Thursday, February 5, 2009

Unfortunately, a real security situation in Oman is developing...

Those who are regulars to Muscat Confidential will know I've long insisted Oman is a jewel surrounded by places that are generally bat-shit crazy and horrible places to live: Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi, Yemen, and the UAE....

(see for yourself)

Here's a story [The Economist] I thought contained some of the worst news for us here in Oman I've read lately: Many currently held in Guantanamo Cuba are about to be released.... back to Yemen. Where a rump of Al Qaida, Tabliban-saudi's and local Islamo-nutters have already established a bridgehead.

The new 'Pakistan-Tribal-Areas' in 2009 may be about to become the hills of northern Yemen, and those idiots will only have 2 ways to go: Saudi and us. Fortunately, its Saudi they seem to have a fixation on... but being next door to well armed, hardened psychopathic islamo-nutcases with a chip on their shoulder about the West isn't a nice thing.

I hope and trust the powers that be are prepared for a significantly increased threat from the south later this year, and perhaps a long-lasting cross-border conflict if no-one drains the swamp (and no-one has for 5000 years).

It may be time to shut-down the border again.

The Joke is... when offered to be released in freedom, to escape to the hills of Northern Yemen, 80% of the prisoners said they'd rather stay in Cuba where they had AC, TV and 3 squares a day....

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The comments section in the article is worth a look. The best comment so far is posted after the extract from the Economist below...

Yemen and al-Qaeda
A nice safe haven for jihadists

Jan 29th 2009 | SANA’A
From The Economist print edition
When Guantánamo closes, many of its inmates will know where to go.

LAST March, al-Qaeda websites posted a message advising members to head for Yemen, the Arabian peninsula’s unruly south-west corner. The call, it seems, has been answered. The global terror franchise has released a video showing fugitive Saudi jihadists and their Yemeni hosts proclaiming a merger between their two branches, plus images of combat training in Yemen’s rugged mountains. Now other friends may soon be joining the fighters, by quite a different route. The Yemeni government says it expects most of the 100-odd Yemenis still held in the American prison camp at Guantánamo, where they now make up the largest national group of inmates, to be home by the spring. It is building a special camp where jihadist suspects will be allowed to live with their families, while undergoing reindoctrination to equip them for a peaceful return to society.

Yet, to the chagrin of the Yemeni and Saudi governments, as well as of an Obama administration that wants Guantánamo closed, the two Saudis in the video happen to be graduates both of the tropical island jail and of a vaunted Saudi rehabilitation programme. The Saudi authorities had freed them last year. Reunited with their families, they had benefited, as had several hundred other repentant jihadists, from state pensions designed to ease a return to civilian life. But the pair vanished a few months ago. In the video they vilify the Saudi counselling programme as a trick, and vow to pursue jihad. Nasir al-Wahishi, the new “emir of the Arabian Peninsula”, a Yemeni, to whom they have sworn loyalty, was himself one of 23 al-Qaeda suspects who escaped from a prison in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, in 2006.

With its rough terrain, weak central state and gun-slinging tribal culture, Yemen may prove a fairly secure redoubt for al-Qaeda. The group has suffered sharp setbacks in such places as Iraq, Lebanon and especially Saudi Arabia, where it has not mounted a serious attack since 2006. The relative quiet in Yemen, which some critics of its government ascribe to a secret amnesty whereby Sunni jihadists backed the state against a smouldering Shia insurrection in the country’s north, has been eroding. Waves of arrests, prompted partly by Western and Saudi pressure, have provoked an escalation of al-Qaeda attacks that culminated in a double car-bombing of America’s embassy in Sana’a last September; the attack failed to penetrate the fortified compound but left 16 people dead.

Though a Western diplomat in Sana’a describes al-Qaeda’s threat there as “very severe” and the government’s efforts to thwart it as merely “episodic”, it is Saudi Arabia, rather than Yemen itself, that is the group’s main target. The fact that al-Qaeda’s Saudi branch has been forced to regroup elsewhere, under Yemeni leadership, may be a sign of weakness rather than strength. As for Yemen, even if the danger of a few hundred armed jihadists is real, locals may well care more about other national plagues: the frightening scale of corruption, poverty, malnutrition, water depletion, Yemen’s plunging oil revenues, its ugly, four-year-old war in the north, simmering separatist sentiment in the south, constant tribal unrest and vicious power struggles among the ruling elite.

and the zinger (couldn't resist reposting, it struck a chord):

killremoval wrote

"You make little sense, as you are talking about something completely different. Perhaps you have nothing valuable to say?"

