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Oman
  1. #1
    نبض مبــدع الصورة الرمزية **دانة السلطنة**
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05- 2005
    المشاركات
    2,024

    Oman

    Oman
    IINTRODUCTION

    Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, nation occupying the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. To the west it borders Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). To the east it borders the Arabian Sea and to the north the Gulf of Oman. Its northernmost extension, on the Musandam Peninsula (separated from the rest of Oman by the UAE), overlooks the Strait of Hormuz and has a few miles of Persian Gulf coastline.

    The principal home of the Ibadis, a minority Islamic sect distinct from both Sunni and Shia Islam, Oman has been led by the Al Bu Said dynasty since 1749. Masqaţ, also known as Muscat, is the capital of Oman and the center of the country’s largest metropolitan area.



    IILAND AND RESOURCES


    Oman covers an area of about 309,500 sq km (about 119,500 sq mi). Until the 1990s Oman had border disputes with its three neighbors; agreements were reached with Saudi Arabia in 1990, with Yemen in 1992, and with the UAE in 1993. The borders with Yemen and Saudi Arabia were demarcated in 1995; the border with the UAE awaits final demarcation. Oman is largely a desert land, with five distinct geographical regions. The Al Bāţinah coastal plain along the Gulf of Oman coast is about 10 km (about 6 mi) wide and about 270 km (about 170 mi) long and is the country’s main agricultural area. The Al Ḩajar mountain range, to the west of the plain, extends about 700 km (about 400 mi) from the Strait of Hormuz to Ra’s al Ḩadd, the easternmost point of Oman. The highest elevation is at Al Jabal al Akhḑar, or Green Mountain, reaching about 3,000 m (about 10,000 ft) in the Al Ḩajar al Gharbī (Western Ḩajar), which is divided from the Al Ḩajar ash Sharqī (Eastern Ḩajar) by a major valley, the Samī’il Gap. Inner Oman extends from the Al Ḩajar Mountains into the Rub‘ al Khali, or Empty Quarter, the great sand desert of southern Arabia, and contains a number of oases. Central Oman is a large, generally barren area south of Inner Oman. Lastly, between Inner Oman and the border with Yemen is a distinctive area called Dhofar, which includes a desert interior, rugged mountains made verdant by monsoon rains, and a coastal plain about 50 km (about 30 mi) long and 16 km (10 mi) wide. The main Omani islands are the Kuria Muria group, part of Dhofar Governorate, and Maşīrah off the coast of Central Oman. There are no rivers or permanent lakes, but there are numerous oases which, together with wells, provide drinking water.




    A


    Plant and Animal Life


    Despite its general aridity, Oman is home to a variety of plants and animals. Grasses, shrubs, and hardy trees such as the acacia grow naturally. Grapes and apricots are grown on the slopes of Al Jabal al Akhḑar. Coconut palms grow on the south side of the mountains in Dhofar and frankincense trees on the north. There are no truly fertile agricultural soils; the best are the alluvial soils washed down from the mountains, both in the interior and along the coast. Some of the richest fishing grounds in the world are off the coast of Oman, with tuna and sardines among the principal catches. Goats, sheep, camels, and some cattle are raised. Wildlife includes several hundred species of birds, lizards, snakes, and scorpions. Rare animal and plant species are protected in nature reserves and protected coastal areas.



    BNatural Resources


    Oman’s most important mineral resource is oil, although its reserves are modest compared to those of neighboring Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It also has significant natural gas reserves. In addition, there are modest deposits of copper, gold, chromite, manganese, asbestos, coal, and limestone.




    CClimate


    Summers are extremely hot, with coastal temperatures reaching 46° C (115° F) and those in the interior even higher. The winters are quite warm; the average annual temperature in Masqaţ is 29° C (84° F). The climate of the coastal plain and mountains of Dhofar is moderated by the monsoons that deposit about 760 mm (about 30 in) of rain annually on the south side of the mountains and about 150 mm (about 6 in) along the coast. Parts of the Ḩajar Mountains receive up to 460 mm (18 in), while Masqaţ receives less than 100 mm (4 in). Flash floods can occur when sudden, heavy rains run off the mountains and down the wadis, or valleys. In Oman’s interior summer winds cause large sandstorms and periodic droughts occur. In the south monsoon winds can endanger shipping.




    DEnvironmental Issues


    There is a relatively high prevalence of malaria in the country. Water is a scarce resource, although water use is not as intensive as in neighboring countries. Salt water intrusion into freshwater aquifers has occurred in some instances. A reliance on the oil industry brings with it cases of ocean and coastal pollution.


    III


    THE PEOPLE OF OMAN


    In 2001 Oman had an estimated population of 2,622,198, giving it an average density of 8 persons per sq km (22 per sq mi). The population has grown steadily, doubling between 1960 and 1993. In 2001 the growth rate was a relatively high 3.4 percent. Oman has a very young population; two-fifths of all native Omanis are under the age of 15. Only 82 percent of Omanis live in cities and towns. While most of the rest are settled in villages, a few Bedouins still practice their nomadic ways. Much of Oman’s urban population resides in the Greater Capital Area, which includes Masqaţ proper, the capital; Maţtraḩ, a major port; and Ruwī, the commercial hub of Oman. The new port of Mīnā’ Qaboos is also in this metropolitan area, as is Mīnā’ al Faḩl, a loading terminal for oil supertankers. Other important cities include Nizwá, the historic seat of the Ibadi imamate (Muslim community headed by an imam) in interior Oman; Şūr, an important fishing port located south of Masqaţ, and Salālah, the largest city and principal port of Dhofar.




    AEthnic Groups


    Omani Arabs account for 75 percent of the population and include many distinctive minority tribes, such as the Shihuh in the far north and the Jibalis of Dhofar in the south. Indians and Pakistanis make up most of the non-Omani population.


    BLanguage and Religion


    Arabic is the official language of Oman. English is widely spoken, as are Asian languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Baluchi. Islam is the official religion, although other religions are tolerated under the country’s Basic Law. Muslims make up 54 percent of the population. Three-fourths of the Muslims are Ibadis, a minority sect dating from the 8th century. Most of the remainder adhere to Sunni Islam and the rest to Shia Islam. Indian Hindus account for 28 percent of the population, and non-Omani Christians are 15 percent.




    CEducation


    Education is free for Omani citizens through the university level. In 1970 only 3 percent of all elementary school-age children were in school. By 1997 this figure was up to 76 percent, and enrollment in secondary schools was 67 percent. Sultan Qaboos University in Ruwī was opened in 1986 and now has more than 4,000 students. Oman also has eight teacher-training colleges, nine vocational institutes, five technical institutes, and eight Islamic colleges. About 40 percent of the population is literate, up from 20 percent in 1970.




    DWay of Life


    In spite of Oman’s rapid modernization, its way of life remains largely traditional and in accordance with conservative Islamic values. With a strong commercial tradition, accumulation of wealth is viewed positively, although the great majority of Omanis were extremely poor until the discovery of oil in the 1960s. The extended family is the basic social unit, headed by its eldest male member. Marriages are arranged, if possible between first cousins but always within the same ethnic and social group. While the sexes are traditionally segregated outside the home, some men and women now work together in private and government offices. Women have entered the professions and now serve on both the police force and the national Consultative Council. Both men and women wear distinctive clothing. Standard male attire is the dishdasha, an ankle-length, usually white robe, worn with either an embroidered skullcap or a turban. Women commonly wear colorful dishdashas with ankle-length trousers underneath. Traditional dwellings are made of mud brick, sometimes stone, and built around an open courtyard. Along the Al Bāţinah coast barasti dwellings are made of palm fronds. Due to rapid urbanization, many people now live in modern houses and apartments. The Omani diet includes fish, sheep, goat, rice, and dates. As in all Arab societies, coffee is both an important beverage and the focus of everyday social interaction. Traditional recreational activities include storytelling. Soccer, a recently adopted form of recreation, has become very popular. Due to the diversity of Oman’s population, there are considerable differences in basic aspects of culture and everyday life. For example, the seminomadic Shihuh of the isolated Musandam Peninsula speak dialects that are unintelligible to other Omanis, and the large urban Indian community has its own distinctive cuisine and dress


    .

