Oman (Arabic: عمان‎ ʻUmān), officially called the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عُمان‎ Salṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast.

Oman is an absolute monarchy in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers. In November 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) listed Oman, from among 135 countries worldwide, as the nation most-improved during the preceding 40 years. According to international indices, Oman is one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab world.

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.

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.

The political system which Qaboos established is that of an absolute monarchy. Unlike the situation in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Qaboos’ decisions are not subject to modification by other members of Oman’s royal family. Government decisions are said to be made through a process of decision-making by “consensus” with provincial, local and tribal representatives, though critics allege that Qaboos exercises de facto control of this process.

More recently, Qaboos has allowed parliamentary elections (in which women have voted and stood as candidates) and pledged greater openness and participation in government.

In 1976 Qaboos bin Said married his cousin, Kamila, née Sayyidah Nawwal bint Tariq (born 1951), daughter of HH Sayyid Tariq ibn Taymur. The marriage ended shortly in divorce and the Sultan has been unmarried ever since.

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