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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Oman’

Kerry Winked at Oman’s Human Rights Record for Backing Iran Deal

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

John Kerry’s top advisers were so anxious to pacify Oman for backing the Iran nuclear deal that they blocked a report that would have put Oman dangerously close to being sanctioned for human rights violations, Reuters reported.

The news agency’s exclusive report stated that the unusual intervention by the Secretary of State’s top echelon “suggests the Obama administration placed diplomatic priorities over human rights to pacify an important Middle East partner.”

U.S. diplomats in its Middle East bureau and in a department whose objective is to fight human trafficking advised that Oman’s ranking on forced labor and trafficking in humans should be lowered by one level, which would have left it one notch above the category that would have placed the oil-rich ally on the list of countries that can be sanctioned.

Kerry’s staff simply delayed publishing the scheduled June date for publishing the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report in order to soothe Oman’s anger over the planned demotion, Reuters said.

The report was eventually published in July, but Oman’s ranking magically was left unchanged, an apparent gift for its supporting President Barack Obama’s efforts to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear development, regardless of a nasty human rights record.

The State Dept, did not directly respond to Reuters when the issue was raised.

Oman used its importance to the United States as a lever to protest the scheduled downgrade in its human rights record, Reuters quoted Mark Lagon, the TIP office’s ambassador-at-large from 2007 to 2009 and now president of Freedom House, as saying, “I’m not aware of a case where something like this has happened before.”

If Oman had been dropped one level to “Tier 3,” it would have shared the embarrassing distinction of being on par with North Korea when it comes to trafficking in humans.

The news agency added:

A Reuters investigation published on Aug. 3 revealed a high degree of ‘grade inflation’ in this year’s rankings.

An unprecedented number of diplomatically sensitive countries such as Malaysia, China, Cuba, Uzbekistan and Mexico wound up with ratings higher than recommended by the State Department’s own human rights experts.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Iran’s Best Shot Rapidly Approaching

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Iran is rapidly approaching its last and best chance with the United States to reach a diplomatic agreement over the parameters for its nuclear development program.

The November 24 deadline for the conclusion of negotiations between Tehran and world powers draws closer, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union senior adviser Cathern Ashton locked into intense discussions in Muscat, Oman, that began yesterday (Sunday, Nov. 9) and are continuing into today (Monday, Nov. 10).

The yawning chasm that separates the sides must still be closed before a deal can be reached to prevent Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. President Barack Obama, who appeared Sunday on “Face the Nation” on the CBS television network.

“There’s still a big gap. We may not be able to get there,” Obama said.

One of the major concerns in the Middle East – and the rest of the planet – is the possibility that once developed, Iran can and probably would sell its nuclear arms and/or technology to the myriad terrorist groups it generously supports. Most of those have set their sites on the destruction of Israel.

But the month of January will also bring with it a whole new world in the House of Representatives and the Senate – and with that, a drop in Iran’s options for compromise as well as possibly any wiggle room for further discussion, period.

U.S. President Barack Obama at that point will also be far more limited in his ability to protect the Iranian regime’s freedom to expand its uranium enrichment, which has allow it to continue its race towards an atomic weapon.

During Obama’s years in office, Iran has managed to enrich uranium far above the minimum level required for development of military-grade nuclear fuel. He approved a number of loopholes and exemptions for countries such as China and Turkey in economic sanctions imposed on international energy trade with Iran. The sanctions were designed to force Iran into compliance with United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests to inspect sites and recommendations for ensuring Tehran’s nuclear program would remain within the guidelines for peaceful civilian use.

Iran, for its part, has consistently refused to limit its nuclear production or development in any way, ever. The Islamic Republic has also vowed throughout each administration since 1979 — the Islamic Revolution — to annihilate Israel, including very recently, despite the current president’s image as a so-called “moderate.”

Hana Levi Julian

U.S./Oman Alliance: Pragmatism, Peace and Pipelines

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The U.S., and Saudi Arabia must have greater economic and diplomatic relations with Oman. This is possible by assisting in the construction of a pipeline with Oman to India from the port of Duqm, Oman on the Arabian Sea. Oman is vital to the West because it connects Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf nations to the Indian Ocean. Its coastline extends hundreds of miles south of tension in the Persian Gulf.

Oman holds great potential with regard to Asia and the West because of its possible role in passage from the Mediterranean and Middle East to the Indian Ocean. Oman is unobstructed by conflict. This is extremely vital considering the lack of stability in the Suez Canal, Gulf of Aden, and the Persian Gulf.

As the U.S. becomes more self-sufficient with regard to domestic energy supply, it must aid peaceful nations in the Gulf in discovering markets of future value to assure freedom of conflict as well as Islamic radicalism. Fortunately, Oman and other countries in the GCC are seeking projects that will further their wealth. Prosperity, economic production, and transparent leadership are what is needed to draw youth, and those tired of political stagnation away from support for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.

In past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran. It has been wary of Saudi Arabia because of past conflict over regional hegemony. However, Iran’s recent treatment of countries in the Persian Gulf, especially Bahrain, has mirrored that of China in the South China Sea. If Oman can have greater relations with the West, they will be less enticed to rely on Iran for economic partnerships. Both Oman and Iran have discussed the possibility of an India-Iran-Oman triangle. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia should pose the benefits of constructing an underwater pipeline from the central port of Duqm instead.

A Saudi-U.S.-Oman partnership is politically stable, solidifies a pro-Western stance among Gulf nations, and forges greater connection to India, the largest democracy in the world. In addition, the construction of an Oman-Indian pipeline would assure Oman would greater security and protection by the West, and better relations with their neighbors, Saudi Arabia.

Existing infrastructure from the Trans-Arabian and Arab pipelines can help accommodate for a new transport route from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Oman is a necessary element in cementing this route. Since 1980, Oman has been an ally of the U.S., and allows military access to its bases and ports. Currently, it has worked with the U.S. in creating a defense shield against Iran. There is also the potential of a U.S. constructed defense program capable of intercepting Iranian missiles in and out of the earth’s atmosphere designed specifically for the Gulf nations, including Oman.

As with other countries in the Middle East, radicalism poses a major internal threat. One can argue that due to its support of the Assad regime, Iran is to blame for the rebellion of the Sunni majority in Syria, resulting in ISIS. Oman should be wary of Iran’s military and economic support in proxy wars.

The Houthis, a radical Shiite group, has just co-opted power with President Abed Mansour Hadi in neighboring Yemen. They have acquired a state within a state, similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Houthis are a prime example of how Iran maintains proxy wars. The Houthi conflict could potentially “boil over” into Oman. Yemen, already a hotbed of insurgency, as well Somalia, its neighbor across the Red Sea, have effectively closed off trade in this region, making the Suez Canal ineffective as a transport route. It is likely that Iran may close off the Strait of Hormuz as well, cutting off diplomatic ties with Oman in the process.

Terence Rosenthal

Has Iran Gained a Foothold in the Arabian Peninsula?

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

According to a sensational report by Awad Mustafa in DefenseNews, a Gannett publication, not only has Tehran signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates over three disputed islands near the Strait of Hormuz, but it has also reached a possibly even more important accord with the government of Oman. Both of these agreements have vast implications for the oil trade, the world economy, and Iranian influence.

According an unnamed “high level UAE source,” secretive talks taking place over six months led to a deal on the Greater and Lesser Tunbs finalized on Dec. 24: “For now, two of the three islands are to return to the UAE while the final agreement for Abu Musa is being ironed out. Iran will retain the sea bed rights around the three islands while the UAE will hold sovereignty over the land.”

This is big news, but yet bigger potentially is the source’s stating that “Oman will grant Iran a strategic location on Ras Musandam mountain, which is a very strategic point overlooking the whole gulf region. In return for Ras Musandam, Oman will receive free gas and oil from Iran once a pipeline is constructed within the coming two years.”

Both agreements center around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil passageway and vulnerability.

The UAE deal involves the tiny but strategic islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs near the straits, occupied by Iranian forces since 1971, just as the UAE emerged as an independent country.

It’s not clear what granting to the Iranians “a strategic location on Ras Musandam mountain” means but Musandam is the very tip of the Straits of Hormuz and Tehran winning access to any sort of military position there could enhance its ability to block the oil trade as well as make trouble on the peninsula.

