Alwaght- Having in mind that mediation is considered an instrument for peacefully settling the differences and conflicts, and is also a lasting investment for the future of a country’s foreign policy, the Sultanate of Oman’s leaders have well managed to use this tool to ease the regional tensions and take advantage of political approaches to settle the regional cases. Pursuing such an approach not only can reduce the number of the regional disputes but also it can be advantageous for Oman itself. Its profits for Muscat include guaranteeing the security of Oman in a region like West Asia overloaded with chaos and war, as besides this approach displays a positive picture of Oman as a modern and peace-seeking nation to the world.
With this approach, Oman has so far been able to play influential roles in relaxing the tensions in West Asia region. We can, for example, refer to the most important mediation by Oman which was in Yemen crisis before Saudi Arabian aggression.
Adopting a policy of supporting the Islamic awakening in time of the Arab revolutions of 2011 in the countries of the region, Oman since the beginning showed backing for the Yemeni people’s uprising in 2011 and supported the democratic and revolutionary demands of them. When Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the resigned president of Yemen, fled the capital Sana’a to Aden in south of the country and the Persian Gulf Arab states at the behest of Saudi Arabia– and actually under its pressures– relocated their embassies from Sana’a to Aden, Oman refused to do so, and parted its way from the Saudi kingdom and kept its embassy open in Sana’a. Furthermore, when Saudi Arabia waged a devastating war on Yemen, Oman was the only member of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council to refuse joining the Saudi-led anti-Yemen Arab military coalition. Muscat firmly turned down a demand by Riyadh to join the Arab coalition.
Following a full-scale blockade of the Saudi-led coalition on Yemen, Oman became the only political and economic window of the Yemenis to the world that helped them alleviate their political and economic plights. Actually, the Omanis displayed a clear role to help end a crisis that was fueled by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Repeatedly expressing opposition to foreign interventions in Yemen, Oman's leaders have several times announced readiness to host intra-Yemeni peace negotiations, an offer Saudi Arabia strongly tried to steer clear of. Positive moves by Oman were taken to push for peace in Yemen, including arranging several meetings between Yemeni and non-Yemeni parties. Muscat hosted dialogue sessions gathering together the Yemeni warring sides. In fact, the diplomatic efforts of a set of countries– on top of them Oman– to stop the Saudi campaign in Yemen led to a kind of initial coordination between the Yemeni clashing camps. And fruitful meetings and talks between them ensued. At the same time, aiming at saving Yemen, making peace and stability, and solving the problems in this war-torn country, Oman gave the opposing sides in Yemen an array of suggestions that included speeding up process of holding parliamentary and presidential elections, reaching agreement with the would-be new government that includes all of the political parties, rebranding Ansarullah movement into a political party to pave the way for its activities in the country’s politics, holding international donor conference to support the Yemeni economy through launching investment programs, and finally studying membership of Yemen in the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.
Additionally, Oman’s moves have been influential in starting the Yemen-bound Geneva and Kuwait negotiations between the warring sides. Furthermore, hard work of Oman prepared the ground for direct talks between the Saudis and Ansarullah movement that in some cases produced some accords between the two sides.
In general, like other crises in the region, Oman has taken advantage of its mediatory capacities to help boost the conditions and curb the crisis in Yemen. These Muscat attempts, without doubt, have been influential in downsizing the crisis and building– though limited– interactive grounds between the conflicting parties in Yemen. The importance of this Omani role becomes clear if we know that the neighbors of Yemen not only did nothing to quash the crisis but also joined forces with Saudi Arabia to bring this country under severest offensive.