Country of the World Oman

About the country Oman, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULERS

OMAN

Size: 82,000 sq. mi. (212,457 sq. km.).

Population: 843,000.

In southwest Asia, the sultanate of Oman occupies the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula between the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen to the southwest and the United Arab Emirates to the north. From 1932 until the British dismissed him in 1970, the chosen agent of British policy in Oman was Sultan Said bin Taimur, a sadistic character who amused himself by beating his slaves and by making them swim in the water beneath his palace balcony while he shot fish around them. Said's rule prevented Omanis from leaving the country, discouraged education and health services, and kept from the population a whole series of items, including medicine, radios, eyeglasses, and books. In response to the growing challenge of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf (PFLOAG), the British removed the impossibly reactionary Said and installed his Sandhurst-educated son, Qabus bin Said. Since December, 1973, Qabus has had the help of 3,000-5,000 Iranian helicopter-borne marines, as well as British and Jordanian mercenaries, in liquidating rebel sanctuaries in southwestern Dhofar Province. By 1975 Qabus was spending roughly $500 million per year on his police and 12,000-man armed forces, a sum equal to about half the sultanate's annual budget. The U.S. is selling Qabus sophisticated military equipment, including helicopters and Hughes antitank missiles. With the effective suppression of the Popular Front, foreign investors are beating a path to the sultan's door.

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