Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Right Target For The U.S. In Syria: Hezbollah

By Daniel Serwer

Image result for hezbollah
Hezbollah is the right target of U.S. in Syria

The military situation in Syria has turned against the U.S.-supported opposition over the past year, due mainly to Russian intervention. Now, the failed coup in Turkey and subsequent crackdown there stand to reduce the capabilities of a key U.S. ally. Without some rebalancing now in favor of the opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the prospects for a satisfactory negotiated political transition are dim.

In a dissenting internal memo last month, 51 State Department diplomats advocated attacks on Syrian government forces to end their aggression against the country’s civilian population, alter the military balance and bring about a negotiated political solution. President Obama has focused instead on fighting terrorism in Syria, but U.S. targets are limited to Sunni extremists such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates.

There is also a Shiite terrorist organization in Syria: Lebanon-based Hezbollah. It should not be immune.

Hezbollah was founded to resist the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s and takes credit for the eventual Israeli withdrawal from that country. Tightly allied with and supported by Iran, it has become the dominant political force among Shiites in Lebanon, where it not only participates in national politics but also runs its own security forces and provides social services to Shiite populations.

Covertly since 2012, and overtly since 2013, Hezbollah has deployed forces inside Syria, where its thousands of fighters are aligned with Assad’s army and mainly Shiite and Alawite militias against mainly Sunni forces that Assad regards as terrorists. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps pays Hezbollah’s bills and provides its command-and-control operations. Hezbollah forces have been particularly effective along the border with Lebanon, which provides it with strategic depth and supply lines.

Hezbollah is a major factor in the military balance in Syria. Along with the Russian air intervention begun last September and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah’s fighters have enabled Assad to make progress against his opponents, especially those associated with the Free Syrian Army fighters backed by the United States. That progress has hardened Assad’s negotiating stance and blocked the U.N. search for a political solution. Assad is winning, and he sees no reason to accept a transition away from his rule.

A shift in the military balance is essential to ending the war, which is what Washington says it wants. But Obama has steadfastly refused to go to war against the Syrian, Iranian or Russian government. Even if he wants to, it is doubtful he has authorization from Congress to do so.

But Hezbollah is a non-state actor. It is also a U.S.-designated terrorist group that has murdered Americans, among many others. Most Republicans and Democrats would applaud an attack on Hezbollah, even if some in both parties would bemoan a move that suggested widening commitments overseas.

Washington could inform Tehran, Moscow and Beirut that Hezbollah should withdraw from Syria by a certain date or the United States would target any of its troops attacking non-extremist opposition forces in and around Aleppo and elsewhere. If Hezbollah failed to withdraw, the United States would then need to be ready to attack as soon as the ultimatum expired.

Hezbollah’s withdrawal or U.S. targeting of Hezbollah would send a strong but still limited message to the Syrian opposition and its allies in Turkey and the Persian Gulf: We are prepared to attack Shiite as well as Sunni terrorists, but it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity and come to the negotiating table ready to reach a serious political settlement. It would also send a strong but likewise limited message to Iran and Russia: We will not continue to tolerate your intervention in Syria without responding. The time for a political settlement is now.

How would the players in Syria react? Hezbollah would likely try to strike at accessible U.S. assets or citizens in neighboring countries, most likely in Lebanon or Iraq. It might also launch rockets into Israel. The Islamic State, which uses Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as a recruiting tool, would be undermined. Russia and Iran could in theory up the ante, escalating their involvement in Syria, but in practice they both appear to be close to the limit of lives and treasure they are willing or able to expend there. Assad would be outraged and promise revenge, but the Syrian government is even more clearly at the limit of its capabilities.

Meanwhile, the non-extremist Syrian opposition would applaud and press hard against the territory where Hezbollah is deployed. Gulf states would likewise welcome the U.S. action and redouble their efforts to support the opposition. Israel knows all too well how to react to Hezbollah attacks in order to re-establish deterrence. Turkey might complain that the United States was not also acting against the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters whom Ankara regards as terrorists, but the Turks would still benefit from any consequent military progress against Assad by non-Kurdish forces.

