Four arrested for arms smuggling
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) caught four people on the southern border of Dhofar who were attempting to smuggle firearms across the border. The four smugglers were caught red-handed and were also found with cash. It is believed that this cash is from illegal arms trading. Along with the four suspects, 12 people were arrested in the Batinah region for forging visas. The accused were all handed over to Public Prosecution.
The nature of the illegal activity begs questions. Why are weapons being illegally smuggled over the border into Oman? Why are visas being forged to bring people into the country? It could be an indicator of more civil unrest in the future. It could also hint at potential conflict within the borders of Oman. It is important to be aware of signs that could potentially predict upcoming conflict.
It is possible that conflict could occur from the inside. When rebel groups need arms or other resources, they often turn to external sources to provide them with such things. When done correctly, this results in an armed rebel group. Idean Salehyan, Kristian Skrede and David E. Cunningham discussed the point of rebel groups seeking aid from external sources. It is no secret that disgruntled groups will look for support elsewhere if their government proves to be deaf to their calls for reform. Because it is currently not clear who is involved in this specific activity, it would be well worth it to trace the roots of those involved.
However, the Sultan should not be naïve. Illicit activities (specifically arms) are often symptoms of an unsatisfied group. Oman should closely monitor its borders. The fact that they caught 16 suspects is a good start. However, it is probably also a good sign that there are other smugglers out there who have not been caught. There should be a closer eye kept on illegal activity, especially from beyond Oman’s borders.