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Sultan Qaboos bin Sai'd
Family tree of Sultan Qaboos
The ruling Al-Busaid dynasty descends from Sayyid Mubarak al-Saidi al-Azdy, of the Banu Hiba, a clan belonging to the Hiwani tribe of Yemen. His great great-grandson, Sayyid Ahmad bin Said, was elected as Imam in 1744, after the extinction of the Ya'rubi dynasty. His son, Sayyid Said bin Ahmad, seized temporal power in 1775. Elected as Imam on his father's death in 1783, Said was himself excluded from temporal power by his own sons in 1786. He died in 1811 (or 1803), the last elected Imam of Oman. The dynasty reached its zenith during the reign of Sayyid Said bin Sultan (r. 1806-1856), when Oman became the centre of a vast sea-borne empire along the coasts and islands of eastern Africa and the Persian Gulf.
Sultan Qaboos (1940) married his cousin Kamila.
His marriage ended in divorce and he did not have any children.
In Oman the eldest son of the reigning Sultan succeeds him on his death. In the absence of a male heir, the reigning Sultan may nominate a brother or another male relative from among the descendants of Sultan Saeed Bin Sultan.
Qaboos has no children and has indicated that once he passes away it will be up to the ruling family to meet and agree on a candidate. However, if the family cannot agree on a candidate, then the Defence Council will decide, based on the name Sultan Qaboos has placed in two sealed envelopes in different locations prior to his death.
Rules set out in a Basic Law say the ruling family should choose a new sultan within three days of the position falling vacant. If the family council fails to agree, a letter containing a name penned by Sultan Qaboos should be opened.
Those authorised to witness the opening and attest its contents include a defence council comprising military and security officials, supreme court chiefs and heads of the two advisory councils (Shura and Adawala)
- Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world and has been ruled by the Al Saeed family since 1744.
Although an oil exporter it is not a member of Opec.
- Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, 70, became Sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a coup.
- He appoints the cabinet. In 1992, Sultan Qaboos allowed a parliament called Majlis Shura.
- Oman produced around 860,000 barrels of oil per day last year.
- The economy grew by a faster-than-expected 6 per cent in 2010 and robust crude oil prices enabled Oman to overspend on its 2010 budget.
- Population: 2.7 million, 70 per cent Omani nationals.
- Ethnicity: Arab, Balochi, East African (Zanzabari), South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi).
- Religion: Muslim 86 per cent, Hindu 13 per cent, other 1 per cent.
- Geography: 300,000 sq km, with 1,700km of coastline on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Government
Muscat February 29, 2012
Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed has inducted three new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle announced on Wednesday through a Royal Decree.
In the reshuffle, third in a span of a year, the Sultan has dropped Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Rashdi, who was the Information Minister for over a decade. Two other outgoing ministers, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Zaher Al Hinai (Justice) and Mohammad Bin Marhoon Al Maamari (Dhofar Governor), have been named State Advisers.
Dr. Abdul Munim Bin Saeed Bin Mansour Al Hasni has been named the new Information Minister, while Shaikh Abdul Malek Bin Abdullah Bin Al Khalili has been moved from Tourism Ministry and named as the new Justice Minister.
Mohammad Bin Sultan Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi has been named as the new Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar in place of Al Maamari, who has been adviser.
Shaikh Sa'ad Bin Mohammad Al Sa'adi , who was last year appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry, has been moved as the new Minister of Sports Affairs and Ali Bin Masoud Bin Ali Sunaidi, has been moved to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry from Sports Affairs.
Ahmad Bin Nasser Bin Hamad Al Mahrazi has been named as the new Tourism Minister.
Last year, Sultan Qaboos has reshuffled cabinet twice, inducting seven new ministers after protesters demanded ouster of some of the ministers.
During the protests, demonstrations were also held outside the Information Ministry, demanding the dismissal of Al Rashdi. He survived that reshuffle but on Wednesday he was shown the door.
After 1958 Said ibn Taimur established his residence at Al Hisn near Salalah, in Dhofar, where he remained permanently except for periodic visits to London. By retiring to the south from Muscat, Said ibn Taimur was not only more secure from assassination but was also no longer obligated to meet frequently with tribal shaykhs and distribute subsidies and thereby avoided depleting the treasury. He married Dhofari wives, one of whom bore him his only heir, Qabus ibn Said, and two daughters. Above all, Said ibn Taimur created his personal fiefdom and sought to arrest modernization by enforcing antiquated laws, public executions, and slavery of people of African descent. The isolation and xenophobia that he forced on the country and on Dhofar in particular left Oman grossly underdeveloped, despite increasing oil export revenues in the late 1960s.