In short, U.S. targeting of Hezbollah would mostly please and embolden Washington’s friends and discomfit its antagonists. It would also reassert U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism of all sorts, renew Washington’s commitment to holding Hezbollah accountable, hasten an end to the Syrian civil war and make a political settlement more likely. That is not a bad balance of risks and benefits.


* The writer is a professor and director of the conflict management program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, as well as a scholar at the Middle East Institute.
* This opinion was published first by Washington Post on 27/07/2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Obama's Exit Calculus On The Peace Process

By  

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as leaders gathered to deliver a joint statement on Middle East Peace talks in the East Room of the White House in Washington September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Obama with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

As the Republican and Democratic parties convene in Cleveland and Philadelphia, we expect to see numerous signs of the deepening polarization that has dominated this campaign season. One issue that has traditionally shared bipartisan support is how the United States should approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, this year both parties have shifted their positions farther from the center and from past Democratic and Republican platforms. This swing impacts whether the Obama administration, which has devoted significant time and resources to the negotiations, will issue a parting statement on the conflict.
In Cleveland last week the Republican party adopted a platform entirely dropping the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a move that puts the party further to the right than either AIPAC or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The platform states, “We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel.” This language, combined with Republican nominee Donald Trump’s apparent disinterest in the conflict, makes it unlikely a Trump administration would prioritize Israeli-Palestinian issues or make any serious attempt at negotiations.
Conversely, this year’s Democratic Party platform reaffirmed the United States government’s long-standing commitment to seeking a two-state solution in the region. But the party took a notably progressive turn, highlighting both the importance of Israel’s Jewish and democratic future and Palestinian freedom “to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.” The contentious fight over the Democratic Party language, combined with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s (and her potential First Gentleman’s) passion for this issue reveals an intent by a future Clinton administration to reinvigorate negotiations.
As President Obama and Secretary Kerry consider their final months in office, one item on the agenda is whether to push a last-ditch effort on the issue—either by releasing some sort of Obama or Kerry Parameters based on the outcome of the failed 2013-14 negotiations or by supporting one of the international initiatives such as the French Initiative, the Quartet Report, or the regional Arab Peace Initiative, now spearheaded by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Likely to drive the administration’s calculus are the Democratic and Republican nominees and their political motives on the U.S. led peace process. The time to watch for a potential move, therefore, is between November and January. Given the administration’s support for its own party’s nominee, it is in Obama’s interest to keep the peace process on life support—but without resuscitating it—through January. Publicly, but somewhat unenthusiastically, supporting the various international initiatives and allowing other states and international organizations to sit in the driver’s seat sets a future Democratic administration up with the best chance of success.
Lessons from getting Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the table over the years include the wisdom to refrain from yelling about past progress in negotiations. Publicly revealing how far Netanyahu and Abbas were willing to go in 2014 would only harm the next administration’s efforts at resuming negotiations. Keeping the “Kerry Framework” in the administration’s pocket allows a Clinton administration to take ownership of the peace process should she be elected.
Alternatively, if Trump is elected, the Obama administration would have nothing to lose in revealing the fruits of its efforts in 2013-14. The administration would have little concern for derailing a possible Trump attempt (which is not likely to take place in any event) and could determine that releasing some sort of Obama or Kerry Parameters would shed a positive light on the administration’s legacy. Furthermore, should the Republican Party win the White House, neither Obama nor Kerry is likely to care about the damage that releasing such a document might do to either Netanyahu or Abbas.
The party conventions have solidified the deep divides—both between and within the parties—regarding the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this campaign season. This divide, combined with a renewed international focus on the conflict, virtually guarantees that the administration will keep the conflict on the back burner before November. The election, therefore, will not only determine our next president but also the fate of the “Obama/Kerry Parameters”.
·       *   Note: Ariella Plachta, an intern with the Center for Middle East Policy, contributed to this post.
·       * Sarah Yerkes is a visiting fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow. She is a former member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, where she focused on North Africa. Previously, she was a foreign affairs officer in the State’s Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

