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272 pages

Following ten years' residency in the Sultante of Oman, a country often descrived as one of the most secretive in the world, John Besant began researching its little-documented political history and uncovered a story which Edward Heath once commented `will no be told in our lifetime'. According to Beasant's research, Oman's much-touted `renaissance' following the 1970 Palace Coup was bolstered by the high oil revenues of the `70s and `80s. Omani spin doctors promoted what was believed to be the country's development into a modern Arab State, but, according to Beasant's startling discoveries, the state was actually run by ex-military officers who not only fashioned a hold over the country's new leader with a dominance that resembled their imperial predecessors but also enriched themselves to such a level that their conduct threatens to have a destabilising effect on the nation itself. Beasant reveals a web of exploitation woven through all manner of political and commerical interests, and casts light on the dark practices so often involved in the sale of arms to Middle Eastern states and the political use to which the sale of `black gold' - oil - can be put. OMAN is very much a parable of our times, detailing rivalry and intrigue between people in high places. It is one of the most dramatic tales in Arab history: a chronicle of personal pride, rapacious greed,

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