Oman The Present in the Context of a Fractured Past

Taal: Engels
  • Engels
  • Paperback
  • 9781974399703
  • augustus 2017
  • 106 pagina's
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Dr. Roby Barrett’s examination and study of some 200 years of the Sultanateof Oman’s dynastic history is an excellent companion piece to hisearlier work, Yemen: A Different Political Paradigm in Context. His Omanstudy puts into context the last four decades of the Sultanate’s history toanswer the question of whether Oman has changed fundamentally froma nation fraught with instability and conflict to one of peace and stability.Dr. Barrett’s research focuses on the current rule of Sultan Qaboos and hisapproach to change, development, and modernity in a centuries-old culturethat has experienced political, economic, and social upheaval throughoutmost of its early existence.Dr. Barrett’s analysis of Sultan Qaboos and his understanding of the rolescentral authority, tribalism, succession problems, religious fundamentalism,and competing internal political centers have played in Oman’s historywill aid today’s reader in understanding the impact of fundamental changeand progress along with the external trappings of modernity from a strictlyMiddle Eastern vantage point rather than in the Western context. Dr. Barrettwrites that “Sultan Qaboos’ rule is not about liberalization and democracy.In fact, authority is probably more centralized in Oman than in any otherstate in the Arabian Gulf and for very good reason.” Barrett’s analysis ofmodern-day Oman will help the reader avoid the pitfalls of misinterpretingthe present condition on the basis of Oman’s largely tumultuous past, whichoften featured conflict and competition for wealth and power.Dr. Barrett puts forth a set of conclusions about the Omani experiencethat focuses on Sultan Qaboos’ understanding of the instability of the pastand difficulties of succession. Although the Sultan has no heir, he has generateda plan to avoid the succession problems of the past. Barrett points outthe role of Oman’s economy and the increasing stresses governments in theGulf region now face, particularly with the prospect of declining oil revenues,increasing populations, and rapidly increasing expectations. These challengesmust be considered when planning for the future. Finally, Dr. Barrett’s reviewof the lessons to be learned from Oman’s counterinsurgency experiences ofthe 1950s to 1980 suggest that for reasons unique to Oman these lessons arexless about military operations than they are about the role of regional politicsand economics.Dr. Barrett ends by emphasizing the British “less is more” approach tocounterinsurgency, coupled with a “perfect alternative leader” in SultanQaboos, has resulted in a successful outcome for Oman. In contrast, the U.S.with its large commitment of conventional military force has taken ownershipof its wars this past decade and has become a focal point of resistance.The insights provided in Dr. Barrett’s Oman study suggest that a return toa smaller special operations war might have better results for the U.S. In asolemn ending to his study, Dr. Barrett writes “in a situation where successfulnation building or a conventional military victory is unlikely; a reversionto a special operations war might in fact prevent our adversaries fromwinning — perhaps the best result that can be achieved.”Dr. Barrett’s most recent monographs, this work on Oman and his earlierstudy on Yemen, are bookends that will provide the SOF reader with a deepunderstanding of the present and historical context which has resulted in thesouthern Arabian region of today.Kenneth H. Poole, Ed.D.Director, JSOU Strategic Studies Department



augustus 2017
Aantal pagina's
106 pagina's



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