Viewing cable 04MUSCAT2196

04MUSCAT21962004-12-18 10:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MUSCAT 002196 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X1 
REF: A. SECSTATE 259427 
     ¶B. SECSTATE 245841 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III. 
Reason: 1.4(c). 
¶1.  (U)  In accordance with reftel B, paragraph 2, Embassy 
Muscat provides the following update to Oman's coverage in 
the 2003 Patterns of Global Terrorism ("Patterns") report: 
Oman continued to provide public statements of support for 
the global war on terrorism, and has been responsive to 
requests for Coalition military and civilian support.  During 
the last three years, the Government of Oman has implemented 
a tight anti-money laundering regime, including surveillance 
systems designed to identify unusual transactions, with plans 
to require financial institutions to verify customer 
identities using sophisticated biometrics technology.  Omani 
financial authorities also remain committed to freezing the 
assets of any UN-listed individual found in Oman. 
Oman is a party to 10 of 12 international conventions and 
protocols relating to terrorism, but has not yet acceded to 
the other two, including the International Convention for the 
Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. 
NOTE:  (C)  "There were no incidents of terrorist activity in 
Oman in 2003" was redacted from the 2003 Patterns report. 
See paragraph 2.  END NOTE 
¶2.  (SBU)  Embassy Muscat also addresses the following 
information on Omani government counter-terrorism ("CT") 
efforts and attitudes, in response to relevant portions of 
reftel B, section 15: 
--  (SBU)  The Omani government was responsive to all 
coalition requests, both military and civilian. 
--  (SBU)  Oman has ratified 10 of the 12 international 
conventions and protocols against terrorism; the government 
of Oman said it intends to ratify the remaining two, 
including the International Convention for the Suppression of 
the Financing of Terrorism. 
--  (SBU)  The Omani government continued to provide public 
and private statements of support for the Global Coalition 
Against Terrorism.  For example, the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs issued numerous statements condemning international 
acts of terrorism, including on December 7, 2004, following 
the terror attack on the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, 
Saudi Arabia; and on June 19, 2004, following the beheading 
of an American Hostage in Iraq.  Oman similarly denounced the 
beheading of a South Korean hostage in Iraq on June 23, 2004, 
and the terror attacks on a residential compound in Dhahran, 
Saudi Arabia, on May 30, 2004.  Additionally, Oman's Minister 
Responsible for Foreign Affairs joined GCC colleagues on 
September 14, 2004 in issuing a joint condemnation of 
international terrorism.  The Foreign Ministry likewise urged 
calm and an end to violence in Iraq on April 8, 2004. 
--  (SBU)  Over the last three years, the government of Oman 
has implemented a tight anti-money laundering regime, 
including surveillance systems designed to identify unusual 
transactions.  Sultan Qaboos Bin Said also issued a Royal 
Decree on July 6, 2004, announcing new statutes to block 
money laundering.  Furthermore, the Central Bank of Oman 
announced plans this year to require financial institutions 
to verify customer identities using sophisticated biometrics 
--  (SBU)  Oman also supported the creation of a regional 
FATF-style body in Bahrain to combat financial crimes, which 
was inaugurated November 29-30, 2004 in Manama.  In addition, 
and pursuant to their U.N. commitments, the Omani financial 
authorities have committed to freezing the assets of any 
U.N.-listed terrorists found in Oman.  To date, however, none 
are known to have been located. 
--  (C)  Both the Royal Army of Oman ("RAO") and the Sultan's 
Special Force ("SSF") maintain missions to monitor and 
interdict terrorist (in addition to narcotics and illegal 
immigration) activity in areas along the joint Omani-Saudi 
Arabian and Yemeni borders.  Oman also deploys military 
forces for short and mid-term operations for specific CT 
missions.  Oman's Foreign Military Sales ("FMS") program has 
significantly enhanced CT capabilities for both the RAO and 
--  (C)  The Royal Oman Police ("ROP") Coast Guard is 
increasing its maritime interdiction capabilities and 
operations, which are believed to extend out 12 nautical 
miles.  However, both the Royal Navy of Oman and the Coast 
Guard are considering expanding their abilities to monitor 
commercial shipping farther off Oman's extensive coast. 
