Sultan Qaboos, longest-serving ruler of the Arab world dies at 79

Sultan Qaboos, longest-serving ruler of the Arab world dies at 79
The Sultan completely dominated political arena of his country. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times, Muscat: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman has died aged 79. He was the longest-serving ruler of the Arab world.

The Sultan came in power, deposing his father in a bloodless coup with British support in 1970. From the beginning of his rule, he set Oman on a path to development, using its oil wealth.

He was widely popular in his country but dominated the critics harshly.

Authorities are yet to confirm his cause of death. Tariq Al Said, his cousin, has been sworn in as his successor.

Tariq Al Said was culture and heritage minister. He took the oath of office on Saturday after a meeting of the Royal Family Council, the government said.

It’s been reported previously that the Sultan has been suffering Cancer. Last month he spent a week in Belgium for medical treatment.

Sulan Qaboos came in power by a bloodless coup in 1970. Source: Keystone

A court statement announced three days of national mourning declaring his death.

“With great sorrow and deep sadness… the royal court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who passed away on Friday,” the statement said.

Many people gathered outside of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the capital, Muscat, where his coffin had been taken, and prayers were being held.

What made the Sultan Qaboos popular?

Sultan Qaboos had been widely popular in his country for almost five decades and and one of the most powerful leaders in Arab world. He completely dominated the political arena of his country of 4.6 million people, of whom about 43% are expatriates.

He overthrew his father, Said bin Taimur, at the age of 29. Said bin Taimur was a reclusive and ultra-conservative ruler who banned a range of things, including wearing sunglasses or listening to the radio.

But as soon as Sultan Qaboos got the power, he declared his intention to establish a modern government and use oil money to develop the country. During that time, Oman had only 10km (six miles) of paved roads and three schools.

In his early years in office, he suppressed an insurgency in the southern province of Dhofar by tribesmen backed by the Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. He did that with the help of British special forces.

He was considered as a charismatic and visionary leader. One of his landmark achievements was able to facilitate secret talks between the United States and Iran in 2013 that led to a landmark nuclear deal two years later.

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