Cablegate: Oman Online: Mercy and Missiles

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: The Omani Internet message boards "al-Sablah" and
"al-Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic-
language fora for political and social discourse in the country,
touching on issues and personalities rarely addressed in the
conventional media. While not totally free, nor wholly
reflective of Omani public opinion, these popular sites
nevertheless offer a worthwhile window into the hot topics and
unvarnished views of the day. This edition of Oman Online
contains the following topics:

-- Sultan Qaboos' Pardons
-- Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program

End summary.

Pardon Me

2. Sultan Qaboos' June 9 decree pardoning the thirty-one Ibadhi
Muslims convicted of belonging to a secret organization and
seeking to overthrow the government was hailed by Oman's media
(reftel), and al-Sablah members quickly joined the fray. Most
respondents expressed jubilation at the decision; one member
exclaimed, "We have come to expect this generosity from our great
leader. May God protect and save him!"

3. Other participants were less exuberant. One cautious
contributor wrote, "We should note that this is not a victory
over the Sultan or over the government. Rather, it is the result
of wise politicians, recognizing the divisions that exist in
Omani society." Still others felt a sense of vindication,
including one member who declared, "We knew that the convicted
shaikhs and scholars were honest. They are role models for our
country; how could they possibly endanger their own people?"

Persian Plutonium

4. The issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions, sparked by the visit of
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Dr. Hassan Rohani, produced an
energetic discussion among al-Sablah members, with many
individuals voicing their suspicion of American intentions. One
writer commented, "Iran is not Iraq, and the Americans should
think strategically before making a move against Tehran. But we
should not ignore the Americans' warnings." Another member
argued, "Nobody believes the play-acting between Iran and the
United States anymore; America has been shaking its fist at Iran
since the revolution, while Iran dreams of having a larger slice
of the Arab pie." There was widespread agreement, however, on
the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran: "We do not want any country
to build nuclear weapons, but especially Iran because it is so
close to Omani soil."


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