S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MUSCAT 002196
DEPT. FOR S/CT, DS/IP/NEA, DS/DSS/ITA, DS/ATA, NEA/ARPI
E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X1
TAGS: PTER ASEC MU
SUBJECT: OMAN: 2004 ANNUAL TERRORISM REPORT
REF: A. SECSTATE 259427
Â¶B. SECSTATE 245841
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III.
Â¶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
Â¶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.
Â¶3. (U) Updated text for Oman's coverage in Patterns
(paragraph 1) will be forwarded via e-mail to addressees
listed in reftel A.
Â¶4. (U) Embassy Muscat's point of contact for this report is
RSO Peter M. Riva (firstname.lastname@example.org).