·         * This post originally appeared on the Israel Policy Forum’s blog, Matzav on| 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Misconceptions of Israeli-Gulf Cooperation



Prince Turki al-Faisal with Yaakov Amidror

Much has been made, particularly by Israelis, of the expanding horizons for collaboration between the Jewish state and Arab Gulf states. Israeli ministers and business people lose no opportunity to tout Israel’s interest in expanding ties of all sorts in a region viewed as a valuable market for Israeli industry and an intelligence gold mine.
Meetings that once were held in the dark are now on public display. Relations that were once conducted solely by intelligence officials now feature diplomats and the formal establishment of relations with countries such as the U.A.E. 
In a notable development, Saudi Arabia won key recognition from Israel—and Egypt and the United States—as a strategic partner in regional security in the Straits of Tiran. Such achievements expose not only the alluring prospects of such a dialogue, but also its enduring, critical limitations.
The nascent coalition linking Israel with the Gulf was born as a coalition of countries that are united by their common failure to dissuade Washington from its path of rapprochement with Iran.
Washington and Tehran just celebrated the one-year anniversary of the J.C.P.O.A., which remains the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. Saudis and Israelis looking to roll it back must contend with the fact that, in an era when the Middle East is shaking under their feet, the Iran deal represents a relative rock of stability and policy achievement unmatched elsewhere in U.S. efforts in the region. Washington’s relations with Tehran may not blossom, but they will be difficult to reverse—a fact that critically weakens the foundations of underlying Israeli-Gulf cooperation and limits the effectiveness of an ‘alliance’ based upon undermining the principal diplomatic and strategic achievement of your indispensable, superpower ally.
It is also true that one need only scratch the surface to reveal vital differences in Israeli and Saudi views on Iran itself. Israeli bluster aside, considered Israeli opinion and policy is far more sanguine about Iran than is the case in Riyadh.
Even at the height of concerns about an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, Israel’s security establishment successfully tamed the wilder, undisciplined instincts of many in Israel’s political class. The generals have long understood the vitality of Israel’s strategic superiority and are prepared to accommodate an American-led deal with Tehran in a fashion that contradicts visceral Saudi opposition to the mullahs.
Such differences are apparent in other arenas as well. This is certainly the case concerning Syria, where the prevailing Israeli view is sympathetic to the Assad regime.  As a consequence of its understandings with Russia, agreed-upon limits have been set to Iranian and Hezbollah deployments—a display of realpolitik toward the Damascus regime that Riyadh is loathe to adopt.  
For Israel, its problems with Iran are of relatively recent vintage. In contrast, it retains a historic and strategic interest in limiting Arab power—an interest that stands in opposition to declared Arab objectives. Israel’s newfound Arab friends must be ready to address the unexpected, destabilizing pressures that will result from an Israel freed from any concern about constraining Arab power—in Palestine and Lebanon in particular.
In Lebanon, Israel and Gulf states have a shared antipathy toward Hezbollah, but there is no interest in Arab support for an Israeli military campaign in Lebanon or more improbably Syria.
Similar considerations illustrate the limits of Arab understanding of an aggressive Israeli policy toward Gaza.
Israel’s response to the Arab Peace Initiative is also an instructive case in point.
Long ignored by Israeli leaders—Ehud Olmert did not even bother to read it—Israel’s strategy is to pocket the historic promise of peace with the Arab and Islamic worlds as simply a basis for further discussion.
More broadly, Israel has turned the historic formula at the heart of A.P.I.—peace with Palestine is a gateway to rapprochement with the Arab world—on its head. “The Arab Peace Initiative,” explained Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal in a public discussion with former National Security director Yaakov Amidror, “is the formula that can bring us together. But the general [Amidror] sees otherwise. He wants us to start cooperating with Israel, and do whatever is done in that journey, and forget about the occupation of Palestine and various other issues that deal with the daily occurrences that are taking place on the ground in Palestine, whether it is expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, whether it is the roadblocks — all the issues that you are all aware of.”
Jordan is another useful example of both the advantages and built-in shortcomings of such an Arab strategy. Egypt and Jordan enjoy relations with Israel based upon signed peace treaties. Yet even this achievement has not been sufficient to shield either country from dramatic challenges posed by Israel.
There has been an indirect Israeli security umbrella over Jordan since Black September 1970. This protection, however, has failed to pay dividends for Jordan on the Palestine front. Indeed, in terms of national security threats, the prospect of a Palestinian retreat to Jordan—pushed by Israeli policy unfettered by Arab or international pressure—is a constant source of concern to Jordanian officials. And among Israelis, there is a long and widely held view that considers a Palestinian takeover of Jordan and the demise of the Hashemites to be an Israeli interest, and only a matter of time.
With Egypt, there are many indications that relations with Israel have never been closer. This honeymoon is fueled, however, by unprecedented national security challenges  suffered by Egypt in Sinai. Israel’s unilateral retreat from Gaza in 2005, its serial wars there since, and the attendant effort to force Egypt to assume the burden of Gaza’s welfare, illustrate the limits of their cooperation.
A long, long road has been travelled since the famous ‘three no’s of Khartoum’—no recognition, no negotiations, no peace—in the aftermath of the June 1967 war. The iron wall separating Israel from its Arab neighbors is indeed showing cracks, but the prospects for a turn from confrontation to cooperation is still hampered by real differences of interests and priorities.

