Monday 20 January 2020

Oman: Fingers Crossed

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.



Thud said...

Nice to see a little colour in an increasingly bland world, I hope they can continue at their own pace and in their own manner.

Anonymous said...

Does Oman have a homogeneous population ?

It's the states that have a mixture of religions, such as Bahrain (majority Shia, but ruled by Sunnis) that have trouble.

Don Cox

Nick Drew said...

70% are Ibadite Islam, it says. Some Shia's, too. That's all I know. (It was Sunnis they were fighting in the '60s and '70s.)

Personal observation is that they are pretty homogeneous, but I met some black Omanis - which says nothing about their religion, of course. That's not so unusual, I've met black Kuwaitis, too (including a sheikh).


As I also mentioned in that old thread, there was plenty of rolling of eyeballs when the noisy Call to Prayer went off, and not everyone responded to it. The place wasn't secular, but it was moderate. Booze openly allowed in licenced establishments, e.g. hotels and importantly(!) in the Officers Mess and NCOs Mess (but not in open public spaces), it clearly being an individual's personal choice on the matter. I'd say about half the Omani officers drank (beer) - and I was the only Brit officer while I was there.

Seemed like an eminently workable formula, in keeping with the overall benign dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

OT, and sorry to ruin a thread on Oman* but occasionally the Guardian has a piece that almost seems truthful

Sounds as if Andrew Fisher was Labour's Nick Timothy, even down to springing the manifesto on the Shadow Cabinet with only hours to approve it. Worse, in that Nick Timothy wisely chose a period of silence after 2017, while Fisher immediately blamed everyone else.

"Labour’s manifesto itself was a casualty of the fractious working relationships that dogged the campaign. Milne was widely viewed internally as the most important single decision-maker in the 2017 campaign. But this time, a day before the crucial clause V meeting at which the manifesto was to be signed off, he had not seen the final printed version. Key policies had been thrashed out in discussions, including among the strategy group – but Fisher’s policy team kept a firm hold on the finished document, and his relationship with Milne had been badly frayed by the Brexit battle. “No one really knew what was coming until it emerged, from a process only really accessible to Andrew Fisher and John McDonnell,” said one Labour source. “And so major policies were coming out – free broadband, Waspi women – which really nobody knew was coming.”"

I'm surprised that McDonnell backed Fisher in getting a second referendum on the manifesto.

"McDonnell and Fisher were instrumental in helping to persuade Corbyn that backing a second referendum was the only way of safeguarding the leftwing political movement they had built. By contrast, Milne and Murphy – as well as the Unite union’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray, and the Corbynite PR Steve Howell, both of whom sat on the election strategy group – believed that fateful decision would cost Labour dear in leave-supporting seats."

The anti-semitism smears didn't help, but no one cares about them in Darlington or West Bromwich.

“A mythology developed – Paul Mason was one of the early advocates of it – that we could win an election on remain votes. And that even in leave areas, the vast majority of our voters were remain. But, while it’s true that the proportions are something like 70% to 30% nationally, in strong leave areas, as many as 40% to 50%-plus of Labour voters are leavers,” Howell said"

Paul Mason, take a bow!

* I haven't quoted any of Ranulph Fiennes lyrical descriptions of young Omani and Bedu girls (and his men's interest or more in them), but I'm not sure you could publish them now.

Nick Drew said...

Thanks, Anon - no probs. Will read with interest

By coincidence, today I was reading a series by Jeremy Gilbert, of which this is one

you have to fillet out the class-warfare garbage; but there's the flesh of some good analysis to be had in there, and the writer seems honest(ish) in his class-addled way

Anonymous said...

It's quite funny that a Soros-funded network like OpenDemocracy is railing against homeowning pensioners in decrepit former pit towns whose interests are apparently "objectively aligned with those of finance capital and the rentier class".

Who's paying for the servers Gilbert's posting on? Finance capital and the rentier class, that's who.

Colour me unconvinced re centrist dads going Green or Lib Dem. Not many of those in Bolsover - and while a Lib-Lab-Green pact might have damaged the Tories/stopped Brexit, how could those parties run on a manifesto in such circumstances? It might have worked, but it would have poisoned politics for a generation, even more than the 2017 House Of Commons managed. I won't forget.

But while I've not read it yet, I agree with the title of this part - "Labour should have argued against the last 40 years, not just the last ten".