Military Strategy Magazine  /  Volume 8, Issue 4  /  

Securing Oman for Development: Sultan Qaboos Confronts his Enemies, 1970-1976

Securing Oman for Development: Sultan Qaboos Confronts his Enemies, 1970-1976 Securing Oman for Development: Sultan Qaboos Confronts his Enemies, 1970-1976
By U.S. Department of State - This file has been extracted from another file, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons
To cite this article: Anglim, Simon, “Securing Oman for Development: Sultan Qaboos Confronts his Enemies, 1970-1976,” Military Strategy Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4, spring 2023, pages 24-30.


Winning a war

Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said died on 10 January 2020, having ruled Oman just short of fifty years. His successor, his cousin Haitham bin Tariq, inherited a country viewed widely as a global success story, something nobody would have predicted when Qaboos overthrew his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur, on 23 July 1970. Oman then was an international pariah, poor, undeveloped, ruled by a medieval despot viewed widely as a British puppet; there were just two small hospitals in a country with a million people, two secular secondary schools and three miles of metalled road, all in or around the capital, Muscat. Outside the cities of Muscat and Salalah and British RAF bases at Salalah and Masirah, there was no running water or electricity across a country bigger than Great Britain and medieval diseases such as leprosy still ravaged parts of the interior. Most seriously, Oman faced a major insurgency with a ruler in denial about his culpability for it.

Move forward fifty years: by 2019, Oman’s estimated GDP was just over $76 billion, it was ranked 67th richest country in the world and 21st highest oil producer (the UK is 30th); education and healthcare come free from the state and Oman has an average personal income approaching £46,000 per annum (the UK’s was just under £37,000 for 2019). Oman is a member of the United Nations (UN) and Arab League, a founder-member of the Gulf Cooperation Council and a staunch Western ally on good terms with all its neighbours, including – uniquely – having sound working relationships with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

Defeating that insurgency started Oman on the path to this and what follows covers Qaboos’s role in that victory. This matters now. On one level, there are historical events with global impact – had the insurgents won, the Cold War could have followed a radically different path and not just in the Middle East. On another, there are messages for 21st century strategists. As of 2022, we face a new Cold War with echoes of the old, including aggressive competition in key global regions incorporating subversion and use of proxy allies in so-called ‘hybrid/liminal’ attacks on Western allies and interests.[i] Moreover, the ‘War on Terror’ is not over and Allied performance in Afghanistan in particular indicates some considerable room for improvement in fighting it. So, careful study of possibly the most successful counterinsurgency in history might hint at good counterinsurgent practice, capacity building and repelling covert attack and the vital role of political leadership in hindering or enabling these.[ii]

How the war began

Muscat and Oman, as it was before 1970, was nominally independent but tied to the UK by a series of one-sided treaties going back to the early nineteenth century, intended to guarantee its place in the protective cordon around India and leaving the Sultans of Muscat reliant on subsidies from London, the British government in effective charge of Muscat and Oman’s foreign, defence and fiscal policy, and the Sultan’s small army officered largely by former British officers contracted directly by him and commanding mainly Baluchi troops. Sultan Said was determined to restore Oman’s economic self-sufficiency and from acceding in 1932 ran an austerity programme like no other, leading to the perpetual poverty and deprivation outlined already.[iii] Thousands of Omanis – mainly young men – left the country seeking work elsewhere in the Gulf and were banned by Said from returning.

Many of this diaspora drifted into radical politics and it is unsurprising that Qaboos’ early life was shaped by armed rebellions against his father. In the 1950s, with Saudi and Egyptian encouragement, tribesmen in the north rallied around Imam Ghalib bin Ali al Hinai, traditional religious leader of Oman’s interior, seizing a large area of northern Oman and cutting off Muscat on the coast from areas being prospected for oil in the interior. It took four years and extensive British military aid to end this crisis, alongside a long-term agreement with London by which British Army officers on attachment held almost every command appointment above platoon level within the new, British-financed Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) the Commander, Sultan’s Armed Forces (CSAF) being a serving British Army colonel.[iv]

