Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Saeed died on Friday evening, according to what the official Oman News Agency announced.
"The Diwan of the forgotten royal court, God willing Almighty, mourns the presence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taymour Al-Muazzam," who passed away on Friday evening, January 10, the agency said on its website and its Twitter account.
The agency added that the Sultan’s office announced “mourning and disrupting the official work of the public and private sectors for three days and flagging flags in the next forty days.”
Who is Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed?
When Sultan Qaboos came to power in 1970, Oman had only three schools, while the illiteracy level was 66 percent at a time when the Gulf country was among the poorest in the region.
This is due to the unwillingness of Sultan Saeed bin Taymur, the father of Qaboos, to modernity and reform, which was one of the reasons for the outbreak of an armed rebellion in the Dhofar Governorate in the final periods of his rule.
Qaboos bin Said assumed power in 1970 with a coup d'état, and began a broad reform plan that included building schools and hospitals.
According to Business Today, Oman's GDP increased from 256 million dollars in 1970 to more than 80 billion dollars this year.
Sultan Qaboos was born in Salalah, Dhofar Governorate, in 1940, and is a descendant of the Al-Busaid family, which has ruled Oman since 1744.
Qaboos studied at the British Academy of Sandhurst, in his twenties, and then returned to Oman.
Sultan Qaboos married for a short period and did not have children, which led to a mystery regarding his succession.
Qaboos retained during his tenure as prime minister and defense and finance portfolios and as governor of the Central Bank.
Sultan Qaboos’s rule spanned about 50 years, which is the longest period of rule for an Arab king or president.
During his work to expand the sources of the Omani economy, Sultan Qaboos succeeded in containing the armed revolution of Dhofar in the seventies of the last century, and the protests that took place in Oman in 2011 to coincide with the revolutions of the "Arab Spring".
"every body's friend"
Oman maintained good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two rivals in the Gulf, and pursued a "friend of all" policy to focus on trade relations with the two countries.
Oman played a role in the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West that was signed in 2015, as it hosted secret talks between US and Iranian officials in 2012 that led to the start of negotiations for the agreement that President Donald Trump later withdrew.
Muscat also had a role in trying to bring the parties to the conflict in Yemen to the negotiating table.
Oman maintained a neutral position during the recent Gulf crisis between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the one hand and Qatar on the other.
Sultan Qaboos has suffered from an incurable disease since 2014, which has raised questions about his succession.
About 85 people from the Al-Busaid family are entitled to succeed Sultan Qaboos on the throne of Oman.
To resolve the issue of his succession, Sultan Qaboos determined a method for choosing the caliph, which is to give a period of three days to the ruling family council to choose the new sultan.
In the event that the ruling family does not agree during the three days, a closed envelope will be opened in which Qaboos will determine his succession.
Speculation has long been raised about which caliph would be one of his three cousins Asaad, Haitham and Shihab bin Tariq bin Taymur Al Said.
The Sultan did not disclose the name of his successor, fearing that this would lead to a reduction in his influence or that external powers would seek to seek his advantage.