The Jebel Akhdar War Oman 1954-1959
CSC 1985
	       OMAN 1954-1959
				War Since 1945
				John B. Meagher
				Major     USMC
              TABLE OF CONTENTS
 ILLUSTRATIONS                                  ii
 PREFACE                                        iii
INTRODUCTION                                    1
   I. THE BURAIMI DISPUTE                       5
   II.  REBELLION AND REACTION                  9
   III. REBELLION REKINDLED                     15
   IV.  STALEMATE                               27
   V. FROM STALEMATE TO VICTORY                 41
EPILOG                                          60
GLOSSARY                                        62
PERSONALITIES                                   63
SOURCES COUNSULTED                              65
NOTES                                           67
2-1. Bahla Castle                                         11
3-1. Fort Jelali                                          16
3-2. The Great Fort of Nizwa                              23
3-3. Typical Village in Wadi Sumail                       25
4-1. Jebel Akhdar                                         27
4-2. Tribesmen of Central Oman                            30
4-3. Wreckage of RAF Venom Fighter on Jebel Akhdar        32
4-4. Rebel Stronghold of Saiq                             39
5-1. Village of Bani Habib                                49
5-2. Village of Salut in the Jebel Akhdar                 51
5-3. Donkey Resupply in the Jebel Akhdar                  53
5-4. Trail up the Wadi Kamah                              57
1.  Accompanying Introduction                              1
2.  Accompanying Chapter 1                                 5
3.  Accompanying Chapter 2                                 9
4.  Accompanying Chapter 3                                15
5.  Accompanying Chapter 4                                27
6.  Accompanying Chapter 5                                41
     This paper will examine a tribal rebellion which took
place in the Sultanate of Oman during the middle and late
1950s. The causes of the rebellion and the complications
presented by terrain and climate along with the operative
sociological and political considerations will be examined.
Finally, the consequences of this minor rebellion will be
viewed with an eye to current strategic realities.
     It has been necessary in compiling this paper to use a
number of Arabic words, place names , and individual names.
None of the standard systems of transliterating Arabic into
English has been used. The English rendering of Arabic words
is such that the pronunciation by a native English speaker
will most closely approximate the Arabic pronunciation used
in Oman.
     I extend my sincere thanks to Lieutenant Colonel
Timothy E. Kline, USAF, the Air Force Special Advisor to the
Marine Corps Command and Staff Colleges for his advice in
the preparation of this study. My special thanks go to
Lieutenant General J.P.B.C. Watts,CBE,MC, Chief of the
Defence Staff of tne Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces for
consenting to be interviewed on his role as commander of "D"
Squadron,22nd SAS during the rebellion.
                     John B. Meagher
                Major U.S. Marine Corps
                  Quantico, Virginia
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     The Sultanate of Omam, or Muscat and Oman, as it
was formerly known, was at mid-century one of the least
known and backward countries on earth.  In the
1950s life in Oman had probably changed less since
Biblical times than that of almost any other country.1
     Oman lies on the southeastern coast of the Arabian
Peninsula.  To the north and northeast are Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates; to the south, the North
Arabian Sea; to the west, the People's Democratic
Republic of Yemen; and to the east the Gulf of Man
which connects with the Persian Gulf through the
strategically important Strait of Hormuz.  The Hajar
Mountains, of which the Jebel Akhdar, or Green
Mountain, is a part, separate the country into two
distinct regions: the interior, known as Oman, and the
coastal area dominated by the capital, Muscat.  The
internal geography of Oman has had the effect of
dividing the country into an outward-looking society of
merchants and seamen along the coastal area and, in the
interior, and inward-looking, conservative, frequently
xenophobic society.
	During the 1950s, indeed from 1932 until his
ouster in 1970, the ruler of Oman was Sultan Said bin
Taimur Al Bu Said.2  Although the Sultan was the
absolute ruler of Oman, religious factors and tribal
loyalties limited his real power to govern.
	The Ibadhi sect of Islam predominates in Oman.  It
originated in 657 during the reign of the fourth
caliph, Ali.  A group called the Kharijites, or
seceders, emerged who believed that the principles of
Islam were being forsaken.  Ali defeated the heretics at
Nahrawan in 658 but two of them escaped and settled in
Oman.  Ibadhism developed from these two fugitives and
managed to root itself impregnably in the mountains of
Oman even though it was rooted out from the rest of
	Ibadhis hold the belief that  a leader, or imam,
must be elected from among the believers.  This belief
along with the conservative nature of Ibadhism has
occasioned numerous confrontations and conflicts
between the coastal-oriented sultans and the
conservative imams whose power rests on the tribes of
interior Oman.  In 1866 a  British-supported,
coastal-oriented sultan fought and defeated a 
tribal-backed, interior-oriented imam.4  In 1931, the
accession of Taimur bin Faisal to the position of
sultan provoked a general rising of the tribes.  The
Iman regarded Sultan Taimur's cooperation with Great
Britain to restrict the sale of arms and to limit
slavery as subservience on the part of Oman.  More
importantly, the Imam regarded attempts to limit
slavery as contrary to the teachings of the Qoran.  The
conflict proceeded imtermittently for seven years with
the tribesmen at one point besieging Muscat only to be
defeated by a British force.  Finally in 1920, the
interior tribes and the Iman reached accommodation with
the Sultan through the Treaty of Seeb.5
	The Treaty of Seeb established the paramountcy of
the Sultan and consolidated his control of foreign
affairs.  It also recognized a measure of autonomy on
the part of the tribal leaders including their right to
adjudicate internal affairs as they saw fit and the
right to elect an imam.6  The treaty successfully
established a peace between Muscat and Oman that lasted
from 1920 until the 1950s.
	In the 1950s Oman's population could not have
exceeded 750,000.  The vast majority of the population
was illiterate, in poor health, fiercely independent,
and willing to defend that independence from any
attempts to impose even the slightest limitations on
it.  John Townsend has written, "Throughout the Arabian
Peninsula, and certainly in Oman, it is essential for a 
man to be armed.  A man who does not carry a weapon is
not a man.  His virility is in question.  A boy at
puberty is circumcised and given a rifle or khanjar,
both acts are important badges of manhood."7
	The vast majority of the population was in poor
health.  Colonel Hugh Boustead wrote of Oman in the
	Muscat was in deplorable condition....I had seen
	what could be done in the Hadhramaut and in the
	Qu'aiti State in particular, with a revenue about
	one half of what the Sultan of Muscat drew in
	customs duties; yet here there were no medical
	services in the whole country.  I made a tour soon
	after my arrival with an economic expert and a 
	representative from the Development Division at
	the British Embassy in Beirut.  The latter told the
	Sultan after the tour that, in twenty years
	experience of most of the countries of the Middle
	East, he had never seen a people so poverty
	stricken or so debilitated with disease capable of
	treatment and cure.8
	At this stage of historical development Oman was
an economical and political anachronism.  Its only
revenue was from customs duties.  Roads, hospitals, and
schools, other than the Qoranic schools found
throughout Islam, were nonexistent.  The Sultan ruled as
an absolute ruler, but in actuality he was obliged to
recognize the real power of the interior tribes.
	In the 1950s the influences of mid-twentieth
century anti-colonialism and the modern impact of
petroleum development were to clash with the 
traditional, even medieval, factors prevalent in the
tribal society that was Oman.
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		Chapter 1:  The Buraimi Dispute
	The Buraimi oasis is located on the border between Oman
and the United Arab Emirates.  The oasis contains nine
villages, three of which belong to Oman and six to the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  In the early 1950s ARAMCO, a jointly
owned Saudi-American oil company, believed that oil existed
in commercial quantities near the Buraimi oasis.9  Saudi
territory.  This rather tenuous claim was based on the fact
that in the nineteenth century, Wahhabis from what is now
Saudi Arabia, had occupied all or part of the Buraimi oasis,
but their occupation was not permanent.  The last occupation
by a Wahhabi garrison had ended in 1869 when expelled by the
Sultan of Muscat acting in concert with a local tribe.10
Saudi Arabia also claimed, in an effort to prove its case,
that the inhabitants of Buraimi had paid zakat to the Saudi
	Both Abu Dhabi and Oman requested that Great Britain
negotiate with the Saudis on their behalf.  Her Majesty's
Goverment already legally represented Abu Dhabi under the
terms of the Treaty of Maritime Peace and Prosperity.12
	A Saudi garrison of forty men under the command of
Turki bin Abdulla bin Ataishan occupied the oasis on 31
August 1952 in an attempt to preempt any negotiations
concerning sovereignty.13  Sultan Said, finding common cause
with the Imam Mohammed raised an army of 8,000 tribesmen at
Sohar on the Gulf of Oman. This army was in striking
distance of Buraimi via the Wadi Jizzi.14  A standstill
agreement was reached in Jiddah between the Saudi and
British governments with the mediation of the U.S.
ambassador.15 The Sultan was persuaded not to take military
action and the tribes reluctantly went home.16  Had the
Sultan been permitted to expel the Saudis from Buraimi, as
he undoubtedly had the capability, the country may have been
spared a bitter period of rebellion.17
     The Saudi garrison was kept isolated in Buraimi by the
Trucial Oman Levies. The Trucial Oman Levies were a British
officered Arab military force established by King's
Regulation Number 1 of 1951 under Article 82 of the Trucial
States Order in Council of 1950. Its mission was to maintain
peace and good order in any part of the Trucial States18,
that is the seven sheikhdoms which later formed the United
Arab Emirates. The isolation of the Saudi garrison took the
form of a benevolent siege. No military action took place,
but no contact was allowed between the Saudis and the
     During this period of benevolent siege, soldiers of the
Trucial Oman Levies were believed to be selling their own
ammunition to their Saudi opponents. The commander of the
Levies, Otto Thwaites, with his Jordanian sergeant major, a
doctor of the Royal Air Force, and a British REME sergeant
set out for Buraimi in a Land Rover. As the Land Rover
approached the cordon around Buraimi it was hit by a
murderous cross-fire and Thwaites, the doctor and the
sergeant major were killed. The REME sergeant drove the
budies out.20 This successful ambush was the only military
action of the siege. Unfortunately, it was carried out by
the Trucial Oman Levies against its own commander.
