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Shifting Sands: How Long Can Oman Be an Oasis of Peace?

The country’s leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has ruled for 46 years but reportedly has terminal cancer.
The Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, sits in his palace in Muscat, Oman on March 25, 2012.
Oman sultan Source: Axel Schmidt/dapd/AP

Updated | The desert country of Oman does not have the most stable of neighbors. To its west lies Saudi Arabia, some of whose citizens have been major contributors to Islamist militant groups. To its southwest is Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and Iran are backing different sides of a civil war that has killed at least 10,000 civilians and attracted both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

Oman has tried to cut itself off as much as possible from these two troubled neighbors. So far, it has managed to avoid being sucked into the sort of conflict that has blighted nearly every other country in the Middle East. Oman has managed to

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