yemen in opposition to the Iran-aligned Houthi motion.
The sultan’s demise comes at a time of heightened stress within the area between Iran and the United States.
Oman maintains pleasant ties with Washington and Tehran and helped mediate secret U.S.-Iran talks in 2013 that led two years later to the worldwide nuclear pact which Washington stop in 2018.
Oman’s diplomatic centrality has been an element of Qaboos’ character, stated Simon Henderson, director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“It is hard to see how Oman can involve itself in the Yemen, Iran and Qatar issues until a new leader has established himself – which means for the foreseeable future.”
Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; Writing by Lisa Barrington and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Clarence Fernandez