     In 1954, the Buraimi question was referred to an
international arbitration tribunal in Geneva and, in August
of 1954 as a result of a decision by the tribunal, a Saudi
police detachment moved into Buraimi along with a detachment
of the Trucial Oman Levies. A fifteen mile neutral zone was
established around the oasis.21
     In September of 1955, the British representative walked
out of the Geneva negotiations due to an alleged lack of
Saudi impartiality. The British government, in a complete
reversal of policy, encouraged the Sultan and the ruler of
Abu Dhabi to occupy Buraimi.22 What the Sultan had been
prepared to do in 1952, the Trucial Oman Levies were ordered
to do in 1955.
     The Levies, in the guise of a relief column for its
Buraimi garrison, rounded up the Saudi police detachment;
installed the Sultan's wali in the Buraimi fort; and invited
a detachment of the Sultans Army to establish itself in the
oasis. Unfortunately,this was a classic case of being a day
late and a dollar short. The Saudis, with money, arms, and
promises. had already made their presence felt in Oman
     British pressure on Sultan Said to refrain from
military action against the Saudi occupation of Buraimi
resulted in a lost opportunity to bring the country
together. The Imam and the Sultan, against a common enemy,
had mustered 8.000 tribesmen for the expected battle. The
order to go home must have caused the Sultan much loss of
prestige among the tribes of the interior. To regain the
oasis as a gift from the British rather than by force of
arms must have reduced the Sultan's prestige even further.
"Sultan Said had lost face in front of his people, and
having done so, the relationship between him and his
subjects could never be the same again."24
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              Chapter 2: Rebellion and Reaction
     The three years between the Saudi occupation of Buraimi
and its reoccupation by the Trucial Oman Levies in 1955 were
bad years for the Sultan. During that period the Saudis
provided gifts of money and arms to the Omani tribes of the
interior with the intent of undermining the Sultan.25
     In 1954 the much respected Imam Mohammed died and was
succeeded by Ghalib bin Ali al Hinai. Various sources report
that Ghalib's election as Imam was a direct result of Saudi
influence;26 that Suleiman bin Himyar, tamimah of the Bani
Riyam tribe, manipulated the election of Ghalib;27 and that
Ghalib assumed the position of Imam and was never elected at
all.28 Suffice it to say that Ghalib succeeded Mohammed as
Imam. He was supported by his brother Talib who was at that
time wali of Rustaq and Suleiman bin Himyar---the self-styled
Lord of the Green Mountain.29
     Relations between the Sultan and the newly installed
Imam were ruptured over a dispute concerning the right to
grant oil concessions.30  A subsidiary of the Iraq Petroleum
Company was intensely interested in some promising
geological formations near Fahud. The Sultan, as ruler of
Oman, claimed all dealings with the  oil company as his
prerogative. The Imam, on the other hand, claimed that since
the oil was in his territory, anything dealing with it was
an internal matter and, according to his interpretation of
the Treaty of Seeb, his prerogative.31
     In an attempt to preempt the Imam, the Sultan licensed
oil prospectors to search in the Fahud area, and the tribe
which controlled that area actually welcomed them. The
conservative Ghalib attacked the tribe that had welcomed the
prospectors. He wanted no outsiders in the interior of Oman
at all.32
     Her Majesty's Government supported the Sultan in this
matter because it seemed to be a good idea to have a British
oil company (Iraq Petroleum Company) with an exit to the sea
outside of the Strait of Hormuz.33
     It was at this time that the Imam declared the complete
independence of the "State of Oman" and applied for
membership in the Arab League.34 In October 1955, two
British employees of the Iraq Petroleum Company led the
Muscat and Oman Field Force north from Fahud to occupy Ibri
which had been under the Imam's control.  This action was
ordered by the Sultan in response to the attack the Imam had
directed against those who had welcomed the oil prospectors,
and in response to the Imam's declaration maintaining that
the state of Oman was independent of Muscat.35 The
occupation of Ibri by the Sultan's forces, effectively cut
off the Imam from his Saudi support.
     Ghalib drove to Bahla with the intention of expelling
the Sultan's forces from Ibri but, since he received no
support from Suleiman bin Himyar, fell back on Nizwa without
taking action.36  The Muscat and Oman Field Force moved from
Ibri and captured Bahla and Nizwa successively without
firing a shot.37
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	Two days later, on December 15, 1955, the Bartinah Force
under Lieutenant Colonel Colin Maxwell stormed the fortress
at Rustaq.38
  	Rustaq is a typical Omani town strategically placed at
     the exit of a wadi from the mountains, walled with a
	massive castle, watered by falajes, and with extensive
	date groves around it. Its main peculiarity is that, as
	an Omani stronghold, it is on the coastal side of the
	mountain range; it has served, therefore, as the centre
	of Omani activity in the east, and has often acted as a
	capital, or at least sub-capital, for the Omanis.39
     Colin Maxwell has been described as a tubby lieutenant
colonel with a round, jovial, moon face and dark, military
moustache. He was the senior, most dedicated and competent
officer in the Sultan's Armed Forces. After British Army
service he spent a number of years in the Palestine police
and was as a consequence fluent in Arabic. He was trusted
and liked by local tribesmen as well as by the Sultan and
his advisors. His subordinates always gave him their best
     The fortress of Rustaq fell after determined
resistance. Talib, the Imam's brother who had commanded at
Rustaq, made good an escape.41
     Upon receiving information that his forces had occupied
the centers of the rebellion, the Sultan personally led a
truck convoy from his southern capital in Salalah in an
unprecedented 600 mile trek across the desert to Nizwa to
accept the homage and fealty of the interior tribes. He
declared the Treaty of Seeb terminated and the office of
Imam abolished.42
     Ghalib abdicated his position  as Imam and returned to
his village of Bilad Sait after acknowledging the
sovereignty of the Sultan.43  Talib escaped to Saudi Arabia
where he engaged in the training of a "liberation army" of
Omani expatriates. He also visited Cairo, the Nasserite
center of Arab nationalism and anti-colonialism. There he
launched a propaganda campaign to discredit the Sultan and
gain support for an Oman independent of Muscat.44 Suleiman,
after pledging his loyalty to the Sultan, retired to his
village of Tanuf.45
     James Morris has provided this interesting account of
Suleiman bin Himyar's arrival in the Sultan's camp near
Nizwa to render his homage:
     We saw approaching us from the mountains a moving
     pillar of dust, quite unlike those surging clouds that
     had, in the past few days, heralded the arrival of so
     many camel trains. It was either a tribal band of
     unprecedented character, or something totally
     different, peculiar to the Green Mountain, like a camel
     drawn dray or a sledge pulled by mules. As the pillar
     grew nearer, and we were able to look into it, as you
     light into the interior of a small tornado, we saw
     something infinitely more astonishing: a perfectly
     good, well-kept, fairly modern American convertible. It
     had never occurred to anybody before that there was a
     single car in these remote regions; and indeed
     Suleiman's was the only one. The sight of it careening
     out of the mountains toward us, bouncing recklessly
     over the rough track, was wonderfully inconsequential
     and inspiriting.  The root of the car was closed, but on
     the boot there sat a Negro slave, armed with a rifle,
     with his feet sticking through the back window into the
     inside of the car; and when it stopped outside the camp
     this slave jumped off like lightning, as promptly and
     neatly as any duke's footman, and opened the door with
     a flourish.46
     Suleiman's car, no doubt a product of Saudi largesse,
was later destroyed by a British air strike on Tanuf. A 1953
Chevrolet is still recognizable in the rubble of the
     The first phase of the rebellion ended in humiliation
for the rebels. Ghalib was forced to abdicate the office of
Imam; a humiliated Suleiman retired discomfited to his
village of Tanuf; the Sultan had crushed the rebellion, but
Talib had made good his escape to Saudi Arabia and as the
only free agent abroad, vowed to return at the head of a
Liberation Army.
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                  Chapter 3: Rebellion Rekindled
     At the end of 1955 the interior of Oman was quiet.
Suleiman bin Himyar, and his 1953 Chevrolet, were at home in
the village of Tanuf. Ghalib bin Ali, the former Imam, was
in his own village of Bilad Sait, and Talib bin Ali,
Ghalib's brother, remained exiled in Saudi Arabia. Talib,
however, was restless.
     Throughout 1956 and 1957, in addition to propagandizing
in Cairo, Talib recruited and trained a number of expatriate
Omani laborers working in Saudi Arabia.47
     Talib planned a two pronged campaign of liberation. The
rebels were to hit the Sharqiyah and  central Oman
simultaneously. Talib's chief lieutenant, Salih bin Issa,
had a brother, Ibrahim, who was designated to lead the
rebellion in the Sharqiyah. In March of 1957, Ibrahim, with
about seventy followers, returned to Oman. No action was
taken against the rebels by the Sultan's Armed Forces during
April or May. The Sultan, however, opened negotiations with
the rebels and in early June invited Ibrahim to Muscat for
discussions. Ibrahim accepted the Sultan's hospitality and
journeyed to Muscat where immediately upon arrival he was
clapped into the sixteenth century Portuguese prison
fortress of Jelali which overlooks Muscat harbor.48
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     Shortly after Ibrahim's imprisonment (on 14 June 1957)
Talib landed at Suwaiq on the Batina coast with 100 men
while another 100 landed north of Sohar.49
The rebellion was afoot again.
Talib's landing was undetected. He proceeded inland to his
home village at Bilad Sait. There he proclaimed a
restoration of the Imamate. His brother Ghalib, who had been
living peacefully since paying homage to the Sultan, allowed
himself to be persuaded to reassume the title of Imam.
