Category: Comparison Essay

The political system of any country largely predetermines and shapes all aspects of its development and existence, including social, economic, military, and other domains. Thus, a political system is a significant factor to be considered when analyzing and comparing countries in order to identify essential problems and threats, as well as single out opportunities and strengths that may provide a prominent place in the international geopolitical arena. It is especially revealing and important to study political systems of neighboring countries since they must share some features in common due to their geographical and historical proximity. However, it is often not the case in the modern world. Hence, the current paper aims at providing a comparative analysis of two Middle East countries, i.e. Oman and the United Arab Emirates. In general, the Middle East has been recently in the center of international attention due to several reasons. They include its traditional affiliation with terrorism, the Arab Spring, vast natural resources, rapid economic development of some nations, poor economic conditions of other countries, human rights, gender inequality, and other issues that draw the attention of scholars representing various disciplines and world community. Although these two countries are neighbors and share some similarities in terms of political systems, diverging histories of their development, economic and current sociopolitical conditions make them somewhat different in this respect.

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Oman and the UAE share about 600 kilometers border, but they have developed and matured as sovereign countries with peculiar yet different customs and laws. A full name of the first country is Sultanate of Oman, which locals call Saltanat Uman (Index Mundi). The second country conventionally called the United Arab Emirates is locally referred to as Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah (Index Mundi). Oman is typically considered a country with middle-sized GDP that has been developing into its current form since 1970 when the present Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said replaced his father on the throne after a period of long civil conflicts. However, Oman has been a relatively independent and sovereign country since the end of the 17th century (Index Mundi). In turn, the United Arab Emirates gained independence from the UK that controlled it since the 19th century only in the 1970s (Index Mundi). Transformation of a former poor colony into today’s highly modern country that leads the world in many respects has been a remarkable and speedy process. Nowadays, the UAE is among the richest countries in the world with a steady economic development, which is guaranteed to continue because it has recently diversified its economy so that only 25% fall upon oil and natural gas industries that continue to dominate in Oman. It is supposed that Oman’s and the UAE’s current development has occurred thanks to the efforts and initiatives of their rulers.

In Oman, the form of government is an absolute monarchy, which means that the monarch controls all branches of power. It comprises eleven governorates called muhafazat with the capital in Muscat, all of which have local governments but are still subordinated to the monarch who is the sole person in the country holding all power in his hands. In fact, Oman is a unique monarchy in the Middle East since its political system and government is extremely personalized and depends on one person, i.e. sultan Qaboos, who has managed to create a cult of personality that older generations of Omanis reverently follow. However, the young population does not feel an inherently unbreakable link with the monarch who has raised the country from extreme poverty after seizing the throne in 1970. Therefore, they often complain about “deep-seated flaws in the state” built and maintained by Qaboos, hence being the driving force of political and social protests. The sultan’s decree of 1975 stipulated that Qaboos was “the source of all laws” and the one to adopt the Basi