My independence approach: Oman's foreign policy in regional contexts polarity

Friday October 9, 2015

Starting with the name, and not ending with the behavior, the Sultanate of Oman look like a country with a banner in the privacy of regional contexts, and the Gulf Arab, and international alike, supports those privacy, and geo-strategic geographical considerations, historical and requirements, and the dimensions of ad valorem cultural, and privacy of a community, with a different vision and political leadership, and the system of the rule of royal hereditary monarchy, and then it is no surprise in a country with such exclusivity that foreign policy comes a direct reflection of their privacy, including make it look unique in terms of vision, movement and strategic directions and positions.

And look Sultanate of Oman is a unique case of regimes in the world, is the only country in the world, with the Royal Royal system, which is not called her, Crown Prince, or the official heir to the throne, which is ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970, which besides being Sultan the country, it is also the Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense, and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and President of the Supreme Council for Planning and Chairman of the Central Bank, and then it is no exaggeration to say that the foreign policy of the Sultanate of Oman is in its entirety a reflection of the vision of Sultan Qaboos and Madrkath and perceptions and beliefs and personal experiences.

The development of regional policy Oman

Before 1970, it was not for the Sultanate of Oman what might be described as the "foreign policy" of the state, where there was no "state" the modern sense, as was the Sultanate during those involved period in power struggles in the Arab Gulf and the Indian Ocean, due to its geographical location, which make the scene for many of the regional conflicts and the balance of power in that era, which saw the beginnings of the independence of a large number of countries in the region, and the beginning of a new phase of the history of that mission from the heart of the Middle East strategic region.

And when he took Sultan Qaboos bin Said rule in the Sultanate of Oman, in 1970, the Arab regional system, at the time, is packed with different visions between "nationalist" supporters of the concept of mass pan-Arab, and supporters of the "State" Qatari realistic sense, before Supporters enters political Islam on the line in that period, which increased the momentum of their theses, which, the Islamic revolution in Iran and the proclamation of the Islamic Republic, and the center of the ideological and political conflicts, and began to Sultan Qaboos build the foundations of the foreign policy of the Sultanate of Oman, having laid the foundations of internal stability in the country, to launch the Sultanate of Internal isolation and retreat phase, efficiency and openness to the stage, but according to the holistic vision, laid down by Sultan Qaboos, proceed from the need to adopt modernity without forgetting the historical heritage, cultural openness, with emphasis on the cultural and religious hard.

During the period from 1970 to 1975, was the Sultan Qaboos has completed the era of preparations for the launch of an important political actor in the Arab Gulf region, having completed several stages initiated phase of the unification of the internal front, which means the restoration of rule him and the elimination of internal unrest and problems of border, The stage of the shift towards overseas , in the sense orientation of immersion in the internal affairs to pay attention to the external affairs, then opening stage of caution, which means attention to the issues of the region and Arab and international issues, and finally the political maturity phase, which was completed by the Sultanate rings develop new foreign policy, which achieved the Sultanate clear and distinct political flavor to its behavior diplomat has become a prominent feature of Oman's foreign policy over the past five decades.

I've taken a hometown for itself, under the rule of Sultan Qaboos, impartial and balanced policy, some contradictory and pragmatic may see it, but it gave Oman a great deal of importance of the role and the freedom of movement and effectiveness, regional and the Gulf, making it a close ally of the United States of America, Britain, and a founding member President of the Gulf Cooperation Council, at the same time a major partner for Iran, not forgetting the economic and trade relations with the European Union, Russia and the major Asian powers, led by China, India and Pakistan, where Qaboos succeeded in combining all these opposing parties in its external relations, and maintain pattern of friendly relations with actors and influential in the region, and to reconcile with the convergence of views between the parties with conflicting interests.

The pillars of regional policy to Oman

A key pillars characterize the foreign policy of the Sultanate of Oman in general, own distinct Btabatha, organized in the head of the University of addresses, are: neutrality positive, and realistic, and coordination between different interest circles, and the exaltation of the value of the national interest, and membership in pan-Arab and non-interference in the internal affairs of States the other, the rejection of the militarization of international conflicts and the emphasis on resolving political conflicts in a peaceful manner, and rejected alliances and regional hubs policy.

