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Oman, Culture and Diplomacy

Jeremy Jones, Nicholas Ridout

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A study of the Sultanate of Oman, painting a portrait of a nation through its diplomacy

Drawing on key research into Omani religious and social traditions, and ethnographic studies into Omani language and customs, this is the first book to connect Oman’s international relations to its history, culture and social organisation.

From colonial narratives and Cold War calculations to Iranian-US relations and the Middle East peace process, Oman has played an essential role in global diplomacy and international relations. For Oman, the idea of diplomacy refers not only to the country's interactions in the global community, but also to how Omani life itself is shaped by principles and practices of social and political engagement that are essentially diplomatic.

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Map 1: Oman in the Indian Ocean
Map 2: Oman in the Gulf
PART I: 1. A Cosmopolitan Nation
2. A Culture of Diplomacy
PART II: Introduction to Part II
3. Muscat and Mysore: Between the Empire and the Republic
4. Diplomacy and 'Piracy': 1797–1819
5. An Englishman in Oman
6. Moving to Zanzibar
7. Zanzibar, Britain, the USA and the Slave Trade
PART III: Introduction to Part III
8. Dealing with Iran: A Delicate Balance
9. Managing During the Cold War
10. Neighbours in Arabia
11. The Key Strategic Ally: Oman and the United States
12. Working Towards Peace: Oman and the Middle East Process
13. Oman, Cosmopolitanism and 'Globalisation'

About the Author

Jeremy Jones runs a consultancy based in Oxford, UK. He is also Senior Associate Member of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, UK. He has worked on Oman since the late 1970s. His previous book Negotiating Change: New Politics in the Middle East, (I.B.Tauris 2007), shows some prescience against the background of the Arab spring.

Nicholas Ridout has worked with Jeremy Jones in London and New York as a researcher, writer, and policy analyst since 1989. He is also Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, and has published extensively in and beyond this field


This is a fascinating book, investigating relatively new ground by linking a nation's culture to its diplomacy... The authors provide by far the best account I have ever read of Ibadhism and how its tolerance fits into Omani culture and helps shape the Omani approach to foreign policy. Their explication of Omani culture is brilliant... The brilliance of this book lies in its linking of culture to the conduct of foreign policy.

- Middle East Policy

I can well appreciate Jones' and Ridout's achievement: as a tour de force, opening up for literary consumption, the richness of both Omani history and its culture of politeness and tact, both assuring an amazingly quiet stability in a crucial area.

- Muslim World Book Review

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