Oman Geographical Policy

In the early 1970s, the renaissance of Oman begun, it led to many changes that had an impact on the Omani view towards the world. Many reformations happened and the country witnessed a wide openness to the world. Oman has joined the UN in 1971 and had been one of the establishing members of the GCC in 1981. The Gulf Cooperation Council is a political organization representing 6 countries; Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. The six countries share historical backgrounds, they are also linked by geographical proximity and shared borders. The council was established to reflect the countries' shared interests, in local and global events, moreover to react appropriately to any developments in the region. Consequently, the formation of the GCC was announced after signing its charter on the 25th of May 1981, establishing the willingness to promote cooperation among member states, thus developing relations between them in different fields through mutually beneficial projects, and creating an integrated systems that serves their interests, and enhances their capacities to abide by their principles and values. However, what has been achieved so far doesn’t meet all the objectives mentioned above. This due to constant disagreements among GCC members in the decision-making process. For instance, when there was a tendency to unify the Gulf currency, UAE was one of the members that decided not to be a party to the GCC financial union agreement. Similarly to the Saudi attitude towards joining the initiative of Istanbul based on security and military cooperation with NATO as they refused to join them, while four Gulf countries accepted joining them. A point should be taken into consideration that each country adopts its decisions according to interests deems to be a priority to them. The geographical factor, historical relations, political economic and social trends all are elements must be taken into account in order to understand the base of the decision. Oman as a member of the GCC has participated in many decisions building process, besides being committed to them. However, as its vision differs from other GCC members, it has different attitudes toward many issues. In the Regional Security Forum that was held in Manama, the Omani foreign minister declared his country's disapproval to the Gulf Union, in addition to the refusal of joining a unified Gulf currency too. The rejection was a result of some reservations in terms of the political, military and economic aspect. As for the unification of the currency, Oman believes that there supposed to be comprehensive economic stability before moving forward to create a single currency.

In order to understand the distinct Omani point of view within the GCC. The geographical position of Oman should be taken into consideration because its seen as a critical element of its national security, as it has significant effects on its relations with all the neighbouring countries including the GCC, Yemen and Iran. The Omani- Iranian relations imposed by its geographical location, as the two sides held several joint naval movements in the Strait of Hormuz. Oman seeks a strategic, political and economic alliance with Iran, to meet on a ground of common interests, rather than entering an aggression line. At the same time, Oman maintains a deep relationship with the GCC as a neighbouring country and an establishing member of the council. Also, it has good relations with America and Britain in a unique political combination. This what maintains Oman's stability, despite its sensitive geographical location.

By: Attifa Al Maskari 
Email: Attifa.almaskari@omanspire.om
Twitter: attifa_nasser

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