Qabus ibn Said spent his early years isolated within the royal palace. At the instigation of his father's British advisers, Qabus ibn Said was permitted to go to Britain in 1958 for his education. He spent two years at a small private school, where he acquired mastery of the English language. In 1960 he was enrolled in the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and, after graduating from a two-year course of study, served for several months with British units stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). After a world tour and studies in London, he returned to Oman in December 1964. His father, however, refused to entrust him with a responsible role in the government or military and instead sequestered him in the palace in Salalah. Qabus ibn Said's more cosmopolitan and progressive views were incompatible with his father's conservatism and isolationism, which Qabus ibn Said considered detrimental to the country's development. With the tacit endorsement of the British, who saw thirty-year-old Qabus ibn Said as an agreeable alternative, Qabus ibn Said and a number of alienated political elite overthrew Said ibn Taimur in a palace coup d'état on July 23, 1970. Said ibn Taimur withdrew to London, where he died in 1972.
The issue of succession of Sultan Qaboos is sensitive, and, in the absence of a designated crown prince, the door is open for political struggle.
The nepotism has been practiced since the nineteenth century when members of the Al Said served in such positions as representative (wakil), deputy (wazir), governor (wali), field general, and council minister. Yet, the practice was not without its risks, and often rulers were sensitive to the potential for relatives to become contenders for power. Sultan Said ibn Taimur recognized the risk his half-brothers Tariq ibn Taimur Al Said and Fahar ibn Taimur Al Said and his son Qabus ibn Said presented, and he delegated only minor responsibilities, if any, to Qabus.
Sultan Qabus ibn Said has similarly incorporated members of the Al Said family into the state apparatus, particularly in sensitive ministerial positions. The sultan reserved major ministerial positions for himself--in 1993 he held the posts of prime minister, minister of defense, minister of finance, and minister of foreign affairs--although the functions of the prime minister were often entrusted to the minister of state for foreign affairs.
In the 1993 cabinet, two members of the Al Said served as deputy prime ministers: Fahar ibn Taimur Al Said for security and defense and Fahd ibn Mahmud Al Said for legal affairs; Faisal ibn Ali Al Said served as minister of national heritage and culture. The Al Said also controlled the Ministry of Interior, the governorship of Muscat, and the governorship of Dhofar.
Sultan Qabus ibn Said's cousin, Thuwaini ibn Shihab Al Said, was the sultan's special personal representative, and some considered him the most likely candidate to succeed Qabus ibn Said. Shabib ibn Taimur Al Said, Qabus ibn Said's uncle, assumed the role of special adviser to the sultan for environmental affairs.
Despite his progressive rule on some fronts, Sultan Qabus ibn Said has been slow to delegate real political authority. One of his first acts as sultan was to return his father's half-brother, Tariq ibn Taimur, from exile in West Germany and appoint him prime minister. Tariq ibn Taimur was educated in West Germany, married a German national, and had extensive experience working in the Middle East as the representative of a construction firm. He had been an outspoken critic of Sultan Said ibn Taimur's rule, when forced into exile in 1958.
Tariq ibn Taimur formed his first cabinet on August 16, 1970, and brought the notion of political reform. He supported the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system and as a result came into direct conflict with Sultan Qabus ibn Said, who preferred the status quo, with real power remaining in the office of the sultan. As of 1993, power remained centralized with the Al Said, and, although departing from his father's contention that to maintain the ruler's power the people must remain uneducated, real decision making remained the exclusive privilege of a narrow-based elite that the Al Said dominated.
The centralization of power with the sultan and the absence of a mechanism for succession left speculation open concerning Oman after Qabus ibn Said.
Qabus ibn Said has no heir, although he was married briefly in 1976 to Tariq ibn Taimur's daughter. The Al Said family is small, numbering fewer than 100 male members. Since the death in 1980 of Tariq ibn Taimur, no individual within the ruling family has distinguished himself or demonstrated any exceptional ability to rule. Likely candidates to succeed Qabus ibn Said include his two uncles, Fahar ibn Taimur and Shabib ibn Taimur; three cousins, Thuwaini ibn Shibab, Fahd ibn Mahmud, and Faisal ibn Ali; and, among the junior princes, Haitham ibn Tariq Al Said, son of Oman's former prime minister.
Established Merchant Families
Among the most important groups, in terms of political influence, are a number of merchant families whose economic wealth is predicated on the old, established links with the ruling family. These are members of families who settled in Muscat and the coastal region and include both Hindus and Muslims from the Indian subcontinent and Shia from Iran. These families consolidated their power during the reign of Sultan Said ibn Taimur and continued to amass fortunes after 1970, largely through monopolistic or quasi-monopolistic franchises. None is directly involved in the oil business, but together they are the principal suppliers of goods to the government, local contractors, foreign firms, local consumers, and the oil industry. Valuable distributorships for consumer and capital services are under their aegis.
