Viewing cable 04MUSCAT1983
Title: OMAN ONLINE: THE NATIVES ARE RESTLESS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04MUSCAT19832004-11-13 07:12:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 001983 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), IIP/G/NEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ONLINE: THE NATIVES ARE RESTLESS 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  The Omani Internet chat room "Sablat al-Arab" -- or 
simply "Al-Sablah" -- is the liveliest and most comprehensive 
Arabic-language forum for political and social discourse in the 
country, touching on issues and personalities rarely addressed in 
the conventional media.  While not totally free, nor wholly 
reflective of Omani public opinion, Al-Sablah nevertheless offers 
a worthwhile window into the hot topics and unvarnished views of 
the day.  This edition of Oman Online contains the following 
topics: 
 
--- The Sultan's Cable To President Bush 
--- Demolishing the Diwan (Omani Royal Court) 
--- Call For Demonstration 
 
End summary. 
 
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Sour Grapes 
----------- 
 
¶2. Sultan Qaboos' cable congratulating President Bush on his re- 
election triggered feelings of discontent among Al-Sablah 
members.  One participant expressed his disappointment with the 
cable, saying "Oman has a close relationship with the United 
States that the Sultan wants to consolidate; however, this is not 
the general feeling among the Omanis."  Expressions of anger and 
sadness at the futility of changing Omani government policy 
dominated the topic, including the following comment: "We cannot 
do anything except say 'Congratulations' to Bush.  This is what 
our government wants from us."  Another member sarcastically 
remarked, "You [Bush] deserved victory in the election, for you 
fought terrorism for three years by attacking Afghanistan and 
Iraq." 
 
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Down With The Diwan 
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¶3. Speculation about the budget of the Diwan, Oman's Royal Court, 
was a contentious issue in Al-Sablah.  Many participants argued 
that at the beginning of Sultan Qaboos' reign, the Diwan was 
esteemed as a source of aid for needy Omanis.  However, as one 
participant put it, "The Diwan is now viewed as a means by which 
VIPs, Al Saids [the royal family] and Sheikhs can obtain luxury 
items."  One bold individual argued, "This worthless ministry 
should be done away with.  It is a waste of Oman's wealth." 
 
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Demonstrably Upset 
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¶4. In recent days, a call was put forth in Al-Sablah urging 
university and high school students in Oman to demonstrate in 
front of the U.S. Embassy to show support for the Iraqi people. 
The author of the call wrote, "Let's all unify against the 
aggressor and march peacefully to express our rejection of the 
crimes that America is committing in Iraq."  One respondent 
replied, "Let's show as much support for the Iraqis in Fallujah 
as we did for the Palestinians in Jenin when they were attacked 
by the Israelis."  Many subscribers supported the idea of a 
demonstration, and several suggested that a demonstration also be 
held at the British Embassy and at the governors' offices in each 
province.  However, most participants expressed pessimism about 
the usefulness of demonstrations.  One contributor asked, "What 
good would a demonstration in Oman do?  Would it make the U.S. 
and Britain change their position?"  Another commented, "We 
Muslims are in a long sleep.  Will we not wake up until we hear 
the sound of airplanes attacking us?" 
 
BALTIMORE