     The Sultan's Oman Regiment  renamed from the Muscat and
Oman Field Force on 1 March 195750, on learning of Talib's
presence in Bilad Sait, mounted Land Rovers and drove to
arrest him. The road to Bilad Sait twists and turns for
about twenty miles through steep canyons, any of which
provide perfect ground for ambush. There was of course great
concern for lines of communication, but a friendly tribe,
the Ibriyin, had agreed to seize the heights and hold them
against the possibility of ambush.51
     The battle was joined then the Sultan's soldiers
arrived in the village. They used artillery, mortars, and
machine guns on the towers of Bilad Sait. The rebels
returned rifle fire. The Sultan's artillery consisted of two
Kipling 75mm screw guns, whose sole source of ammunition,
anywhere in the world, was the Imperial War Museum in
London. This battle raged for seven days and nights.52
     Suleiman bin Himyar, hearing a Radio Cairo report that
the Britisn had lost confidence in the Sultan and that oil
in significant quantities had been discovered on Jebel
Akhdar, joined the rebels and declared war in the name of
his tribe, the Bani Riyam, and all its affiliated
tribes.53(The Bani Riyam is a major tribe of the interior of
Oman , about 15,000 strong, and settled primarily on the
Jebel Akhdar plateau.54) This meant that all of the Jebel
Akhdar and every town and village in the foothills were
swept swiftly into revolt. In Arabia when a village is in
arms every man in the village becomes a fighter.
    	Since the Ibriyin failed to arrive and protect the
heights, the Sultan's Oman Regiment found itself trapped
between Bilad Sait and Suleiman's armed and aroused
villages. Vehicles of the soldiers were repeatedly ambushed
and destroyed by mines. They had no choice but to fight
their way out over twenty miles in 120 degree heat through
narrow mountain canyons and still narrower village streets.
Every window seemed to frame a rifleman.55
     Not many of the Sultan's soldiers returned. At one
point during their withdrawal, leading soldiers had to elbow
away the rifles sticking out of village windows in order to
pass. Drivers abandoned vehicles and headed for the hills.
Only a small contingent fought through. The British officers
all survived.56
     Remnants of the Sultan's force made for the oil camp at
Fahud eighty miles away. There the regiment, having suffered
enough casualties to be listed ineffective, was disbanded.
The Imam's white flag again flew over his capital of
Nizwa--surrendered without a fight by the local governor.57
     As the Sultan's Oman Regiment fought for survival near
Bilad Sait, Sayyid Tarik, the Sultan's half brother and
viceroy of the interior, left Al Hamra with a small force.
He was attacked by about 200 Bani Riyam near Tanuf. Sayyid
Tarik escaped with three dead and five wounded. At Izki
Suleiman's men ambushed a number of vehicles headed for
Muscat carrying Sayyid Tarik's wounded causing additional
casualties. As a result of Suleiman's ambush a number of the
wounded died of thirst.58
     On 16 July 1957, the Sultan, through the consul-general
in Muscat, officially requested British assistance.59 His
request for assistance referred to a fifteen year treaty of
friendship which had been signed between the United Kingdom
and Oman in 1951.60 British assistance was essential. The
Sultan's forces were weak and he could not hope to cope with
Saudi Arabia, primary financer of the rebellion.61
     The Sultan's army was extremely weak. Composed of the
Muscat Regiment of 120 men used primarily for palace guard
duties, the Batinah Force of 200 men commanded by Lieutenant
Colonel Colin Maxwell, and the Sultan's Oman Regiment of 300
men.62 A great many of the Sultan's soldiers were Baluchi
who had been recruited in Gwadur, now part of Pakistan.63
Gwadur was until September of 1958 a dependency of the
Sultanate having been given to Sultan bin Ahmed in 1784. The
Sultan of Oman's Land Forces still recruit heavily there.
     The Baluchi soldier has been described as a steady and
dependable fighter on the defensive who might be effective
in the offensive, if well lead. Colonel David Smiley, while
serving as commander of the Sultan's forces, observed only
one Baluchi soldier run away during a fight. When questioned
later the soldier responded,"When I joined this army, Sahib,
jet was not explained to me that I should have to fight."64
     Britain responded quickly to the Sultan's request. This
positive response was, however, potentially dangerous for
Britain internationally. "No power is more vulnerable than
that of an empire in the process of dissolution; and now,
after the Suez catastrophe, every move by Britain was
subject to hostile scrutiny, particularly by the
Russian-backed coalition of Egypt, Syria, and the Yemen."65
     Britain answered the Sultan's request for a number of
reasons. The Royal Air Force had been given base privileges
on Masirah Island during World War II in return for a
military subsidy. The Sultan had continued Masirah's use as
a quid pro quo for RAF assistance.66  It was hoped that the
Sultan would tend to favor British oil exploration and
commercial interests. Preservation of the regional status
quo was the cornerstone of British policy and to refuse the
Sultan would provide a basis for questioning British
presence along the coasts from Aden through the Persian
Gulf.67 It should be remembered, however, that although
Britain had treaty obligations with the Trucial States,
Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Aden; it had no obligation to
come to the aid of Oman.68
     Britain's assistance was not without condition.  Due to
her recent humiliation in Suez and the expected United
Nations' reaction to British military involvement in Oman it
was decided that British involvement had to appear to be
changing the worst aspects of the Sultan's government. It
was therefore agreed to render British military assistance
on the condition that Oman accept some form of developmental
assistance. Colonel Hugh Boughstead was named as the head of
the new Development Departient.69
     The British agreement to assist Oman was formalized in
what finally became an "Exchange of Letters between the
Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland and the Sultan of Muscat and Oman
concerning the Sultan's Armed Forces, Civil Aviation, Royal
Air Force Facilities, and Economic Development in Muscat and
Oman." The agreement was finalized in this form on 25 July
1958 and promised seconded British officers for the Sultan's
army and enabled the RAF to use facilities at Masirah and
     Britain responded to Oman's request by providing
immediately one company of the Trucial Oman Scouts, recently
having undergone a name change from the Trucial Oman Levies.
Royal Marine non-commissioned officers assigned to Her
Majesty's ships in the North Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf
were ordered to Oman to stiffen some platoons until seconded
officers could arrive from the United Kingdom, and the RAF
provided considerable additional assistance.71
     The first group of seconded Royal Marines arrived in
Oman on 29 March 1958 headed by Lieutenant R.F. Gray,R.M.
and included seven non-commissioned officers and one Marine.
By the end of the conflict these Marines would be augmented
by men of 3 Commando Brigade. Twenty Marine officers and 63
non--commissioned officers would serve in Oman during the
Jebel Akhdar revolt.  Marine casualties were two killed and
three wounded.72
	A short time after this initial effort was landed,
three companies of the 1st Battalion of the Cameronians and
a troop of the 15/19 Hussars arrived.73
	The initial British military reaction was to attack
with air.  First, the RAF bombed the Jebel Akhdar plateau
with Shackleton bombers from Aden.  This bombing was largely
ineffective as the RAF had orders only to bomb caves and 
water systems, not villages.  The attacks came at the same
time each day allowing the rebels ample opportunity to take
cover.  Later, Venom fighters based in Sharjah attacked
targets with cammon and machine gun fire.74  Aircraft were
also used to broadcast propaganda.  On one occasion the
rebels sent a message to the opposing commander demanding
that the loudspeaker on a Pembroke be repaired as they could
not clearly hear the message being broadcast.75
	The rockets of the Venoms did little damage to the
primitive mud walls of the several forts nor could they
penetrate the solid rock of the great fort at Nizwa.
Additonally, since the Imam's flag was white, many pilots
did not engage legitimate targets because they believed the
fort of village flying the Imam's standard to have
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    Reliance on air power reflected a British policy
practiced in the region since the 1930s. Aircraft were
expected to interrupt the normal life of the tribesmen to
the extent that any revolt would come to a rapid end when
faced with attack from the air. The airplane, with its
mobility and capacity for observation, when used in the
desert environment against primitive tribesmen was expected
to be devastating. It was for this reason that the principal
British headquarters in the Arabian Peninsuia was commanded
and staffed principally by officers of the RAF.77
     In combating the rebellion, first priority was the
recapture of Nizwa, the Imam's capital and the largest town
in the interior. A plan was devised to send a force,
nominally under the command of Sayyid Ahmad bin Ibrahim, the
Minister of the Interior, from Muscat in the direction of
Nizwa, via the Wadi Sumail.78  Another force commanded by
Colonel S.L.A. Carter,MBE,MC, composed of one troop of 15/19
Hussars, "D" Company and Support Company of the Cameronians,
three squadrons of the Trucial Oman Scouts, and a company of
the Northern Frontier Regiment was to advance from Fahud to
Nizwa. The operation was commanded by Brigadier J.A.R.
     Sayyid Ahmad's column was in actually commanded by
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Haugh. Haugh's departure from
Muscat was delayed because the Indian contractor who was to
have provided transport did not arrive on time. The trucks
finally did arrive and the Muscat Regiment left Bait al
Falaj, the headquarters of the Sultan's Armed Forces, in
fish trucks and rattle trap Land Rovers. While enroute
Haugh's column was joined by a number of loyal tribesmen who
hoped to take over the villages of Suleiman bin Himyar and
Talib as they were seized.80
     The third day out from Bait al Falaj, Haugh's column
encountered a number of tribesmen on a hill near Mutti, the
first of the rebel villages encountered. A strike of two RAF
Venoms was called in. No ordnance was delivered on the first
pass and the rebels cheered and laughed derisively at the
airplanes. On the next pass cannon fire ended the laughter
and the rebels fled through the village and into the
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       On 6 August, Carter's forces began to advance from
Fahud. They reached Izz, which surrendered without
opposition, the following day. By 8 August Carter's soldiers
had suffered ten cases of heat exhaustion, seven of which
had to be evacuated.
     While advancing on Firq, the lead element of the
column  the Trucial Oman Scouts, came under rebel small arms
fire and were held up. Even with the assistance of RAF
Venous and the fire of machine guns and mortars, Carter's
force was unable to advance. At 1500 Carter withdrew his
leading elements two miles to the rear and encamped for the
night. The next day was spent in rest, maintenance, and the
planning and preparation for resuming the attack.
