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People and Society






The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2010-11, Omanis began staging marches and demonstrations to demand economic benefits, an end to corruption, and greater political rights. In February and March 2011, in response to protester demands, QABOOS pledged to create more government jobs and promised to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Council of Oman and the introduction of unemployment benefits. Also in March, the Gulf Cooperation Council pledged $20 billion in financial aid to Oman and Bahrain over a 10-year period to assist the two nations in their struggle with Arab protests. Amid concessions made to oppositionists, the government during the summer continued to crack down on protests and demonstrations, and increasingly clamped down on the media. In October 2011, QABOOS issued a royal decree expanding the legislative powers of the Council of Oman to draft, amend, and approve legislation.


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Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE

Geographic coordinates
21 00 N, 57 00 E

Map references
Middle East

Area World Ranking: 71
Total 309,500 sq km
Land 309,500 sq km
Water 0 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries
Total 1,374 km
Border countries
Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km

2,092 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south

Central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Arabian Sea 0 m
Highest point Jabal Shams 2,980 m

Natural resources
Petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas

Land use
Arable land 0.12%
Permanent crops 0.14%
Other 99.74% (2005)

Irrigated land
590 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
1 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 1.36 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)
Per capita 529 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues
Rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil


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  Oman (Muscat):

  GPS points from Oman (Muscat)

Kanut Mintaqat Al Batinah

Zumaymah Oman (general)

Ramlat Mkasa Mintaqat Az Zahirah

Sadh Muhafazat Zufar

Dawwah Al Mintaqah Ash Sharqiyah

Juraym Mintaqat Al Batinah

Wadi Athkesht Muhafazat Zufar

Subtan Muhafazat Musandam
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