Again, Oman's FMS program has significantly enhanced CT 
capabilities for the Coast Guard. 
--  (SBU)  Other major CT efforts undertaken during the past 
year were centered on training, to include courses 
facilitated by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Office of 
Anti-Terrorism Assistance Programs (DS/ATA).  Specifically, 
officials from the Omani security apparatus, primarily the 
ROP, participated in DS/ATA-sponsored courses and 
consultations pertaining to forensic DNA analysis, explosive 
detector K-9's, interdiction of terrorist organizations, and 
mass casualty/weapons of mass destruction response. 
--  (C)  Utilizing previous DS/ATA training (e.g., Vital 
Installation Security), the ROP was extremely proactive in 
dealing with June 2004 threat information specific to 
Halliburton operations in Oman.  The Omani security apparatus 
continues to devote considerable resources to ensure the 
security of Halliburton officials and the oil rigs it 
supports.  NOTE: The attention to Halliburton is likely, at 
least in part, based on an understanding of the value of the 
company to Oman, as their services are relied upon almost 
exclusively to maintain the Sultanate's oil production.  END 
--  (S/NF)  The Omani security and intelligence services take 
their work seriously and are well-funded and well-motivated. 
While there were no incidents of international or domestic 
terrorism in Oman since the Embassy's last submission, two 
separate - and previously unknown - al-Qa'ida-associated 
terrorist cells were taken down in Oman, reflective of 
al-Qa'ida's success in inspiring like-minded extremists to 
attack U.S. interests in the Arabian Peninsula.  The arrests 
are believed to have derailed the cells' ongoing plots, one 
of which was aimed at U.S. interests in Oman, to include the 
U.S. Embassy.  In the past year, Oman has witnessed more 
activity as an operating area and staging ground for 
terrorists, and the fact that the two cells were previously 
unknown points to the possibility that similar cells may be 
present in Oman. 
--  (S/NF)  Oman's penchant for secrecy means that neither of 
the aforementioned arrests were made public; terrorists from 
both incidents were processed and received stiff sentences 
through secret legal proceedings.  Islamic extremism is 
viewed as a threat to stability in Oman at a time when 
government policy is to seek foreign investments and attract 
tourism.  The security and intelligence services are charged 
with protecting the implementation of these two critical 
components of Oman's foreign policy. 
--  (SBU)  The Embassy knows of no impediments to Omani 
prosecution and/or extradition of suspected terrorists. 
--  (S/NF)  The Omani government makes great efforts to 
combat extremism and violence-supporting ideology.  It takes 
a comprehensive view of its domestic extremist problem and 
most often seeks in the first instance to rehabilitate, with 
the help of community and tribal leaders, those Omani 
citizens discovered to harbor extremist tendencies or 
sympathies.  The Omani Government considers the problem of 
religious extremism to be rooted in economic, educational, 
and social reasons.  Thus, the Omani Government monitors the 
country's modernization closely and seeks to direct economic 
development into poorer parts of Oman that might be more 
susceptible to the extremists' message. 
--  (S/NF)  The Grand Mufti of Oman is a well-known temperate 
figure in Islamic circles, and his moderating influence in 
the debate on the proper role of religion is accomplished 
with the blessing and support of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. 
More directly, the Omani security services monitor the 
content of mosque sermons through a nation-wide network of 
reporting sources and warn those imams who delve into 
political matters or criticize other faiths not to stray into 
sensitive areas.  Those who persist will find themselves in 
an Omani court signing "cease and desist" orders, which carry 
stiff legal consequences if disobeyed. 
--  (SBU)  In summary, the Omani government - as a matter of 
policy and practice - remains steadfastly opposed to 
terrorism, international and domestic. 
¶3.  (U)  Updated text for Oman's coverage in Patterns 
(paragraph 1) will be forwarded via e-mail to addressees 
listed in reftel A. 
¶4.  (U)  Embassy Muscat's point of contact for this report is 
RSO Peter M. Riva (