The 1960s saw many in the diaspora coalesce around Imam Ghalib, now in exile in Saudi Arabia and the focus of rebellion shifting south to the province of Dhofar, a mountainous subtropical region inhabited by Djebalis, a people of African descent speaking a different language from the Arabs on the coast and traditionally viewed with suspicion by them. Said returned to his palace in Salalah, capital of Dhofar, following the Imamate uprising, from where he treated Dhofar as a personal fiefdom to be taxed ruthlessly, stimulus for new revolt. In 1962, the Dhofar Liberation Front (DLF) formed as a coalition between Dhofari separatists and former Imamate fighters with weapons and training supplied by the Saudis. The DLF’s military backbone came initially from the Bait Kathir tribe under Sheikh Musalim bin Nufl, who in 1963-64 began attacks on oil facilities in Dhofar and the RAF base at Salalah, finding sanctuary in Saudi Arabia between each attack.[v] Said responded by building a barbed-wire fence around Salalah and banning entry to all Djebalis, bringing them in closer behind the insurgents.[vi] Convinced he could smash the DLF through terror alone, he ordered reprisals against villages in the vicinity of attacks – sealing up wells was one of the milder responses – and also forbad any emigration, leading to hundreds of disaffected young men instead joining the DLF.[vii] By the mid-1960s the DLF’s armed strength was estimated at between 265 and 400, a large force for such a sparsely inhabited region, now recruiting from all over the diaspora and receiving regular donations of weapons and money from the Saudis and the Imam.[viii] Facing this, the SAF had, initially, 2,200 men in two infantry regiments, the Muscat Regiment and Northern Frontier Regiment (each around 600 men in theory, seriously understrength in practice) and an artillery troop, supported by three Piston Provosts of the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force (SOAF – flown by British RAF pilots on attachment).[ix] The Army was woefully under-equipped, still carrying elderly Lee-Enfield rifles, for instance, although among Said’s last acts as Sultan were agreeing to buy FN FAL rifles and MAG machine guns from Belgium, raising a third infantry battalion – the Desert Regiment – and buying 38 British-made Strikemasters for the SOAF.[x]

The DLF established a base at Hauf, just across the border in the Aden Colony, and with the establishment of the Marxist-Leninist People’s Republic of South Yemen (PRSY) following the British abandonment of Aden in November 1967, obtained a major external ally and sponsor steering their guiding ideology. The DLF fell rapidly under the control of Marxists loyal to Moscow or Beijing, renaming itself the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Arab Gulf (PFLOAG) and now aiming at a ‘socialist’, egalitarian and ‘secular’ (i.e., atheist) state throughout Oman before injecting the revolution into the Trucial Sheikhdoms, Bahrain and Qatar.[xi]

The Dhofar insurgency therefore became another front in the Cold War, a communist insurgency aiming to create a ring of pro-Soviet states around the periphery of Saudi Arabia, so threatening the world’s biggest oil-producing regions and the Straits of Hormuz and all the major sea lanes running through them, sea lanes on which the economies of the UK, Europe and Japan depended absolutely at the time.[xii] With the latest Soviet and Chinese weapons, leaders trained in the USSR, Iraq and Bulgaria and by Chinese officers at Hauf, PFLOAG expanded, by 1970 having 2,000 hardcore regular fighters alongside 3,000 local volunteers.[xiii] Now numerically superior and better armed, PFLOAG outmatched the SAF tactically and by 1970 had uncontested control of the Djebel – the highlands running west to east across Dhofar – allowing unobstructed communication with Hauf and dominating all the land routes from Salalah, effectively putting it under siege.[xiv]

Said was obstinate as ever: when Brigadier John Graham took over as CSAF early in 1970, Said told him his main duty was destroying the ‘bad people’ on the Djebel – while refusing to commit more forces than already to actually doing so.[xv] Then, in June, insurgents attacked military facilities in northern Oman and a series of arrests in Muscat indicated that PFLOAG’s networks were spreading to the capital. The final straw had hit the camel’s back.

