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Oman: a Social Contract Under Strain

Lily van Egeraat ( Project Development, M&E and Reporting as part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Resilience Initiative (BHRI), implemented by IOM and funded by USAID-OTI) has given permission to re-post her article on Oman, it seems timely to reflect on Oman's precarious sense of place and social cohesion whilst pondering the future of such a critical nation surrounded by perpetual turmoil and emotional entanglement in the region... FMH

Lily Writes "Yet, despite the vulnerability of Oman’s domestic status quo in terms of its reliance on one ruler, the case of Oman provides important considerations for regime stability and for the Western peacebuilding enterprise. Oman’s transformation under Qaboos’ rule has followed a trajectory in which democracy as we know it in the west was sacrificed for the strengthening of state- and nation building capacities. This has been in stark contrast to the majority of Western peacebuilding approaches, which centre on the immediate move towards a free market economy and democratic governance structures. However, bringing about sudden political and economic liberalisation has the potential to cause instability without functioning state institutions which usually facilitate these processes and address their negative impacts.[9] Oman epitomises stability which is brought about by prioritising state building processes and informal consultations with the population over the establishment of a formal democracy. After all, for the sake of stability and consolidation of state power, limited political rights frequently become the opportunity cost of this social contract".

The full text can be read [here]

Thank you Lily - FHM

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