    ECulture


    Oman is noted for traditional craftsmanship in such areas as shipbuilding and metalworking. Omani craftspeople produce fine silver jewelry as well as handsome ornamental daggers called khanjars, which are part of the well-dressed Omani male’s wardrobe. Traditional architecture reflects Persian and Indian influences. While there is a strong tradition of popular literature and dance, the conservative Ibadi interpretation of Islam has limited musical expression. As in other Muslim countries, the two most important festivals, called Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, mark the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting) and the conclusion of the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on the Islamic calendar. National Day, November 18, celebrates the birthday of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The Oman Museum in Masqaţ has a display of Omani arts, crafts, and architecture. Also in Masqaţ are the Natural History Museum and, in an old fort, the sultan’s Armed Forces Museum.


    IV


    ECONOMY


    Before the discovery and exploitation of oil and natural gas in the mid-1960s, Oman’s economy consisted mostly of agriculture, fishing, and traditional crafts such as boatmaking. Today, while Oman’s economy maintains a largely traditional sector based on agriculture, it also has a rapidly growing modern sector based on oil. Oil production in the mid-1990s accounted for almost half the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the total value of goods and services produced. In 1998 GDP was $15 billion. The government controls the oil and gas sector and therefore dominates the economy. Unemployment is just over 5 percent, but this figure is expected to grow as large numbers of young people enter the workforce. To counter unemployment, the government has encouraged job growth in the private sector and the replacement of foreign workers with Omanis. The total salaried workforce in 1993 was 670,275 and 64 percent of the workforce was non-Omani. Despite its large contribution to the economy, the oil and gas sector employs only 2 percent of the workforce. By contrast, agriculture makes up 40 percent of the workforce; government services, 24 percent; social and personal services, 18 percent; and manufacturing, construction, and other jobs, 16 percent


    .

    AMining


    Although modest in comparison to other Persian Gulf nations, Oman’s production of oil and natural gas accounts for 76 percent of the value of all exports. Oman’s oil production (326 million barrels in 1999) is depleting proven reserves by some 6 percent a year. Oman also has large natural gas reserves that it has begun to exploit.


    BServices and Manufacturing


    Oman’s services, mostly governmental, contribute about 43 percent of the country’s GDP. Tourism is being promoted in an attempt to diversify Oman’s oil-dependent economy. The government plans the careful and steady development of the tourist industry by preserving cultural and archaeological sites. Tourism is focused on the Masqaţ area and historic interior sites such as the 17th-century Ibadi fort at Nizwá. Almost nonexistent in 1980, manufacturing industries have been encouraged and now contribute 4 percent of Oman’s GDP. Important manufactured products include copper cathodes, textiles, and cement.


    C


    Agriculture and Fishing


    Agriculture in Oman is largely at the subsistence level, and contributes only 3 percent of GDP. Dates account for about 90 percent of all agricultural production. Other major crops are tomatoes, melons, and bananas. Goats are the chief kind of livestock raised. Commercial fishing is being developed; sardines, tuna, and mackerel are the main catches.


    D


    Energy


    All of Oman’s electric power is generated from domestic oil- and gas-burning plants. Although Oman’s oil reserves will be exhausted in the near future, natural gas reserves are being increasingly tapped as a domestic energy source.


    E


    Transportation


    Oman’s road network is well developed, especially along the Gulf of Oman coast, where a highway connects Masqaţ with Dubai in the UAE. Another major highway connects northern Oman and Salālah in Dhofar. Increasing numbers of Omanis get around by car. There are two modern deepwater ports and an oil terminal for supertankers. Oman has an international airport at As Sīb, on the outskirts of Masqaţ, and operates Gulf Air with Bahrain, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi (one of the emirates of the UAE). There is domestic air service between the major cities as well as intercity bus service. Only Masqaţ has a local bus system.


    F


    Communications


    Oman has five locally operated radio stations and seven television stations with service throughout the country. Four daily newspapers and 15 periodicals are published. News reporting is subject to government censorship. There are 90 telephone mainlines for every 1,000 residents.


