Thursday, December 15, 2011

Qaboos bin Said al Said

Qaboos bin Said Al Said (Arabic: قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد‎ Qābūs bin Saʿīd ʾĀl Saʿīd; born 18 November 1940) is the Sultan of Oman and its Dependencies. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty.

Early life
Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa‘id was born in Salalah in Dhofar on 18 November 1940. He is the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and princess Mazoon al-Mashani. He received his primary and secondary education at Salalah and Pune [Maharashtra, India] and was sent to a private educational establishment in England at age sixteen. At 20 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduating from Sandhurst, he joined the British Army and was posted to the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), serving in Germany for one year. He also held a staff appointment with the British Army.

After his military service, Sultan Qaboos studied local government subjects in England and, after a world tour, returned home to Salalah where he studied Islam and the history of his country. Sultan Qaboos ibn Sa‘id is a Muslim of the Ibadi school of jurisprudence, which has traditionally ruled Oman. A religious liberal, he has financed the construction or maintenance of a number of mosques, notably the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, as well as the holy places of other religions.

In 1976 Qaboos ibn Sa‘id married his cousin, Kamila, née Sayyidah Nawwal bint Tariq (born 1951), daughter of HH Sayyid Tariq ibn Taymur. However, the marriage soon ended in divorce and he has never remarried or had any children.

Qaboos bin Sa‘id is an avid fan and promoter of classical music. His 120-member orchestra has a high reputation in the Middle East. The orchestra consists entirely of young Omanis who, since 1986, audition as children and grow up as members of the symphonic ensemble. They play locally and travel abroad with the sultan. Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin was commissioned to compose a work entitled Symphonic Impressions of Oman and the Sultan is particularly enthusiastic about the pipe organ.

The Sultan's birthday, 18 November, is celebrated as Oman's national holiday. The first day of his reign, 23 July, is celebrated as Renaissance Day.

Rise to power
For six years prior to Said bin-Taymur's overthrow, Qaboos experienced virtual house-arrest in the Royal Palace of Salalah. In July 1970, soldiers supporting Qaboos clashed with forces loyal to Said bin-Taymur and deposed him. Qaboos maintains that his father abdicated the throne. The British government helped to consolidate Qaboos' power.

Qaboos acceded to the throne on 23 July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development, moving to Muscat. There he declared that the country would no longer be known as Muscat and Oman, but would change its name to "the Sultanate of Oman" in order to better reflect its political unity.

The first pressing problem that Qaboos bin Said faced as Sultan was an armed communist insurgency from South Yemen, the Dhofar Rebellion (1965–1975). The Sultanate eventually defeated the incursion with help from Iran, Jordanian troops sent from his friend King Hussein of Jordan, British Special Forces, and the Royal Air Force.

Unlike the heads of other Gulf Arab states, Qaboos bin Sa‘id has not publicly named an heir. Article 6 of the constitution actually provides that the Ruling Family Council chooses the successor after the throne becomes vacant, and that the Sultan's preference, to be expressed in an official letter (which Qaboos says has already been sealed and delivered to the defence minister), is only resorted to in the event of lack of familial consensus.

Qaboos bin Sa‘id has no children and has three sisters; there are other male members of the Omani Royal Family including several paternal uncles and their families. Using primogeniture the successor to Qaboos would appear to be the children of his late uncle, His Royal Highness Sayyid Tariq bin Taimur Al Said, the former, first and only Prime Minister in Oman's history.

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