This seems like something of an anachronism in the 21st century. After all in Britain we got rid of an absolute monarchy as long ago as the 17th century. They do still exist however and Oman is one of these. I was over there a few weeks ago. Whilst it may offend our democratic sensibilities: a country where the Sultan expects subjugation to his will, it is an oasis of stability in a troubled region with amongst other things, excellent healthcare. Autocrat he may be but Sultan Qaboos is a Muslim ruler who has built churches in his country. Also with a population of four million only 1,300 people are in prison.