Oman

Overview:  Oman is an important regional counterterrorism (CT) partner.  The nation remained concerned about the conflict in Yemen and the potential for AQAP and ISIS-Yemen to threaten its land and maritime borders.  Omani and U.S. officials regularly engaged on efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorism.  Oman sought training and equipment from the U.S. government, other countries, and commercial entities to support its efforts to control its land, air, and maritime borders.  The country welcomed U.S. security assistance to improve its crisis management capacity, as well as its CT tactics and procedures, and it requested training in CT financing and cybersecurity.  Oman issued statements condemning terrorist attacks around the world in 2022.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  On February 3, a third-country national violent extremist followed a U.S. citizen to his apartment building in Muscat and attacked and injured him with a knife.  Omani authorities later captured the violent extremist and deported him to his home country.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  There were no changes to Oman’s counterterrorism legislation in 2022.

Local capacity and a challenging operating environment owing to Oman’s extensive coastline and long, remote borders with Saudi Arabia and Yemen remain obstacles for counterterrorism investigations, crisis response, and border security capabilities.  Nevertheless, Oman had sufficient communication and coordination among its many CT-related agencies and National Security Council.  The Sultan’s Special Forces and the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Special Task Force are Oman’s primary tactical counterterrorism response forces.  The Royal Office Liaison and Coordination Service, the Internal Security Service, and ROP’s Special Branch play key roles in securing Oman from terrorist threats.  Omani authorities have developed specific plans to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks against soft targets.

Oman recognizes the need to improve its counterterrorism capabilities and the value of U.S. counterterrorism, military, and law enforcement training and assistance.  The Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program targeted skills related to crisis management and advanced counterterrorism operations and response.  Omani officials from the ROP and other agencies participated in ATA training.  The Omani military received U.S. training and equipment to help interdict the movement of people, weapons, and illicit materials across the Yemen border and through sea shipping lanes. The Ministry of Defense applied for Section 1226 Border Security Reimbursement for operational expenditures related to border security.

The ROP Coast Guard, ROP Customs, the Maritime Security Center, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Royal Office participated in several training activities through the Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program.  EXBS programming supported the government’s efforts to build its capacity to interdict weapons and conduct investigations at airports and seaports.  EXBS programming also increased Omani officials’ understanding of UN sanctions implementation through virtual webinars and tabletop exercises.

The major impediments to effective law enforcement and border security in Oman remained limited resources, challenges with Omani interagency coordination, and the need for continued training to develop advanced law enforcement skills.  The rugged mountainous terrain along Oman’s border with Yemen presents an additional challenge.  Oman continued to seek opportunities for additional U.S. border security training.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Oman is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, and its FIU is the National Center for Financial Information.  The country also is a member of the regional Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC).

In collaboration with other TFTC member states, Oman in June sanctioned 16 individuals, entities, and groups affiliated with a variety of regional terrorist organizations, including IRGC-QF, ISIS, and Boko Haram.

Countering Violent Extremism:  The full nature and scope of Oman’s CVE initiatives remained opaque in 2022, but engagement with the Omani government suggests that Oman continued to counter terrorist recruitment through unpublicized initiatives.

There were no reports of foreign government or foreign non-governmental support for religious schools, mosques, or other organizations that may be conducive to the spread of violent extremism.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Oman is a member of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition, and of the TFTC.  Oman regularly votes in favor of counterterrorism measures in the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

On This Page

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future