Monday, March 14, 2011

Things start to get out of hand in Oman and the region... Saudi sends troops to Bahrain while Omanis focus on throwing benefit tantrums



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 bored, idiotic male youths with no money, no jobs and even less regular sex "vandals" again resorted to arson, now augmented with kidnapping.

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.

29 comments:

  1. When there is no law there is tyranny.

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  2. Omanis = spoiled

    It's gotten completely out of hand.I'm embarassed for them.

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  3. When tyranny eases its grip on the people, lawlessness is the result.

    But the Sultan's rule over Oman could hardly be called tyranny. Saddam Hussain was a tyrant.

    What you see here in Oman is a spoilt young population wanting it even better than it is now. Swap places with for example a south Asian expatriate construction worker. Or why not revert all the progress back to 1970?

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  4. Violence and destruction in Sohar and now Ibri. Why not also in Muscat and Salalah? Could it have anything to do with Muscat and Salalah being far away from the UAE?

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  5. VERY well said. I have been wondering these past days when someone who is respected and knowledgable will finally come forward and explain to the people of Oman what the true reality is of their oil reserves, what the financial implications are of destroying the new found industry of tourism and the list goes on. It is high time for this to end.

    I do agree that there IS a need to increase wages etc however as I read the paper and the lists of demands the true and reasonable ones become lost by the added demands of things such as lap tops and flexible working hours!

    For 7 years I have lived in this country and admired the things that set them apart from their GCC neighbors. The friendliness, the respect, the calm, careful move forward and the fact that they were not greedy.

    Perhaps when they have managed to set back the countries economy the government should consider a new income flow by actually fining/ticketing all the drivers for their MANY car infractions (dangerous driving, talking on the mobile, over tinting on the windows to name just a few)and the money would be flying in!

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  6. Absolutely right UD. It is time to stop these protests time to remove the velvet glove for those engaging in aroson at Ibri.
    The current system has created lot of disparity in pay structure between companies, banks, ministries and companies under them. Unless Government companies follow a common pay structure at least for government companies, some time or other protests were bound to happen.
    Why you have not commented on the big decree of handing legislative power to Majlis Shura. This could have happened only in Oman.

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  7. Thats 1 reason why there is no Tyranny in Oman as of now. Totally agree with Undercover Dragon.

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  8. The Arab world gets currently shaken. Indeed should HM explain to his people that all money spent has to be earned first.

    Unfortunately the money Oman has earned through his oil and gas reserves since its first exports in 1967 has been distributed very unevenly among Omanis from the very beginning. A few families had a better start off when it came to education and money in the 1970's and since then have exploited their monopoly shamelessly.

    HM has tolerated this course for much too long resulting in a few almost oligarchic families becoming richer and richer and more influential (by even intermarrying to keep the money within their distinct circles).

    The solution is far from easy and will take courage ... namely to get those taxed who profited from the system for too long and support democracy. Latter HM has done (and is the best democrat any nation could wish for under these circumstances) but he has not yet gone so far to demand back some of the wealth which those families accumulated during the last 40 years (partially by corruption and taking away good business ideas from young Omanis when these ideas promised to be profitable) ...

    I am aware how difficult this step will be but I think it is very vital in order to get social and political stability in Oman ... for future Omani generations to come.

    Orient Girl

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  9. The one thing His majesty can do to make a rule aganist who destroying properties will punished soon.. the line of Control broken in several Areas violent actions from omani youths,country like oman its not good for future it will affects country's prosperity To raising jobs for Omani youths His Majesty make a new rule the expatriate working here for long years,aged,physically not fit & retired personnels working again will strictly restricted. the expatriate people have getting less salary & working for daily bread will allowed to continue there job.. hunger for Job from Omani Youths not a sin.

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  10. UD,

    Imagine this situation to understand why omanis still protesting :

    Situation A : UK has surplus budget of $1 trillion decides to cut wages and reduce social benefit( via inflation ) and starts spending bns on hotels and high extravagant investments that benefit mostly elite class pockets..

    Situation B : UK has deficit of 100bn and decides to cut wages and reduce social benefit via inflation.

    In both scenarios you are not yet starving due to lack of food but marginally getting along.

