wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05MUSCAT1547
2005-10-16 12:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Muscat
Cable title:  

EXBS STRATEGY FOR OMAN

Tags:   ETTC  MNUC  PARM  PREL  KSTC  KNNP  JO  MU 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MUSCAT 001547 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR ISB/ECC (J. COLLINS, K. CROUCH, P. VAN SON)
DOC FOR D. CREED
US COAST GUARD FOR USCG ACTIVITIES/MIO EUROPE M. BEE
US CUSTOMS FOR P. WARKER, W. LAWRENCE
USDOE/NNSA FOR T. PERRY, W. KILMARTIN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2015
TAGS: ETTC MNUC PARM PREL KSTC KNNP JO MU
SUBJECT: EXBS STRATEGY FOR OMAN

Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III.
Reason: 1.4(b).

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. (SBU) EXBS Advisor recently met with Omani officials,
Embassy staff and representatives of the Department of
Energy's MEGAPORTS Initiative to discuss the current state of
Export Controls and Related Border Security in Oman. Oman, a
recent addition to both the Container Security Initiative
(CSI) and the MEGAPORTS Initiative, has shown great
willingness to work with USG organizations to better protect
its ports and borders. Based on meetings with concerned
Omani officials, following is the proposed EXBS strategy for
Oman. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


II. MEETINGS SUMMARIES


--------------------------





2. (U) Between September 25 and October 4, EXBS Advisor met
with principal US Embassy staff to discuss the state of EXBS
in Oman. The salient points of those meetings were as
follows:



A. (SBU) The ROP-Coast Guard has done a good job executing
traditional missions of maritime interdiction and coastal
security. Better cooperation between the ROP-Coast Guard and
the Royal Oman Navy with respect to the use and application
of coastal radar would allow the Coast Guard to use its
limited assets more effectively in countering smuggling and
the potential threat of illicit proliferation activities.



B. (SBU) A National Command Center for Border Security under
the operational control of the Royal Oman Police would allow
Oman to coordinate its assets in securing its borders.
Specialized elements of the Omani armed forces are capable of
imposing localized control in response to an identified
proliferation incident. Because the joint concept of
operations is new to Oman, scenario-driven exercises would
likely be required to ensure smooth operational performance
of a National Command Center for Border Security.



C. (C) Omani ability to operate effectively at night is
limited, but could be enhanced with appropriate training and
equipment.



D. (SBU) A culture and tradition of illicit trade in the
region hampers the establishment of effective and modern
export controls, especially in the coastal areas of the
Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, and along the land
border with the Republic of Yemen.



3. (U) On September 25-26, EXBS Advisor toured the Port of
Salalah and met with officials of the Ministry of Transport
and Telecommunications (MOTC), Royal Oman Police (ROP), and
Salalah Port Services Company (SPS), as well as officials
from the US Embassy and representatives of the MEGAPORTS
Initiative. The salient points of those meetings were as
follows:



A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Salalah port officials are

committed to cooperating with the Container Security
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS-related
programs.



B. (U) The official signing of the Container Security
Initiative (CSI) and MEGAPORTS agreement between Oman and the
U.S. will occur later this fall. CSI implementation at
Salalah will ensure all targeted containers are scanned with
program equipment.



C. (U) The Department of Energy's MEGAPORTS team will survey
the Port of Salalah the first week of December 2005.
Following this survey, the MEGAPORTS team will recommend
points of equipment installation and address any impact on
port operations. When all stakeholders agree upon equipment
location, MEGAPORTS will begin physical installation and
training of Omani personnel. Training will occur in the U.S.
and Oman. Taking into consideration the unique design and
operational procedures of Salalah, MEGAPORTS will install its
equipment to facilitate scanning of the greatest percentage
of transshipped cargo possible while minimizing the
operational impact of such scanning. A working group
composed of representatives of MOTC, ROP-Customs and SPS will
be identified and tasked by the Omani government to interface
with MEGAPORTS representatives.



D. (U) According to SPS, 99 percent of all cargo moving in
and through Salalah is transshipped. The average dwell-time
for cargo is 4.3 days and for empty containers it is 6 to 7
days. One quarter of all cargo moving through Salalah has a
&quick turn around8 of one day or less.



4. (U) On September 27, EXBS Advisor toured Port Sultan
Qaboos in Muscat and met with officials of the MOTC,
ROP-Customs, and Port Services Corporation - Port Sultan
Qaboos (PSC), as well as officials from the US Embassy and
representatives of the MEGAPORTS Initiative. The salient
points of the meetings were as follows:



A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Muscat port officials are
committed to cooperating with the Container Security
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS related
programs.



B. (U) The official signing of the Container Security
Initiative (CSI) and MEGAPORTS agreement between Oman and the
U.S. will occur later this fall. CSI implementation at Port
Sultan Qaboos will ensure all targeted containers are scanned
with program equipment.



C. (U) MEGAPORTS Initiative will send a site survey team to
Port Sultan Qaboos the first week of December to complete a
site survey. Implementation of MEGAPORTS at Port Sultan
Qaboos will be simultaneous with implementation at the port
of Salalah.



D. (U) According to PSC, Port Sultan Qaboos moves
approximately 284,000 containers annually, and fifty to sixty
thousands of these containers are transshipments. Cargo
manifests are electronically filed with Omani Customs by the
shipper or freight forwarder. New entry gates to the port
are under construction which will facilitate near 100 percent
scanning of all container cargo while ensuring a negligible
operational impact. Most shippers using the port give 48
hour notification to port authorities on manifested cargo.
The exception is when feeder ships from other regional ports
like Dubai, U.A.E., sail and enter the port in under
48-hours. Most cargo moving into and through the port
originates in Japanese, Chinese and other Asian ports.