* Geoffrey Aronson writes about Middle East affairs. He consults with a variety of public and private institutions dealing with regional political, security, and development issues. He has advised the World Bank on Israel’s disengagement and has worked for the European Union Coordinating Office for the Palestinian Police Support mission to the West Bank and Gaza. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi: A Syrian Hezbollah Formation

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi*

Fighters posing with the flag of Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi. 

The Syrian civil war has seen the rise of a number of formations that promote the idea of building a native Syrian Muqawama Islamiya ('Islamic Resistance') and Hezbollah. Examples include Quwat al-Ridha (recruiting mainly from Shi'a in the Homs area), the National Ideological Resistance (based in Tartous/Masyaf area), the Ja'afari Force (recruiting mainly from Damascene Shi'a) and al-Ghalibun.

Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi (the Imam Mahdi Brigade), referring to the twelfth Shi'i Imam, is another group along these lines. For comparison, the National Ideological Resistance also has the label Jaysh al-Imam al-Mahdi (The Imam Mahdi Army).

Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi appears to have at least two sub-components: the Imam Ali Battalion and the Special Operations al-Hadi Battalion. The al-Hadi Battalion claims at least two squadrons: the first led by "al-Saffah" and the second led by "Abu Ali Karar."

The information available on Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi through social media is patchy at best, but I was able to speak to the commander of the Imam Ali Battalion, who goes by the name of al-Hajj Waleed and is from Ba'albek in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon.

According to al-Hajj Waleed (who is a member of Hezbollah), Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi was set up two years ago by Hezbollah and has recruits from all of Syria.

Of course, this latter assertion is a fairly standard rhetorical line. Private Facebook accounts run by those associated with Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi largely point to origins in western Syria.

The commander added that the group has participated in a number of battles, including Deraa, Quneitra, Ghouta, Aleppo and the Ithiriya-Raqqa route. Some of these operations (e.g. fighting in south Aleppo countryside and positions on the Ithiriya hills) have been mentioned on social media.

In total, Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi's contribution to the fighting in Syria seems similar in scale to that of the Ja'afari Force and the National Ideological Resistance. Al-Hajj Waleed gave his toll of killed ('martyrs') and wounded at 25 and 55 respectively.

