Viewing cable 05MUSCAT552
Title: SULTAN'S SECURITY CHIEF ON ARRESTS OF IBADHI

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT5522005-04-04 13:20:00 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 02 MUSCAT 000552 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/ARPI, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: X5 
TAGS: PINS PGOV SOCI KISL PHUM KJUS PINR MU
SUBJECT: SULTAN'S SECURITY CHIEF ON ARRESTS OF IBADHI 
CONSPIRATORS 
 
REF: A. MUSCAT 175 
 
     ¶B. MUSCAT 231 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III. 
Reason: 1.4 (b). 
 
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Summary 
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¶1. (C) The Minister of the Royal Office and one of the most 
powerful men in the country, General Ali bin Majid 
al-Ma'amari told the Ambassador that forty people have been 
arrested for conspiring to overthrow the government in order 
to resurrect an Ibadhi religious state in the interior.  The 
Minister asserted that all legal requirements were met in the 
course of the arrests and mocked the notion that the Omani 
people would accept a formal political and religious division 
of the Sultanate.  The conspirators, he insisted, represent a 
small and entirely indigenous grouping with no ties, support 
or links with any outsiders.  He was firm in asserting that 
the security forces have a good handle on and will swiftly 
respond to any challenge to the current order, whether from 
Ibadhis or any other sect.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (C) On the heels of a meeting with the visiting Yemeni 
Minister of Interior, Omani Minister of the Royal Office 
General Ali bin Majid al-Ma'amari (aka Ali Majid) seized an 
opportunity to meet briefly with the Ambassador on April 4, 
¶2005.  Ali Majid wanted to address forthrightly reason behind 
the arrests that have taken place during the past months in 
Oman.  (Note: The Royal Office is a conglomeration of our 
NSC, CIA, and White House Staff.  It also directly controls 
Oman's foreign intelligence, the Sultan's Special Forces and, 
indirectly, the Internal Security Service.  End note.) 
 
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WHO, HOW AND WHY? 
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¶3. (C) Ali Majid asserted that forty persons were arrested in 
connection with a plot to overthrow the government and 
resurrect the religious-based Imamate dissolved in 1954.  He 
repeatedly stressed that those in custody were all Ibadhis 
with no/no links with any foreign organization or 
personality.  (Note: Saudi Arabia had aided Imamate forces in 
the 1950's.  End note.)  He opined that although Omanis are 
free to express their opinion as they see fit, whether in the 
press or in Internet chatrooms, it would be "intolerable" to 
allow a group to plot against the government.  He 
rhetorically asked whether they saw merit in attempting to 
imitate Al-Houthi in Yemen, Saudi extremists or the Iranian 
revolutionaries by attempting to turn back the clock?  Did 
they really think that the Omani people would tolerate the 
imposition of social strictures such as forbidding women to 
drive?  Did they believe it would to beneficial to all to 
allow a division of the country into two again, and perhaps 
into even more parts later?  To demonstrate his point of how 
far off the mark they are, he noted that the Sultan's annual 
tour into the interior was longer than usual and that he (Ali 
Majid) personally witnessed a high level of popular 
enthusiasm and respect for the Sultan throughout His 
Majesty's recent travels. 
 
¶4. (C) Ali Majid insisted that notwithstanding foreign press 
reports to the contrary, all arrests were made after 
obtaining search warrants from a court, women were present if 
a female was taken into custody, a relative or friend of the 
family was always with the authorities during a search and 
signed a statement that it had been conducted properly and 
that no unrelated items were seized, and that those in 
custody have a right to legal representation.  The future of 
the arrested, he said, is now in the hands of the courts. 
 
¶5. (C) In response to a question from the Ambassador, the 
General said that the Omani who shot a British citizen in 
Muscat on September 26, 2004, was mentally deranged and 
dismissed it as "a matter for the police." 
 
¶6. (C) The Minister placed great emphasis on "the lesson" the 
arrests have shown i.e., the Omani authorities will treat all 
citizens alike whether Ibadhi, Sunni or belonging to any 
other religious persuasion. 
 
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Comment 
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¶7. (C) Comment:  As reported previously, the Minister of 
Information made a fool of himself when he broke the official 
silence and tried to respond to growing international press 
reports that alleged hundreds of arrests (ref A).  The 
Foreign Ministry subsequently tried to calm the waters (ref 
B), but with limited effect.  Ali Majid, one of the most 
powerful members of the cabinet, seized this chance to assure 
the Ambassador that Oman is a safe place and that the 
government has a firm control over its internal security and 
will not hesitate to respond effectively against any threat 
to the public order, whether fellow Ibadhis or otherwise. 
BALTIMORE