"The Sultanate of Oman has been a strategic ally of the United States since 1980, when it became the first of the Persian Gulf states to sign a formal accord permitting the U.S. military to use its facilities. Oman has hosted U.S. forces during every U.S. military operation in and around the Gulf since then, and it is a partner in U.S. efforts to counter regional terrorism and related threats. [...] Within the region, Oman has tended to avoid joining its Gulf allies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman) in direct intervention in regional conflicts. Oman has publicly joined the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State organization, but it is apparently not participating militarily in those efforts. [...] Oman also has historically asserted that engaging Iran is the optimal strategy to reduce the potential threat from that country, and the country maintains close relations with Iran. [...] Prior to the wave of Middle East unrest that began in 2011, the United States consistently praised Sultan Qaboos for gradually opening the political process even in the absence of evident public pressure to do so. The liberalization allowed Omanis a measure of representation, but did not significantly limit Qaboos's role as paramount decisionmaker. [...] Oman receives minimal amounts of U.S. security assistance, and no U.S. economic aid."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21534