Will Oman ever get over its empire?

Muscat looks different than just about every other Gulf capital. There are neither skyscrapers nor demonstrations of obvious opulence. But at first glance, Oman doesn’t seem so different than some older parts of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. There’s money; there’s men in traditional, flowing garments and women in burqas; there’s beautiful buildings funded by oil profits.  Yet Oman is a peculiar place straddling past and present. There are echoes of empire, a people yearning for Oman to reclaim its status as a major geopolitical player, and a government facing the difficult task of preparing for a post-oil future. Omani became independent in 1951 after 60 years of soft British colonisation. For years,

Letters: It’s time for the common cup to return to communion

The Bull of Oman Sir: There was one significant omission in the cast of characters mentioned by Charles Moore in his notes on the Sultan of Oman’s armed forces (Notes, 19 February): General Sir Timothy Creasey KCB . The omission is all the more surprising given the key role Margaret Thatcher played in getting General Tim to take up the Sultan’s invitation to go back out to Oman as deputy commander in chief and chief of defence staff. Having been instrumental in achieving a satisfactory resolution of the insurrection in Dhofar as a senior loan service officer, General Tim was highly regarded by the Sultan but he was not keen

What would Thatcher have made of Putin?

When Sir Tony Brenton writes a letter to the Times, as he frequently does, it always says at the bottom that he was British ambassador to Moscow. The uninformed reader could be forgiven for thinking the sub-editors have got it back to front and he was actually Russian ambassador to London. Sir Tony’s message in every letter is ‘It’s all Britain’s fault’. In his latest, his particular target was the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, after her visit to Moscow. He said she ‘might usefully recall Margaret Thatcher’s wise message to Mikhail Gorbachev sent in 1985 as perestroika began to take off: “We know that you have as much right to