	The village of Firq is dominated by a hill to its
southeast.  Carter's plan called for the Cameronians to seize
this as a base from which to support the attack of the
Trucial Oman Scouts up the wadi.  During the night of 10
August patrols of 15/19 Hussars probed the enemy positions
and discovered that the rebels held not only Firq but also
the lower slopes of the dominant hill.  It was then decided
that after the RAF straffed the rebels the next day, the
Cameronians would seize the hill in a night attack and be in
position to support the Trucial Oman Scouts in a dawn attack
up the wadi.  The plan was carried out with minimum
	The two elements of Brigadier Robertson's force met at
Birkat al Mauz, eight miles east of Nizwa on 12 August and
advanced to occupy Nizwa.82  Talib, the Imam Ghalib, and
Suleiman bin Himyar fled into the Jebel Akhdar.  Nizwa and
the foothill villages were occupied by the Sultan's forces
in August of 1957 and in September all British units except
15/19 Hussars and elements of the Trucial Oman Scouts were
withdrawn.  The 15/19 Hussars was replaced by the 13/18
Hussars shortly thereafter.83  13/18 Hussars was itself
eventually replaced by a squadron of Life Guards.
	This phase of the rebellion ended as had the first.  The
Sultan's forces controlled the flat lands around the base of
the jebel and the rebels occupied and controlled the heights
thought to be impregnable.
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				Chapter 4:  Stalemate
	In those days Oman Proper, the Green Mountains, the
	domain of the Imam, was a legendary land redolent of
	romance.  There, it was said, the dry and forsaken
	wastes of sand gave way to green-clad hills, sparkling
	streams, castellated cities with bannered turrents and
	spice-rich markets; mountains soared to the clouds and
	beyond, carpeted with misty meadows, where grapes and
	pomegranates, walnuts and nectarines dropped ripe into
	the outstretched hand... there reigned the Imam,
	cloaked in mystic splendour, and there stalked Suleiman
	bin Himyar, Lord of the Green Mountains, King of
	Nebhania, unchallenged tyrant of the verdant
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	It would not be long before the Sultan's soldiers had
an opportunity to compare this romantic image with the stark
reality that was the Jebel Akhdar.
	The Jebel Akhdar is an elevated plateau measuring about
twelve miles from north to south and eighteen miles from
east to west.  Its average elevation is 6500 feet and it is
locked behind sheer cliffs of rock and shale, some rising
10,000 feet above the surrounding plain.85  Since many of the
rock walls are almost vertical, any of the tracks to the top
could be made impassable by rebels.  The approach is so
difficult that the rebels assumed that, once safely on the
plateau, they had nothing to fear.
	The principal rebel leaders were the Imam Ghalib bin
Ali, his brother, Talib, and Suleiman bin Himyar.  Ghalib's
principal contribution to the rebellion was an air of
legitimacy he provided by his position as Imam.  He was,
however, in the hierarchy of the rebels, clearly inferior to
Talib and Suleiman.
	Talib, however, was a man of much quality.  The
commander of the Sultan's Armed Forces has written of him:
	Talib, in particular, for all that he was a Saudi
	puppet, was a man of courage and ability, even of a
	certain integrity, far superior to either of his
	principal colleagues.  If he had shown a little more
	initiative in his tactics, and made more use of
	ambushes to cover the mines he laid on our roads, he
	might well have forced us to withdraw our garrison from
	around Nizwa - as at one moment he very nearly did.86
	It is difficult to uncover any redeeming qualities in
Suleiman bin Himyar.  Suleiman had wanted to establish a
sheikhdom on the Jebel Akhdar independent of both the Imam
and the Sultan, under either, U.S. or British protection.  He
was despotic, ambitious and medieval, and often demanded
first night privileges with new brides on the jebel.87  Among
Suleiman's more charming traits was his custom of visiting a
village and selecting a companion for the evening.  He would
place his walking stickover the lintel of the door and
retrieve it when he had finished with the lady of the house.
The stick told one and all to keep out.88  This description
has been provided of Suleiman on the occasion of his meeting
with the Sultan at Nizwa which was described  in Chapter 2:
	Suleiman was a big man with a powerful face, rather
	Dickendsian in concept, and  a triangular gray beard.  On
	his head was a twisted blue and white turban.  His aba
	was blue, gold edged and filmy.  In his hand was a cane
	with a carved end, and in his belt a curved Omani
	dagger of splendid ostentation.89
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	The Imam's fighters had certain qualities not possessed
by either the Sultan's soldiers, who were predominantly town
dwellers or fishermen, or the British.  They were accustomed
to the intense heat of the Arabian Peninsula and totally
familiar with the area in which they fought.  Intimate
knowledge of every track and waterhole was important.  Tribal
and family loyalties and alliances, permitted rapid,
reliable, and extensive intelligence.  Physically thin and
requiring almost no logistical support, they were possessed
of tremendous endurance and could negotiate the most
difficult mountain terrain quickly and soundlessly.  Finally,
they were belligerent people by nature and were quick to
react to the slightest provocation.  This belligerent
tendency is perhaps best characterized by a saying common
among the tribesmen of Central Oman, "Oh God, have mercy on
Mohammed (the prophet) and me and no one else."
	Once established on the jebel, the rebels began to
resupply themselves in earnest.  Saleh bin Issa continued
recruiting and collecting cash, weapons and stores in
Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and shipping them to Jebel Akhdar.90
Saleh shipped his goods by sea to Sharjah in the Trucial
States and then overland to the Batinah coast.  From the
coast supplies were shipped by truck to Awabi via Rustag and
then carried over the foothills to the high plateau.  In this
manner land mines, .50 caliber machine guns, mortars,
ammunition, and radios were provided to Talib's fighters.91
	The first major shipment of arms from Saudi Arabia to
the rebels included ten mortars, four anit-aircraft guns,
100 carbines and 52 additional Omani rebels recruited
earlier by Saleh while working as laborers.92  Saleh's
resupply efforts supported a steady increase in rebel
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	The RAF, not yet convinced of the futility of using the
airplane as the primary weapon against desert insurgents,
continued daily flights against the rebels.  During this
stage of the war and RAF Venom failed to return to base.  The
Sultan's forces sent a woman, since women could not be
stopped or searched by either side, to inquire as to the
condition of the missing pilot.  The typewritten reply
indicated that the pilot had died in a crash.94  (The rebels
took advantage of the informal agreement not to stop or
search women and used them as couriers to carry information
and ammunition.)
	By now it should be obvious that the position of the
rebels was relatively strong.  The rebels had about 180 
sharpshooters on the jebel with a backup of about 500 armed
tribesmen and Saleh's resupply efforts were making them
steadily stronger.95  The Sultan's officers realized the
enormity of the task which confronted them since only one
organized army had ever penetrated the Green Mountain.  In
the tenth century the Persians stormed the mountain
incurring heavy losses and fought a victorious battle on the
summit at an elevation of 9,000 feet.96
	As the rebels got stronger, patrols departed the jebel
on a more and more frequent basis to lay mines in the wadis
used by the Sultan's soldiers.  Over 150 vehicles including
eighteen Ferret scout cars were destroyed between March and
November of 1958.97
	It was at this stage of the rebellion that arguably the
most essential assistance provided by Britain to the Sultan
was forthcoming.  This essential assistance was the
assignment of Colonel David Smiley, MVO,OBE,MC as Chief of
Staff.98  Smiley was of medium height with fair hair.  A
previous assignment had been as military attache to
Stockholm.99  He had also been in charge of the Sovereign's
Escort of Royal Horse Guards and had parachuted into the
Balkans during World War II to organize Yugoslav
partisans.100 His active service during World War II also
had taken him to Italy, Greece, Albania, and Thailand.101
Smiley's assignment in Oman required him to call on his
experiences as a diplomat, courtier, and fighter alike.
Prior to Smiley's posting, the Secretary of State for War,
Julian Amery, had cautioned him:  "We give the Sultan help;
we sometimes give him advice; but we do not give him
	The arrival of serving British officers on secondment
to Oman caused an administrative problem.  For reasons of the
Army Act serving British officers had to be commanded by a
serving British officer.  Before Smiley's arrival the
commander of the Sultan's Armed Force was nominally the
Sultan, but the real commander was a British mercenary named
Waterfield whose title was Chief of Staff.103  On Smiley's
arrival Waterfield bacame Military Secretary; Smiley became
Chief of Staff.  The title Chief of Staff still did not
satisfy the requirements of the Army Act.  The Sultan
	We shall begin by changing your appointment from Chief
	of Staff to Commander.  After all you are not my Chief
	of Staff, you are the commander of all of my forces-
	not only of my army but of my navy and air force as
	well, small though they may be.  You will therefore be
	called El Caid, "the commander."104
	The air force and navy to which the Sultan refered
amounted to two Pioneer aircraft and one motor launch
	Those British officers, or more precisely officers of
British nationality, in the service of the Sultan prior to
Smiley's arrival had no official connection to the British
army.  They had severed ties with the army by resigning or
retiring. The basis for their service in Oman was purely
contractual.  They rendered military service to the Sultan in
return for money.  They were mercenaries in the strictest
sense of the word.  Friction between the two groups-- the
contract officers and the British seconded officers-- was
bound to develop.  A contract officer has written:
	It was sad and unavoidable, that some suspicion and
	disharmony should develop between the two elements in
	our army:  the Sultan's regulars and the British Army
	annexures.  We were conscious that we had to be bailed
	out of trouble; we were touchy, quick to detect a 
	slight and to take offence; and we tended to look for
	the newcomers sniffing at us.  They in their turn must
	have felt the subterranean resentment.  They disliked
	our cliqueishness, our assumption of knowing best, our
	air of having been there from the beginning when things
	were bad.  Some of them were in fact pretty offensive,
	and even insubordinate, but these were few, and they
	were in any case the less distinguished element.106
	Smiley found the Sultan's forces to be in poor shape.