    In which situation will you feel injustice and likely start protesting? How long do you think British people can with stand situation A before hitting to streets? How much money will they demand if surplus was 1 trn, 2trn, 3trn ..ect ?

    Remember Oman has population of 2 mn, with almost 900Kbd barrels of oil not counting other incomes.


    A.A

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  11. AA

    It still doesn't justify wanting everything for nothing.

    Watching the students in the news this week, I was struck at how they are becoming like Emirati's and Kuwaiti's.

    Anyone with ethics in education needs to plan an exit.

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  12. Kidnapping? What the hell!? Who was kidnapped?

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  13. In the Muscat Daily one Omani claimed that as expatriates get flights home and accommodation paid for, Omanis should too. I'm guessing not the sort of accommodation the Indian construction workers have to put up with along with their 50-60 rials a month, when they get paid, and er, flights HOME?????

    Confused of Muscat

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  14. Well I think you are wronge Mr UD.

    If government educated her people well during the last 20 years, all this will not happen.
    But the government took the easy way: produce more less qualified people from education system and through them to do any low level jobs, as those jobs does not require higher qualifications. With less qualification, more low level jobs is available anyway, and you save the money required to improve people education to projects that can be corrupted.

    for more than 25 years and Oman have 1 university!. More than 50000 people finish high school every year and only 10-15000 have the opportunity to complete their higher education.
    You want youths to study hard? to be focussed on productivity?? Why will they do that if they dont see a hope?? No matter how hard they try, at then end only about 20% will get admitted to universities and collages. So if all the students get 100% in their school exams, only 20% at maximimu will get admitted.
    Years and years of hopeless and fearful youths have been pumped to the market without enough skills to compete and without any fair chance to improve their chances!.
    Now after all those years, do u think all those will not protest? will not get angry and burn anything in front of them if they try to supress them???
    Remember we are a country with good income, we are not Yemen or Bangladish. This money earned by oil and other resources is an absolute right for those kids, to educate them and to spend it on their well fare. Why?? because their fathers and grandfathers stood on this land, fought hunger and wars, while those elite group who are now calling them "lazy and fat ass - and ignorant" was in Europe and States enjoying good education and well being and never ever thought of their people in Oman. Only when Oil and HM Qaboos came to power, they return back well educated, stole this nation money and put all sort of stupid laws to prevent a fair chance for others to be well educated to prevent them from competing them.
    Go look around a see for yourself, open your eyes and your heart and ask: why the hell in a country like Oman, earning good money, and with a small population, they dont give good education to their people??

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  15. So now after all this blast in their face?? They suddenly realize that those kids will not shut up for long, will not be fooled all their lives, and will not allow those elite group to steal their rights to live better, and have hope and dreams for better tomorrow.
    So what will they do?? give them little free money to shut them up! give them some rights here and their to make them quite.
    Suddenly the ego of the elite group is shocked!! We have people in Oman who rose above our suppression and now demanding and making the whole world see us as thieves!!!

    I am sure of one thing: Oman will not be reverted back before the 27th Feb 2011. This date will be a mark for a new Oman.

    MM

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  16. MMMM..well Omanis have had literally everything 'handed' to them. Omanization has been pushed to fast with too many false promises. If one looks at Africanization, you can see the failure of that being rushed.

    Learning a work ethic is a long process, and something that takes generations and family influence. Growing up with servants, and the typical GULF attitude does not work well in the 'real' world or a democratic world.

    The mistake is giving them jobs. They need more training and tougher exam rules. They lie, they cheat, they steal exams even. This is a well known fact in the country by anyone who works at any level of education.

    How many times does a student fail a University or College exam....5 or 6...how many years does it take the AVERAGE Omani to graduate from the BEST University in the country, SQU, over 7 years for a four year programme.

    This is the norm.

    I would like to see expats protesting over the laziness and corruption of the legal system. Now...there would be a valid protest.

    Omanis need human rights, but not just Omanis all expats in the Gulf. Freedom of expression, yes, and unblocking of the internet.

    Without these you have nothing but a fairy tale welfare state on the dole.

    Oman is like the movie TITANIC. All the locals have their hands held out as the ship is going down, and they are yelling... "help me, help me, help me,....but they want money, not life".

    Love Oman but in a Thinking Critical Way

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  17. Sabotage is penalised by law
    Tue, 15 March 2011
    MUSCAT — The Public Prosecution yesterday issued a statement on the riots and assault on public and private properties in the wilayats of Ibri and Dhank. The statement reads as follow: “Due to the incidents that occurred in the Wilayat of Ibri and the Wilayat Dhank, and the assault on public and private properties by arson, vandalising and blockade of main roads, and further to complaints and claims filed by some citizens harmed by these actions, the Public Prosecution has ordered the bodies concerned to search for the perpetrators and arrest them.
    “Those perpetrators have been arrested in co-operation with citizens. The Public Prosecution Department has ordered detainment of the perpetrators while investigation is under way.” The Public Prosecution reaffirms that committing such actions is an offence penalised by the law. In serving public law and order, the Public Prosecution urges all the citizens to co-operate, and not to hesitate in reporting violence, vandalism or arson to the authorities concerned.
    A large number of job-seekers converged in front of the building of the Directorate-General of Manpower in the Dhahirah region (Ibri) in a sit-in expressing their demand for jobs. Some of them blockaded the road leading to the Directorate-General of Manpower. They stopped a large truck with cement till late hours of the night. Policemen tried to come to terms with the young men, but in vain.
    Units of the Royal Army of Oman stood guard, deploying tanks along Al Murtafaa road. Early next morning, the protesters blockaded the road leading to Al Murtafaa, while others moved to the building of the Directorate-General of Housing, closed its doors and set government vehicles there on fire. With great difficulty, the fire brigades of the Civil Defence Centre in Ibri reached out to the burning building at last minute and managed to put out the fires set on public and private vehicles.
    The citizens in the Wilayat of Ibri denounced the acts and formed committees to maintain order and security. The committees asked the job-seekers to protest in a more civilised way. The Ministry of Manpower in co-operation with the Ministry of Oil and Gas and petroleum companies operating in the Dhahirah region had already been seeking ways to find new jobs for the youths.
    On Sunday morning, a number of job-seekers were registered to take out jobs in companies operating in the area, including Petroleum Development Oman, Daleel Oil company, Occidental Oman and other companies.
    — ONA/Oman Arabic Daily

    Mti.

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  18. http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/12/london_tuition_fee_protest.html
    I guess the above was acceptable and what omanis are doing is unacceptable.

    They even poked the Duchess of Cornwall's ass.

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  19. Please Read the following link.

    http://main.omanobserver.om/node/44021


    Regards

    Mti

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  20. Tricky situation in general . I understand the youth of Oman . The richer got richer and the poorer got poorer meanwhile the dollar price is rising .Where is all this cash ? Debate and transparent accountability would be required . Maybe the ministers can explain their large housings and bankaccounts ...

    But the actions of the youth are un-acceptable .They have no idea what democracy means . Democracy also asks for individual responsiblity . The demand are not resonable . we heard of one comapny asking for 300 % salary increase . And who can pay for that ?
    All the violence is only resulting in expat-companies withdrawing money , investments are stopped , companies are moving away to safer havens ... So now the result will be even less jobs .... No growth ... ( look whats happing in Port of Sohar ) ..... is this what they wanted ?
    So more cash for doing nothing , less jobs available then before , country growth has stopped , tourism will stop .
    So this is the beginning of the end my friend ....

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  21. Dear Anon who wrote about there being only 1 uni in Oman and no hope for Omanis to have an education there?

    WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? SQU IS the only FREE university in Oman. Yep, that's right. Being that it is free, that means your grades have to be good enough to warrant a free education. The government ALSO gives qualified Omanis FREE scholarships to universities worldwide. No offense, but you aren't going to get a free education at a University level if you can't even prove by your secondary grades and work that you could cope with the work at a University level, same goes for any Western country.

    Nop hope? Any Omani who can prove her or she can read decently in English, count, and get an okay grade average gets into University in Oman. FOR FREE.

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  22. Wasted Educational ChancesMarch 16, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    The Omani government provide many scholarships for various Higher Education institutes - most students arrive with little English, Maths etc to start. However all have third secondary certificates, some with high grades.

