The Suhar Paradox: Social and Political Mobilisations in the Sultanate of Oman since 2011
Centre Français d'Archéologie et de Sciences Sociales de Sanaa
This is an Open Access article: Marc Valeri,The Ṣuḥār Paradox: Social and Political Mobilisations in the Sultanate of Oman since 2011, Arabian Humanities [Online], 4 | 2015, Online since 12 April 2015. URL: http://cy.revues.org/2828.
In 2011 and 2012, the Sultanate of Oman experienced its most widespread popular protests since the end of the Dhofar war in the 1970s. The fact that the most serious protests took place in the northern town of Ṣuḥār, with its rich trade history going back thousands of years, seems highly paradoxical. Initially neglected by the modernisation process implemented by the central state after 1970, the town of Ṣuḥār was after the late 1990s designed by the Omani regime as the international showcase to the economic diversification of the country. This paper aims at understanding the Ṣuḥār protests in the perspective of the town’s breakneck transformation within a few years from a semi-rural provincial town into the industrial capital of the country and widely viewed as the main beneficiary of economic reforms. In particular, this paper will use the case study of Ṣuḥār to examine and explain the socio-economic roots of the 2011 ‘Omani Spring’; and the regime’s response to protests they failed to anticipate, as well as the long-term impact of the protests on the regime’s legitimacy.
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