Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1547
Title: EXBS STRATEGY FOR OMAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT15472005-10-16 12:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MUSCAT 001547 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR ISB/ECC (J. COLLINS, K. CROUCH, P. VAN SON) 
DOC FOR D. CREED 
US COAST GUARD FOR USCG ACTIVITIES/MIO EUROPE M. BEE 
US CUSTOMS FOR P. WARKER, W. LAWRENCE 
USDOE/NNSA FOR T. PERRY, W. KILMARTIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2015 
TAGS: ETTC MNUC PARM PREL KSTC KNNP JO MU
SUBJECT: EXBS STRATEGY FOR OMAN 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III. 
Reason: 1.4(b). 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU) EXBS Advisor recently met with Omani officials, 
Embassy staff and representatives of the Department of 
Energy's MEGAPORTS Initiative to discuss the current state of 
Export Controls and Related Border Security in Oman.  Oman, a 
recent addition to both the Container Security Initiative 
(CSI) and the MEGAPORTS Initiative, has shown great 
willingness to work with USG organizations to better protect 
its ports and borders.  Based on meetings with concerned 
Omani officials, following is the proposed EXBS strategy for 
Oman.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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II. MEETINGS SUMMARIES 
---------------------- 
 
¶2. (U) Between September 25 and October 4, EXBS Advisor met 
with principal US Embassy staff to discuss the state of EXBS 
in Oman.  The salient points of those meetings were as 
follows: 
 
¶A. (SBU) The ROP-Coast Guard has done a good job executing 
traditional missions of maritime interdiction and coastal 
security. Better cooperation between the ROP-Coast Guard and 
the Royal Oman Navy with respect to the use and application 
of coastal radar would allow the Coast Guard to use its 
limited assets more effectively in countering smuggling and 
the potential threat of illicit proliferation activities. 
 
¶B. (SBU) A National Command Center for Border Security under 
the operational control of the Royal Oman Police would allow 
Oman to coordinate its assets in securing its borders. 
Specialized elements of the Omani armed forces are capable of 
imposing localized control in response to an identified 
proliferation incident. Because the joint concept of 
operations is new to Oman, scenario-driven exercises would 
likely be required to ensure smooth operational performance 
of a National Command Center for Border Security. 
 
¶C. (C) Omani ability to operate effectively at night is 
limited, but could be enhanced with appropriate training and 
equipment. 
 
¶D. (SBU) A culture and tradition of illicit trade in the 
region hampers the establishment of effective and modern 
export controls, especially in the coastal areas of the 
Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, and along the land 
border with the Republic of Yemen. 
 
¶3. (U) On September 25-26, EXBS Advisor toured the Port of 
Salalah and met with officials of the Ministry of Transport 
and Telecommunications (MOTC), Royal Oman Police (ROP), and 
Salalah Port Services Company (SPS), as well as officials 
from the US Embassy and representatives of the MEGAPORTS 
Initiative.  The salient points of those meetings were as 
follows: 
 
¶A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Salalah port officials are 
committed to cooperating with the Container Security 
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS-related 
programs. 
 
¶B. (U) The official signing of the Container Security 
Initiative (CSI) and MEGAPORTS agreement between Oman and the 
U.S. will occur later this fall.  CSI implementation at 
Salalah will ensure all targeted containers are scanned with 
program equipment. 
 
¶C. (U) The Department of Energy's MEGAPORTS team will survey 
the Port of Salalah the first week of December 2005. 
Following this survey, the MEGAPORTS team will recommend 
points of equipment installation and address any impact on 
port operations.  When all stakeholders agree upon equipment 
location, MEGAPORTS will begin physical installation and 
training of Omani personnel.  Training will occur in the U.S. 
and Oman.  Taking into consideration the unique design and 
operational procedures of Salalah, MEGAPORTS will install its 
equipment to facilitate scanning of the greatest percentage 
of transshipped cargo possible while minimizing the 
operational impact of such scanning.  A working group 
composed of representatives of MOTC, ROP-Customs and SPS will 
be identified and tasked by the Omani government to interface 
with MEGAPORTS representatives. 
 
