Oman’s sultan Qaboos bin Said, one of the longest serving rulers in the Middle East who maintained regional neutrality in the country’s struggles, died on Friday and state media announced his cousin Haitham bin Tariq al-Said as Qaboos successor.
For the Western-backed Qaboos, 79, who governed in a bloodless coup in 1970 with the help of former colonial power Britain, Oman declared three days of official mourning with flags to fly half-mast for 40 days.
State TV showed images of the funeral procession heading down a road lined with palm trees. The casket, wrapped in the flag of Omani, was then carried to the Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos in the capital of Muscat, where prayers were offered.
State news agency ONA gave no cause of death, but Qaboos had been ill for years and spent a week in Belgium last month for treatment. Qaboos had no kids, and had not selected a successor in public. A 1996 statute says that within three days of the throne becoming vacant, the ruling family will select a successor.
Haitham bin Tariq Was a Minister of National Heritage and Culture
Haitham bin Tariq sits on the thrown on Saturday. This follows a high-ranking military council calling on the ruling family council. This is to convene and choose a successor. He worked as Minister of National Heritage and Culture and Qaboos appointed him chairman of the central committee responsible for the development of Oman in 2013.
So, he takes power as domestic problems grow. Also, this is from stressed government finances to unemployment in the indebted oil producer. So, at a time of rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia’s ally. Also, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, from the Baker Institute at Rice University, Texas spoke. He state Reuters that a smooth succession is on way.
“The wildcard is whether any of Oman’s neighbours might try to pressure the new sultan. He settles into power – just as the Saudis and Emiratis tried to pressure Emir Tamim. This is in the weeks and months after he assumed power in Qatar in 2013.”
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