    G


    Foreign Trade


    In 1999 Omani exports totaled $7.2 billion while imports amounted to $4.7 billion. Although other exports are being promoted, including clothing and food products, petroleum dominates Oman’s export sector. The main imports are machinery, transportation equipment, basic manufactures, and food products. The major destinations of Oman’s exports are Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, and the United States; the leading sources of imports are the UAE, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Oman is a member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It does not belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but generally observes oil prices and production levels set by that organization. Membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) facilitates trade and investment with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE.


    H


    Currency and Banking


    The basic unit of currency in Oman is the Omanirial (0.38 rial equals U.S.$1; fixed rate). It is divided into 1,000 baiza. The bank of issue is the Central Bank of Oman (founded in 1975). The rial is the only currency circulated, although in some rural areas transactions occur outside the cash economy.


    V



    GOVERNMENT


    Political authority emanates from Sultan Qaboos, though the government has been progressively modernized and liberalized since Qaboos came to power in 1970. As sultan, Qaboos is head of state, prime minister, and minister of foreign affairs, defense, and finance. His cabinet, the Council of Ministers, carries out the administrative and legal functions of government. While each minister has significant discretionary power in day-to-day policy, Qaboos approves all important decisions. In 1981 he established a Consultative Assembly, whose members he selected, to advise him on social, economic, and educational policy. In 1991 Qaboos replaced the assembly with a Consultative Council, a body intended to give wider participation to Omani citizens. Representatives of Oman’s 59 districts select nominees and the sultan gives final approval. In 1994 membership in the Consultative Council was expanded from 59 to 80 (with the larger districts represented by two members) and women candidates were permitted. Even though it is still an advisory, not a legislative body, the council has significant responsibilities. It reviews all social and economic laws, helps to draw up and carry out development plans, and proposes ways to improve public services. Members serve three-year terms.

    In November 1996 a Basic Law, in effect a constitution, was promulgated to regulate several important areas of governance. The law called for the creation of an upper chamber, the Council of State, which together with the Consultative Council forms the Council of Oman. In December 1997 the sultan announced the appointment of 41 people, including 4 women, to the Council of State. The exact duties of the Council of State and its relationship to the Consultative Council have not yet been made clear. The Basic Law also outlines a process for choosing a successor to Qaboos, who has no heir; forbids government ministers from holding positions in private companies, in an attempt to separate political and economic power; and affirms the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

    A


    Judiciary


    There is no formal judicial branch of government in Oman. The Sharia, or Islamic law, complemented by elements of Omani tribal law and English common law, is applied in each district by the wali (governor) and a qadi (judge). The sultan, who acts as a final court of appeal, appoints the governors and judges. In conjunction with the Basic Law, the sultan called for the formation of a Supreme Court and other courts to interpret the law. The sultan planned to continue appointing the judges, and reserved the right to intervene in judicial matters under certain conditions.


    B


    Local Government


    Oman is divided into six regions and two governorates. Both Musandam, with its strategic significance, and the large territory of Dhofar, which became part of Oman only in the 1800s, have the status of governorates. The regions and governorates are divided into 59 wilayat, or districts, each with a governor and a local council.


    C


    Politics


    Oman does not have any organized political groups. The ruling family, the tribes, and the merchants form groups that wield political power. The influence of foreign advisers, many of them British, has recently diminished, as has the political power of the tribes. Because Sultan Qaboos has initiated the move toward wider citizen participation and providing generous benefits, there is little pressure for democratic reform.


    D


    Health and Welfare


    Since 1970, when Sultan Qaboos came to power and launched Oman’s development, poverty has been largely eliminated and modern medical care has been provided throughout the country. Once-widespread diseases like trachoma, malaria, and cholera have either been eliminated or brought under control. Health care facilities are limited in rural areas.


    E


    Defense


    Oman’s military forces number 43,500 and include about 3,700 foreign personnel. The army has a manpower total of 25,000, the navy 4,200, and the air force 4,100. There is also a royal household force. Military service is voluntary and Oman’s defense forces are among the best trained and most professional in the Persian Gulf region.


    F


    International Organizations


    Oman is a member of the United Nations (UN) and a number of specialized UN agencies. It also belongs to the Nonaligned Movement, a group that sought to establish political and military cooperation outside of the traditional East and West blocs during the Cold War period; and to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, an organization that promotes solidarity among nations where Islam is an important religion. Its regional memberships include the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.


    VI


    HISTORY


    Oman’s history begins in the early 3rd or late 4th millennium bc, with the rise of a society that had cultural and trade ties to ancient Mesopotamia. Between the 4th century bc and the 7th century ad the area was dominated by successive Persian empires. In the 1st century ad Arab tribes began to migrate into Oman and, when it accepted Islam just before the Prophet Muhammad died in 632, Persian rule ended and Oman’s Arab character was firmly established. In 751 Ibadi Muslims, a moderate branch of the Kharijites, established an imamate in Oman. Despite interruptions, the Ibadi imamate survived until the mid-20th century.

    Contact with the Western world began when Portugal seized Masqaţ and other coastal strongholds in the early 16th century and held them until the mid-17th century. The imamate then flourished again under the Ya‘aribah dynasty, which extended Omani rule or influence to both sides of the Persian Gulf and East Africa. By the mid-18th century a civil war ended Ya‘aribah rule and the current Al Bu Said dynasty emerged in 1749. The Al Bu Said rulers soon ceased to hold the title of imam and moved their capital from the traditional Ibadi seat at Nizwá to Masqaţ to concentrate on maritime commerce. At the beginning of the 19th century the rulers established a close security relationship with Britain; this initially helped to protect them from external threats and later from the forces of the imamate, which was revived in 1913. From 1856 the area was known as the Sultanate of Masqaţ and Oman. The 1920 Treaty of As Sīb then gave formal recognition to the split that had developed between the sultanate in Masqaţ and the tribally based imamate in the interior. With British assistance, Sultan Said bin Taimur defeated the imamate in 1954 and thwarted a final effort to restore the imam in 1959. In the 1960s, however, Sultan Said’s failure to use Oman’s new oil income for economic and social development created serious discontent. This led to a tribal rebellion in Dhofar that was absorbed and expanded by a radical leftist movement, called the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arab Gulf (PFLOAG), that was under the influence of the new Marxist state of South Yemen.

    Sultan Qaboos came to power in July 1970 when members of the Omani government and senior British advisers removed Said as sultan. The country’s name was then changed from the Sultanate of Masqaţ and Oman to the Sultanate of Oman. Assisted by the United Kingdom, Iran (under the shah), and other countries, the new ruler ended the rebellion with effective military and socioeconomic action. He pushed for the rapid development of transportation, communications, and other infrastructure throughout the country. Although he inherited nearly absolute power, Qaboos has liberalized Oman’s government and is very popular with most Omanis.

    In foreign relations Qaboos has pursued an independent course. He supported the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and entered into a security agreement with the United States in 1980, both times defying general international Arab opinion. He supported Iraq in its 1980-1988 war with Iran, but soon after the war he improved relations with Iran. Qaboos unsuccessfully tried to mediate the crisis that followed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. He joined the coalition that was formed against Iraq and made Omani facilities available to both British and U.S. military forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Oman has supported the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and has tried to promote the normalization of Arab relations with Israel.

  2. #2
    "رجل عادي جدا" الصورة الرمزية عاشق السمراء
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05- 2002
    المشاركات
    21,307
    مسااااااااااء جميل ...

    دانة بلادي ..

    معلومات لها الاثر الجميل عن بلادي الغالية !!

  3. #3
    "رجل عادي جدا" الصورة الرمزية عاشق السمراء
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05- 2002
    المشاركات
    21,307
    مسااااااااااء جميل ...

    دانة بلادي ..

    معلومات لها الاثر الجميل عن بلادي الغالية !!

  4. #4
    نبض جديــد الصورة الرمزية مطلع الشمس
    تاريخ التسجيل
    07- 2005
    المشاركات
    77
    جميل جدا دانتنا

    اختك

    مطلع الشمس

    وشكرا

  5. #5
    نبض مبــدع الصورة الرمزية **دانة السلطنة**
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05- 2005
    المشاركات
    2,024
    مشكور اخي عاشق ع الحضور,,,,

    مشكورة كطلع ع الطلة الزاهية,,,,

    اسعدتموني,,,,,,!!!!!!!!

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