The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, recently met with the Omani Foreign Minister, Yusuf bin Alawi, at the Pentagon recently. They primarily discussed security concerns, such as the ongoing conflict in Yemen — Mattis also conducts these meetings frequently with politicians from around the world to bolster their relationships with the United States.
Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana W. White said that, “The leaders discussed a broad range of regional security issues, including the conflict in Yemen, freedom of navigation, and multilateral counterterrorism cooperation.”
Yusuf bin Alawi is officially the “Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs,” and has held that position since 1997. In 2017, he met with then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and they primarily discussed the U.S. and Iran, and how Oman could serve as a liaison to Iran.
Secretary Mattis was in Oman on 11 March, earlier this year. There are several potential powerful allies in that area of the world –the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) unity is a group of countries comprised of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. After he left Oman in early March, Mattis went to Bahrain to discuss similar issues with the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and his son, the prince. Such allies prove useful in a defense sense, but also in the sense that it helps to have players in the game in that area of the world, who are on amicable terms with the U.S. government.
Oman was actually the very first Arab nation in the world to recognize the United States as a country (Morocco was the first nation overall). U.S. ships have been doing business in the country since 1790. They began to grow particularly close after agreements were made in 1980, and have since been on agreeable terms.
Featured image: Defense Secretary James N. Mattis shakes hands with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi during a full honor cordon at the Pentagon, July 27, 2018. | DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence