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The land before lines: Social unrest and modern land management in former tribal territories


Lack of proper land governance and land management practices in the Gulf region are predominantly a result of rapid urbanization and unprecedented modernization after the sudden influx of oil wealth in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During the effort to centralize and unify the state, informal tribal land practices were forced into a centralized system, and land was allocated to citizens randomly via a social welfare system. With rapid population growth and rising levels of urbanization, the central government has been unable to match the pace required to provide adequate services across cities and rural areas. This study identifies potential social and political challenges as well as culturally suitable solutions to facilitate prosperous transitions. If adaptive solutions and implementation methods in land governance and management are investigated and developed for the GCC region, these societies can grow and evolve peacefully along with the reforms necessary for ensuring sustainable urbanization and land management. This study used the Sultanate of Oman as a case study for an in-depth analysis and evaluation of current land management practices, thereby uncovering the relationship between land and internal and external conflict.