Challenges and aspirations of the “post-oil nation” in the Sultanate of Oman
The loyalty of the Omani people to the sultan has generally been very high, as the economic growth and improvement of the living quality in the country has been linked intimately to Qaboos himself. However, unrest has been simmering since 2011, and popular frustrations find their expression in increasing criticism of the government. Corruption, the lack of employment for nationals and the ongoing high presence of economic migrants in the country are central topics, but also the rigidity and inefficiency of the bureaucratic structures in the dominating public sector are criticised and claims for a less authoritarian, more democratic system are on the rise. These challenges basically emerge from the endeavours for the economic diversification process, the still-high dependence on oil-revenues and a foreign labour force. A strengthened civil society has emerged in Oman as an instrument to display discontent about deep-seated issues in the sociopolitical order. Confrontations within cultural pluralism and the aspirations of the younger generation of Omanis will be discussed and analysed against the background of the modernisation process and the rising topics of international labour and the contemporary migration regime in the Gulf.