Thus, the military capabilities of these groups should not be exaggerated, but it is apparent how Hezbollah is trying to project influence into Syria through the creation of multiple formations and brands in order to recruit Syrians.

* Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a research fellow at Middle East Forum's Jihad Intel project.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Turkey's Schizophrenic Civil War

By Burak Bekdil*

Turkey's July 15 coup, as cartoonist Assad Binakhahi suggests, was a gift for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

It is amazing that the Crescent and Star never ceases to shock with the most unexpected insanity. The capacity to shock is a feature most observed at times of war. And Turkey is at war – a schizophrenic civil war.

The May 1960 coup was a conventional coup d'état but, like July 15, was outside the chain of command. So it was simply called a coup d'état.

March 1971 was called a "soft coup." September 1980 was a conventional coup – this time inside the chain of command. Some called it the "people's coup" after more than 90 percent of Turks approved its constitution and generals as their leaders.

Turkey had a "post-modern coup" in February 1997 and an "e-coup" (in reference to the anti-government, pro-secularist memorandum posted on the military's website) in April 2007.

If history will have to name the failed coup of July 15 the best way to recall it would be as the "absurd coup." The events of July 15 looked less like a coup and more like a Turkish opera buffa, a tragic one though, with the curtain closing with more than 200 people getting killed.

Fortunately, even an absurd coup can give an unruly nation a temporary sigh of unity. Pro- and anti-president Turks seem to have united - which is great - probably until they start firing at each other again, which is not so great.

With or without unity against any military intervention in the democratic system, absurd or not, the great Turkish divide is there and will probably deepen, exposing Turkey's hybrid democracy to further risks of "road accidents" of this or that kind.

Turkey's "war of religion" will not disappear just because the pro- and anti-president forces of the country have united against a coup attempt. It is a war of religion between the adherents of the same sect of the same religion.

It was not without a reason why the anti-coup crowds that bravely stood against the troops and their commanders did not mostly chant pro-democracy slogans when they took to the streets but rather passionately chanted "Allah-u Akbar" (God is the greatest).

They were there not to defend democracy in the word's liberal meaning. They were there to defend the man whom they view as the guardian of their faith, hence their readiness to kill or die, or to lynch the pro-coup troops, and a journalist who was just photographing the scene. Willing lynchers who defend democracy chanting Islamist slogans? Nice one.

Whether the perpetrators belong to the clandestine Gülenist terror organization or were a bizarre coalition of secularist and Gülenist officers, they were simply moronic thugs in military uniforms. Speaking to a "pro-democracy" crowd of fans who interrupted his speech with the slogan "we want the death penalty [back]," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Gülenists had been secretly – and illegally - trying to capture the state over the past 40 years. And now they finally staged a coup.

The president was probably right. But he did not explain why he allied with them during the 37.5 years of the Gülenist campaign to capture the state – until he and the Gülenists broke up in December 2013. Remember his famous complaint: "Whatever they [Gülenists] wanted, we gave them."

This is the last act in the hundreds-of-years-long opera buffa of in-house fighting between various Islamist factions, not just Turkish. Despite the bloodshed and tragic scenes, like in any other Turkish opera buffa, it often can be amusing, too.

Newswires dispatched a story that said Saudi King Salman congratulated President Erdoğan for the return to "normality" – normality here must mean the defeat of undemocratic forces and return to the democratic regime. Hybrid or not, Turkey at least features a ballot-box (head-count) democracy. Let's hope one day King Salman's Kingdom too returns to normality.

·         * Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based columnist for the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

·         * This article was published first by Hürriyet Daily News on July 20, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Islamic Finance Expanding Its Footprint In Oman

Recent regulations on sukuk (Islamic bonds) are helping drive growth in Oman’s Islamic banking sector, with sharia-compliant lenders gaining ground.

Image result for Islamic finance expanding its footprint in Oman

Growth of Islamic banking is far outstripping that of the conventional banking segment with Islamic banking assets up more than 62% year-on-year (y-o-y) at the end of March, according to a report issued by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) in mid-May.

New rules released by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) in April regarding the issuance of sukuk should further broaden the segment’s base by encouraging corporate issues.

Rise in Islamic banking

Total assets held by Islamic banks and the Islamic banking windows of conventional lenders in March amounted to OR2.5bn ($6.5bn), compared to OR1.5bn ($3.9bn) one year earlier, according to the CBO.

This took the Islamic banking’s market share from 5.1% of the financial system’s overall assets in 2015 to 7.8% by March 2016.

Financing to the public and private sector is also on the rise, with sharia-compliant entities having extended OR1.93bn ($5bn) worth of financing as of end-March, up 58% over the OR1.2bn ($3.1bn) recorded in March of last year.    
                                                                                          
Growth was also strong on a month-on-month basis, with assets held by Islamic banks and windows up OR100m ($260m) over February, deposits expanding by OR90m ($234m) and financing rising by OR80m ($208m).

For their part, sukuk are expected to play an important role in the country’s Islamic financial markets as they offer an alternate means of fundraising for local companies, according to Abdulaziz Al Balushi, group CEO of Ominvest, an Oman-based investment company.

“Growth in total sukuk issuance is driven by a number factors, including: fiscal deficits led by low oil prices  – necessitating government borrowing in the local and international markets, corporates seeking alternative funding options in the wake of tighter liquidity and Islamic financial institutions’ desire to grow their financing books,” he told OBG.

The growing penetration of sharia-compliant finance is in line with a forecast made by ratings agency Moody’s late last year.

In its November outlook on the Omani financial sector, Moody’s predicted the Islamic banking segment would continue to gain traction, with Islamic assets to account for between 10% and 12% of total banking assets within the next two years.

The sector will benefit from expansion in new lending and through the conversion of customers from conventional to Islamic banking services, the report said.

Conventional competition

In contrast with the performance of the Islamic segment of the market, assets of conventional commercial banks rose by 9.1% y-o-y to the end of March to OR28.6bn ($74.3bn).

While still a strong result, the pace of expansion of the Islamic segment indicates growing demand for sharia-compliant products in the marketplace.

Oman’s Islamic banking sector has two dedicated sharia-compliant banks, Bank Nizwa and alizz islamic bank, which both began commercial operations in 2013.

In addition, six of Oman’s seven domestic conventional banks have opened Islamic banking windows, giving them access to the growing market for sharia-compliant products.

New regulations to spur corporate sukuk

Looking ahead, the country’s Islamic financial sector stands to benefit from new regulations from the CMA that clarify requirements for issuing sukuk and provide a legal framework.

In particular, the new rules aim to provide greater transparency and protection to investors in sukuk transactions by building on existing codes covering company law and capital markets.

The regulations, which came into effect in mid-April, introduce a trust structure and terms for sukuk programmes, providing flexibility for corporations looking to raise money through sukuk.

Importantly, there are no restrictions on the amount of the sukuk based on the company’s capital.
The new regulations are expected to expand the range of investment instruments available in the sector, gradually generating greater investor interest, according to Sheikh Abdullah bin Al Salmi, executive president of the CMA.

“Companies have been waiting for this guidance, and there are a number of sukuk in the pipeline, which have been aided by the issuance of the first government sukuk,” Sheikh Abdullah told OBG.  “However, most corporations will likely wait a bit longer for the government to issue more in order to provide a benchmark for corporate bonds.” 

The CMA is hopeful that codifying sukuk requirements will further develop Oman’s Islamic financial sector and the broader capital markets by giving companies and investors a more stable fundraising platform.

“A vibrant fixed-income market is essential to the development, financial stability and diversification of the regional economy, including Oman,” Sheikh Abdullah said in early June. “This is also an integral part of the overall strategy of the CMA to enable the capital market to play its vital role as an alternative fundraising platform for companies in the economic development of Oman.”

* This report was published by Oxford Business Group on 26 June 2016