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Daily News Analysis

What is behind Oman’s anti-Israel gimmick?

Crescent International

The parliament of the Sultanate of Oman voted on December 27 to expand its boycott law against Israel.

The news might appear as a positive development for the Palestinians’ struggle against the zionist apartheid regime but it should be treated with a big dose of skepticism.

It must be remembered that before the US imposed the “normalization” façade on the UAE and Bahrain, Oman was openly legitimizing the occupation regime in Palestine.

In 2018, Benjamin Netanyahu visited Muscat under the guise of seeking Oman’s consent for Israeli airlines to use its airspace.

Those aware of the region’s geopolitics, however, understood the real purpose behind Netanyahu’s visit.

It probably had little to do with airline flights.

Given this background, how can Oman’s recent boycott law be understood?

There are two key dimensions to reading Muscat’s recent public posturing.

The first has to do with Oman’s relations with other GCC regimes and the second is related to how it wants to position itself in the region.

The UAE and Oman have had a long standing territorial dispute.

In 2011, Oman surprised its GCC neighbors by announcing that it had dismantled a UAE spy ring.

The Saudi regime is also unhappy with Muscat because it did not take a strong pro-Saudi stand against Qatar during the Riyadh-led boycott (July 2017-January 2021), and in the war on Yemen.

In 2020, Foreign Policy magazine speculated that the UAE and the Saudis might use the death of Sultan Qaboos to pursue destabilization policies against Oman.

Thus, it is known that Oman and its “brotherly” dictators in the region have grounds to be suspicious of each other.

Throw into the midst the track record of UAE-Saudi political attacks against so-called brotherly Qatar, Muscat has good reasons to maintain a distance from the political and military architecture of the GCC dominated by the UAE-Saudi combine.

As the world is in the process of breaking western hegemony, the so-called boycott posture allows Oman to potentially play the Arab street’s disdain for Israel and against the UAE and Saudi regimes.

By announcing the so-called boycott law against apartheid Israel, Muscat is simply insuring itself against the erratic ambitions of the UAE and Saudi rulers.

At the regional level, Oman’s track record as a middleman between Islamic Iran and NATO regimes points to its desire to remain relevant to all powers in the region as a trusted diplomatic confidant.

Oman’s empty bravado against Israel adds nothing substantial to the cause of the Palestinian people’s struggle against the zionist occupation regime.

Illegitimate and unelected regimes such as the one in Oman do no pursue any principled policies which serve as their moral or political compass.

Apart from remaining in power and pocketing people’s wealth, everything else is simply a means to that end for all GCC regimes.

Therefore, to assume that the recent boycott announcement by Muscat is aimed at supporting the liberation of Palestine is quite naïve.

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