Oman Politics

Oman Politics, Population and Geography

General information: In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al Said overthrew his father and to this day rules the country as a sultan. The vast modernization program he developed opened Oman to the rest of the world and helped establish strong long-term political and military relations with Britain. The country pursues a moderate, independent foreign policy and strives to maintain good relations with all countries in the Middle East.


Location: Middle East, coast of the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf between Yemen and the UAE. See to know more about Oman Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 21° 00′ N. latitude, 57° 00′ E
Reference map: Middle East.
Area: total: 212,460 square kilometers; land surface area: 212,460 square kilometers; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Kansas.
Land borders: total: 1,374 km. with neighboring states: with Saudi Arabia 676 km, with the United Arab Emirates 410 km, with Yemen 288 km.
Coastline: 2,092 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: desert; hot, humid on the coast; hot, arid inland; strong summer southwest monsoons (May to September) in the far south.
Terrain: vast central desert plain, rocky mountains in the north and south of the country.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m; highest point: Mount Jabal Shams 2,980 m.
Natural resources: oil, copper, asbestos, marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 5%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 95% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 580 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: dust and sand storms raised by summer winds in the interior of the country; periodic droughts.
Actual problems of the environment: growing salinization of soils; oil pollution of beaches; extremely limited supplies of drinking water.
International environmental agreements: member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Hazardous waste, Law of the sea, Marine pollution, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Whaling; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography Note: Strategically important location on the Musandam Peninsula at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, which carries a significant portion of the world’s oil traffic.


Population: 2,622,198; note: including 527,078 foreign citizens (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 41.51% (male 554,727; female 533,627); 15 to 64 years old: 56.12% (men 894,978; women 576,672); over 65: 2.37% (male 32,863; female 29,331) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 3.43% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 37.96 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 4.1 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0.48 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.55 male/female; over 65: 1.12 male/female; for the general population: 1.3 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 22.52 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 72.04 years; men: 69.9 years; women: 74.29 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 6.04 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.11% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Omani; adjective: Omani.
Ethnic groups: Arabs, Baluchis, people from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh), Africans.
Believers: followers of Ibadism (a trend in Islam named after one of its founders, Abdullah bin Ibad [VII-VIII centuries]) 75%, Sunnis, Shiites, Hindus.
Language(s): Arabic (official), English, Balochi, Urdu, Indian dialects.
Literacy: definition: no data; for the general population: about 80%; men: no data; women: no data.


Common long form: Sultanate of Oman;
conventional short form: Oman; local long form: Saltanat Uman; local short form: Uman.
State structure: monarchy.
Capital: Muscat.
Administrative division: 6 regions (min-tak) and 2 governorships* (muhafazah): Ad-Daki-liya, Al-Batin, Al-Wusta, Zufar*, Muscat, Musandam*, Es-Zahira, Ash-Sharqiya; note – the US Embassy in Oman reports that Muscat is a governorate, but this is not recognized by the US Board of Geographic Names.
Independence: from 1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese).
National holiday: Birthday of Sultan Qaboos, November 18 (1940).
Constitution: No; note – On November 6, 1996, Sultan Qaboos issued a royal decree establishing a new legal framework: clarifying the succession to the throne, establishing the office of prime minister, prohibiting ministers from interfering in the affairs of companies doing business with the government, establishing a bicameral legislature, and guaranteeing basic civil liberties citizens of Oman.
Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; the last instance of appeal is the monarch; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: In the last elections held in 2000, a limited number of Omani citizens (about 175,000) elected by the government participated in the elections for the lower house of the Majlis.
head of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABUS bin Said al Said (since 23 July 1970); note – the monarch is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABUS bin Said ap Said (since 23 July 1970) note – the monarch is both head of state and head of government;
Government: cabinet of ministers appointed by the monarch; elections: no; hereditary monarchy.
Legislature: bicameral Majlis, consisting of an upper house (Majlis al-Dawla) (48 members appointed by the monarch; performs exclusively deliberative functions) and a lower house (Majlis al-Shura) (83 members elected by a limited group of voters; however, the monarch makes the final selection and may cancel the results of the elections; the body has limited legislative powers, but in all other respects is exclusively an advisory body); elections: last held in September 2000 (next to be held in September 2003); election results: no data; for the first time, two women were elected to the Majlis, and approximately 100,000 people took part in the vote.
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; note: the nascent civil judiciary, subordinate to the regional authorities, includes traditional Islamic judges as well as non-religious judges.
Political parties and leaders: no.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, CCC, ESCWA, FAO.G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Abdallah bin Muhammad bin Aqil al-DHAHAB; office: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [1] (202) 387-1980, 387-1981, 387-1988; fax: [\) (202) 745-4933.’
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador John CRAIG; embassy: Jameat A’Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat; mailing address: international: R. 0. Box 202, Code No. 115, Medinat Qaboos, Muscat; phone: [968] 698989; fax: [968] 699189.
Description of the flag: three horizontal stripes of white, red and green, having the same width with a vertical red stripe running along the shaft; the national emblem made in white (a khanjar dagger in a sheath lying on top of two crossed swords in a sheath) is located at the upper end of the red stripe.

Oman Politics