Close cooperation between the merchants and Sultan Said ibn Taimur evolved into a mutually protective relationship with civil servants in the Qabus ibn Said government. Included in this group are the Zawawis, whose roots are in Saudi Arabia. Qais ibn Abd al Munim az Zawawi, for example, as of 1991 served as deputy prime minister for economic and financial affairs. Apart from his ministerial position, Qais ibn Abd al Munim is a prominent Muscat businessman. He was educated in India, has no hereditary relationship with the ruling family, and is well connected in the Arab world. His brother, Omar ibn Abd al Munim az Zawawi, a Harvard-educated physician, is considered the second wealthiest man in Oman next to the sultan. Apart from being president of Omar Zawawi Establishment (the Omzest Group), which comprises about seventy companies and joint ventures, he is special adviser for external liaison to the sultan. The Omzest Group represents multinational companies, such as Daimler-Benz and Mitsui Engineering and Shipping Company, which is contracted to build the oil refinery near Muscat.
Another example of a merchant family drawn into the ministerial level is Said Ahmad ash Shanfari, the minister of petroleum and minerals, whose family origins are Dhofari and who has held the portfolio since 1974. The Shanfari family is related to Qabus ibn Said's mother and controls Shanfari and Partners, a contracting company involved in building infrastructure. Its bid was selected from among six contractors to build the new industrial estate at Raysut.
Khimji Ramdas, who heads the Khimji Ramdas Group, which holds international franchises ranging from consumer products and soft drinks to insurance and construction, is also in this circle. Yahya Muhammad Nasib, chairman of Yahya Enterprises, provides defense and communications equipment to the Ministry of Defense and other ministries. Other influential families include those of Muhsin Haidar Darwish and Suhail Bahwan, chairman of the Bahwan Group, Muscat
Royal Decree No 31/ 2011 restructures the Council of Ministers.
Article 1 states that the Council of Ministers shall be restructured under the Chairmanship of His Majesty the Sultan as follows:
His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers; His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture; Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud al Busaidy, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court; Lt Gen Sultan bin Mohammed al Numani, Minister of the Royal Office; Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Hareb al Busaidy, Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs; Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal bin Said al Busaidy, Minister of Interior; Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs; Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Zaher al Hinai, Minister of Justice; Darwish bin Ismaeel bin Ali al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs; Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah al Salmy, Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs; Dr Mohammed bin Hamad bin Saif al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas; Hamad bin Mohammed bin Mohsin al Rashdi, Minister of Information; Dr Rawya bint Saud bin Ahmed al Busaidiya, Minister of Higher Education; Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Sports Affairs; Shaikh Mohammed bin Marhoon bin Ali al Maamari, State Minister and Governor of Dhofar; Shaikh Saif bin Mohammed bin Saif al Shabibi, Minister of Housing; Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah al Bakri, Minister of Manpower; Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid al Saeedi, Minister of Health; Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed bin Nassir al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education; Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al Shuhi, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources; Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications; Shaikh Khalid bin Omar bin Said al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service; Shaikh Saad bin Mohammed bin Said al Mardhouf al Saadi, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Sayyid Saud bin Hilal bin Hamad al Busaidy, State Minister and Governor of Muscat; Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Said al Saeedi, Minister of Legal Affairs; Shaikh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah bin Ali al Khalili, Minister of Tourism; Dr Fuad bin Jaafar bin Mohammed al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries; Mohammed bin Salim bin Said al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs; Shaikh Mohammed bin Said bin Saif al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development;
Royal Decree No 32/ 2011 appoints Shaikh Al Fadhl bin Mohammed bin Ahmed al Harthy as Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers.
Royal Decree No 33/ 2011 appoints Shaikh Nassir bin Hilal bin Nassir al Maawali as Chairman of the State Audit and Administrative Institution with the rank of minister.
Royal Decree No 34/2011 appoints Dr Rasheed bin al Safi bin Khamis al Huraibi as Chairman of the Tender Board with rank of minister.
Royal Decree No 35/2011 appoints Mohsen bin Mohammed bin Ali al Shaikh as Adviser at the Diwan of the Royal Court with the rank of minister.
Royal Decree No 36/2011 appoints Dr Abdulmalik bin Abdullah bin Zahir al Hinai as Adviser at the Finance Ministry with his existing rank and financial allocations.
Royal Decree No 37/2011 appoints under-secretaries for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Article 1 appoints Dr Hamad bin Said bin Sulaiman al Aufi as Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for Fisheries.
Article 2 appoints Dr Ishaq bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al Ruqaishi as Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for Agriculture.
Royal Decree No 38/2011 cancels the Ministry of National Economy and states that a committee shall be formed by the Council of Ministers to manage the distribution of its prerogatives, allocations, assets and employees.