Sultan Qaboos bin Said attends the opening of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit.
Courtesy Reuters

To many Omanis, it is offensive to openly contemplate life after Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the widely admired albeit absolute monarch who has been receiving medical treatment in Germany since July. But policymakers elsewhere in the world have no choice but to do just that. The 73-year-old Qaboos is said to have colon cancer and rumors suggest he may not be around for too long. The Omani royal court has said he is recovering from successful surgery, and some say that he will return to Oman in time to attend the annual National Day military parade on November 18. But dark clouds of uncertainty nevertheless hover over the country’s future. And given Qaboos’ importance as a strategic partner for the West—and for Washington in particular—it’s only natural to wonder what will transpire after he is no longer in charge in Muscat.

Oman tends to feature far less

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  • BILAL Y. SAAB is Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council.
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