Where touts the Sultanate of Oman in its foreign policy in relation to any of conflictual issues, in general, and in the regional environment, in particular, neutrality strategy and non-aligned to any party, Omani and neutrality embraces the ability to truce efforts between the conflicting parties management, and to keep all channels of communication open with all parties that will contribute to the settlement of crises, and its commitment to undertake the role of mediator between the parties feuding requires first thing that requires the adoption of the principle of strict neutrality in dealing with any international crisis, and perhaps this was clearly evident in the major regional conflicts, such as the Iran-Iraq war, and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, conflictual and other crises in the region.

The start of positive neutrality strategy, of the principle of political realism adopted by the Omani leadership, which is aware of the limits of its capacity and data strength and seeks to employ them well, in line with the geographical location geostrategic, and depth of historical and cultural benefits, which made it despite the lack of resources and wealth in comparison with its neighbors in the GCC system, with good relations with all countries, including guaranteed her a privileged position on the regional and international levels, in spite of its modest means.

In order to achieve realistic Oman political, it has opened up to all circles, Gulf, Arab, Islamic, Asian, African and Western, in a balanced manner, within the framework of coordination between all these departments, so as not to overwhelm a circle on the other, and because of active involvement in community interest in the cross and its work on an equal footing with all international and regional powers and international organizations actors, Oman policy committed to trying to achieve a balance between conflicting interests.

And launched the Sultanate of Oman's policy of principle governor of the movements of the Omani foreign policy, namely the national interest, as foreign policy maker in Muscat it believes that it is the right of every state Find its national interests, within the framework of international law, and not to prejudice the interests of others, and then start the Sultanate relations with the major international powers, especially the United States of gate-interest, only, away from the logic of dependency or Alodljp, and on the same token girl Oman relations with Iran, the reality of the national interest and sought a rapprochement with them, despite being an active member of the Gulf organization.

The affiliation Urubi, anchor head of foreign policy of Oman, since the accession of the Arab League in 1971, is committed in all directions to work starting within the Arab circle, where you see the political leadership of that country's history, present and future Arabic par excellence, and then has painted its strategic interests of the premises Arabist , and stressed the importance of building a strong and well-established - Arab-Arab relations, in line with the common history entitlements, and the Sultanate of Oman has violated the decision of the Arab League in Baghdad summit in 1978, Egypt Province, after signing the peace treaty with Israel, but proceeded to open channels of communication between Cairo and Arab capitals, even Egyptian Arab Relations returned to normal early eighties of the last century.

Affiliation Muscat Urubi and openness to everyone, does not mean interference in the internal affairs of States, and it seems this is clear in Nay Sultanate itself from any internal conflicts in the Arab countries, he did not know about the Sultanate Throughout its history, its involvement in any of the Arab internal conflicts, but what was a reconciliation between the parties conflicting, at the request or prosecute parties to the conflict to the opinion of the Omani leadership, also did not know about the Sultanate embrace any of the Arab opposition movements within its territory, and clear this matter clear in Amman's position on the Arab Spring countries in general and Egypt in particular, while taken all of Saudi Arabia, UAE Bahrain, Kuwait and supportive attitude to overthrow the rule of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, Qatar stood with supporters of President isolated, while Oman remained on the fence and was considered a pure Egyptian affair resolved by Egyptians just it.

And it completed a previous pillars, principles reject the militarization of international conflicts and the emphasis on resolving political conflicts in a peaceful manner, and rejected alliances and axes policy, in this context resorted Muscat to resolve all border disputes with Yemen and Saudi Arabia by peaceful means, based on the principle of dialogue as a springboard Chairman of consensus on any controversial issues , especially among neighboring countries, and then Muscat opposed to resolve the Arab crises Arab, or Arab Interior, or the Arab and non-Arab, by armed force, and not only that but they are always sponsored peace efforts and constructive dialogue to resolve those conflicts, either directly or indirectly, from from the conviction that the militarization of international relations is not a solution to the conflicts between nations, and then the use of force, according to the vision of Oman, on the basis of religious and cultural Morotha, it is only in cases of self-defense only, and therefore, Oman and clear policy came in would reject alliances and axes policy, as a key to conflict and war, preferring non-aligned and neutral positive strategy.