Morale was low.  No efforts had been made to stop the rebels
from reinforcing.107  At the time of Smiley's arrival in
Oman, this force consisted of the Northern Frontier Regiment
of 450 men reinforced by a troop of two 5.5 inch guns and
two 75mm screw guns; the Muscat Regiment of 250 men, used
primarily for garrison duties; two squadrons of the Trucial
Oman Scouts, one at Ibri and one at Izki; one troop, later
two of Ferret scout cars of the 13/18 Hussars (four scout
cars to a troop); and one Royal Marine officer and eight
NCO's attached as junior leaders to the Northern Frontier
Regiment.108  Radio Cairo's Voice of the Arabs attributed
British strength at between ten and twenty thousand.109
	The rebel mining campaign had become increasingly
effective.  Every officer in the Northern Frontier Regiment
had been affected by mines at least once.110  Two to three
vehicles were being blown up every day.111  The mines were,
fortunately, not large enough to seriously damage the
vehicles and they rarely caused casualties.112
	The first priority of the Sultan's Armed Forces was to
isolate the rebels from their source of supply.  To this end,
Britain attempted to persuade the United States to stop
supplying mines to Saudi Arabia.  The alleged U.S. response
was that the mines were supplied as part of a military
assistance program and the manner in which they were used
was of no concern to the supplier.113
	The army attempted to blockade the jebel by stationing
detachments at the base of every known track.  On October 6,
1958, Northern Frontier Regiment occupied Tanuf and a
squadron of the Trucial Oman Scouts occupied Yanqul at the
northwestern end of the Hajar Range closing the last major
supply route from Saudi Arabia.  As the blockade was
intensified aggressive patrolling was instituted and
although minor casualties were incurred, morale soared.114
	In an attempt to get the rebels into the open a plan
was devised in which soldiers would advance up the jebel
during the day in strength and appear to spend the night on
its slopes.  They would, however, withdraw quietly during the
night.  At dawn the rebels were expected to assemble in order
to repulse these perceived intruders.  The RAF would then
appear and blow them to bits.115  Unfortunately, during  the
night withdrawl someone tripped over a rock and accidently
fired his Bren gun almost severing the leg of a Royal Marine
corporal and tipping off the withdrawal.  The corporal died
enroute to the hospital.  The aircraft arrived as scheduled
and dropped numerous 1,000 pound bombs which hurt the Sultan's
soldiers watched the display from above while the Sultan's
soldiers watched from below.116
	During the second week on November, a patrol led by
Major Tony Hart of the Muscat Regiment found an unguarded
route to the top of the jebel.  Hart's route involved a six
hour climb from Hajar, above Awabi, and involved negotiating
steps carved into the jebel centuries before by the
	Awabi was one of the historical strategic strongholds
	of Oman.  On the seaward side of the Jebel Akhdar there
	were only two significant entrances to the plateau
	along its entire length; and here the jebel flanks did
	not rise stark and straight skywards out of the plain,
	but were fringed by a wide skirt of black lava hills
	which if they had not been overtopped by the green
	mountains would have been respectable mountains in
	their own right.  These also were penetrated by only two
	or three paths. Awabi lay astride the plexus where two
	of the routes throug the black hills met to join in
	the approach to the plateau.118
	Major Hart's discovery allowed the Sultan's forces to
position a force on the plateau, but the top of the Awabi
track was on the opposite side of the plateau, about
eighteen miles away from the rebel stronghold, which was in
the vicinity of Saiq.
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     The blockade and intensified patrolling hurt the rebels
and they asked for a truce:
     One day a woman arrived in Nizwa with a message from
     the Imam to Sayyid Tarik suggesting a truce during
     which both sides would refrain from hostilities
     including bombing and shelling on our part and
     mine-laying on theirs. The ostensible purpose was to
     allow time to work out an honourable agreement between
     the Sultan and the rebel leaders; the real reason, we
     suspected- and captured documents later proved us
     right- was that the enemy was hard pressed by our
     blockade and demoralized by our successes in action
     against him, and needed a breathing space to recover.
     Nevertheless, we agreed, and for two weeks the skies
     were clear of Shackletons and Venoms, our guns were
     silent, and our transport- and that of the oil
     company's- passed freely along the roads. Not
     surprisingly, the terms proposed by the rebels proved
     unacceptable to the Sultan, and so we went back to
     Under Smiley, the Sultan's Armed Forces were clearly
winning the war and Smiley was certain, that given
sufficient time, the rebels would be defeated. The main
uncertainty was how much time would it take.
             Chapter 5: From Stalemate to Victory
     In 1958 the rebels were firmly established on the great
plateau of the Jebel Akhdar, and the Sultan's forces
controlled the base of the jebel. As mentioned previously,
the Jebel Akhdar covered an area of about eighteen by twelve
miles. There were simply insufficient forces available to
completely blockade this vast area, and the quality, or lack
of it, of the forces which were available precluded an
assault. Oman, therefore, looked torward to a long war of
attrition, involving ambush and counter-ambush, mining and
basically ineffective air strikes, in which neither side
could deliver a decisive blow against the other.
     It is important to realize the great physical
difficulties to be encountered during active campaigning on
the Arabian Peninsula. A mile climb up the Jebel Akhdar in
the Arabian summer with the usual burdens of food, weapons,
water, and ammunition would cost an individual between one
and two gallons of sweat.120 Of fifty British soldiers who
served in Oman, other than soldiers of the Special Air
Service (SAS), 45 were evacuated for heat exhaustion, two
     Convinced that the rebels could not be defeated in the
foreseeable future with the forces available, Smiley went to
Sharjah on 13 June 1958 to meet with Christopher Soames,
then Secretary of State for War, and General Firbank, the
Director of Infantry to ask for more British assistance.
Smiley was informed that any decision to increase British
assistance was a political decision and not a military one.
In any case, the maximum assistance that could be made
available was two battalions. Smiley asked for either a
Royal Marine Commando or a unit of SAS, as he did not
believe standard infantry to be sufficiently physically fit
to be of value.122
     Smiley's request for assistance reached Whitehall. The
reaction there was to recommend a four battalion assault on
the jebel to include a battalion-sized airborne assault.
Prime Minister MacMillan's response to this recommendation
was to relect it out of hand.123
     British headquarters in Aden forwarded another plan
calling for a British battalion, in coordination with the
Sultan's Armed Forces, to assault the jebel in conjunction
with an airborne assault.124  Factors of altitude and wind
would have precluded the airborne assault and the British
foreign office objected to any use of British troops because
it feared repercussions in the United Nations where Saudi
Arabia and Egypt were denouncing British intervention in
Oman.125  Senior officers in both London and Arabia could see
no solution to the war without increasing British forces.126
     General Sir Frank Kitson, then a major and now
commander in chief of United Kingdom Land Forces, suggested
that small teams might be formed in the villages at the base
of the jebel. These teams could capture insurgents and these
same insurgents, under threat or bribe, could guide small
teams of soldiers to the top of the jebel where they would
locate and kill the leaders, Suleiman, Ghalib, and Talib.
     The problem with Kitson's plan was the paucity of
personnel with the required skills to execute it. In any
case Kitson flew to Aden to attempt to sell his plan to the
British commanders there.127
     General Hamilton, then Director of Military Operations,
on hearing of Kitson's plan and the difficulty in finding
qualified personnel to execute it, suggested the use of
SAS.128 Kitson's original plan was revised and officers were
ordered to Oman to organize intelligence collecting cells to
be capitalized on by the SAS.129 Sayyid Tarik, the Sultan's
half brother, lived in Nizwa castle and controlled the only
sources of information loyal to the Sultan. He would prove
to be the best source of guides and interpreters.130
     The commander of the SAS, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony
Deane--Drummond, DSO,MC, did not support Kitson's initial
plan, but wanted to get involved. Kitson and Deane-Drummond
worked together to find a mutually acceptable proposal that
would also be acceptable to Whitehall.131
     Deane-Drummond was a regular officer of Royal Signals.
He had led the SAS with great skill and success in Malaya.
in World War II he parachuted into Arnhem and spent two
weeks hiding in a cupboard in a house full of Germans before
making his way back to friendly lines.132  Described as
having a prominent nose, a clipped military moustache, and
something of a Monty look,"He had marched into the Muscat
venture...without knowing the first thing about it and
immediately set about explaining just how the SAS would deal
with it.133
     Smiley welcomed SAS assistance but only on the
conditions that no extra demands be made on his strained
administrative and logistic resources and that anyone
operating in Oman be unreservedly under his command.134
     Kitson and Deane-Drummond travelled to Muscat from
Sharjah in a Pembroke to confer with Smiley. Kitson
described his first glimpse of the Jebel Akhdar as follows:
     Soon after taking off, the ground below us started to
     rise into range upon range of small hills.
     Gradually  the hills became bigger until in the
     distance ahead of us we saw the Jebel Akhdar, a
     monstrous rock-like projection which seemed to
     hang on the horizon for miles.135
In Muscat, Smiley, Kitson, and Deane--Drummond agreed that
SAS would start patrolling in the normal way under their own
troop commanders. The later stages of the campaign were left
purposely vague.136  With Whitehall approval, Deane-Drummond
left for Malaya to round up "D" Squadron, 22nd SAS, under
Major Johnny Watts. His problem was to assemble, retrain,
and move to Oman within fifteen
days.137 In addition to "D" squadron, one squadron of Life
Guards and a detachment of Royal Signals were ordered to
     Deane Drummund arrived in Malaya at the end of October
1958 and located his "D" Squadron thirty miles inside the
jungle on the Thai border, where they had been engaged on
operations for the previous six weeks. Within 48 hours the
entire squadron had relocated to  Kuala Lumpur some 250
miles away. The distance was closed by forced marches and
floating downstream on river rafts.139
     Major Watts and his squadron were flown to Masirah
Island. There they were picked up by RAF aircraft from Aden
and flown to a dirt strip at Azaiba. The pilots did not know
their destination until told by Watts.140 The squadron
arrived at Bait al Falaj, headquarters of the Sultan's Armed
Forces, on 20 November 1958.141 The squadron had a strength
of eighty men divided into four troops of sixteen men each
and a squadron headquarters.142
     Watts was told upon arrival in Oman that the problem
must be solved by April of 1959 or the squadron would be
withdrawn.143 April 1959 was the next scheduled United
Nations debate on the Middle East. Additionally, domestic
political considerations dictated that there be no serious
number of casualties.144
     The SAS soldiers had a problem in contrasts in Oman. In
the jungles of Malaya visibility was rarely greater than 25
yards and concealment was not a problem. In Oman the
visibility was 30 miles and the Omani rebels were adept at
melting into the rocks.145 In order to cope with the problem
of concealment, SAS did all of their work at night in Oman.
     Their initial acclimation to Oman was accomplished by
extensive training in the area between Ruwi and Mina al
Fahal, now in the heart of a growing urban area.146  They
then moved into the interior with two troops patrolling from
Tanuf and two troops from Awabi.147 The initial three or
four weeks of patrolling from Tanuf provided valuable
information on rebel habits, movements, and dispositions.148
     Tracks had to be discovered by patrolling but most of
the potential guides had been pressed into service by the
rebels. There was great edvidence of treachery. One
"friendly" tribal leader who had been placed in charge of
anti-mining on a mountain track was found to be mining the
path himself.149
     No maps existed other than one very crude drawing.
Guides could not speak English. None of the SAS soldiers
could speak Arabic. At one point during the early stage of
SAS involvement in Oman, Major Watts, in disguise  and two
guides, one of whom was crazy and and the other a bandit,
sought a route up the Wadi Halfayn to the plateau. The
guides had to be forced along. The party, although it never
reached the plateau, passed through rebel sentries twice and
finally returned just before dawn.150
     During this early period SAS under-rated the skill of
Talib's fighters. They revised such opinions when Corporal
Swindell, a recent recipient of the Military Cross in
Malaya, was killed instantly  by a long range sniper
shot.151  On another occasion the SAS surrounded a cave used
to store weapons and ammunition. At first light, after
making a ten and a half hour march in order to approach the
cave from an unexpected direction, they fired 3.5 inch
rocket launchers and machine guns into the mouth of the
cave. According to Deane-Drummond,"Even such withering fire
did not cause the rebels to panic or surrender. They quickly
dropped into fire positions and returned the best they
     During this introduction to war on the jebel, Major
Watts concluded that the RAF bombings on the plateau were
counter-productive and had them discontinued. Airpower,
however, continued to play a role in suppressing the
rebellion. RAF fighters based at Sharjah were scheduled to
arrive over the jebel at dawn to provide covering fire for
the withdrawal of SAS patrols. Time on station was short and
timing had to be precise. Close air support was so close
that some injuries were received by soldiers being hit by
falling shell casings from aircraft cannon.153
     During December of 1958, "D" Squadron killed between
twenty and thirty of the enemy at a cost of one killed. This
rate of exchange was expected to end the rebellion in a few
months by the simple process of attrition. It was believed
that as more of Talib's men were killed, he would be forced
to take an increasingly active part in the fighting
personally, and consequently would increase the chances that
he would be killed.154 A further tightening of the blockade
on the rebels, in order to prevent the escape of their
leaders, was also considered. It was thought that they might
surrender if their chances of flight and survival here
     Smiley disagreed. He reasoned that if the object had
become attrition, then that object could best be achieved by
getting a second SAS squadron. The Foreign Office was
initially opposed, but the Ministry of Defence supported the
idea and succeeded in convincing the Foreign Office.156
     Major John Cooper with "A" Squadron, 22nd SAS, arrived
in Oman on 12 January 1959 and relieved "D" Squadron  which
returned to Bait al Falaj for a rest. The jebel patrolling
had ruined the soldiers  boots and they were issued hockey
boots as a substitute.157 "A" Squadron deployed to the north
side of the jebel near Awabi to become familiar with the
terrain and get acclimated.158
     Smiley and Deane-Drummond set up a joint headquarters
to coordinate the efforts of the Sultan's Armed Forces, the
SAS, and the RAF. An RAF officer was obtained from Bahrain
to perform the functions of air liaison officer. A tactical
headquarters was established in Northern Frontier Regiment's
camp near Nizwa to which Smiley and a small staff moved in
early January.159  Smiley delegated tactical command of all
forces operating against the rebels to Deane-Drummond.160
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	Because of the April deadline for the withdrawal of
British troops, only three months were available to
successfully resolve the situation. A night attack on the
jebel during a full moon was decided on as the course of
action offering the best chance of success.  The decision to
attack during a full moon meant that the last weeks of
January, February, and March were vital. Smiley and
Deane-Drummond decided to assault during January so that in
case of failure there would be two more opportunities.161
     The primary objective of the assault was to establish a
foothold as soon as possible atop the jebel near the rebel
strongholds at Saiq, Bani Habib, and Sharaijah, and to hold
for aerial resupply. Surprise was essential in order to
avoid casualties.162
     It will be remembered from a previous chapter chat
Major Tony Hart had discovered an unguarded track to the
plateau on the north side of the jebel. A small base was
established near the head of the track. The enemy reacted by
entrenching in that area, thus making an attack from the
north improbable of success. The shortest routes to the top
on the south side of the jebel were the tracks from Tanuf
and Kamah. Both were well guarded.163
     An aerial reconaissance by Smiley and Deane-Drummond
revealed a possible route to the top of the rebel. The route
was a sloping ridge east of the Wadi Kamah. It was unguarded
and the two commanders thought that it could be climbed in
one night.  They provided code names for key features on the   
route; the top was named Beercan; the first peak, Pyramid; a
connecting ridge between two slopes, Causeway; a crest about
a third of the way up, Vincent; and a peak beyond Beercan
overlooking Bani Habib, Colin.164
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	SAS would lead the assault.  There were strict
instructions from Aden that all other units, Life Guards,
Trucial Oman Scouts, and the Sultan's Armed Forces were to
support the SAS.  Diversionary attacks were to be planned and
other units would follow SAS to occupy successive terrain
features as they  were uncovered.  These units would then
support a consolidation on the jebel.  If no serious
opposition was encountered, the SAS was to push on to Bani
Habib, Saiq, and Sharaijah.  Others would open up the track
from Kamah for donkey columns to bring up supplies.  The
death or capture of Talib, Ghalib, and Suleiman bin Himyar
were of extreme importance.165
     The night of 25 January was chosen for the attack. In
order to confuse the rebels, several diversions were planned
for the weeks prior to 25 January. Between 8 and 22 January,
"D" Squadron and "A" Company, Northern Frontier Regiment
patrolled from Tanuf and drove the rebels from an
observation post nearby. During the same period, "A"
Squadron, SAS and one squadron of the Trucial Oman Scouts
conducted probes on the north side of the jebel from Hajar
toward Aqabat al Dhafar. "C" Company, Northern Frontier
Regiment patrolled from Izki into the Wadi Muaydin and lost
one killed and several wounded.166  The rebels knew something
of major importance was imminent but had no intelligence on
which to base a counterplan.
     Major Malcolm Dennison, Smiley's intelligence officer,
said to him,"I'm prepared to bet, that if we call the
leaders of the donkey men together on the night before the
assault, and tell them in strictest confidence and under the
most ferocious penalties that the following night they'll be
leading their donkeys up the Tanuf track, Talib will have
the news within twenty-four hours." Smiley agreed with
Dennison, the donkey men were told, and Talib had the news
in twelve hours, not twenty-four.167
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	The plan was very simple and was to be executed in
three phases.  During the first phase, "A" Squadron was to
occupy Vincent and "D" Squadron was to occupy Pyramid,
Beercan, and Colin before first light.  During the second
phase "C" Company, Northern Frontier Regiment would relieve
"A" Squadron on Vincent and a troop of Life Guards
(dismounted) would take over Pyramid.  In the third phase,
"A" Squadron would consolidate on Beercan and "D" Squadron
would consolidate on Colin.168
	The plan also called for two groups of irregulars to
participate in the attack.  On the south, fifty tribesmen of
the Bani Ruaha led by Major John Clarke, a contract officer,
would accompany the SAS. In the north, two hundred Ibriyin
and a platoon of the Muscat Regiment would create a
diversion and if unopposed, climb the jebel via two tracks
from Awabi.169 It will be remembered that the Ibriyin was
the tribe that failed to occupy the heights during the
Sultan's Oman Regiment's attack on Bilad Sait thus
subjecting it to successive ambushes and near annihilation.
This was an opportunity for the tribesmen to redeem
     Before the attack, Smiley asked Clarke,"Do your boys
know what they're supposed to do?"
     Clark responded,"Yes, they know what they're supposed
to do. God only knows if they'll feel like doing it."170
     After dark on 25 January a reinforced troop of "D"
Squadron was withdrawn from Tanuf and taken by truck to the
Wadi Kamah to join the remainder of the squadron.171  The
task to be accomplished was extremely simple. Climb the
mountain before first light without forfeiting the element
of surprise.
     While the task to be accomplished was uncomplicated,
execution proved extremely difficult. Each SAS trooper
carried a Bergen rucksack, sleeping bag, sweater, one gallon
plastic water container, rations for two days, one hundred
rounds of ammunition, two grenades, a para smock, a change
of clothes, and two or three canteens. The total weight of
each soldiers individual equipment  was between eighty and
ninety pounds.172
     The enemy to be encountered numbered about 250 hardcore
fighters backed by 600 to 1,000 armed tribesmen. Their arms
included the .303 Enfield rifle, light machine guns, .50
caliber Browning machine guns, 81 and 82mm mortars, and U.S.
and British mines. A major source of arms for the enemy had
been British war reserve material that had been
pre-positioned near the Suez Canal. It was lost to Nasser
once the canal was nationalized. Some eventually appeared on
the Green Mountain.173 The Omani units that participated in
the attack, the Muscat Regiment and the Northern Frontier
Regiment, were considered by Major watts to be incapable of
offensive action.174
     During the assault a serious obstacle was encountered
at Causeway. At 0300 Major watts made the decision for the
leading unit, his own "D" Squadron, to cache their rucksacks
and begin climbing the precipice. This decision to cache
equipment and climb was a critical one. It probably kept
Watts and his troopers from being caught in the classical
dilemma of mountain warfare, being caught snort of the crest
at daybreak looking into the enemy guns175
     The march to the summit was basically unopposed. The
only enemy encountered were two men with a .50 caliber
Browning machine gun who were discovered asleep in a cave.  A
guard was placed over them and the attack proceeded.176
The leading unit reached the summit before first light after
a climb of nine and a half hours and the occupation of
Beercan, Colin, and Bani Habib was accomplished. The only
sign of enemy activity was twenty tribesmen of the Bani
Riyam who wanted to surrender.177  During subsequent
operations on the plateau, Life Guards held the heights.
They had taken the Biza Machine guns off their Ferret scout
cars and made the ten hour climb with them.178 The Biza
machine gun is a 7.92 mm gun weighing 54 pounds.
     Deception operations had been completely successful.
The rebels had concentrated their forces at Aqabat al
Dhafar, at the opposite end of the plateau from the SAS
assault, and along the track above Tanuf.179
     In an attempt to put this night approach march of the
SAS into perspective, in December of 1982, I hiked from the
village of Kamah to Saiq via the Wadi Kamah. While probably
a slightly greater distance than the route negotiated by
SAS, it is by far an easier climb. My load was minimal: one
meal, a change of clothes, and four canteens. I departed
Kamah at 0600 and arrived at the Jebel Akhdar Battle
Training Centre above Saiq at 1730 in no condition to fight.
SAS had made its climb, at night carrying eighty pound
loads. They used two and a half hours less time than I had.
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	At first light Venoms from Sharjah appeared over the
plateau to provide support if needed.  Three Valettas from
Bahrain made nine container drops of supplies onto
Beercan.180  The Rebels believed that the resupply drop was
in actuality a  drop of airborne reinforcements and organized
resistance ended.181
	With the arrival of the majority of Smiley's forces
onto the jebel, the search for the rebel leaders began in
earnest.  Wendell Phillips asserts that the leaders escaped 
down an unguarded track.182  Smiley states that the leaders
escaped with the help of tribesmen loyal to the Sultan and
made their way to the Sharqiyah 183 and Watts states that
Talib and Ghalib were not on the mountain at all and that
Suleiman made his escape by bribing those tribesmen that
were guarding the Wadi Halfayn.184 The important point is
that none of the leadership was captured.
     While none of the leaders was captured, their
headquarters cave revealed a wealth of information. Smiley
reported finding boxes of documents and bundles of letters
giving the confidential details of the organization of the
rebels and their sympathizers.185  Watts reported finding
swords, khanjars, walking sticks, and among the documents a
manuscript chronicle of the Bani Riyam which was hundreds of
years old.186
     With the surrender of Sharaijah, the Jebel Akhdar War
ended.187 The SAS had suffered three casualties in their
attack. A bullet hit an Energa grenade being carried in the
pack of a soldier setting off the grenade, killing the
soldier, and wounding two soldiers behind him.188
     At the conclusion of their assault both squadrons of
SAS were exhausted. As follow-on forces arrived atop the
plateau to continue the process of disarming the rebels, the
two squadrons of SAS marched down the mountain from Saiq to
Nizwa. Their physical exhaustion occasioned a nearly total
breakdown and straggling was epidemic.189 Straggling or no
straggling, the rebellion was finally snuffed out in a three
month effort after four years of futility and failure. The
London Times described it as "a brilliant example of economy
in the use of force."190
     Two weeks after the assault, Major Malcolm Dennison
received confirmed information that the rebel leaders were
hiding in a certain house in the Sharqiyah. A plan was
developed to surround the house and capture the rebels. The
commanding officer of the Northern Frontier Regiment had
been ordered to remain in Nizwa and not interfere with the
plan to capture the leaders. He found out about the rebels
sanctuary and its location and ignoring his orders, set out
to capture the rebels himself.
     He gathered a small party and drove to the house,
knocked on the door, and asked if the Imam was there. The
owner of the house of course answered in the negative. The
officer then turned on his heel and left believing that he
had demonstrated the information received concerning the
rebels  hideout to be false.
     Talib, who was hiding, in the house is reported to have
asked Suleiman,"Shall I shoot this stupid Nasrani?"
     "No, he's not worth it. Let him be," responded
     Shortly after their uninvited visitor called on them,
all three rebel leaders made good an escape by sea to Saudi
	The Jebel Akhdar War was, by any standard of
measurement, a minor affair.  No great armies clashed.  No
great captains emerged.  The war was fought and the rest of
the world took no notice.
	A small, highly efficient, superbly fit organization
attained victory in a situation that had stymied a more
orthodox and conventional force for four years.
	From the point of view of the army as a whole the most
	important effect of the campaign was that it ensured
	the continued existence of the Special Air Service.  The
	regiment  had been formed in Malaya for operations  deep
	in the jungle and might well have been disbanded at
	the end of that campaign had it not been able to
	demonstrate that it had a use outside the jungle as
	The accomplishments of the SAS the Yemen, at
Princess Gate, in Northern Ireland, and in the Falklands are
a consequence of the high level of performance demonstrated
in Oman in the 1950s.  This conflict and the fighting
experiences on the Green Mountain ensured the continued
existence for that elite organization.
	In a broader view, the Sultanate of Oman is important
for any calculation of U.S. strategy applicable to Southwest
Asia scenarios.  Oman, with Iran, controls the strategic
Strait of Hormuz.  This water course is essential to the
movement of a large percentage of the free world's energy
supplies.  Oman has agreed that in the event of a crisis
(with prior consultation and agreement) it would allow U.S.
forces access to certain Omani facilities. The deployment of
U.S. forces to Southwest Asia in the absence of these
facilities would be extremely difficult at best.
     The current strategic importance of Oman is apparent.
Oman later faced a much more serious threat in the late
1960's and early 70's than the minor tribal rebellion of the
1950's. In the 1960's the Dhofar Rebellion, heavily
supported by the Soviet Union and the Peoples' Republic of
China, came close to toppling the regime.  Had the Dhofar
rebels been successful, a peoples' democracy would have been
established within Oman. A Yemeni style peoples' republic in
control of the Strait of Hormuz would be an incalculable
complication on the international scene today.
     The victorious resolution of the Jebel Akhdar War
insured that the Sultan of Oman could concentrate his forces
and efforts against the enemy in the Dhofar Province without
concern for a rebellion in central Oman. The necessity of
actively prosecuting a war in Dhofar while being required to
isolate rebels in central Oman would have seriously
jeopardized the successful resolution of the more serious
threat in Dhofar. Therefore, Oman's victory in the Jebel
Akhdar was an important ingredient in the successful
conclusion of the Dhofar Rebellion and a stable, progressive
government remains firmly in place in this important
strategic area.
aba- flimsy outer garment worn by Omani men. Resembles a
akhdar- green.
Energa grenade- anti-tank rifle grenade.
falaj- irrigation system peculiar to Oman in which
underground irrigation channels carry water from the heights
to the oases at lower elevations. The underground channels
are intended to inhibit water loss due to evaporation.
jebel- mountain.
khanjar- curved dagger worn by Omani men beginning at
the age of puberty.
Nasrani- Christian
REME- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
sayyid- lord, sir, or in modern usage, mister.
tamimah- paramount sheikh
wadi- valley, canyon, arroyo.
wali- local governor or mayor.
zakat- traditional tax prescribed by Islam for the care of
the poor.
Ahmad bin Ibrahim- Omani Minister of Interior, nominal
commander of column which engaged rebels at Mutti.
Amery, Julian-- British Secretary of State for War at the
time Smiley was assigned to the Sultan's Armed Forces.
Boughstead, Hugh, Colonel- head of British Development
Division in Oman.
Carter,S.L.A. ,Colonel- Commanded column that attacked from
Fahud to Nizwa via Izz and Firq. Occupied Nizwa with column
under Lt.Col. Haugh.
Clarke, John, Major- British contract officer who led
irregulars in the assault on Jebel Akhdar.
Cooper, John, Major- Commander, "A" Squadron, 22nd SAS.
Deane-Drummond, Anthony, Lt. Col.- Commander, 22nd SAS.
Dennison, Malcolm, Major-- Intelligence officer of Sultan's
Armed Forces.
Ghalib bin Ali al Hinai- last Ibadhi Imam and one of the
rebel leaders.
Haugh, Frank, Lt. Col.- Military commander of column that
moved from Muscat to Nizwa in August 1957 and engaged the
rebels at Mutti. Linked up with Colonel Carter's column at
Birkat al Mauz and occupied Nizwa.
Hart, Tony, Major- Contract officer, discovered unguarded
track up the Jebel Akhdar from Awabi.
Ibrahim bin Issa- rebel who attempted to foment revolt in
the Sharqiyah.
Kitson, Frank, Major- British planner who devised the
initial plan for SAS involvement in Oman. Now a general and
commander U.K. Land Forces.
Maxwell, Colin, Lt.Col.- Led attacks on Rustaq and Nizwa.
Retired as a brigadier and currently lives in Oman.
Robertson,J.A.R.,Brigadier- Commanded the two pronged attack
on Nizwa during August 1957.
Said bin Taimur al bu Said- Sultan of Muscat and Oman from
1932 until 1970.
Saleh bin Issa- Supplied rebels with arms, equipment, and
men from Damman, Saudi Arabia. Propagandized for the revolt
in Cairo.
Smiley, David, Colonel-  British commander of the Sultan of
Oman's Land Forces.
Soames, Christopher- British Secretary of State for War. Met
with Smiley in Sharjah to discuss increased British military
presence in Oman.
Suleiman bin Himyar- paramount sheikh of the Bani Riyam
tribe. Self-styled Lord of the Green Mountain.
Swindell, Cpl.-- SAS soldier killed by sniper on Jebel
Akhdar. A recipient of the Military Cross in Malaya.
Taimur bin Faisal al bu Said- Sultan of Oman whose accession
in 1913 occasioned a tribal uprising.
Talib bin Ali al Hinai- Brother of the Imam Ghalib and
military leader of the revolt.
Tarik bin Taimur al bu Said- Half brother of Sultan Said,
viceroy of the Green Mountain.
Thwaites, Otto, Lt.Col.- Commander of the Trucial Oman
Levies at the time of the Buraimi Dispute. Killed in an
ambush by his own men.
Turki bin Abdulla bin Ataishan- Saudi governor of Buraimi.
Watts, J.P.B.C., Major- Commander of "D" Squadron, 22nd SAS.
At the time interviewed for this paper was Major General and
Commander, Sultan of Oman's Land Forces. Now a Lieutenant
General and Chief of the Defence Staff of the Sultan's Armed
                     Sources Consulted
WATTS, J.P.B.C., Major General, Commander, Sultan of Oman's
Land Forces, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Interview, 28 April
Invaluable account of SAS involvement in Jebel Akhdar War
and British political concerns from the then commander of
"D" Squadron,22nd SAS,who led the final assault on Jebel
Akhdar. General Watts had not been interviewed about his
role in the war prior to this time.
