Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1437
Title: OMAN ONLINE: LOW-SPEED INTERNET, UN SPEECH, AND CHARITY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT14372005-09-21 15:12:00 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 001437 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARPI, NEA/PPD, NEA/P, IIP/G/NEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ONLINE: LOW-SPEED INTERNET, UN SPEECH, AND CHARITY 
BEGINS AWAY FROM HOME 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  The Omani Internet message boards "al-Sablah" and 
"al-Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic- 
language fora 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, these popular sites 
nevertheless offer a worthwhile window into the hot topics and 
unvarnished views of the day.  This edition of Oman Online 
contains the following topics: 
 
-- Deteriorating Internet Service 
-- UN Speech 
-- Charity Abroad 
 
End summary. 
 
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Gripes About Omantel 
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¶2. The week began with al-Sablah participants complaining about 
poor Internet services and the high costs charged to subscribers. 
"We are obliged to pay for bad quality services -- and it is 
expensive." Many complained about Omantel's monopoly as the 
Sultanate's sole ISP, and compared the Internet service provided 
in Oman with Yemen and Egypt:  "Although these countries are 
considered poor, they provide Internet services free of charge to 
their citizens," one member groused. 
 
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Speech at the UN 
---------------- 
 
¶3. Minister of Culture and Heritage Sayyid Haitham Bin Tariq's 
speech at the UN attracted a lot of attention among al-Sabla 
members.  Participants analyzed the speech in relation to 
internal affairs, generating 230 hits and 20 responses.  One 
member stated, "When the speech talked about financing projects, 
programs, and strategies to reach desired developmental goals, it 
was merely a reflection of the deteriorating economic situation 
of the country. Also, it showed that the Sultanate is going to 
ask for more loans." Other participants believed "the speech 
answered international demands to participate in the rebuilding 
Iraq by implying that Oman is not going to contribute because of 
lack of security." Another mentioned, "the speech dealt only in 
generalities because the government's performance has been so 
poor." 
 
--------------- 
Charity At Home 
--------------- 
 
¶4. Forum members reported that well-known UAE businessman Juma'a 
Al-Majid has sponsored 1150 students from different countries, 
including Oman, to complete their undergraduate studies at Dubai 
College.  This topic generated 3,035 hits and 37 responses. Many 
participants agreed that rich and wealthy people should seek to 
improve the quality of life of other citizens, noting that 
prominent Omani businessman Saud Bahwan is trying to do the same 
thing in Oman.  "Let's not forget Saud Bahwan who is known as a 
man of generosity in this country for his good deeds." Others 
mentioned "He (Saud Bahwan) donated air conditioners to a lot of 
schools, free lunches for poor students, and money to charities." 
However, 30 per cent of participants believed "these people are 
multimillionaires who control huge assets and entire industries. 
They should be expected to contribute to the development of their 
societies." 
 
BALTIMORE