I was pointing out how ironic it was for you to claim that the Muslim community as a whole had a legitimate beef against the US or the west for attacks against other Muslims. In other words, it should be expected that a Muslim in, say, Frankfurt, would be angry and maybe even lash out in response to an attack by western forces on a Muslim in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq, even though these Muslims come from completely different cultures. If that is the case, wouldn't it make as much sense for a Christian in Oklahoma City to ahve a similar response to an attack on a Christian in Afghanistan or Iraq?

As for western Barbarism; you want to know what group is responsible for the most Muslim deaths world wide. Any guesses? It's other Muslims. If one were to provide an honest comparison of western vs Islamic violence anywhere in the world, they would have to ackonwledge that the Islamist forces frequently attack "soft" targets, or those that are less able to defend themselves. in other words, civillians. This makes sense from a strategic perspective, since the benefit of creating fear amongst one's civillian opponents (through the use of violence) carries much less risk than attacking the political opposition, which is often protected by some sort of formal security force. For example: say there is a village in Afghanistan that is hostile to the Taliban. They can cheaply and safely set off a bomb in that village. At the very least this would demonstrate to the people opf the village thier vulnerability, and it may well compel them to be more friendly to Taliban forces or less friendly to Coalition Forces. If the Taliban instead chose to engage conventional military ground forces, those forces could easily call in a B-52 to perform close Air Support. Within Minutes, that B-52 could very safely and very easily drop up to 25 thousand-plus pounds of guided and unguided munitions on their positions. That option carries a lot more risk, since they are probably going to die, while inflicting little or no damage to the enemy.

The whole intent of Islamism is not to defend against western imperialism, as you put it, but rather to replace it with a more Islamic version. It's also important to note than in many places what you refer to as imperialism is a natural function of popularity. To the best of my knowledge, the US Marines never landed in Pakistan with intent of forcing otherwise unwilling Muslims to watch american movies or drink Coca Cola. They do so because they choose to do so, and that choice represents a threat to a lot of conservative Muslims who view it as erosive to their own power. I'm sure you are familiar with Al Quaeda's long term question to re-establish the caliphate, reclaiming lost territories that have been westernized for hundreds of years, and christianized for even longer. That, my friend, is what I call Imperialism, and to my knowledge there are no comperable christian groups calling for another crusade to reclaim former Christian lands.

The US will always be disliked by much of the world, and although it's just my opinion I suspect it has a lot to do with her success. The far left has always despised the US becuase it was proof that capitalism and free markets were vastly superior to the alternate systems of communism, anarchism, and socialism. I imagine it's pretty hard to sell Marxism when one of the world's greatest success stories in the diametric opposite. Islamism, which may be the logical heir to communism, may suffer a similar dilemma. You would have to be very creative marketer to successfull sell a system that to a large degree vilifies science, knowledge, and enlightenment, while embracing and legitimizing ignorance, oppression, and suffering.

Anyway, I'm probably an ass for feeding the troll. My apologies.


  1. We should recruit more Balochis from Balochistan to protect the border from Yemen side so they dont have easy access to us .

  2. Anyone who really believes the conservative talking points that dominate the mass-media today, such as the free-for-all release of Guantanamo detainees, or that the economic stimulus bill is about programs like anti-smoking, is a complete tard.

    Those are Obama assassination topics, not unlike those used by the neo-cons, quite successfully, during the Carter administration.

    Guantanamo will be closed. So will the multitude of secret CIA prisons around the world. But no detainee is going back home free. If the US government has evidence that the detainees committed crimes (let's not forget that the majority of them are in the Cuban resort by suspicion or association) then the criminals will be put on trial in the federal courts. Others will still undergo extensive screenings and interrogations and will be closely monitored for the rest of their lives.

    As for Yemen, Saudi and Al Qaeda - it's old news, conveniently brought to light this time around.

  3. Mmmmmm. I wonder what you would say about Oman if you lived in, lets say, Qatar or Bahrain. Quite a lot I would think.

  4. UD,

    An aside...while acknowledging that it's your blog, it's a free world, blah blah, sometimes your headlines can be quite sensationalist. I read this Economist article last week - is it actually talking about 'a real security situation developing IN Oman'?

    -Omani in US

  5. Sweet Christ my lord!!! They are closing down the Beacon of our democracy and rule of the law to have these terrorist (by the way I don't have any evidence for this except Fox news, CNN and FT) to go on about doing what they do…. I knew that Muslim Obama will ruin our country…. Thanks UD for covering this alarming piece of news.

  6. I like the way you inject anti-Mulsim ranting in your posts by quoting other sources and limiting your liability for racist remarks and bullshit arguments.

    Western Capitalism you say! Just wait till this financial mess is settled... we shall see what's left of it..

