Just a couple of hours ago His Majesty Sultan Qaboos issued 8 Royal Decrees dismissing several Ministers as per the demands of the people of Oman. Two days ago he dismissed his two top advisors, including the Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court and now the shake up in the government (and it is not a “reshuffle”) is going further with many Ministers now out. The Finance and Economic Ministries are going to be spilt apart and become several separate, smaller Ministries. This is a direct answer, an accommodation to the ongoing protests throughout the Sultanate. There are yet three remaining who people say need to go: the Minister of Manpower, the Governor of Dhofar and the Head of the police, the last due to the killing of the protester in Sohar last week. But I’m sure they will follow.
How many days did the demonstrations begin here in Oman? I think they began February 25, 9 Days ago. I was with a couple of friends, Dhofaris, and they were thrilled. This is in fact an extremely important and historic turn of events.
What better way to respond to the unrest in your country than by actually listening to the protesters? My God. HM Sultan Qaboos sets another historic precedent, especially in this part of the world. Look at what it took to get rid of Ben Ali, of Mubarak, to still get rid of Gadaffi, of Ali Saleh, and Saudi Arabia declaring beforehand that protests will not be tolerated at all in the kingdom. This is completely new territory as far as I know.
It calls into question what is a Monarchy and what exactly is democracy. Because eviscerate me if you will, but this looks suspiciously like the will of the people to me. I read all this snide drivel on websites comparing HM to the Borgias and the Medicis and lumping him into the same category as those royals in KSA and the like. Well, I think no one understands Omanis love for HM except Omanis and the occasional foreigner who has been honored to be here throughout this period of great change. Sultan Qaboos has nothing in common with those desperate power crazed individuals who rule over so many countries in the Middle East and North Africa. I truly believe that HM has one love and that is his country and its people. And therefore he is doing his best to do as his subjects will him to do, and smartly.
I expect we shall have more Royal decrees in the days to come and I am thrilled and delighted to be able to be here at this wonderful and historic time, with Omani friends, and witness what must surely be a unique set of circumstances in this world.