Just last year Greens MP Adam Bandt lavished praise on the dicatatorship of Oman in a speech arguing for a unilateral withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan saying it compared favourably with its neighbours and had â€œtransformed itselfâ€ with a greatly enhanced role for women, with three of them, no less, he gushed, serving in the cabinet.
His argument was basically that by spending money on schools etc in Afghanistan rather than military activities that it could become like Oman. He didnâ€™t explain all these schools for girls and other civil infrastructure would be built after the Taliban took over immediately after our retreat. Details are not as much fun as chatting up a storm over a latte.
Never mind that his remarks on Oman were largely ripped from a New York Times article that had appeared a couple of days earlier, he was at least an enthusiastic plagiarist.
Sultan Qaboos is an â€œabsolute monarchâ€ who bumped off his old man from the role, as you do. He is thought to exercise an even tighter rule on the oil-rich nation than the Saudi royal family who at least consult among the extended family in between Ferrari-racing contests and inspecting new additions to the harem.
Like the Saudis, the unelected Sultan lives like a, well, Sultan, as this impressive list of grand palaces demonstrates.
Heâ€™s also partial to impressive titles, calling himself Field Marshal of the Royal Army, Admiral of the Fleet, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Supreme Commander of the cops and is even the proud recipient of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.
Contrary to Bandtâ€™s ill-informed gushing about giving surrender a chance in Afghanistan (and elsewhere), Oman actually spends a very high percentage of its GDP on the military, usually well over 10% and is armed to the teeth with apparently the worldâ€™s biggest arsenal of Scud missiles.
Sultan Qaboos â€“ who we accept is slightly less evil a tyrant than most of his neighbouring rulers â€“ is in all sorts of bother with days of protest and a planned uprising for tomorrow, March 2nd.
Protesters have blocked roads, set fire to supermarkets, camped out Cairo-style, with deadly clashes on Sunday that saw six protesters killed by Bandtâ€™s favourite Sultanâ€™s security forces.
While Bandt waxed lyrical about Oman, the protesters are protesting about their living standards, corruption of officials and ministers,
Many observers believe Sultan Qaboos who deposed his old man in a coup forty years ago will be able to hang on, perhaps even longer than the next federal election expected in 2013 where a peopleâ€™s revolt will surely topple tyrant-loving Adam Bandt from his Melbourne throne.