5. (U) On October 1-2, EXBS Advisor toured the Sohar
Industrial Port and the border crossings at Wadi Al-Jizi and
Al-Wajahjah, and met with Jamal Tawfiq Aziz, Deputy CEO,
Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC); Captain Murad A.
al-Ma,amari, Harbor Master, SIPC; Major Khalid al-Yahyai and
other officers and inspectors of the ROP-Customs assigned to
the region. The salient points of those meetings were as
follows:



A. (U) The Sultanate of Oman and Sohar port officials are
committed to cooperating with the Container Security
Initiative, the MEGAPORTS Initiative and other EXBS-related
programs.



B. (U) A Declaration of Principles is scheduled to be signed
in November 2005 and will cover the Container Security
Initiative and Megaports activities proposed for Oman.
Implementation is currently being planned at the Port of
Salalah and Port Sultan Qaboos.



C. (U) The government of Oman and SIPC have a detailed master
plan to develop the port of Sohar into a world class
industrial port modeled after Rotterdam. The managing
partner for the port has just been announced as Hutchison,s
Port Holding based in Hong Kong. Development of the port is
coordinated with the Omani move away from an oil-centric
economy. Port facilities and industrial infrastructure will
capitalize on emerging natural gas technology rather than
oil-based designs. Sohar will center on petro-chemical
industries and refineries, bulk and liquid shipping, a
container terminal, medium industries such as an aluminum
smelter, related trucking and shipping infrastructure and an
extensive special economic/free trade zone.



D. (U) Current milestones of Sohar development on or ahead of
schedule include: completion of liquid jetties (April 2006);
general cargo berthing area expansion from 300 to 750 meters
(Jan 2006); dredging harbor channel to a depth of 16.5 meters
and using fill to create foundation for new terminal and
berth capacity expansion (2007-2009) and establishment of the
special economic/free trade zone (2007-2010.)



E. (SBU) Border crossings at Wadi Al-Jizi and Al-Wajahjah are
newly opened facilities manned 24/7 by Immigration and
ROP-Customs personnel. These two portals see most of the
vehicular and commercial truck traffic moving between the
U.A.E. and Oman. Typical contraband confiscated by
ROP-Customs at these locations includes fireworks, alcohol,
cigarettes, pornography and mobile telephones. Some seizures
of illicit drugs, ammunition and small arms have occurred,
but are rare. Alternate routes of ingress and regress used
by smugglers are known and monitored as availability of
personnel and equipment allow. As in other areas of the
region, smuggling activities are frequently a family-centered
activity. Smugglers are not generally armed. Typical daily
averages at Al-Wajahjah include 621 commercial trucks and
1500 automobiles. The majority of trucks travel into Oman
during the night. ROP-Customs manning at these portals is
comparable with U.S. Customs and Border Protection norms at
portals of similar size and activity. Searches of cargo
appeared to be conducted visually and by hand without the aid
of any instrumentation. Although not seen by EXBS Advisor,
ROP-Customs claimed to have detection dogs available for each
shift.



--------------------------


III. EXBS COUNTRY STRATEGY


--------------------------





6. (U) Following meetings, tours and extensive discussions
with Omani and U.S officials, Advisor recommends the
following strategy for EXBS in Oman:



A. (U) Develop or adapt current training to capitalize on the
Omani strategic plan to create three ports focused on
distinct niches; Salalah (Transshipment), Qaboos
(Export/Import) and Sohar (Industrial).



B. (U) In concert with the return of the MEGAPORTS site
survey team in December 2005 (or following the signing of the
expected MOU) facilitate an assessment of Omani border
crossing stations and vehicular arteries by the Department of
Energy Second Line of Defense/CORE program.



C. (U) Provide WMD/WME basic-level awareness training to
ROP-Customs and other Omani officials located in the greater
geographic regions of Salalah (southern Oman) and Sohar
(northern Oman) and WMD/WME Advanced-level awareness training
to ROP-Customs and other Omani officials located in capital
region of Muscat.


D. (U) Engage US Customs and Border Protection to develop and
present professional to professional training on Risk
Management, Detection, Search and Seizure and Tactics/M.O. of
Smugglers. Classroom training should be augmented by
instructors observing ROP-Customs personnel implementing
skills and tactics at Omani locations. EXBS Advisor strongly
recommends a seasoned CBP Inspector visit Oman, observe
current customs procedures and then act as resource to CBP as
it adapts and personalizes existing training for Oman.
Approved training should be scheduled for iterations in
Sohar, Muscat and Salalah.



E. (U) Use Sohar Port development to drive necessary legal
reforms and creation of an Omani Export Controls System,
establish the need and structure of an Omani National Control
List, encourage Omani adherence or membership in relevant
control regimes and create a viable licensing infrastructure
in Oman. As the various phases of the Sohar development come
on-line, Omani officials will quite naturally be better
prepared to recognize and respond to the need for an
integrated control list and licensing and export controls
system. Presentation of EXBS training in legal and licensing
workshops should be keyed to the phased development of Sohar.




F. (U) Consider funding a study of how Oman can effectively
design a Joint National Command Center for Border Security
under the operational control of the Royal Oman Police.
Among other issues, EXBS Advisor recommends the study address
or identify the following: how to integrate forces and assets
in a joint operational environment; options for structure and
composition of a Quick Reaction Force tasked to respond to
proliferation incidents; and options for leveraging human
operations with relevant technological systems, i.e.,
deployment of non-lethal remote piloted surveillance vehicles
and integrated multi-sensor arrays at select border and
maritime locations.



7. (U) Any questions or comments can be directed to Joseph C.
Irvine, EXBS Advisor to Jordan & the Middle East,
Telephone:(962 6) 590-6550/6558, Fax: (962 6) 592-7653,
Email: IrvineJC@state.gov
BALTIMORE