¶D. (U) According to SPS, 99 percent of all cargo moving in 
and through Salalah is transshipped.  The average dwell-time 
for cargo is 4.3 days and for empty containers it is 6 to 7 
days.  One quarter of all cargo moving through Salalah has a 
&quick turn around8 of one day or less. 
 
¶4. (U) On September 27, EXBS Advisor toured Port Sultan 
Qaboos in Muscat and met with officials of the MOTC, 
ROP-Customs, and Port Services Corporation - Port Sultan 
Qaboos (PSC), as well as officials from the US Embassy and 
representatives of the MEGAPORTS Initiative.  The salient 
points of the meetings were as follows: 
 
¶A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Muscat port officials are 
committed to cooperating with the Container Security 
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS related 
programs. 
 
¶B. (U) The official signing of the Container Security 
Initiative (CSI) and MEGAPORTS agreement between Oman and the 
U.S. will occur later this fall.  CSI implementation at Port 
Sultan Qaboos will ensure all targeted containers are scanned 
with program equipment. 
 
¶C. (U) MEGAPORTS Initiative will send a site survey team to 
Port Sultan Qaboos the first week of December to complete a 
site survey.  Implementation of MEGAPORTS at Port Sultan 
Qaboos will be simultaneous with implementation at the port 
of Salalah. 
 
¶D. (U) According to PSC, Port Sultan Qaboos moves 
approximately 284,000 containers annually, and fifty to sixty 
thousands of these containers are transshipments.  Cargo 
manifests are electronically filed with Omani Customs by the 
shipper or freight forwarder.  New entry gates to the port 
are under construction which will facilitate near 100 percent 
scanning of all container cargo while ensuring a negligible 
operational impact.  Most shippers using the port give 48 
hour notification to port authorities on manifested cargo. 
The exception is when feeder ships from other regional ports 
like Dubai, U.A.E., sail and enter the port in under 
48-hours.  Most cargo moving into and through the port 
originates in Japanese, Chinese and other Asian ports. 
 
¶5. (U) On October 1-2, EXBS Advisor toured the Sohar 
Industrial Port and the border crossings at Wadi Al-Jizi and 
Al-Wajahjah, and met with Jamal Tawfiq Aziz, Deputy CEO, 
Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC); Captain Murad A. 
al-Ma,amari, Harbor Master, SIPC; Major Khalid al-Yahyai and 
other officers and inspectors of the ROP-Customs assigned to 
the region.  The salient points of those meetings were as 
follows: 
 
¶A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Sohar port officials are 
committed to cooperating with the Container Security 
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS-related 
programs. 
 
¶B. (U) A Declaration of Principles is scheduled to be signed 
in November 2005 and will cover the Container Security 
Initiative and Megaports activities proposed for Oman. 
Implementation is currently being planned at the Port of 
Salalah and Port Sultan Qaboos. 
 
¶C. (U) The government of Oman and SIPC have a detailed master 
plan to develop the port of Sohar into a world class 
industrial port modeled after Rotterdam.  The managing 
partner for the port has just been announced as Hutchison,s 
Port Holding based in Hong Kong.  Development of the port is 
coordinated with the Omani move away from an oil-centric 
economy.  Port facilities and industrial infrastructure will 
capitalize on emerging natural gas technology rather than 
oil-based designs.  Sohar will center on petro-chemical 
industries and refineries, bulk and liquid shipping, a 
container terminal, medium industries such as an aluminum 
smelter, related trucking and shipping infrastructure and an 
extensive special economic/free trade zone. 
 
¶D. (U) Current milestones of Sohar development on or ahead of 
schedule include: completion of liquid jetties (April 2006); 
general cargo berthing area expansion from 300 to 750 meters 
(Jan 2006); dredging harbor channel to a depth of 16.5 meters 
and using fill to create foundation for new terminal and 
berth capacity expansion (2007-2009) and establishment of the 
special economic/free trade zone (2007-2010.) 
 