Qaboos, the Man

All strategists have an intellectual hinterland: Qaboos’s was shaped by his relationship with the British and his father, blended with a powerful sense of noblesse oblige. Said sent Qaboos to England in 1957 aged sixteen, Qaboos’ first trip outside Oman. After two years of sixth-form study, he spent two years at Sandhurst followed by a tour as a Second Lieutenant with the Cameronians in Germany before returning home on Said’s orders in 1964. Kept under virtual house arrest near his father’s palace in Salalah, Qaboos observed developments in Oman with horror, expressed to several Consul Generals and CSAFs when they were allowed to visit him, knowing they would report this back to London.[xvi] Worn out by four decades of Said’s idiosyncrasies, Whitehall encouraged Qaboos to oust his father, leading to the events of 23 July 1970.[xvii] By the end of that day, Said had abdicated and was on a plane to London, never to return, following a brief gun battle at the Salalah palace in which Said was wounded and a palace guard killed.[xviii]

Qaboos proclaimed publicly that Said had ‘departed’ and that he was now in charge and dedicated to creating a modern state. This would be impossible without eradicating PFLOAG, a daunting challenge as they now had the essentials for any successful insurgency. Said’s crass mismanagement provided the rebels a compelling ‘story’ winning support not only in Oman but across the Middle East and as far away as Moscow, London, and the UN in New York. More prosaically, PFLOAG had 2-3,000 well-trained and highly motivated fighters, an ostensibly inviolable sanctuary area in the PDRY and some powerful external sponsors. Qaboos dealt effectively with all these.

New Oman, new story

Said’s removal changed Oman’s story simply because it happened, his replacement by a young, charismatic, and humane new ruler giving Oman a sense of hope missing for generations. A week after the coup, Qaboos broadcast to the Omani people making possibly the most crucial announcement of his entire reign, that the country would henceforth be known as the Sultanate of Oman, a single country with a single sovereign authority – him – the same rights and duties for everyone and the divisions of the past left behind.[xix] This initiated a nation-building strategy with Dhofar as the main priority: the SAF’s statement of intent – laid out by Brigadier John Akehurst in 1974 but reflecting what had been happening for some time – was ‘to secure Dhofar for civilian development’, a rare statement of a clear ‘end state’ from which actions for reaching it could be shaped.[xx]

Said’s estranged brother, Tariq bin Taimur (father of Sultan Haitham) invited back from self-imposed exile (by the British, against Qaboos’s wishes) and appointed Oman’s Prime Minister, created the mechanisms for making this a reality. Qaboos and Tariq fell out over their respective roles, with Tariq leaving Oman again at the end of 1971 but in the interim, Tariq created the bases for modern ministries of health, education, justice, and the interior while pursuing some vital foreign policy aims.[xxi]

Most critical of these were joining the Arab League and the United Nations, so ending Oman’s isolation and removing any remaining vestiges of support for the Imam while narrowing PFLOAG’s range of external supporters and altering the perception of them away from freedom fighters against a medieval despot to Soviet proxies challenging a legitimate Arab government. Just as important was winning the support of the two most powerful rulers in the Gulf, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran.[xxii]

Tariq’s patient diplomacy paid off in October 1971 as the Arab League endorsed Oman’s membership and the UN General Assembly did likewise with the PDRY being one of a small group of Soviet allies voting against.[xxiii] That same month, Qaboos met the Shah at the Persepolis Festival, a massive public celebration of 2,500 years of the Persian Empire which dozens of other heads of state attended also. In December, he flew to Tehran and signed a security agreement with the Shah by which Iranian troops and aircraft would deploy to Dhofar.[xxiv] December 1971 also brought the key summit in Riyadh between Qaboos and King Faisal, leading to Saudi diplomatic recognition for Oman and the end of any remaining Saudi support for the Imam.[xxv]

The means of strategy – the Sultanate’s fighting strength

Money is the sinews of strategy, and Oman developed its fighting strength courtesy of escalating oil wealth. By 1973, the Sultanate was exporting 293,000 barrels a day, with exports for the year standing at 106 million barrels, rising to 320,000 barrels per day by 1980.[xxvi] This coincided with the fallout from the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, oil-producing Arab states plus the Shah punishing the USA and its allies in Europe for supporting Israel by raising the price of oil from $3 per barrel to $5. Although not participating in the embargo, Oman benefited, its oil eventually reaching a price of $12 per barrel where it stayed until 1977.[xxvii] The Sultanate concurrently deepened its ownership of its oil assets, having a 60% interest in Petroleum Development Oman by the end of 1974.[xxviii] With potentially vastly more to spend, at the end of 1970 Qaboos authorised a Development Department for Dhofar overseeing a civic action programme, the ‘civilian development’ part of the war aim.[xxix]

He also expanded his armed forces. By the end of 1970 a new formation, the Dhofar Brigade, was created under the command of a British brigadier overseeing all subsequent military operations in Dhofar.[xxx] A recruitment programme increased the SAF’s size and the proportion of Omanis over the Baluchi mercenaries traditionally making up around half the army; alongside this, twelve UH-1 transport helicopters were purchased from the USA intended specifically at making forces in Dhofar airmobile.[xxxi] The subsequent campaign hinged on the Omani regulars of the Dhofar Brigade but the best-known Omani forces, at least from British narratives, were the Firquats. Qaboos announced a general amnesty for all insurgents in August 1970: among the first to defect was the senior PFLOAG commander Salim Mubarak, who proposed creating a home guard from other turned insurgents and locally recruited tribesmen from Dhofar, bringing local knowledge and cultural awareness to the SAF and recruiting previously alienated Djebalis into the war effort. Eventually some 1000 men were formed into twelve Firquats, each commanded by a British Army officer with a training team of NCOs, ostensibly part of something called the British Army Training Team (BATT) actually a cover name for soldiers from 22 SAS.[xxxii] Operations to clear the Djebel involved some hard fighting by Firquat/22 SAS alongside SAF regulars supported by SOAF Strikemasters – and the attrition of PFLOAG’s fighting strength as their resources were gradually cut off is an oft-overlooked factor in their defeat. The UH-1s not only improved the SAF’s mobility in the mountains but, alongside Iranian Chinooks and the sixteen Skyvans purchased later, enabled permanent SAF bases on the Djebel, increasing pressure on PFLOAG, securing the population from its retribution and allowing civilian development teams to work safely, demonstrating how things might change for the better under Qaboos – who reinforced the point personally with frequent visits to the front, a stark contrast with his reclusive father.[xxxiii]

Another boost came from allies. The Shah sent supplies from August 1972, sixty C-130s of the Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) establishing an air bridge between Muscat and Salalah; nine AB-205 helicopters of the IIAF arrived at Salalah in February 1973 and a year later a squadron of F-5s were deployed at Thumrait, in the interior, followed by F-4 Phantoms in 1975, more fast air support for the SAF and a deterrent for the PDRY. The Imperial Iranian Army also deployed major ground assets, beginning with a special forces company in November 1972 followed by a Brigade of 2,000 troops, the Damavand Battle Group.[xxxiv] The supplies provided by the Shah plus the helicopters proved a major boost to logistics in the mountains while the Brigade gave Sultanate forces a mass they lacked previously, allowing them major offensives fortifying ground once secured.[xxxv] The Iranians featured prominently alongside the SAF in the four years of operations securing a series of fortified lines stretching north-south across the Djebel down to the Salalah Plain, breaking up insurgent-controlled areas and cutting them off from their base in Yemen.[xxxvi]

Qaboos’ other great supporter was King Hussein of Jordan, who sent weaponry and training personnel from 1972 onwards while opening Royal Jordanian Army training facilities to the SAF. In 1975 a Jordanian Special Forces Battalion was deployed to Dhofar and Hussein gifted Qaboos with 32 Hawker Hunters for the expanding SOAF.[xxxvii]

Escalating to de-escalate – a headache for London

Alongside the counterinsurgency went bursts of cross-border conventional fighting as the PDRY tried to support their allies.[xxxviii] In 1972 the PDRY tried to relieve pressure on PLOAG forces in the western Djebel by bombarding SAF positions clearly inside Omani territory. Qaboos was so infuriated that he ordered a series of cross-border airstrikes on Hauf itself. Not only does this illustrate how far things had changed since Said’s removal but provides a clear example of Qaboos driving the strategic agenda independently – the Strikemasters hitting Hauf were flown by British contract officers with the SAF, and London was horrified at their involvement in what was, potentially, a major escalation. However, the Yemenis were suitably intimidated – even asking the British ambassador to mediate – and it was shortly after the Hauf attacks that Qaboos signed his agreement with the Shah.[xxxix] While entirely speculation, Qaboos’s demonstrating of decisive action independent of London may have swayed the Shah’s decision to support him. By October 1975, Qaboos was sufficiently emboldened to authorise further strikes inside Yemen, responding to more cross-border shelling followed by PDRY troops crossing the border, the Jordanian-supplied Hunters hitting roads and artillery positions across a sweep of southern Yemen.[xl]

