The Sultanate of Oman and the US

Authored by: Joseph A. Kéchichian

Handbook of US-Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857434996
eBook ISBN: 9780203859377
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203859377-31

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Abstract

The United States “courted Oman spiritedly” after Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id acceded to the throne on August 9, 1970, and “received substantial cooperation from Muscat” even if US objectives were formulated without taking into account “the nature of Omani history, society and politics.” 1 Nevertheless, Oman remained a critical country for the US, because of the Sultanate’s strategic position on the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, Washington faced the British hurdle for close to two centuries, and deferred to London for about that long before it successfully launched independent initiatives. In turn, Muscat looked to the Western superpower with awe, confident that its own modest policies benefited the West in general and the US in particular. Whether various Omani ideas were reciprocated was difficult to confirm. Suffice it to say that the Sandhurst-educated and widely respected ruler perceived the US as the key security guarantor of the Persian Gulf region.

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