The Ministry of Economy estimates that in mid-2006 the total population was 2.577 million. Of those, 1.844 million were Omanis. Chief of state and government is the hereditary sultān, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who appoints a cabinet called the "Diwans" to assist him. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected advisory council, the Majlis ash-Shura, though few Omanis were eligible to vote. Oman's armed forces, officially known as the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF), including Royal Household troops , numbered 120,000 in 2010, consisting of: 105,000 personnel in theRoyal Army of Oman (RAO), equipped with over 1200 main battle tanks and 37 Scorpion tanks. Oman holds one of the World's largest amounts of Scud missiles , ranging at an estimate of over 30,000 ballistic missiles
Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said
Security forces have clashed with anti-government demonstrators in northern Oman, killing six people and injuring five others. The six were killed after being shot with rubber bullets, local medics said about the Sunday clashes in the industrial city of Sohar northwest of the capital, Muscat. Witnesses said the forces targeted a sit-in, which had been attended by hundreds of people. A security official said the confrontation had taken place in response to the protesters' attempt “to storm a police station."
The protest came a day after Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos changed six ministers in his cabinet and raised stipends for university students in an apparent attempt to prevent further protests in the Persian Gulf sultanate.
The military moved in to secure an area in the town of Sohar on Sunday where about 2,000 demonstrators had gathered for a second day to demand political reforms, according to witnesses reported by the Reuters news agency."Two were killed after being shot with rubber bullets as protesters attempted to storm a police station," a security official said, requesting anonymity.State news agency ONA confirmed that there had been casualties in Sohar, saying that police and anti-riot forces had clashed with demonstrators."Police and anti-riot squads confronted this group of wreckers in a bid to protect people and their properties, which caused casualties," it said. Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled Oman for the past 40 years, had tried to ease tensions by reshuffling his cabinet on Saturday, a week after a small protest in the capital Muscat.The demonstrators in Oman, as with some of the protests in other parts of the region, have emphasised their loyalty to their ruler, whole voicing their dissatisfaction with his officials. Jackie Spinner, a journalist who was in Sohar at the time of the protests, said that it was unusual for Oman to be the scene of demonstrations.
"It's a very sedate, very tranquil country," she said,
Most of the Omanis that I've talked to have said they haven't seen anything like this in the last four decades ... they have not seen this level of anger, or any widespread demonstrations against the government, in the past 40 years."