As predicted, more and more Omanis are now 'protesting' to get more money, easier work, more time off, longer maternity leave, bigger bonuses, personal debt cancellation, a different boss, promotions, exams that the neighbourhood cat could pass, etc etc etc. Protests seemed to multiply to include OIB, various Ministries, The Intercon and Al Bustan hotels, nurses, Universities... It's hard to see where this ends. Money (and knowledge worth having) has to be earned in the real world.
Do most Omanis actually want their doctors, nurses, pilots, air traffic controllers and engineers to be given a degree without being able to demonstrate that they know their discipline? Protesting will never make any of these subjects easy. It's like protesting to be given the ability to play the piano. In a child, such behaviour is described as Tantrums.
But in a place where 'unlimited' money is viewed as flowing effortlessly out of the ground all this can apparently be given away to the beneficiaries for no effort. In Ibri, violence was again to the fore as
In my opinion it's about time for His Majesty to explain to the public directly why all this has to stop, and provide a high level philosophical framework for the way forward, instead of just issuing Royal decrees like a machine gun. A line in the sand that has vast popular agreement needs to be drawn, with the rule of law firmly on the other side of it. Spoiled teenagers must be made to realise that attempts to burn buildings, disrupt industry and hold people hostage will experience the big downside of such illegality - resistance, arrest and trial - from adults who are better trained and heavily armed.
Its time for a grown up discussion, and a clear articulation of the carrot and the stick.
GCC support Saudi Troops entering Bahrain
Of greater concern than more strikes and 'gimme more' behaviour in Oman, Saudi have just sent troops into Bahrain, albeit at the invitation of the ruling Bahraini Royal family.
Photo (from API): At least 1000 Saudi troops cross the causeway into Bahrain.
In an insightful article today, the FT notes that this is a very slippery slope and could make things a lot worse. Saudi have their own problems with a majority of Shia in the eastern province and see the Bahrain situation os the thin end of the wedge all driven by Iran.
It was ironic how the GCC conference of Foreign Ministers could decry interference in a nation's affairs by outsiders [read: Iran boosting Shia discontent] whilst calling for a no-fly zone to be enforced over the skies of Libya. Of course, bat-shit crazy Col. Ghadaffi was no friend of the GCC leaders even before he started shelling his own population with heavy artillery and air power. The Arab league are, as usual, unwilling to actually do any work, but prefer to just ask for someone to do their work for them. As the Europeans can't even make a decision, it again comes down to the USA. Having spent the past decade being criticised by all these same people for interfering in Iraq and Afganistan, President Obama is perhaps understandably hesitant to unilaterally invade yet another MENA country.