Looking backwards to looking forwards:A neoclassical analysis of Omani politics

Al Shamli, Khalid (2022) Looking backwards to looking forwards:A neoclassical analysis of Omani politics. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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In recent years the Sultanate of Oman has been greatly affected by global changes due to its strategic location at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. This position has left it in direct contact with global trade routes and the whims of great powers which played a key role in forming political, economic and historical identity. Historically Oman played a central role in global trade routes during the 19th century when the Indian Ocean was prosperous and the Europeans competed for control, but Omani influence declined when the Industrial Revolution appeared in Europe. Over the years, Oman sought to position itself in the region amidst competition between regional and international actors, drawing on a range of resources in pursuit of its goals. Yet little scholarly work has been undertaken reflecting on how these processes play out and, indeed, the possibilities awaiting Oman in the coming 20 years. Combining a Neoclassical Geopolitics theoretical framework with data from field visits and interviews with decision-makers, academics and economic experts in the Sultanate of Oman, the thesis critically evaluates the position of Oman within developments across the Persian Gulf region. It reflects on historical developments and the present to critically analyse Oman’s Vision2040, a document setting out the Sultanate’s policy in the coming years. The thesis offers the first Neoclassical Geopolitics analysis of Oman’s role in the Persian Gulf region and contributes to a burgeoning literature on Neoclassical Geopolitics. The study argues that political, economic and geopolitical changes affecting global politics can facilitate Omani gains through Muscat once again leveraging the importance of its strategic location. The study finds that with its modern seaports, especially Duqm, Oman can play a major logistical role for international trade and shipping. Furthermore, it argues that this progress depends on a transition among Gulf countries away from competition towards enhanced cooperation and integration, which will ultimately be a positive sum game in terms of regional political stability and economic prosperity. Finally, this thesis critically evaluates the extent to which the Sultanate will be able to realise the aims and outcomes of its ‘Oman 2040’ policy vision.

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Thesis (PhD)
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23 Nov 2022 11:05
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:54