Oman’s mediatory efforts in regional crises
Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF)
Oman’s role in facilitating the conclusion of the Iran-P5+1 nuclear deal in November 2013 and its announcement a few weeks later that it would not join a proposed Gulf union can be understood within a recent history of conciliatory efforts intended to promote negotiated solutions to regional crises. Oman has always perceived political instability in the Gulf and West Asia as a factor threatening the country’s own internal stability. This perception of political vulnerability also explains the sultanate’s determination to prevent foreign actors from interfering in its internal affairs. The price for this independent foreign policy towards its neighbours has been the country’s unquestioned political and military dependence on Britain and the U.S. Given Oman’s strategic importance to the security of the entire Gulf, controlling as it does the Strait of Hormuz, through which approximately one-third of the world’s seaborne trade in crude petroleum passed in 2013, Britain and the U.S. have shared Muscat’s aversion for any disruption of its internal status quo and wish to prevent any contamination of Omani territory by unwanted foreign influence.