Overview: Oman is an important regional counterterrorism partner and was actively involved in working to prevent terrorists from conducting attacks within Oman, and using the country for safe haven or transport of weapons and materiel support. In 2012, several suspected terrorists, identified by the Government of Oman as members of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, illegally entered southern Oman from Yemen. The Government of Oman reported this event in its national press, stressing that security of the country was its foremost concern. The Omani government actively sought training and equipment from the United States and commercial entities, as well as those from other countries to support its efforts to control its land and maritime borders. Oman used U.S. security assistance to enhance nighttime operational capabilities on its maritime and land borders.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In 2012, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) procured night vision equipment for the ROP-Coast Guard for use in patrolling its coastline and territorial waters. In addition, the Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) training included a legal and regulatory advisor from the Monterey Institute, who consulted with the Omani government and private sector on the best route for Oman to take to adopt comprehensive strategic trade controls in accordance with international standards. EXBS also trained Omani Customs and Airport Security Officials on identifying contraband hidden in air cargo and identifying smugglers of contraband. The EXBS program trained members of the Royal Army of Oman on the tracking and apprehension of persons illegally crossing Omani borders, and the inspection of suspect vehicles. Oman also continued its participation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program which provided training on vital infrastructure security, examination of terrorist crime scenes, terrorist investigations, and the interdiction of terrorist activities.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Oman is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In July 2010, Royal Decree number 79/2010 enacted new comprehensive legislation on Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The AML/CFT legislation consolidated Oman's previous AML/CFT laws, created a national committee for AML/CFT, and codified Oman's "safe harbor" and mutual legal assistance regulations. The law designated the Royal Oman Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as the responsible entity for enforcing AML/CFT laws and regulations. Oman has since put forward considerable funding and effort towards increasing the capabilities of its FIU, a member of the Egmont Group. The FIU recognizes its lack of capacity in forensic analysis, and increasingly sought U.S. assistance to increase the FIU's capacity to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, including terrorist finance.

The Government of Oman, led by the efforts of the Central Bank of Oman, has continued to exercise caution and a high degree of oversight in its commercial banking sector. In December 2012, Oman formally introduced Islamic banking services into the financial system through Royal Decree 69/2012, which added a provision to allow Islamic Banking services to be offered under existing banking law. Hawalas are not permitted in the financial service sector, and Omani authorities have acted on two occasions to shutter attempted hawala operations. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.


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