¶E. (SBU) Border crossings at Wadi Al-Jizi and Al-Wajahjah are 
newly opened facilities manned 24/7 by Immigration and 
ROP-Customs personnel.  These two portals see most of the 
vehicular and commercial truck traffic moving between the 
U.A.E. and Oman.  Typical contraband confiscated by 
ROP-Customs at these locations includes fireworks, alcohol, 
cigarettes, pornography and mobile telephones.  Some seizures 
of illicit drugs, ammunition and small arms have occurred, 
but are rare.  Alternate routes of ingress and regress used 
by smugglers are known and monitored as availability of 
personnel and equipment allow.  As in other areas of the 
region, smuggling activities are frequently a family-centered 
activity.  Smugglers are not generally armed.  Typical daily 
averages at Al-Wajahjah include 621 commercial trucks and 
1500 automobiles.  The majority of trucks travel into Oman 
during the night.  ROP-Customs manning at these portals is 
comparable with U.S. Customs and Border Protection norms at 
portals of similar size and activity.  Searches of cargo 
appeared to be conducted visually and by hand without the aid 
of any instrumentation.  Although not seen by EXBS Advisor, 
ROP-Customs claimed to have detection dogs available for each 
shift. 
 
-------------------------- 
III. EXBS COUNTRY STRATEGY 
-------------------------- 
 
¶6. (U) Following meetings, tours and extensive discussions 
with Omani and U.S officials, Advisor recommends the 
following strategy for EXBS in Oman: 
 
¶A. (U) Develop or adapt current training to capitalize on the 
Omani strategic plan to create three ports focused on 
distinct niches; Salalah (Transshipment), Qaboos 
(Export/Import) and Sohar (Industrial). 
 
¶B. (U) In concert with the return of the MEGAPORTS site 
survey team in December 2005 (or following the signing of the 
expected MOU) facilitate an assessment of Omani border 
crossing stations and vehicular arteries by the Department of 
Energy Second Line of Defense/CORE program. 
 
¶C. (U) Provide WMD/WME basic-level awareness training to 
ROP-Customs and other Omani officials located in the greater 
geographic regions of Salalah (southern Oman) and Sohar 
(northern Oman) and WMD/WME Advanced-level awareness training 
to ROP-Customs and other Omani officials located in capital 
region of Muscat. 
¶D. (U) Engage US Customs and Border Protection to develop and 
present professional to professional training on Risk 
Management, Detection, Search and Seizure and Tactics/M.O. of 
Smugglers.  Classroom training should be augmented by 
instructors observing ROP-Customs personnel implementing 
skills and tactics at Omani locations.  EXBS Advisor strongly 
recommends a seasoned CBP Inspector visit Oman, observe 
current customs procedures and then act as resource to CBP as 
it adapts and personalizes existing training for Oman. 
Approved training should be scheduled for iterations in 
Sohar, Muscat and Salalah. 
 
¶E. (U) Use Sohar Port development to drive necessary legal 
reforms and creation of an Omani Export Controls System, 
establish the need and structure of an Omani National Control 
List, encourage Omani adherence or membership in relevant 
control regimes and create a viable licensing infrastructure 
in Oman.  As the various phases of the Sohar development come 
on-line, Omani officials will quite naturally be better 
prepared to recognize and respond to the need for an 
integrated control list and licensing and export controls 
system.  Presentation of EXBS training in legal and licensing 
workshops should be keyed to the phased development of Sohar. 
 
 
¶F. (U) Consider funding a study of how Oman can effectively 
design a Joint National Command Center for Border Security 
under the operational control of the Royal Oman Police. 
Among other issues, EXBS Advisor recommends the study address 
or identify the following: how to integrate forces and assets 
in a joint operational environment; options for structure and 
composition of a Quick Reaction Force tasked to respond to 
proliferation incidents; and options for leveraging human 
operations with relevant technological systems, i.e., 
deployment of non-lethal remote piloted surveillance vehicles 
and integrated multi-sensor arrays at select border and 
maritime locations. 
 
¶7. (U) Any questions or comments can be directed to Joseph C. 
Irvine, EXBS Advisor to Jordan & the Middle East, 
Telephone:(962 6) 590-6550/6558, Fax: (962 6) 592-7653, 
Email: IrvineJC@state.gov 
BALTIMORE