Central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to Sept) in far south
Population: 3,154,134 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Ibadhi Muslim (official) 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu) 25%
Oman is a middle-income economy, heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP to 9% by 2020 and creating more jobs to employ the rising numbers of Omanis entering the workforce. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy.
Before 1970, conditions in Oman were extremely primitive: no electricity or running water, houses built of either mud brick or woven and knotted palm fronds, almost no paved roads, and the only means of transportation were camels and donkeys. Since then, Sultan Qaboos has introduced electricity and running water, built many new structures of cement block, constructed extensive paved roads, and modernized communications, health care, and education, all of which are provided free of charge.
US Military Presence/Support