Payoff – and what it tells us

The PDRY’s failed intervention marked the end of significant fighting. In November 1975 the final major insurgent base, just inside the border with the PDRY, was captured, and, although fighting continued sporadically for another year, the Dhofar Brigade commander, John Akehurst, was able to signal Qaboos, ‘Your Majesty…Dhofar is now secure for civil development’ – mission accomplished and a clear result for a clear strategy headed by a bold young ruler.[xli] This is where the real message for today’s strategists lays, alongside some caveats. Distilling ‘lessons’ from past counterinsurgencies like Dhofar into tactical prescriptions covered by buzz-terms like ‘hearts and minds’ or ‘government in a box’ risks repeating mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan: buzzwords is all these things are unless context is considered, and they form part of a coherent strategy pursuing a realistic political settlement attractive to a majority of the population. Moreover, the means of strategy are everything: Oman’s settlement was feasible thanks to growing oil revenues spent wisely on the country and its armed forces, strengthening Qaboos’s hand and showing he meant what he said – and none of this could happen without the initial willingness to remove Said.[xlii] Perhaps the main message of Qaboos’s victory is that clear-minded leadership, based in moral and physical courage, is a prerequisite for any successful strategy.



Thanks to Miss Aiysha al Toubi, Dr Mark Baillie and Lt Colonel Sean Cronin-Nowakowski for their help with this paper.