  7. As soon as the oil is gone, no-one is gonna give a stuff about Oman or any of the other GCC states.

    Back to living and tents and raising goats!

  8. We have to face it- there is no place safe. If someone wants to kill you and doesn't care if he or someone else dies in the attempt, your done for. Scientists say our brains are wired to see patterns even in chaos. These people we call religious ____________ fundamentalists(fill in blank with Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, other)are really part of a lunatic fringe that would kill no matter what the excuse. To dignify the actions with religious rhetoric as a reason why they do it is absurd. Quit giving them their 15 MB of fame. Abd

  9. Abdullah, Well said.


    Bobindubai (well, for the moment anyway!)

  10. Don't really like your comments on nations such as Iran being horrible places to be or live. Have you ever lived there? I have and Iran is a wonderful place to be. It has its downsides, but doesn't everywhere? I have lived in both Oman and Iran, and given the choice I would choose Iran every single time. Oman is a beautiful country and has its positives but Iran is fantastically varied with an incredible intellectual histor y and a vibrant student population. Please drop the generalisations. That goes for your criticisms of Yemen, Qatar and the other nations you mentioned too.

  11. Hardrock.

    I know Yemen has been a hiding base for rump Al Quaida for a while, but boosting them with a fresh load of chaps with a huge grudge against the west is hardly helpful. Yemen doesn't have a very good record of actually keeping them locked up.

    Crazy Lady.
    see later comment here. But you're entitled to your opinion.

    Hey, its a tabloid blog, lets face it. If its good enough for Rupert Murdoch, its good enough for me.

    Plus, I think I'm building on the original story. There are many smuggling routes across the Oman/Yemen border, and these guys have a real hate for peaceful countries with a grown-up appoach to real politic. They want us all to live in caves...


    The Truth
    You're totally right.

    I need to balance it with some anti-christian and anti-hindu stuff too. Oh, and some anti-astrology stuff too, while I'm at it.

    I didn't notice any racism tho'...

    It'll be a while before it runs out..

    Fair point. Its not going to stop me going out on the lash to the icon, that's for sure. And thanks for being an equal-opportunity religious extremist basher (The Truth would be pleased!)

    Anon 2,
    OK. You can live where you want!

    I guess Iran is a great place if you want high inflation, falling wages, rationed petrol, unemployment, institutionalised anti-semitism, mysogynism & homophobia, and (if you're a woman) are OK with ignorant youths beating you with a stick for wearing make up. And bans on satellite TV.

    Oh, and a ruler who goes out of his way to look like a psychopath and thinks sabre rattling with the Americans and GCC is good for the long-term well being of his people.

    But at least the student parties are good, behind closed doors obviously. Great.

    Of course 'there is good and bad everywhere' - but some more than others.

    We don't all prance about having tea-parties with butterflies and unicorns under rainbows, I'm afraid.

    Northern Yemen has been a crazy, violent, unfriendly place for the past 5000 years.

  12. Holding Back Al Qaeda’s Third Wave - Riyadh
    334 words
    19 February 2009
    Intelligence Online
    Copyright 2009 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

    In the wake of Al Qaeda’s return to Yemen, which was widely covered in the press, Saudi and Yemeni intelligence are working on a counter-attack.

    The Jihadist movement made a big splash in the media last month by issuing a video clip in which two Saudis recently released from Guantanamo Bay announced they had joined the leadership of a new organization based in Yemen and called Al Qaida al Jihad in the Arab Peninsula.

    Numerous Islamic radicals who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have, indeed, moved into the tribal zones in southern Yemen from which they steal into Saudi Arabia. The regions are completely beyond the control of the central government in Saana and Saudi Arabia has been unable to stop the incursion of fighters despite all the resources it marshals on its southern border.

    Senior Saudi and Yemeni intelligence officials are meeting increasingly to mull ways of stamping out the danger of the radicals sparking an insurrection. In Riyadh, the interior minister, prince Nayef Ben Abdulaziz, has asked his son Ahmed to handle the issue. His contact in Saana is the long-standing director of the Political Security service, general Ghaleb al Qimch, assisted by general Mutaher Rashad al Masri, number two man at the interior ministry.

    Saudi Arabia’s wish to fight Jihadists who sought refuge in Yemen presents the Yemenis with an uncomfortable dilemma. Indeed, some of the militants in question were enrolled in the Yemeni army in the past to fight against the Shi’ite Zaidi sect in the north of the country or against the last Socialist bastions in the south.

    The leading Islamic radicals in Yemen were all arrested at some point but managed to escape from the high security prison in Sanaa. Nasser Al Wahayshi, former secretary of Osama Ben Laden who now heads the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen, escaped on Feb. 3, 2007 with 22 fellow inmates.


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