Overview: Oman is an important regional counterterrorism partner and worked actively to prevent terrorists from conducting attacks within Oman, or using its territory for safe haven or to transport terrorists, weapons, and materiel. The Government of Oman actively sought training and equipment from U.S. government and commercial entities as well as from other countries to support its efforts to control its land and maritime borders. Oman used U.S. security assistance to improve counterterrorism tactics, techniques, and procedures. Omani officials engaged regularly with U.S. officials on the need to counter violent extremism and terrorism.
Oman participated in Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) meetings and signed the September 11 Jeddah Communiqué to express support for combating the spread of ISIL's extremism. After the Jeddah meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement noting that regional cooperation was needed to end the threat posed by ISIL as quickly as possible. Omani officials also participated in the October Coalition Partners Communications Conference in Kuwait to develop a counter-narrative to ISIL messaging, and the December Counter-ISIL plenary meeting in Brussels. In his remarks to the UN Security Council (UNSC) September 19, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, disparaged ISIL as the "un-Islamic" state.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Royal Decree 8/2007 outlines specific penalties, including the death penalty and life imprisonment, for various terrorist acts, including establishment or leadership of a terrorist group, attempts to join or recruit for a terrorist group, development of an explosive or weapon, or takeover of any mode of transportation for purposes of terrorism. Royal Decree 55/1999, ratified the Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, and Royal Decree 22/2002, ratified the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Convention on Combating International Terrorism. Royal Decree 105/2005 ratifies the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Convention to Counter Terrorism. Oman's criminal procedure law permits those suspected of posing a threat to national security to be held for 30 days without a charge.
A widespread corruption crackdown started in 2013 continued into 2104, with guilty verdicts and lengthy prison terms – up to 23 years in prison – issued to well-placed government officials, influential business persons, and senior leadership of state-owned corporations.
Counterterrorism investigation, crisis response, and border security capabilities were limited by local capacity and a challenging operating environment due to Oman's long and remote borders with Yemen and Saudi Arabia. There was little coordination among the many agencies with jurisdiction over counterterrorism. Roles and responsibilities between law enforcement and the armed forces were not clearly delineated.
In 2014, the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security engaged with the Royal Oman Police Coast Guard, the Directorate General of Customs, and the Royal Army of Oman to deliver numerous training programs designed to assist Omani personnel in enhancing interdiction capabilities at official Ports of Entry on land and at sea ports, and along land and maritime borders.
Oman participated in the U.S. Department of Energy's week-long Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Commodity Identification Course, which included training on identifying and interdicting dual-use material that may to be used in a WMD terrorist attack.
Oman also participated in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided training on maritime border security, cyber investigations, and critical incident management for Omani security officials representing a number of government agencies.
Omani authorities made significant progress on construction of a fence along Oman's long and remote border with Yemen to deter entry into its territory.
The major deterrents to more effective law enforcement and border security are the lack of interagency coordination and lack of training to develop requisite law enforcement skills. Oman's border with Yemen also features extremely rugged, mountainous terrain which challenges border security efforts.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Oman is a member of the Middle East-North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012), the Government of Oman banned in January the import of Somali charcoal - a measure aimed to deny revenue from charcoal sales to the al-Shabaab terrorist group. The Switzerland-based Basel Institute assessed Oman in September 2014 as having the lowest risk among GCC states for money laundering and terrorist financing, according to its Anti-Money Laundering Index, which ranks Oman as 29th globally with a score of 4.76 on a scale from 0 (low risk) to 10 (high risk). Hawala are not permitted to operate in Oman. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2014/vol2/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Oman participates in the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategic Cooperation Forum. During the September 25 forum, Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, joined other GCC foreign ministers in reaffirming the rejection of terrorism, violent extremism, and sectarianism in all their forms, condemning the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and the recruitment of children to carry out attacks, and emphasized that ISIL poses a direct threat to shared peace and security. The foreign ministers agreed to follow up the Strategic Cooperation Forum discussion with concrete steps to destroy and ultimately defeat ISIL, and establish security and stability, including by cutting the group's sources of revenue, blocking travel of foreign fighters, and sharing information on ISIL activities.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Grand Mufti of Oman, Sheikh Ahmed al-Khalili, published an essay in October calling on all Muslims to reject extremism and promote tolerance, themes he again amplified in his popular and widely broadcast weekly television program.