His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, the Arab world’s longest-serving ruler, passed away Friday.
The death of Sultan Qaboos was announced on Saturday morning. He was 79 years old and had ruled Oman for almost 50 years.
Last month he returned home after undergoing medical checks and treatment in Belgium, a BBC report said. Sultan Qaboos was unmarried and had no heir or designated successor.
The Sultan took over the reigns in 1970. Using Oman’s oil wealth, he then set the Sultanate on a path to development.
For almost five decades, Sultan Qaboos completely dominated the political scene of Oman, which is home to 4.6 million people, of whom about 43% are expatriates.
The Diwan has announced a state of mourning and the halt of official work in the public and private sectors for three days and the flying of flags at half-mast over the forthcoming 40 days, according to Oman News Agency (ONA).
Meanwhile, Oman’s Defense Council has announced that Haitham bin Tariq Al Said (photo) will succeed His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
The Council convened under the chairmanship of General Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Nu’amani, Minister of the Royal Office, Acting Chairman of the Defense Council.
All Council members attended the meeting, including:
- Lt. General Hassan bin Mohsen al-Shraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs
- Lt. General Said bin Ali al-Hilali, Head of the Internal Security Service
- Lt. General Ahmed bin Harith Al-Nabhani, Chief-of-Staff of the Sultan’s Armed Forces
- Major General Mattar bin Salim al-Balushi, Commander of the Royal Army of Oman
- Air Vice Marshal Mattar bin Ali Al-Obaidani, Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman
- Rear Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis Al-Ra’eesi, Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman
- Major General Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Junaibi, Commander of the Royal Guard of Oman.
65-year-old Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, a cousin of Sultan Qaboos, has served the country as heritage and Culture Minister since the mid-1990s. He was previously Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs and also the first Head of Oman’s Football Federation in the early 1980s.
He has often chaired cabinet meetings and is well known and respected among Omani citizens.
The Sultan is the paramount decision-maker in Oman and also holds the positions of Prime Minister, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs.