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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Oman’

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.

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.”

Comments:

(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.

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.”

Before

Before

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.

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.

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

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