July 23, 2014

In the Heart of Mysterious Oman

Hugh Eakin, New York Review of Books

AP Photo

Western leaders have been praising Oman’s diplomatic achievements, however, Omanis themselves have been preoccupied by other matters. I arrived in the capital, Muscat, a coastal city encircled by rocky cliffs, in late February, a few weeks before Rouhani’s visit. On my first day there, an Omani court sentenced two former government officials to prison—the latest in a series of graft trials involving the state oil company, the finance, housing, and transport ministries, and several Omani businessmen. The lead story in the Times of Oman, meanwhile, was “100,000 Expats to Lose Jobs in Omanisation,” a report about the country’s latest effort to force companies to hire Omani nationals rather than foreigners. And al-Balad, an outspoken new online...

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