Readers will know I have a great and longstanding fondness for Oman: and now its long-time Sultan is gone. RIP, Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
He was never, *ahem*, likely to have any children - but there seems to have been a managed succession - rather different to how he took over from his father, although even that was bloodless. I rather guess HMG had a discrete hand in the politics that resulted in last week's orderly handover.
Qaboos was the epitome of a benign dictator. So far as I could judge, he was genuinely loved by his people. In order to pevent begging - which would have reflected badly on him - the indigent were invited to go to the nearest post office to be given money. There was no suggestion this beneficence was abused. When a young tribesman felt the time was right, he would drift into a barracks and volunteer for military service: and when he felt he'd done his bit, he would drift off again. Surely a bit of a problem if operations were underway? - I asked. Why then, of course, he wouldn't leave at such a moment!
Such was the code of honour that bound the people and their Monarch. We can barely understand it. Long may the world still be able to contain such a nation.
I hope the succession works out well for them.