Oman’s role in facilitating the UAE-Iran talks, says the source, was approved by Washington: “Oman was given the green light from Iran and the US to reach deals that would decrease the threat levels in the region and offset the Saudi Arabian influence in the future by any means.”


(1) As if the Joint Plan of Action announced by the P5+1 and Tehran on Nov. 24 were not a disaster on the nuclear issue, it is also encouraging regional governments to appease the bellicose and ambitious Iranian regime.

(2) That the Obama administration seeks to “offset” Saudi influence with Iranian influence sounds unlikely – but given the geniuses occupying the White House these days, who knows? (January 15, 2014)

Jan. 18, 2014 update: The Middle East Forum’s Steven J. Rosen points out to me that news reports last month alleging Iranian concessions on the three Persian Gulf islands prompted a vehement denial from the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Dec. 11:

We have always emphasized that the issue of sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the Lesser Tunb, the Greater Tunb, and Abu Moussa cannot be the subject of Iran-UAE negotiations. … Any type of news fabrication on Iran-UAE negotiations on the sovereignty of those three islands is absolutely baseless, and sheer lies, and we categorically deny them.

In similar fashion, one would now expect an even stronger denial from Tehran, as well as one from Musqat, the capital of Oman.

Three days after the DefenseNews article, however, silence reigns. As best I can tell, news reports in all languages, including Arabic and Persian, on this alleged deal derive from that single report. This could either mean that its author, Awad Mustafa, struck gold or it is completely off the mark.

Daniel Pipes

Cartoon Rehab: Oh, Go Ahead, Surrender, You Know You Want To…

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

We found this cartoon on the ADL website. They say it was originally published in Oman, April 12, 2012, and the original text, written in blood, says: “We Will Never Surrender.”



Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Yori Yanover

More Bluster From Tehran

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It is hard to make much sense out of the recent military threats Iran has been aiming at the West and the U.S. in particular. We can certainly appreciate that Iran would chafe at the sanctions already in place, as well as those that will shortly kick in designed to induce Iran to abandon its efforts at securing nuclear military capability.

Yet when a military pipsqueak deigns to tweak the West – particularly the American military colossus – in an attempt to thwart the imposition of new sanctions, serious questions arise as to the mindset and judgment of those in control in Tehran. Indeed, these developments tend to support those who contend that nuclear weapons in the hands of the mullahs is unacceptable and must be avoided by whatever means necessary. The new sanctions imposed by the U.S. that will commence in six months target Iran’s oil industry and its oil exports as well as companies that do business with Iran’s Central Bank through which most Iranian oil is sold.

Recently, the Iranian military promised that if the West’s sanctions were enhanced to include Iranian exports of crude oil, Iran would block the Strait of Hormuz, which it says is completely within its capacity to do.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most important checkpoints in the world, through which millions of barrels of oil – constituting about a third of all oil shipped by sea – pass. Shutting off the Strait would be disastrous for the world economy, causing oil prices to skyrocket. Parenthetically, it should be noted that 80 percent of Iran’s revenues come from its oil industry and much of its oil is shipped through the Straits.

Thus it is inconceivable that Iran does not understand that the international community will not allow the Strait to be closed. And the Iranians also know that several governments maintain a naval presence in the region, to say nothing of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which standing alone is one of the most formidable fighting forces in the world.

“We’ve been committed to Gulf security for decades,” a senior Obama administration official told CNN, “and it should come as no surprise to anyone that we’ll do what we must to ensure the Strait remains open.”

Yet following its threat to close the Strait, Iran held an extensive ten-day naval exercise near the Strait involving guided missiles – an exercise Iranian officials said was designed to show that Iran could indeed close the vital passage.

Gen. Ataolah Salehi, Iran’s army chief, went so far as to say, referring to an American aircraft carrier that had passed through the Strait: “We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to the Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf.”

We are accustomed to the verbal excesses of Arab and Muslim political leaders, but the current circumstance is a cause for special concern. If the Iranians are so adept at boxing themselves into a corner, even if inadvertently, possession of nuclear weapons would make them a uniquely dangerous force. And their open defiance of the West’s overwhelming military power suggests a martyr complex that would be unthinkable if backed up with the ability to destroy a good part of the civilized world.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/more-bluster-from-tehran/2012/01/04/

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