Orientations of regional policy Oman

The main pillars that formed the foundations of the Omani foreign policy, has always represented a departure from the flock, into Saudi Arabia, and the GCC countries in general, and perhaps the reason for this is that the Sultanate always distance itself from involvement in external conflicts, according to the principle of positive neutrality and non- interference in the affairs of others, as is the behavior of some Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and then the Sultanate maintains engages caution with any of the regional variables incident, which gives the Muscat independent decision position to maintain good relations with all parties to the conflicts in the region.

Even in the case of disputes Gulf GCC, Muscat is committed to the principle of positive neutrality and non-alignment to a party at the expense of another, which is clearly evident in its failure to withdraw its ambassador from Doha, Qatar, like other Gulf states, which objected to the support Doha of the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations, and the adoption of Qatar's policies hostile to the security of the Gulf according to the vision of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Muscat stood on the fence, did not withdraw its ambassador, but sought in earnest to the convergence of views between the Gulf countries and to mediate between Qatar and neighboring countries even has re-ambassadors to Doha.

And is linked to the Omani rejection of the draft Gulf unity, and expressed strongly unfamiliar in the Omani diplomatic, Yousef bin Alawi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in the Gulf Security Forum in Manama, in December 2013, Oman's approach unique from the rest of the GCC system, also comes at the same time, in an effort to avoid joining regional alliances and maintain close ties with Iran, a perspective is dominated by pragmatism and focus on the national interest, as the political discourse of the Sultanate and its rapprochement with Iran, can not be consistent with those used in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and as a result of the difference between Muscat and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the definition of regional threats headed the Sultanate of Oman for refusing to join the project unity Gulf not to mention fears of identification in a unitary framework imposes alliance-type obligations.

On the other hand reveal the external positions of the Sultanate of Oman for abuse very realistically with neighbor Iran size, as it represents a strategic threat to the security of the Persian Gulf as a whole, and then they do not Tnesb Tehran's hostility, but always maintained a more flexible with relationships, including making of which decided to deal a kind of cautious pragmatism with the Iranian project.

Due to engage both Iran and the Sultanate of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf entrance of a strategic importance major in international oil trade, and the sharing of the two major joint fields of oil, and the presence of large commercial and investment interests between Muscat and Tehran, it has distanced Muscat itself from all crisis between Tehran and the powers international and regional, especially with regard to the Iranian nuclear project, but also played a positive Muscat mediator in the negotiations to move the Iranian Bank role on this file, leading to the signing of the historic agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna, in June 2015.

Finally, the Yemeni crisis comes, as the most contentious issues between the Sultanate of Oman and the Arab countries, where settled the Sultanate's position on the crisis in Sanaa early, despite the fact that the Yemeni crisis and one of the most important files that affect the security of the Gulf Currently, prompting Saudi Arabia to form a coalition of Arab and wide band launched operation "Storm" military packages against the strongholds of the Houthis in Yemen, in cooperation with the joint Arab coalition, the Sultanate of Oman has exercised its traditional policy of positive neutrality and non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, it refused to participate armed forces in the process, avoiding transmission of the conflict into its territory by virtue of the neighborhood, and the tribal and regional overlap between the Yemeni and Omani peoples.

Muscat neutral strategy, that, made it an important player in terms of the efforts of some international and regional powers to resolve the crisis in Yemen peacefully, and not to the militarization of the crisis more than succeeded him, and especially in light of what appeared to be, according to some analysts, a proxy war between some central Arab powers and Tehran Yemen on the ground, and then put forward the initiative of the Sultanate, a seven-point, to launch a political consensus between the parties Yemenis, without the need for military intervention by regional or international, to resolve the conflict in Yemen.

Muscat also sponsored diplomatic meetings brought together US officials, headed by top US diplomat for the Middle East, Anne Patterson, leading delegations of the Houthis, led by head of the political council of the group, in favor of Alsmad, to the belief of Washington, that political solution is possible to save Yemen, and perhaps came to choose the Sultanate of Oman a place to hold such talks, to considerations relating to one of the few Arab countries that did not participate in military action in Yemen within the Arab and broad coalition, and therefore acceptable mediator between all the political parties in the Yemeni crisis.

In all, it can be said that the regional policy of Oman is dominated by balancing considerations pragmatic interest and the pursuit of neutrality of regional crises and independence in attitudes from neighboring countries as well as seeking to do the roles of mediation and conciliation between the countries of the region as a path earns an independent Omani foreign policy unique and personal in its regional environment .

Mustafa Shafiq Alam