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The Sultan has a plan.
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Oman

Unit 22 - Geography

A Sneaky Smart Geography Lesson

Like its neighbors, Oman has links to early human civilizations: Stone tools recently found in Oman date back 100,000 years, supporting the theory that early humans moved from Africa into Arabia. 

Also like its neighbor Yemen, Oman is now working to reinvent itself.  With dwindling oil reserves, a nation built on oil exports is looking to diversify. 

Today's lesson comes entirely from Wikipedia.

Oman is bordered by the United Arab EmiratesSaudi ArabiaYemen, the Gulf of Oman, and the Arabian Sea.

Remember

5 things to remember

  • The population of Oman in 2013 was 3,929,000 (129th). Its capital and largest city, Muscat, has 797,000 people.
  • Oman is categorized as a high income economy and the 45th most peaceful country in the world.[12][13]
  • Oman is an absolute monarchy[40] in which all legislative, executive, and judiciary power ultimately rests in the hands of the hereditary sultan, and in which the system of laws is based firmly on Islamic sharia.
  • Omani citizens enjoy good living standards, but the future is uncertain with Oman's limited oil reserves.[64]
  • About 75% of Oman is Muslim.[82] Around half of the population follows the Ibadi school of Islam,[43] which is distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations.
Continue reading at Wikipedia.
Muscat, capital city of Oman.

Facts

Putting it in perspective

  • The nominal GDP is $76.464 billion[5], the 64th largest in the world.
  • Oman's proved reserves of petroleum total about 5.5 billion barrels, 24th largest in the world.[72]
  • Omanis were among the first people to come in contact with and accept Islam.[21]
  • Arabic is the official language of Oman.[63] Balochi is widely spoken.[84] Oman was the first Persian Gulf state to have German taught as second language.[86]
  • The sultan of Oman is Qaboos bin Said al Said.
  • Sultan Qaboos bin Said is the de facto prime minister and also controls the foreign affairs and defence portfolios.[45] The sultan has absolute power and issues laws by decree.[46] He is the longest-serving ruler in the Middle East.[43]
  • In 2002, voting rights were extended to all citizens (including women) over the age of 21.
  • The adult literacy rate in 2010 was 86.9%.[100]
  • free-trade agreement with the United States took effect 1 January 2009, eliminating tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products, also providing strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman.[66] 
  • Oman has a hot climate and very little rainfall. Annual rainfall in Muscat averages 100 mm (3.9 in), falling mostly in January. 
  • The male national dress is the dishdasha, a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves.[89] 
  • The khanjar (dagger) is part of the national dress and men wear the khanjar on all formal public occasions and festivals.[89]
  • Women reserve wearing their traditional dress for special occasions, and instead now choose to wear a loose black cloak called abaya.
  • The main daily meal is usually eaten at midday, while the evening meal is lighter.
  • Rukhal bread is a thin, round bread originally baked over a fire made from palm leaves. It is eaten at any meal, typically served with Omani honey for breakfast or crumbled over curry for dinner.
  • As is the case with most Middle Eastern countries, alcohol is only available in some hotels and few restaurants.[82]
Continue reading at Wikipedia.

Intro

Oman, officially called the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest and also shares a marine border with Iran. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries.

From the 17th century, Oman had its own empire, and vied with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran, and modern day Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar.[7] As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under heavy influence from the United Kingdom, though Oman was never formally part of the British Empire, or a British protectorate.

Oman is an absolute monarchy in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority, but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers.[8] Oman is a member of Gulf Cooperation CouncilUnited NationsOrganisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League. It has long standing military and political ties with the United Kingdom and the United States.[9]

Oman, compared to its neighbors, has modest oil reserves ranking at 25th globally,[10][11] nonetheless in 2010 UNDP ranked Oman as the most improved nation during the preceding 40 years globally. Additionally, Oman is categorized as a high income economy and the 45th most peaceful country in the world.[12][13]

Continue on Wikipedia.

The Sultan's Palace in Zanzibar, which was once Oman's capital and residence of its Sultans.

History

At Aybut Al Auwal in the Dhofar region of Oman a site was discovered in 2011 containing more than 100 surface scatters of stone tools belonging to a regionally-specific African lithic industry - the late Nubian Complex - known previously only from the northeast and Horn of Africa. Two optically stimulated luminescence age estimates place the Arabian Nubian Complex at 106,000 years old. This supports the proposition that early human populations moved from Africa into Arabia during the Late Pleistocene.[14]

Ancient History
From the 6th century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled and/or influenced by three Persian dynasties, the AchaemenidsParthians and Sassanids.

Arrival of Islam
Omanis were among the first people to come in contact with and accept Islam.[21] The conversion of the Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by Muhammad around 630 AD to invite Jayfar and 'Abd, the joint rulers of Oman at that time, to accept the faith. In submitting to Islam, Oman became an Ibadhi state, ruled by an elected leader, the Imam.

Read more about Oman's rich history on Wikipedia.

Arab Spring
Unrest has been inspired by the Arab Spring groundswell of political dissent in the region. Protests began in January 2011, with protestors demanding political reforms and jobs. They were dispersed by riot police in February 2011. Sultan Qaboos reacted by promising jobs and benefits. In October 2011, elections were held to the Consultative Assembly, for which Sultan Qaboos promised greater powers. The following year, the government began a crackdown on Internet criticism. In September 2012, trials began of 'activists' accused of posting "abusive and provocative" criticism of the government online. Six were given jail terms of 12–18 months and fines of around $2,500 each.[32]


Continue on Wikipedia.

Muscat Securities Market.

Economy

Oman's Basic Statute of the State expresses in Article 11 that the "national economy is based on justice and the principles of a free economy."[63]

Omani citizens enjoy good living standards, but the future is uncertain with Oman's limited oil reserves.[64] Other sources of income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and count for less than 1% of the country's exports, but diversification is seen as a priority in the government of Oman. Agriculture, often subsistence in its character, produces dateslimesgrains and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food.

Since the slump in oil prices in 1998, Oman has made active plans to diversify its economy and is placing a greater emphasis on other areas of industry, such as tourism. Metkore Alloys is due to build a world-class 1,650,000-tonnes-per-annum capacity ferro-chrome smelter in Oman with an envisaged investment of $80 million.[65]

free-trade agreement with the United States took effect 1 January 2009, eliminating tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products, also providing strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman.[66] Tourism, another source of Oman's revenue, is on the rise.[67] 

Continue on Wikipedia.

An oasis in an Omani desert.

Geography

Oman has a hot climate and very little rainfall. Annual rainfall in Muscat averages 100 mm (3.9 in), falling mostly in January. The Dhofar Mountains area receives seasonal rainfall (from late June to late September) as a result of the monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean saturated with cool moisture and heavy fog.[36] The mountain areas receive more plentiful rainfall, and annual rainfall on the higher parts of the Jabal Akhdar probably exceeds 400 mm (15.7 in).[37] Some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of a year. The climate generally is very hot, with temperatures reaching around 50 °C (122.0 °F) (peak) in the hot season, from May to September.

Drought and limited rainfall contribute to shortages in the nation's water supply, so maintaining an adequate supply of water for agricultural and domestic use is one of Oman's most pressing environmental problems, with limited renewable water resources; 94% of available water is used in farming and 2% for industrial activity, with the majority sourced from fossil water in the desert areas and spring water in hills and mountains. Drinking water is available throughout the country, either piped or delivered.

Continue reading on Wikipedia.

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