ALFREE,P.S. Warlords of Oman.South Brunswick and New York:
A.S. Barnes and Company,1967.
Interesting account by mercenary officer with Trucial Oman
Scouts, and later Sultan's Armed Forces, during Jebel Akhdar
DUCHESS OF ST.ALBANS. Where Time Stood Still, a Portrait of
Oman. London: The Anchor Press Ltd. ,1980
Interesting eye-witness account of Oman before development.
Sketchy and at times inaccurate references to Jebel Akhdar
GERAGHTY,Tony. Who Dares Wins. London:Arms and Armour
Press, 1980.
Well written account of SAS involvement in the Jebel Akhdar
HEARD-BEY,Frauke. From Trucial States to United Arab
Emirates. Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex: Longman  Group,1982.
Scholarly account of the transition of the United Arab
Emirates into a developing society.Good account of
diplomatic maneuvering associated with the Buraimi dispute.
HAWLEY, Sir Donald. Oman and its Renaissance. London: Stacey
international ,1984.
Excellent background material.
KITSON,Frank. Bunch of Five. London: Faber and Faber
Ltd. ,1977.
Essential account of political considerations, command
relationships, and tactics of necessity by a noted soldier
and theorist on low intensity operations. Kitson was
instrumental in determining British policy concerning the
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE. Operations in Muscat and Oman,
1952-1959. Whitehall, S.W.l: Army Historical Branch, 1964.
Excellent primary source from Buraimi dispute to final
assault on rebel positions.
MORRIS, James. Sultan in Oman. New York: Pantheon Books
Inc. ,1957.
Interesting first-hand account of Sultan's trip from Salalah
to Nizwa; written before SAS involvement.
PETERSEN,J.E. Oman in the Twentieth Century. London: Croom
Helm Ltd. ,1978.
Accurate often uncomplimentary view of Oman; good account of
initial defeat of the rebels.
PHILLIPS, Wendell. Oman, a History. Beirut: Librarie du
Liban, 1971.
Interesting eye-witness view of Oman, by no means a history.
SKEET,Ian. Muscat and Oman. London:Faber and Faber
Ltd. ,1974.
Informative overview of Oman during reign of Sultan Said bin
SMILEY, David. Arabian Assignment. London: Leo Cooper
Ltd. ,1975.
Autobiography of Commander of Sultan's Armed Forces during
latter phases of Jebel Akhdar War.
TOWNSEND,John. Oman, the Making of a Modern State. New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1977.
Critical account of Omani development with fair account of
Buraimi dispute.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. Area Handbook for the Persian Gulf
States. Washington,D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977.
Excellent background material.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. Area Handbook for Saudi Arabia
Washington ,D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977.
Good background material on the Buraimi dispute.
WARNER, Philip. The Special Air Service. William Kimber.
1971; reprinted ed., London:  Sphere Books Ltd. ,1984.
Fragmentary and in many cases inaccurate account of SAS
involvement; of little value.
1  Frank Kitson, Bunch of Five (London: Faber and Faber
Ltd., 1977). p.179.
2  Ian Skeet,Muscat and Oman (Faber and Faber Ltd., 1974),
3  Sir Donald Hawley, Oman and its Renaissance (London:
Stacey International, 1984) , p. 9.
4  Kitson, p.157.
5  U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook for the Persian
Gulf States(Washington,D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1977), p.344.
6  David Smiley, Arabian Assigment (London: Leo Cooper
Ltd., 1975),p.8.
7  John Townsend,Oman, the Making of a Modern State (New
York: St. Martin's Press, 1977), p.147.
8   Ibid., p.66.
9   Ibid., p.60.
10  Frauke Heard-Bey,From Trucial States to United Arab
Emirates (Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex: Longman Group, 1982),
11  U. S. Department of State,Area Handbook for Saudi Arabia
( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,1971)
12  Townsend,p.60.
13  Heard-Bey, p.304.12  P.S. Allfree,Warlords of Oman(South
Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1967) p.14.
14  Townsend, p.60.
15  Heard-Bey, p.304.
16  Townsend, p.60.
17  Ibid., p.17.
18  Heard-Bey , pp. 312,313
19  Allfree, p.16.
20   Ibid. ,p.17.
21   Ibid. ,p.28
22   Townsend, p.61.
23   Allfree, p.50.
24   Townsend, p.60.
25   Smiley, p.10.
26   Allfree,p.52.
27   Kitson, p.158.
28   Wendell Phillips,Oman, A History.(Beirut: Librarie du
Liban,1971), p.188.
29   Kitson,p.158.
30   Smiley, p.11.
31   Allfree, p.52.
32   Kitson, p.159.
33   Allfree, p.53
34   Townsend, p.61.
35   Ibid.
36   Phillips, p.189.
37   Smiley, p.11.
38  Dept. of State, Persian Gulf,p.345.
39   Skeet, p.94.
40   Smiley,p.19.
41   Allfree, p.54.
42   Dept. of State, Persian Gulf, p.345.
43   Phillips, p.194.
44   Kitson, p.159.
45  Ibid.
46  James Morris,Sultan in Oman (New York: Pantheon Books
Inc., 1957), pp.86,87.
47  Smiley,p.12.
48  Ministry of Defence, Operations in Muscat and Oman.
1952-1959 (Whitehall, S.W.l: Army Historical
Banch,1964) ,pp.11,12.
49  J.E. Petersen, Oman in the Twentieth Century(London:
Croom Helm Ltd. ,1978),pp.182,183.
50   Allfree,p.55.
51   Ibid. ,p.56.
52   Ibid.,p.57.
53   Duchess of St. Albans, Where Time Stood Still, a
Portrait of Oman(London: The Anchor Press,1980),p.29.
54   Allfree,p.57.
55   Ibid.
56   Ibid.
57   Phillips, p.198.
58   Ibid. ,p.204
59  Philip Warner, The Special Air Service (London: Sphere
Books Ltd., 1984), p.223.
60   Kitson, p.161.
61   Warner,p.227.
62   Allfree,pp.104,105.
63   Smiley,pp.24,25.
64   Ibid. ,p17.
65   Petersen,p.139.
66   Townsend,p.64.
67   Kitson,p.161.
68   Townsend.p.65.
69   Skeet,p.166.
70   Kitson. p.166.
71   Warner,p.227.
72   Ministry of Defence,p.21.
73   Smiley,p.59.
74   Ibid.
75   Allfree,p.60.
76   Kitson,p.162.
77   Allfree,pp.58,59.
78   Ministry of Defence,p.15.
79   Allfree,pp.62,63.
80   Ibid. ,pp.67,68,69.
81   Phillips,pp.204,205
82   Ministry of Defence,pp.15,16,17
83   Warner, p.228.
84   Allfree,p.47.
85   Kitson,p.167.
86   Smiley,p.47.
87   Phillips,pp.197,198.
88   Allfree,p.54.
89   Morris,p.87.
90   Allfree,p.92.
91   Ibid. ,pp.93,94,95.
92   Phillips,p.211.
93   Allfree,p.104.
94   Smiley,p.53.
95   Tony Geraghty,Who Dares Wins (London: Arms and Armour
Press, 1980),p.107.
96   Morris,p.85.
97   Geraghty, p.107.
98   Warner,p.228.
99   Kitson,p.176.
100  Allfree,p.113.
101  Duchess of St. Albans,p.89.
102  Geraghty,p.109.
103  Allfree,p.112.
104  Smiley,p.41.
105  Ibid.
106  Allfree,p.116.
107  Kitson,p.177.
108  Smiley,p.23.
109  Ibid. ,p.24.
110  Ibid. ,p.66.
111  Allfree,p.98.
112  Kitson,p.191.
113  Smiley,p.50.
114  Ibid. ,pp.68,59.
115  Allfree,p.68.
116  Ibid. ,p.90.
117  Smiiey,p.72.
118  Allfree,p.128.
119  Smiley,p.69.
120  Allfree,p.72.
121  Geraghty,p.110
122  Smiley,p.60.
123  J.P.B.C. Watts, Major General, Commander Sultan of
Oman's Land Forces, interview held in Muscat, Sultanate of
Oman, 28 April 1984.
124   Kitson,pp.167,168.
125   Smiley,p61.
126   Kitson,p.196.
127   Ibid. ,pp.169,170.
128   Geraghty,p.109.
129   Kitson,p.190.
130   Ibid. ,p.178.
131   Ibid. ,p.174.
132   Smiley,p.70.
133   Kitson,p.173.
134   Ibid. ,p.177.
135   Ibid. ,p.175.
136   Ibid. ,pp.180,181.
137   Geraghty,p.110.
138   Warner,p.228.
139   Ibid. ,p.228.
140   Watts
141   Kitson,p.183.
142   Smiley,pp.72.73.
143   Watts
144  Geraghty,p.109.
145  Warner,pp.228,229.
146  Watts
147  Kitson,p.184.
148  Watts
149  Warner,p.231.
150  Watts
151  Kitson,p.190.
152  Geraghty,p.111.
153  Watts
154  Kitson,p.192.
155  Ibid. ,p.193.
156  Ibid. ,pp.193,194.
157  Smiley,p.76.
158  Geraghty,p.113.
159  Smiley,p.75.
160  Kitson,p.195.
161  Smiley,p.76.
162  Ibid. ,p.77.
163  Ibid.
164  Ibid. ,p.78.
165  Ibid.
166. Ibid. ,p.79.
167  Ibid.
168  Ibid. ,p.80.
169  Ibid.
170  Ibid. ,p.81.
171  Geraghty,p.114.
172  Watts
173  Ibid.
174  Ibid.
175  Geraghty,pp.114,115.
176  Ibid.
177  Smiley,p.82.
178  Ibid. ,p.83.
179  Duchess of St. Albans,p.93.
180  Smiley,p.80.
181  Watts
182  Phillips,p.212.
183  Smiley,p.87.
184  Watts
185  Smiley,p.83.
186  Watts
187  Smiley,p.85.
188  Ibid. ,p.82.
189  Watts
190  Geraghty,p.115.
191  Smiley,p.87.
192  Kitson,p.201.

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