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Mon 31 Jan 2011 02:00 PM

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Oman spy ring claims may spark diplomatic spat, says expert

It is the first time a Gulf state has openly accused another member of espionage, says military analyst

Oman spy ring claims may spark diplomatic spat, says expert
The UAE has strongly denied knowledge of the alleged Oman spy ring

Diplomatic
ties between the UAE and Oman could be severely damaged after the sultanate claimed
Sunday to have uncovered a Emirati-backed spy ring targeting its government and
military.

The
accusations, which the UAE has strongly denied, could lead to a “diplomatic
spat” between the Gulf neighbours, said Theodore Karasik, director of research at
the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“For a
GCC state to accuse another one of running a spy ring is very dramatic and if
this is happened in the past it’s been done on the sidelines out of the
spotlight,” he said. “But this is being done in the spotlight and that makes it
unique.”

 Oman state news agency quoted an unnamed Omani
security official as saying the spy network belonged to the state security
forces of the UAE.

Several
Omani nationals have also been arrested, a source told Reuters.

The UAE Foreign
Ministry denied any knowledge of the network through state news agency WAM, and
pledged to cooperate fully to “uncover all relevant parties that attempt to mar
the relations between the two countries.”

“It
could very well lead to a diplomatic spat,” Karasik said. “I do not recall this
happening before like this. To me this is new territory in a new age of
geopolitics within the region.

“The
timing is unique too, with everything else that is going on in this
neighbourhood to come out with this type of accusation is not healthy.”

The UAE and Oman maintain close trade, tourism and finance
links.

 

Bobbie 8 years ago

I am curious as to what would be the point of spying on Oman? No insult intended but.....does the UAE think of Oman as a threat? I can't see a reason, not saying that it didn't happen though.