[i] The author is deeply sceptical about the term ‘hybrid warfare’ but it is a useful tool in this case despite its growing overuse elsewhere. For the Current UK government’s view on the current situation and how it plays out, see Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (London: HM Government 2021), especially pp.10-11. Also based on conversations with serving British Army officers.
[ii] The author’s KCL colleagues Geraint Hughes and Walter Ladwig argue on similar lines (with some qualifications) in Hughes, ‘A “Model Campaign” Reappraised: The Counter-Insurgency War in Dhofar, Oman, 1965-1975’, Journal of Strategic Studies Volume 32 No.2 April 2009, pp.272-273 and Ladwig, ‘Supporting Allies in Counterinsurgency: Britain and the Dhofar Rebellion’, Small Wars & Insurgencies Volume 19 No.1, March 2008, pp.62-63
[iii] For a good introduction to the history and politics of Said’s reign, see Uzi Rabi, The Emergence of States in a Tribal Society: Oman under Sa’id bin Taimur 1932-1970 (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press 2011); refer also to Calvin Allen Jr and W Lynn Rigsbee II, Oman under Qaboos: From Coup to Constitution 1970-1996 (London: Frank Cass 2000) especially pp.1-33
[iv] See the closest to an official history of the Sultan’s Armed Forces available in English, JE Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies: The Sultanate’s Struggle for Survival (London: Saqi 2007), pp.63-182; refer also to the memoirs of the first CSAF, David Smiley, Arabian Assignment: Operations in Oman and the Yemen 1958-1961 and 1963-1968, (London: Leo Cooper 1975), pp.10-128; Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.278-279 The post of CSAF was later elevated to Brigadier, then Major-General.
[v] Jeremy Jones & Nicholas Ridout, A History of Modern Oman (Cambridge: CUP 2015) pp.137-138; Robert Alston & Stuart Lang, Unshook till the End of Time: A History of Relations between Britain and Oman, 1650-1970 pp.279-280; John Pimlott, ‘The British Army: the Dhofar Campaign, 1970-1975’, in Ian FW Beckett & John Pimlott, Counter-Insurgency: Lessons from History Second Edition (Barnsley, Pen & Sword 2011), pp.26-27
[vi] Alston & Lang, Unshook, pp.279-280
[vii] Jones & Ridout, Oman, pp.139-140; Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.279-280
[viii] Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.194-197
[ix] Ibid, pp.149-150; Pimlott, ‘British Army’, pp.27-28
[x] Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.283 The weapons were known of course, as the Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) and General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) in British Army service. The Strikemaster is the armed version of the Jet Provost trainer and was to gain near-legendary status during the Dhofar War, being the main source of fast air support for SAF for prolonged periods.
[xi] Jones & Ridout, Modern Oman, pp.141-143; Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.217-219 Pimlott, ‘British Army’, p.29
[xii] The British Government were all too aware of this – see Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.277-278; Ladwig, ‘Dhofar Rebellion’, pp.63-64
[xiii] Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.283; Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.221-222
[xiv] Alston & Lang, Unshook, pp.282-283; Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.291-292
[xv] Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.256; Pimlott, ‘British Army’, pp.30-31
[xvi] See Nikolas Gardner, ‘The Limits of the Sandhurst Connection: The Evolution of Oman’s Foreign and Defense Policy 1970-1977’, Journal of the Middle East and Africa 6:1, 2015, p.48
[xvii] Alston & Lang, Unshook, pp.258-259; Majid al Khalili, Oman’s Foreign Policy: Foundation and Practice (Westport & London: Praeger 2009), p.64
[xviii] See Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.238-241. Said died at the Dorchester Hotel two years later, and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.
[xix] Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.150 Many of my Omani friends believe that the creation of modern-style citizenship was the keystone of Qaboos’s’ whole political programme.
[xx] Pimlott, ‘British Army, p.33
[xxi] Allen & Rigsbee, Oman under Qaboos, p.35; Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.150 Nephew and Uncle were eventually reconciled with Tariq returning to Muscat and becoming an informal advisor to Qaboos.
[xxii] Both close American allies and major oil suppliers to the USA and Western Europe. Since the British withdrawal from ‘east of Suez’ the Americans viewed the Shah as the main guarantor of their interests in the Gulf and along with the British were helping him use his oil wealth to build massive, well-equipped armed forces capable of controlling the Gulf and threatening the USSR’s southern flank.
[xxiii] Al Khalili, Oman’s Foreign Policy, pp.67-69
[xxiv] Ibid, p.77; Alston & Lang, Unshook, pp.153-155; The Shah’s motives were probably not entirely selfless, as he was engaged in a territorial dispute with the Trucial Emirates over the islands of Abu Musa and the Lesser Tunbs, which his forces had occupied in November that year. Oman stayed neutral in this dispute, unlike almost every other Arab Gulf country, all falling in behind the Emirates. In 1972, the Shah proclaimed a strategy for Imperial Iran of establishing a ‘security perimeter’ stretching far into the Indian Ocean and incorporating adjacent areas of the Arabian Peninsula and the commitment to Dhofar might be seen as part of this.
[xxv] Al Khalili, Oman’s Foreign Policy, pp.72-73 It may be that Qaboos’s visit to Riyadh had the indirect backing of Faisal’s close ally, President Nixon, see Gardner’, ‘Limits’, pp.50-51
[xxvi] Jones & Ridout, Modern Oman, p.157; Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.274
[xxvii] Jones & Ridout, Modern Oman, p.157. Imperial Iran had good relations with Israel so the Shah’s motives were probably not entirely selfless here, either – Iran’s oil revenues increased more than tenfold between 1972 and 1975 with a third of it spent on the armed forces.
[xxviii] Alston & Lang, Unshook, p.274
[xxix] Ibid, p.289
[xxx] Ibid, pp.35-36
[xxxi] Allen & Rigsbee, Oman under Qaboos, p.67
[xxxii] One of the best memoirs of the Dhofar War is Major General Tony Jeapes, SAS Operation Oman (Glasgow: HarperCollins 1980) a detailed personal account of the raising and training of the Firquats by a former CO of 22 SAS. See also Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.283-284
[xxxiii] Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.258, 261, 269, 275, 277; Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, p.286; Pimlott, ‘British Army’, pp.37-38 Qaboos’s mother, Sayida Mazoon, was a Djebali, giving him a close personal connection with the region and its people.
[xxxv] Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.287-288; Jones & Ridout, Modern Oman, p.156; Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.329-331 It is estimated the Iranians may have sustained between 500 and 1,000 killed in action during their four-year long deployment to Dhofar, several times the number suffered by other contingents.
[xxxvi] See Steven R Ward, Immortal: A Military History of Iran and its Armed Forces (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press 2009), pp.202-205
[xxxvii] For instance, see Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.245, 331, Hughes, ‘Model Campaign’, pp.284-285
[xxxviii] Ibid, pp.328-329
[xxxix] Alston & Lang, Unshook, pp.291-292
[xl] Ibid, pp.292-294; Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, pp.290-293
[xli] Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies, p.373; Pimlott, ‘British Army’, p.41
[xlii] Pimlott, ‘British Army’, p.41
[xliii] Amusing comment from a conversation with an Omani friend: when told that Said knew several Shakespeare plays off by heart, he responded ‘King Lear obviously wasn’t one of them…’