خالد الزعتر
كاتب ومحلل سياسي

Sultanate of Oman from geography to strategic depth

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Sultan Haitham bin Tariq’s visit to Saudi Arabia, on his first foreign tour, is a confirmation of the position that Saudi Arabia enjoys in the Sultanate of Oman, an embodiment of the magnitude of change in Oman’s foreign policy, and a translation of his inaugural speech, in which Sultan Haitham bin Tariq indicated during his assumption of power that he would continue with his brothers, the leaders of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), “to contribute to advancing the process of cooperation between our countries to achieve the aspirations of our peoples and to advance the achievements of the Cooperation Council forward.”

This visit of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq undoubtedly carries with it a radical change in the premises on which the Omani foreign policy is built in dealing with issues and events, which it used to deal with in the past from a fixed standpoint of geography, which imposed on the Sultanate to deal politically according to what the reality of geography imposes, which imposed on the Sultanate to be linked to the policy of neutrality towards Iran.

But during the reign of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, we find that the premises of foreign policy are witnessing a change; So that it gives priority to the issue of strategic depth rather than fixed geography. Hence we find that Sultan Haitham bin Tariq’s visit to Saudi Arabia is a great evidence of the change in the Omani foreign policy, which sees that its interest lies in strengthening its relationship and upgrading it towards a strategic partnership with its strategic depth, which is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will have an important impact on the formulation of the Sultanate’s foreign policy, making it able to restore its active role in the political and security equation at the Arab and regional levels.

In light of the shift in the international order that is heading towards multipolarity, and the rise of China has given importance to the issue of economic geography tools at the expense of other tools, we find that regional and international relations have become the main driver in which the economy is playing, and therefore the developments in Saudi-Omani relations will have a great impact on the economic level and the development of the exchange of experiences between the two countries in the areas of economic transformation, especially that Saudi Arabia has the 2040 vision, which is an ambitious vision and an inspiring model for all countries in the region. Therefore, the two countries today have many opportunities to build broader horizons towards achieving strategic partnership, especially on the economic level, supported by the completion of the land port linking the Kingdom and Oman over a distance of more than 680 km, which undoubtedly constitutes an important leap in the history of economic relations between the two countries, and contributes to accelerating and increasing the volume of trade and investment exchange between the two countries.

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