    School education is what has to change - students need realistic grades - I have interviewed guys with 80+ for English who can't even greet you in English, Maths at 90% and can't add. These youngsters could have learned if they had been taught. But on they go wanting a baccalaureate (whatever that means to them) to get a good job in an office with a phone and a computer and (hopefully) fast food nearby.

    Omanis need to be trained as self employed tradesmen and then set out to see how they do in the world of work. That would be a reality check.

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  23. Dear Omani Princess...well...that is true that Omanis who attend Sultan Qaboos Univesity attend for free, and RECIEVE 1000 OMR riyal per month for their leisure times.

    So how long with it take the NOW to graduate 10 years from a 4 year programme. LOL. I have met the SQU graduates in language centres at night cuz they graduated but still couldn't string together a sentence in English.

    Let remember the EDUCATION at SQU is in English...

    Oman is a mess....the education system is not worth anything. The paper they get at the end is laughable...

    and Oman will delve into deep dysfunction within 7 years.

    Mark my words.

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  24. Little do they understand that if this kind of violence flares all the expats are going to rush off leaving Oman stand still and then let us see who is going to do the menial works. Right now every one seems to be telling that they need to be given a chance but then in work front each one has to come up the hard way gaining experience over a period of time.... you cannot become a manager from day one guys... wke up from your dreams.
    Asian laborers toiling for 12 hours to get a measly salary of RO 100 to max 120 pm including overtime of 12 hrs are also humans... so where is the equality in the demands and why is that they are lowly paid... because they are not educated enough .... which is what prevailing here among the youth here and their demands are RO 500 pm... gross injustice and am sure all this will surely blow up in their faces and then people are going to repent. This is my two bit... i never wanted to say anything harsh but the happenings last couple of days have made be talk harshly of the people who i love and respect !!! God help Oman !!!

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  25. To the poster who commented on the London protests above - the students are protesting about having to pay much higher fees for their education in front of a parliament vote.

    The Omani tantrums are about getting everything for nothing whilst ignoring the plight of expats who are much more badly abused by (wait for it) Omani sponsors.

    I never thought I'd say this but it's getting near the time for all expats to go and leave the country to build itself with Omani labour.

    You'd get what you want and I'd love to see what happens.

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  26. I thought it fairly stupid (yes dumb and stupid) for the security guards to shut down access to Muscat Intl. Their actions affected innocent parties ie incoming tourists prepared to spend their money in Oman and outgoing people who have the right of freedom of movement. Obviously whoever organised the security guard protest has a small portion of a brain cell to work with. It is weird also that the vast majority of Omani's i've spoken to think the guards were stupid too but there is little vocalising about it - c'mon Omanis is this really how you want the world to see your country? The right to protest is fine, but not when the actions in relation to that right deny the rights of others... think about it a bit, you'll get the gist of it hopefully before its too late.

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  27. Having just left Oman, my wife worked at an educational institute where she was told out right that she had to pass her students, regardless of there grades?!?!? And this is the future for Oman, a generation thats used to getting everything and losing nothing.

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  28. Not only do these protesters want MORE MORE MORE Riyals, they want to give nothing in return.

    Work...come and go as they please.

    Education. Teachers fearful of losing their jobs pass them with 90 percent..and they still complain cause they say they need '100' percent.

    Omani Teachers...i have met ONE good one. She told me she doesn't speak up cuz she is Omani. And it's a tribal system, and always will be.
    Her life was threatened by students for reporting them for cheating.
    The Dean demoted her.
    Yep she was the ONE good teacher I met.
    Demoralized, degraded and destroyed.

    Omanis are wrong and should not be given these things. The gov't has to stop GIVING them candy like the crazy little children i see running around with 3 bags of chips, one chocolate, 2 ice cream, housemaid in tow, and that is just for breakfast.

    Omanis need to work hard, eat healthy and stop whining.
    Their ugly side has really surfaced the past two months.
    Their TRUE side.

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  29. to be honest, Omanies who protest are only copying what is happenning in Libya and eygpt, I just want them to know that< I could die for my country and freedom not LOANs canceltion.

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