Dhofar War 1965-1975

Al Kharusi, Khalid (2018) Dhofar War 1965-1975. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This project examines the nature of UK relations with the Omani Sultans, Sultan Said bin Taimur (1932-1970) and his son, Sultan Qaboos (1970- present), in the context of the Dhofar War (1965-1975). The internal and external circumstances of this conflict give valuable insights into Omani independence and sovereignty, thereby addressing the paucity of Omani writing on this conflict (e.g. Al Hamdani, 2010, Al Amri, 2012, Ja’boub, 2010; Muqaibl, 2002).

This study utilises a qualitative descriptive analytical methodology to study documents from British, American, Egyptian, and Omani sources, including archival texts from government officials and the revolutionaries. Interviews were also conducted with key military and civilian figures in the Sultanate of Oman and Britain.

Examination of the actions undertaken by Sultan Said and Sultan Qaboos in the war highlights a dichotomy between the need to ensure compatibility with British politics at that time and the desire of the Omani leaders to maintain independence in the face of British imperialism. Despite the profound differences between the policies of both Sultans, this study shows that both governments had a developing and negotiable autonomy, rather than existing as a direct colony or an informal colony (see Abdalsatar, 1989, p. 46; Fadel, 1995, p. 212; Halliday, 2008, p. 331; Miles, 1920, pp.222-230; Omar, 2008, pp. 6-7; Owtram, 2004, p. 16;Samah, 2016, p. 273; Sultan & Naqeeb, 2008, p. 26; Wilson, 2012, pp. 331-332). Importantly, the relationship with the British is shown to have been a less important factor in the events and should therefore not be over-stated as informal imperialism. The main political values in the conflict were: (1) the support of tribal leaders; (2) the role of Islam and communism; (3) the unity of the leadership; and (4) the relations between the Sultans and other Gulf leaders. Overall, the relationship between the Omani rulers and the British was one of friendship, cooperation, and exchange of interests, which the Sultans used to maintain the independent needs of Oman.

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