Cablegate: Oman's Sultan Qaboos and a/S Feltman Discuss Yemen


DE RUEHMS #0103 0540622
R 230622Z FEB 10

S E C R E T MUSCAT 000103


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/23

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard J. Schmierer, Ambassador, State, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (S) SUMMARY: In a February 17 meeting with NEA Assistant Secretary Feltman, Sultan Qaboos

-- Supported President Saleh and a united Yemen;

-- Concurred wholeheartedly with the U.S. analysis and approach to
Yemen, especially on the need to maintain pressure on President

-- Agreed the fight against al-Qaida should be the highest priority in Yemen and the region;

-- Explained that he had placed Omani security forces on alert to counter al-Qaida;

-- Saw Yemen's 2013 presidential elections as a potential watershed; between now and then Saleh would need to prove himself
"worthy" to his fellow Yemenis.


2. (C) NEA Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman called on Oman's
Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said February 17. In a meeting lasting
almost two-hours, the two focused discussions on Iran and Yemen.
This cable reports the Yemen discussion; Iran is reported septel. Also present on the Omani side was MFA Secretary General (D-equivalent) and fellow royal Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Humud Al Busaidi. Ambassador Richard Schmierer and DCM (notetaker) filled out the U.S. side.

3. (S) SHRINKING CIRCLE. A/S Feltman reviewed the U.S. assessment of the situation in Yemen and President Ali Abdallah Saleh. Saleh appears to be muddling through a challenging situation, but there is concern that he is relying on a shrinking leadership circle
consisting of family, the military, and some tribal elements. At the same time, Saleh appears focused on non-existential distractions such as the Houthis when the focus should be on the potentially existential threat Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) poses. The question that arises is whether Saleh see these "distractions" as useful to him in managing the situation. The United States sees no real alternative to supporting Saleh. The U.S. is nevertheless determined to send a very clear message on its future expectations while assistance will be conditionally based. The Sultan cautioned that Saleh might use competition among donors to degrade conditionality.

4. (S) BALANCING ACT. The Sultan agreed on the need to support
Saleh. Yemen was at a "crucial" point in time. The Yemeni president continues to conduct a "balancing act." Recent information the Sultan has received corroborates the U.S. analysis that Saleh is increasingly inward looking, relying on a small circle of trust and not sharing the responsibilities of governing as he had done before. Further, Saleh is losing support of the Hashed tribe that led him to power. The Houthi struggle was a domestic issue. The Sultan believed it would be coming to an end soon because Saudi Arabia, on which Saleh is dependent, realized it needed to stop.

5. (S) FOCUSING ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. The Sultan reviewed some history of Yemen. He had been personally involved in efforts to avert the 1994 civil war. The south entered the union because it calculated it would dominate the government, a calculation that proved wrong. The situation has been exacerbated because the north has neglected the south, especially after the north's victory in
the war. Consequently, in the south today there are two schools
developing. One is seeking greater autonomy within a united Yemen, and the other seeks independence. Oman supports a united Yemen.
The 2012 [sic] presidential election will be a key to gauging the future. Developments in Yemen will be difficult to predict, but Oman will work to preclude the development of any political "vacuum." If Saleh is to be re-elected, he must use the intervening years to convince Yemenis that he is worthy.

6. (S) NO MORE GAMES. For the present, the Sultan believed that
dealing with AQAP was the highest priority for all concerned. Oman's policy is to root out AQAP. The Sultan had recently placed Oman's security forces at maximum alert against AQAP. Al-Qaida moved to Yemen because it saw opportunities there. It could prey on territorial, tribal, and religious differences. Saleh must be kept under pressure to do more, not just against AQAP directly, but also more to deny AQAP the tools it uses to create dissension. Thus, Saleh must do more for his people in terms of good governance. His message to Saleh is that there must be "no more games."

7. (U) A/S Feltman cleared this message.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Euro-Med Monitor: Sudan Military Coup Shatters Democratic Path, Threatens With Authoritarian Rule Return
The Sudanese army's seizure of power in the country diminishes the hard-won human rights and civil gains achieved after the December 2018 protests, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement...More>>

Weather: Pacific Likely To Experience Double Dip La Niña Episode

The Pacific is likely to experience a rare occurrence of what is called a double dip La Niña in the coming months, Climate models and predictions tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show...

CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Pacific: Young Climate Leaders Call For Urgent Climate Action Ahead Of COP26

Eight Pacific Young Climate Leaders shared their experiences of climate resilience and activism in an inaugural dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna on 21 October 2021... More>>

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>

COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>