Sultan Qaboos of Oman passed away on Friday evening at the age of 79 after a half-century in power, according to what the official Oman News Agency quoted from the Royal Court, opening the country to a period of uncertainty in a period of regional tensions with Iran.
Qaboos, who assumed power on July 23, 1970, after turning against his father, was receiving treatment for colon cancer, according to diplomats.
"The office of the late royal court, God Almighty, mourns the presence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur Al-Muazzam," who died on Friday evening, January 10, the official Omani News Agency said on its website and its Twitter account.
The Omani Defense Council held a session after the death of Qaboos, according to the agency.
The agency noted that the Sultan's office announced "mourning and disrupting the official work of the public and private sectors for a period of three days and flags at half-mast in the next forty days."
On Tuesday, the Omani media quoted the Diwan of the Royal Court as saying that "the condition of Sultan Qaboos is stable" since his recent hospitalization.
The official Omani news agency indicated that the sultan's death came "after a majestic revival that he established in 50 years since he assumed the reins of power on July 23, 1970 AD and after a triumphant wise march filled with tender that covered Oman from one extreme to the other and affected the entire Arab, Islamic and international world." It resulted in a balanced policy to which the entire world stood in honor and respect. "
And Sultan Qaboos is not married and has no children. Rumors of his health have intensified in recent weeks since his return from Belgium, where he underwent medical examinations.
His frequent visits to Germany, motivated by treatment, have raised concerns about his succession and the stability of the country, which regularly plays the mediating role of Western Hafs, especially in relations with Iran.
According to the constitution, the royal family council, within three days of the vacancy of the sultan’s post, determines who will transfer the mandate. If no agreement is reached, a message will be opened by Sultan Qaboos, in which he will name his successor, and then he will be installed in the position of Sultan.
It is stipulated that whoever chooses the state of rule in Oman must be a rational Muslim and a legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents.
Sultan Qaboos was born on November 18, 1940 in Salalah in the south, where he continued his schooling, until he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Britain at the age of twenty.
The Sultan graduated from her after two years with the rank of lieutenant, then served in Germany as part of a British military contingent for a year.
Upon returning to his country in 1964, the Sultan clashed with the strict policy adopted by his father, who refused any modernization, until he took power on July 23, 1970, after he turned against his father, to launch a period of modernization that began with the export of oil.
Qaboos declared himself "Sultan of Oman" after the title of ruler was "Sultan of Muscat and Oman", and he became the eighth ruler of the Al Said dynasty since assuming power in 1749, and he immediately changed the flag and currency.
Sultan Qaboos adopted a policy of rapprochement with Iran, located on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz, in contrast to other Arab rulers. He took a neutral stance during the Iraq war with Iran between 1980 and 1988.
His close relationship with Iran allowed him to play the mediating role in the nuclear file, which resulted in an important agreement in 2015 between Tehran and Washington under Barack Obama, before US President Donald Trump withdrew from it.
Since the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week by an American strike, the regional crisis has intensified.
On Friday, the United States imposed new sanctions on eight senior Iranian officials accused of working to destabilize the region, as well as on major steel producers and manufacturers in the Islamic Republic.
Western countries have repeatedly gone to Muscat to ask them to act as a mediator, not only in regional conflicts, but also in international issues.
Amman also mediated between Tehran and Washington to release prisoners, including the release of three Americans imprisoned in Iran on suspicion of being spies after they lost their way across the border in 2009.
Muscat maintained good relations with Tehran, and remained in the Gulf Cooperation Council despite the deep enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran.