Dhofar Rebellion

The Dhofar Rebellion (Arabic: ثورة ظفار‎), also known as the War in Dhofar (Arabic: الحرب في ظفار‎) or the Omani Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية العمانية‎), was waged from 1962 to 1976 in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, which had British support. It ended with the defeat of the rebels.


In 1962, Oman was a very underdeveloped country. Sultan Said bin Taimur, an absolute ruler under British control,[7] had outlawed almost all technological development and relied on British support to maintain the rudimentary functions of the state. Dhofar itself was a dependency of Oman but was culturally and linguistically distinct from Oman proper.

The province of Dhofar consists of an intermittent narrow, fertile coastal plain, on which stand Salalah, the provincial capital, and other towns such as Mughsayl, Taqah and Mirbat. Behind this are the rugged hills of the Jebel Dhofar. The western portion of this range is known as the Jebel Qamar, the central part as the Jebel Qara and the eastern part as the Jebel Samhan. From June to September each year, the jebel receives moisture-laden winds (the Khareef or monsoon) and is shrouded in cloud. As a result, it is heavily vegetated, and for much of the year is green and lush. The inhabitants of the villages and communities on the jebel are known as jibalis (Mountain people). To the north, the hills slope down via rough wadis and cliffs into the gravel plains and sand seas of the Empty Quarter.


Early years of the rebellion

In 1962 a dissatisfied tribal leader, Musallam bin Nufl (Mussalim bin Nafl), formed the Dhofar Liberation Front (DLF) and obtained arms and vehicles from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Oman had earlier clashed over ownership of the Buraimi Oasis, and the Saudis had already supported two failed insurrections in the Jebel Akhdar in the interior of Oman in 1957–59. The DLF also received support from Imam Ghalib Bin Ali, the exiled Imam of Oman, who had led these earlier revolts.

Bin Nufl and his men made an epic crossing of the Empty Quarter to reach Dhofar. As early as December 1962, Bin Nufl's guerrilla band performed sabotage operations on the British air base at Salalah and ambushed oil industry vehicles; however, they then withdrew, having been sent by Saudi Arabia to Iraq for more guerrilla training.

From 1964 the DLF began a campaign of hit-and-run attacks on oil company installations and government posts. Many of the DLF were trained former soldiers of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF), or of the Trucial Oman Scouts in the United Arab Emirates.

The Sultan had relied on the "Dhofar Force", a locally recruited irregular unit of only 60 men, to maintain order in the region. In April 1966, members of this unit attempted to assassinate the Sultan. This event apparently changed the nature of the conflict. The Sultan retired to his palace in Salalah, never to be seen in public again. This only served to add to rumours that the British were running Oman through a "phantom" Sultan. The Sultan also launched a full-scale military offensive against the DLF, contrary to the advice of his British advisors. Heavy-handed search and destroy missions were launched in Dhofar, villages were burned and wells were concreted over or blown up. A member of the SAF reported that after receiving heavy resistance, it "proved that the position was unattainable, and after blowing up the village wells we evacuated the camp."[8]

An emboldened movement

From the early days of the rebellion, Nasserite and other left wing movements in the neighbouring Aden Protectorate, later the Protectorate of South Arabia, were also involved. In 1967, two events combined to give the Rebellion a more revolutionary complexion. One was the Six-Day War which radicalised opinion throughout the Arab world. The other was the British withdrawal from Aden and the establishment of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). From this point, the rebels had a source of arms, supplies and training facilities adjacent to Dhofar, and fresh recruits from groups in the PDRY. Training camps, logistical bases and other facilities were set up in the coastal town of Hawf, only a few miles from the border with Oman.

The Dhoafri liberation movemement adopted a Marxist-Leninist ideology with the objective of liberating "all of the Gulf from British imperialism."[9] Political scientist Fred Halliday reported during his visit to the area that "wherever we went we saw people wearing Mao and Lenin badges, reading socialist works and discussing."[10] Works included Lenin's, the German playwright Bertolt Brecht's and of some who were associated with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) such as the writer and strategist Ghassan Kanafani. Discussions were published by Sawt al-Thawra and 9 Yunyu."[11]

In May 1968, an attack by a battalion of the Sultan's Armed Forces against a rebel position at Deefa in the Jebel Qamar was defeated by heavily armed and well-organised and trained rebels.[12]

At a "Second Congress" of the insurgent movement in September 1968, most of the official posts within the movement passed into the hands of radicals, and the movement renamed itself the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (al-Jabha al-Sha'abiya li-Tahrir al-Khalij al-'Arabi al-Muhtall), or PFLOAG. The move towards Marxism–Leninism ensured that the PFLOAG received sponsorship from both South Yemen and China. China in particular was quick to support the PFLOAG as it was a peasant-based organisation, giving it a strong Maoist credibility. Chinese support for the PFLOAG also had another benefit for them, as it acted as a counterbalance to increasing Soviet influence in the Indian Ocean. China was quick to establish an embassy in Aden and "the Yemeni regime allowed its territory to be used for channelling weapons" to the PFLOAG.[13] Both the Chinese and Soviets also provided members of the PFLOAG with indoctrination and training in unconventional warfare.

The transformation of the DLF, combined with a new supply of Chinese and Soviet[14] weaponry and better training, ensured that the armed wing of the PFLOAG turned into an effective fighting force.[15] However, it also led to a split between those such as bin Nufl who were fighting mainly for local autonomy and recognition, and the more doctrinaire revolutionaries (led by Mohammad Ahmad al-Ghassani). One of bin Nufl's lieutenants, Said bin Gheer, was an early and influential defector to the Sultan.[16]

Nevertheless, by 1969 the DLF and PFLOAG fighters (known widely as Adoo, Arabic for 'enemy') had overrun much of the Jebel Dhofar, and cut the only road across it—that from Salalah to "Midway" (Thumrait) in the deserts to the north. They were well-armed with such weapons as the AK-47 assault rifle. They also used heavy machine guns (the DShK),[17] mortars up to 82mm in calibre and 140mm BM-14 or 122mm "Katyusha" rockets. By 1970 communists controlled the entire Jebel. Terror was then used to break up the traditional tribal structure. Five elderly sheikhs were pushed over a 450 feet high cliff. Other sheikhs were machine gunned with their sons. Children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to train in Yemen. Young men were sent to train for guerilla warfare in China and Russia.[18]

Oman. Dhofar 1972 (8626836339)
A "hedgehog" defensive sangar, made from oil drums filled with sand, protecting Salalah airfield

The units of the Sultan's Armed Forces were under strength with only 1,000 men in Dhofar in 1968. They were also badly equipped, mainly with World War II vintage weapons such as bolt-action rifles, which were inferior to the PFLOAG's modern firearms. These rifles were replaced by the FN FAL only late in 1969. Even the SAF's clothing and boots were ragged and unsuitable for the terrain. The units of the SAF were generally not properly trained to face hardy guerrillas on their own ground, and no Omani held a rank above that of Lieutenant (a result of the Sultan's fears of opposition to his rule among the armed forces). The SAF generally were unable to operate in less than company strength on the jebel, and were mainly restricted to Salalah and its immediate area. At various times, small detachments from Nos. 2 (Para), 15 (Field) and 51 (Field) squadrons of the British RAF Regiment, and other units (a Royal Artillery locating troop, a 5.5-inch medium battery of the Royal Jordanian Artillery, and a 25-pounder battery of the Sultan's artillery)[19] had to be deployed to protect the vital airfield at Salalah from infiltrators and from harassing mortar and rocket fire.

Other insurgents in the northern section of Oman formed a separate resistance movement, the National Democratic Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf (NDFLOAG). In June 1970 they attacked two SAF posts at Nizwa and Izki. They were repulsed but the incident convinced many (including the Sultan's British advisers and backers) that new leadership was required.


In the 1970 Omani coup d'état on 23 July 1970, Said bin Taimur was deposed and went into exile in London.[20] He was replaced by his son, Qaboos bin Said, who immediately instigated major social, educational and military reforms. Qaboos was well educated, first in Salalah by an old Arab scholar and then at Sandhurst, after which he was commissioned into the Cameronians, a regiment of the British Army. He then completed his education sitting in on councils, attending committee meetings and visiting industry and administrative centres in Britain before returning to Oman.[21] His "five point plan" involved:

  • A general amnesty to all those of his subjects who had opposed his father;
  • An end to the archaic status of Dhofar as the Sultan's private fief and its formal incorporation into Oman as the "southern province";
  • Effective military opposition to rebels who did not accept the offer of amnesty;
  • A vigorous nationwide programme of development;
  • Diplomatic initiatives with the aims of having Oman recognised as a genuine Arab state with its own legal form of government, and isolating the PDRY from receiving support from other Arab states.

Within hours of the coup, British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers were flown into Oman to further bolster the counterinsurgency campaign. They identified four main strategies that would assist the fight against the PFLOAG:

  • Civil administration and a hearts and minds campaign;
  • Intelligence gathering and collation;
  • Veterinary assistance;
  • Medical assistance.[22]

The military commanders on the ground (rather than the UK Ministry of Defence) suggested the implementation of a "hearts and minds" campaign, which would be put into operation primarily by a troop (25 men) from the SAS. The British government (then under Conservative leader Edward Heath) supported this unconventional approach to the counterinsurgency campaign. It approved the deployment of 20 personnel of the British Royal Engineers, who would aid in the construction of schools and health centres, and drilled wells for the population of Dhofar.[23] Royal Army Medical Corps Field Surgical Teams and some Royal Air Force medical teams would also operate out of Salalah hospital, in order to open a humanitarian front in the conflict. The operation was almost a carbon copy of a system that had proved successful in the Malayan Emergency some twenty years previously. The British government additionally provided monetary support for the creation of the Dhofar Development Programme, whose aim was to wrest support from the PFLOAG through the modernisation of Dhofar.

To assist in the civil development and coordinate it with the military operations, the command structure in Dhofar was reorganised, with the newly appointed Wāli or civilian governor (Braik bin Hamoud) being given equal status to the military commander of the Dhofar Brigade (Brigadier Jack Fletcher to 1972, Brigadier John Akehurst from that date).

Hand of God
Caption on British poster: "The Hand of God Destroys Communism"

A major effort was made to counter rebel propaganda and induce the Dhofari population to support the government. In particular, appeals were made to Islam and to traditional tribal values and customs, against the rebels' secular or materialistic teachings. A significant outlet for government propaganda was the many inexpensive Japanese transistor radios which were sold cheaply or distributed free to jibalis who visited Salalah and other government-held towns to sell firewood or vegetables. Although the PFLOAG could also broadcast propaganda by radio, the Government's propaganda was factual and low-key, while that of the rebels, broadcast by Radio Aden, was soon perceived to be exaggerated and stereotyped.[24]

Government counter-attacks

One step which had a major impact on the uprising was the announcement of an amnesty for surrendered fighters, and aid in defending their communities from rebels. A cash incentive was offered to rebels who changed sides, with a bonus if they brought their weapon. Following the split between the PFLOAG and DLF wings of the rebel movement, several prominent rebel leaders changed sides, including bin Nufl himself and his deputy, Salim Mubarak, who had commanded the eastern region.[25]

The rebels who defected to the Sultan formed Firqat irregular units, trained by British Army Training Teams, or BATTs, from the Special Air Service. Salim Mubarak played a major role in establishing the first Firqat (and the only one to be formed from members of more than one tribe), but died, apparently of heart failure, shortly after its first successful actions.[26] Eighteen Firqat units, numbering between 50 and 150 men each, were eventually formed.[27] They usually gave themselves names with connections to Islam, such as the Firqat Salahadin or Firqat Khalid bin Walid.[28] (Some of the PFLOAG units also gave themselves ideological names such as Ho Chi Minh or Che Guevara.)[29] These firqat irregular groups played a major part in denying local support to the rebels. Being jibalis themselves (and in many cases with family connections among the communities on the Jebel), they were better at local intelligence-gathering and "hearts and minds" activities than the northern Omani or Baluchi personnel of the regular SAF,[30] although they exasperated commanders of the regular SAF by refusing to take part in operations outside their tribal areas, or during Ramadan.

The first serious step in re-establishing the Sultan's authority on the Jebel took place in October 1971, when Operation Jaguar was mounted, involving five Firqat units and two squadrons of the SAS. After hard fighting, the SAS and Firqats secured an enclave on the eastern Jebel Samhan from which they could expand.[31] The SAS introduced two new weapons to support the mobile but lightly equipped firqats: the rapid firing GPMG, which could lay down a heavier weight of fire than the Bren light machine gun previously available to the SAF,[32] and the Browning M2 heavy machine gun, which was deployed to match the DShK machine guns used by the adoo.

Meanwhile, the regular units of the SAF were expanded and re-equipped. Extra officers and NCO instructors from the British Army and Royal Marines (and also the Pakistan Army)[33] were attached to all units (there were nominally twenty-two British or contracted personnel with each infantry battalion) while Omani personnel were educated and trained to become officers and senior NCOs. British specialist elements, including mortar locating radar troops and artillery observation officers, also rotated through Oman over several years.

The revitalised SAF created fortified lines running north from the coast and up to the summit of the Jebel, to interdict the movement of rebels and the camel trains carrying their supplies from the PDRY. The "Leopard Line" was established in 1971, but this line had to be abandoned during the following monsoon season as it could not be supplied.[34] The more effective "Hornbeam Line" was set up in 1972, running north from Mughsayl on the coast. The lines consisted of fortified platoon and company outposts on commanding peaks, linked by barbed wire. The posts possessed mortars and some also had artillery, to provide cover for patrols and to harass rebel positions and tracks used by them. The SAF soldiers continually sortied from their outposts to set ambushes on the most likely enemy infiltration routes and mount attacks against rebel mortar- and rocket-launching positions. Anti-personnel land mines were sown on infiltration routes. The rebels also used anti-personnel mines against suspected SAF patrol bases, and even laid anti-tank land mines on tracks used by SAF vehicles.[35]

The Sultan of Oman's Air Force was also expanded, acquiring BAC Strikemaster aircraft which provided air support to units on the ground, and eight Shorts Skyvan transport aircraft and eight Agusta Bell 205 transport helicopters which supplied firqat and SAF posts on the jebels. A flight of RAF Westland Wessex helicopters also operated from Salalah.

On 17 April 1972, a battalion of the SAF made a helicopter landing to capture a position codenamed Simba at Sarfait near the border with the PDRY. The captured position overlooked the rebels' supply lines along the coastal plain, but did not block them. Although the demands on its transport aircraft and helicopters to maintain the post at Sarfait forced the SAF to abandon some positions in the eastern Jebel, Sarfait was nevertheless retained for four years.[36]

Defeat of the rebellion

Dhofar-BATT house (2)
British Base at Mirbat which was a site of the hard-fought Battle of Mirbat

Immediately after China established relations with Iran, all support to the rebels in Dhofar was cut off by China which had changed its mind about insurgencies, since it viewed them as counterproductive to countering the Soviets.[37]

As a result of the various measures undertaken by the Omani government, firqats and regular SAF, the rebels were being deprived both of local support and supplies from the PDRY. To retrieve the situation, they mounted a major attack on the coastal town of Mirbat during the monsoon season of 1972. On 19 July 1972, at the Battle of Mirbat, 250 adoo attacked 100 assorted Firqat under training, paramilitary askars (armed police) and a detachment of the Special Air Service. In spite of the low khareef cloud cover, air support from Strikemaster aircraft was available, and helicopters landed SAS reinforcements. The adoo were repulsed with heavy losses.[38]

From this point on, the rebel defeat was inevitable. In January 1974, after several splits and defections, the rebel movement renamed itself the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman. This public contraction of their aims coincided with a reduction in the support they received from the Soviet Union and China. Meanwhile, the adoo were steadily cleared from the Jebel Qara and Jebel Samhan by firqats and were driven into the western part of the Jebel Qamar.

As a result of Sultan Qaboos's diplomatic initiatives, the Shah of Iran had sent an Iranian Army brigade numbering 1,200 and with its own helicopters to assist the Sultan's Armed Forces in 1973. The Iranian brigade first secured the Salalah-Thumrait road, while their helicopters played a vital role in keeping the isolated Simba position supplied. In 1974, the Iranian contribution was expanded into the Imperial Iranian Task Force, numbering 4,000. They attempted to establish another interdiction line, codenamed the "Damavand Line", running from Manston, a few miles east of Sarfait, to the coast near the border with the PDRY. Heavy opposition from the adoo, which included artillery fire from within the PDRY, thwarted this aim for several months. Eventually, the town of Rahkyut, which the PFLO had long maintained as the capital of their liberated territory, fell to the Iranian task force.[39]

Nevertheless, the adoo kept the respect of their opponents for their resilience and skill. In January 1975, the SAF attempted to capture the main adoo logistic base in the Shershitti Caves. A SAF company from a battalion which took a wrong route blundered into an ambush in an adoo "killing ground" above the caves and suffered heavy casualties.[40]

Oman. Dhofar 1972 (8626144207)
The view from Akoot, in the Jebel Qara, at the start of the khareef (monsoon) season

During the next few months, the SAF seized an airsrtrip at Deefa, but were unable to make immediate use of it during the khareef. Some regular troops from the PDRY reinforced the adoo,[41] who also deployed SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles for the first time.[42] However, their premature use of this weapon deprived them of the advantage of surprise. Also, the Sultan's Air Force had acquired 31 Hawker Hunter aircraft from the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The SAM-7 was much less effective against these aircraft than against Strikemasters.

In October 1975, the SAF launched a final offensive. An attack from Simba, intended to be a diversion, nevertheless succeeded in descending cliffs and slopes 3,000 feet (910 m) in total height to reach the coast at Dalqhut, and thus finally cut off the adoo from their bases in the PDRY.[43] While the Iranian Task Force threatened the Shershitti Caves from the south, another SAF battalion advanced from Deefa, threatening to surround the remaining adoo territory in the Jebel Qamar. Hawker Hunter aircraft of the Sultan's Air Force attacked artillery positions in the PDRY. Over the next few months, the remaining rebel fighters surrendered or sought sanctuary in the PDRY. The Rebellion was finally declared to be Jebel defeated in January 1976, although isolated incidents took place as late as 1979.

Foreign involvement


The port city of Gwadar in Balochistan, Pakistan had been Omani territory until 1958. Baluch troops formed a substantial part of the Sultan's Army.[44] During the rebellion, Oman sought to hire more Baluchi troops. Baluch Students Organization (BSO), a leftist students' organization, expressed solidarity with the Dhofari rebels. In 1979 BSO activist Hameed Baloch tried to shoot at an Omani military officer who was visiting Balochistan to recruit more Baluchi troops. The Omani officer was unhurt, and Baloch was convicted by a Pakistani military court and executed.

SAF operating bases

As with many military operations the British were involved in the use of nicknames was commonplace and these were used alongside local names:[45]

SAF Nickname (if used) Local name Function during Insurgency Unit Association Current SAF use Geo Coordinates
Operating Bases with a Nickname
Eagle's Nest Summit of Jebel Samhan SAS BATT Firqa temporary location Former Adoo site Not used
Manston[46] Aydam Airstrip Forward helicopter and STOL aircraft MOB Officer and soldier training academy 16°59′23″N 53°21′32″E / 16.98972°N 53.35889°E
Midway Thumrayt (Thumrait) Airstrip Forward helicopter and STOL aircraft MOB, plus SOLF units Operational RAO and RAFO base 17°38′35″N 54°01′13″E / 17.64306°N 54.02028°E
Raven's Roost Zeek SAS BATT Firqa location Forward helicopter and STOL aircraft MOB SSF base in the vicinity 17°16′40″N 54°07′16″E / 17.27778°N 54.12111°E
Simba (including Mainbrace (main HQ and fire support base), Capstan & Yardarm positions) Sarfayt (Sarfait) Forward infantry and artillery fire base Infantry battalion group base and STOL airstrip SAF Base still evident on imagery 16°42′00″N 53°06′32″E / 16.70000°N 53.10889°E
White City Medinat al Haqq Firqa base SAS and SAF Not used 17°10′42″N 54°14′55″E / 17.17833°N 54.24861°E
Operating Bases using local place name
N/A Habarut (Habrut) Border fort Dhofar Gendarmerie manned fort Not used now in Yemen 17°18′19″N 52°44′25″E / 17.30528°N 52.74028°E
N/A Heiron Fortified village Baluch Training Centre and manned fort Not used 17°02′17″N 53°21′27″E / 17.03806°N 53.35750°E
N/A Makinat Shihan Border strong point Dhofar Gendarmerie manned position with some artillery Not used now in Yemen 17°47′08″N 52°29′05″E / 17.78556°N 52.48472°E
N/A Mirbat Fortified coastal town SAS British Army Training Team (BATT) house and DG/Firqa manned fort Not used 16°59′31″N 54°41′31″E / 16.99194°N 54.69194°E
N/A Tawi Atir Operational & Training base SAS BATT and Firqa Not used 17°06′23″N 54°33′32″E / 17.10639°N 54.55889°E
N/A Umm al Ghawarif (UAG) A established and substantial operating base HQ SAF and SAS Still a SAF HQ and base in Northern Central Salalah 17°01′39″N 54°08′14″E / 17.02750°N 54.13722°E

Linear defensive positions

The following were the nicknames of the north south blocking defences in western Dhofar:

  • Damavand Line (Manston to the coast at Rakhyut)
  • Hammer Line (between Midway Road and Hornbeam line)
  • Hornbeam Line (stretching 53 km north of Mughsayl)

Other sites mentioned not yet identified

The following are mentioned as operational sites but not yet identified:[47]

  • Everest
  • Furious
  • Stonehenge

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "The Dhofar Rebellion". countrystudies.us. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The Insurgency In Oman, 1962-1976". globalsecurity.org.
  3. ^ Allen & Bigsbee, p. 72
  4. ^ a b "Oman (and Dhofar) 1952-1979". www.acig.org. 26 August 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Oman(and Dhofar) 1952-1979".
  6. ^ Political Science. Middle East/North Africa/Persian Gulf Region. University of Central Arkansas. Retrieved 2011. [1]
  7. ^ Cobain, Ian (8 September 2016). "Britain's secret wars - Ian Cobain". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
  8. ^ Hepworth, Captain N.G.R (1970). The Unknown War. 6. The White Horse and Fleur de Lys.
  9. ^ Halliday, Fred (2002). Arabia without Sultans. London, UK: Saqi Books. pp. 320–321.
  10. ^ Halliday 2002, p. 330.
  11. ^ Takriti, Abdel Razzaq (2013). Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empire in Oman, 1965-1976. UK: Oxford University Press.
  12. ^ Fiennes, pp. 116–120
  13. ^ Calabrese, J. (1990). From Flyswatters to Silkworms: The Evolution of China's Role in West Asia. Asian Survey. 30. p. 867.
  14. ^ Jeapes, p. 124
  15. ^ Beasant, J. (2002). Oman: The True-Life Drama and Intrigue of an Arab State. Edinburgh. p. 108.
  16. ^ Fiennes, pp. 127–129, 153–157
  17. ^ Fiennes, p. 173
  18. ^ Jeapes, pp. 26–27
  19. ^ Oliver, Kingsley M. Through Adversity. Forces & Corporate.
  20. ^ White, pp. 23–27, 32–37
  21. ^ Jeapes, p. 28
  22. ^ TNA, DEFE 25/186: UK Forces in Oman, 26 July 1971
  23. ^ Walter C. Ladwig III, "Supporting Allies in Counterinsurgency: Britain and the Dhofar Rebellion", Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (March 2008), p. 72.
  24. ^ Jeapes, pp. 36–37
  25. ^ Jeapes, pp.30, 40
  26. ^ Jeapes, pp.88-89
  27. ^ Walter C. Ladwig III, "Supporting Allies in Counterinsurgency: Britain and the Dhofar Rebellion", Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (March 2008), p. 73.
  28. ^ Jeapes, p.101
  29. ^ White, p. 50
  30. ^ Gardiner, p. 159
  31. ^ Allen & Rigsbee, pp. 68–69
  32. ^ Jeapes, p.62
  33. ^ Gardiner, p. 60
  34. ^ Jeapes, pp.140-141, 164
  35. ^ The SAF supposedly marked and recorded all mines laid; but some were moved by the adoo or by animals, and the records of mine locations were subsequently lost. Gardiner, pp. 124–126
  36. ^ White, pp. 157–160, 169
  37. ^ Garver 2006, p. 49.
    Robinson 1995, p. 338.
    Garver 2015, p.336.
    Sutter 2013, p. 270.
    Sutter 2011, p. 85.
    Jones & Ridout 2012, p. 190.
  38. ^ White, pp. 257–364
  39. ^ Allen & Rigsbee, pp. 72–73
  40. ^ Jeapes, pp.198-206
  41. ^ Jeapes, p.226
  42. ^ Jeapes, p.227
  43. ^ Jeapes, pp.228-229
  44. ^ Walter C. Ladwig III, "Supporting Allies in Counterinsurgency: Britain and the Dhofar Rebellion," Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (March 2008), p. 68.
  45. ^ White, Rowland (2012). Storm Front: The Epic True Story of a Secret War, the SAS's Greatest Battle, and the British Pilots Who Saved Them. Transworld Publishers Limited. p. 499. ISBN 9780552160216. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  46. ^ "Manston Air Base - Oman". World Airport Codes. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  47. ^ "VICTORY IN HADES, THE FORGOTTEN WARS OF THE OMAN". Retrieved 22 August 2017.


  • Akehurst, John (1982). We won a war. M. Russell. ISBN 978-0-85955-091-8.
  • Allen, Calvin H.; Rigsbee, W. Lynn (2000). Oman under Qaboos: From Coup to Constitution, 1970-1996. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-5001-2.
  • Beckett, Ian; Pimlott, John (1985). Armed Forces & Modern Counter-insurgency. New York: St. Martin's. ISBN 978-0-312-00449-1.
  • Fiennes, Ranulph (1976). Where soldiers fear to tread. New English Library. ISBN 978-0-450-02903-5.
  • Gardiner, Ian (2006). In the Service of the Sultan. Pen and Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84415-467-8.
  • Halliday, Fred (1974). Arabia without Sultans. Penguin.
  • Jeapes, Tony (1980). SAS Operation Oman. London: William Kimber. ISBN 978-0-7183-0018-0.
  • Marschall, Christin (2003). Iran's Persian Gulf Policy: From Khomeini to Khatami. ISBN 978-0-415-29780-6.
  • McKeown, John (1981). Britain and Oman, The Dhofar War and its Significance. University of Cambridge.
  • Takriti, Abdel Razzaq (2013). Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empires in Oman, 1965-1976. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199674435.
  • White, Rowland (2011). Storm Front. Bantam Press. ISBN 9780593064344.

External links

Angus Ramsay

Major General Angus Iain Ramsay, (born 1946) is a former British Army officer who served as Commander British Forces Cyprus from 1998 to 2000.

Battle of Deefa

The Battle of Deefa took place in May 1968 where a battalion of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces attacked a rebel position at Deefa, in the Jebel Qamar and was defeated.

Battle of Mirbat

The Battle of Mirbat took place on 19 July 1972 during the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman, which was supported by Communist guerrillas from South Yemen. Britain assisted the Omani government by sending elements of its Special Air Service both to train soldiers and compete against the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (PFLOAG) guerrillas for the "hearts and minds" of the Omani people.

Bronco Lane

Major Michael Patrick 'Bronco' Lane, MM, BEM (born 1945) is a former British Army officer and author, known for his climbing expeditions which led to his summiting Mount Everest in 1976.

Hameed Baloch

Hameed Baloch (Urdu: حمید بلوچ‎) was an activist for the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) who was executed by the Pakistani government in 1981, and is regarded as a heroic martyr by Baloch nationalists. He was arrested on 9 December 1979, while he was a student at Government Degree College Turbat, on charges of firing at a military officer from the Gulf state of Oman who was recruiting Pakistani Baloch soldiers from Balochistan province to suppress the Dhofar Rebellion. Oman at the time was facing a Marxist–Leninist insurgency in its Dhofar province. Ever since Oman took control of the Balochistan enclave of Gwadar in the 18th Century (now under Pakistani control), it had hired foot soldiers from Balochistan to serve in the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

The BSO, being a leftist organization, was opposed to the recruitment to fight against the Dhofari rebels, whose ideology it shared, fearing it would earn notoriety for the Baloch in the eyes of progressive forces throughout the world and weaken the Baloch nationalist movement in Pakistan. Secondly they saw it as aiming to 'pervert' the youth in Baloch society against Marxist–Leninist teachings by offering huge salaries for their services in a mercenary army.

Hameed was tried by a special military Court and condemned to death, even though the Omani officer was unhurt in the incident. The death sentence was carried out on 11 June 1981 in Mach prison, with Hameed's age being just 23 years. He wrote a will just hours before being taken to the gallows expressing defiance.

John Akehurst (British Army officer)

General Sir John Bryan Akehurst, (12 February 1930 – 20 February 2007) was a British Army officer who rose to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Keith Payne

Keith Payne, (born 30 August 1933) is an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Payne's VC was awarded for his actions during the Vietnam War. Aged 85, he is the last living Australian recipient of the original "Imperial" Victoria Cross.

Layla Fakhro

Layla Abdulla Yousif Al-Fakhro was a pioneering Bahraini woman who was an educator and a freedom fighter. She has taken part in the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman in the 1960s and has established the first [School of the Revolution] through which much of the current top echelon of Omani government and enterprise have passed through, providing the basis of a modern educational system in Oman. These enterprises have made Ms. Fakhro a legend throughout the Arab world in general, and the Gulf in particular.

Layla Fakhro was born in 1945 in Muharraq island in Bahrain. She died after a long illness on 21 September 2006. She is survived by her two daughters, Munira and Aysha, and husband Ubaiydli Al-Ubaiydli.


Held a master's degree in statistics from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Held a license in statistics from Al-Muntassiria University in Baghdad, Iraq

got involved in political activities in Bahrain in 1964

was a leader in student movements and activist while studying in Beirut in the 1960s

was the head of the cultural committee from 1967 - 1968 while at university in Beirut

joined the armed struggle against the British in Dhofar, the Sultanate of Oman

established the Awal Women's Society in Bahrain in 1968

established the Revolutionary Schools in the Sultanate of Oman

established the modern educational system in the Sultanate of Oman

established the Delmon Publishing House in Cyprus while in exile

exiled from Bahrain for more than 25 years due to her political activities

established Alnadeem Information Technology company with her husband and other partners on her return to Bahrain in 1995

Mike Kealy

Michael John Anthony Kealy (29 May 1945 – 1 February 1979) was a British Army officer serving in the Special Air Service, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his role in the Battle of Mirbat in 1972. Kealy was the commander of a nine-member SAS squad, which came under attack from hundreds of PFLOAG guerillas during the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman.

Oman–Russia relations

Oman–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-оманские отношения) is the bilateral relationship between Russia and Oman. Russia has an embassy in Muscat. Oman is represented in Russia through its embassy in Moscow. Oman was allied to the west during the Cold War. The Soviet Union supported Marxist rebels like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman in Oman during the Dhofar Rebellion in the 1960s and 1970s, resulting in bad relations between Oman and the Soviets. The rebels were crushed with British help by the Omani government. Oman did not maintain relations with the Soviets during this time. After a long period, Oman and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations on February 5, 1986 and still maintain mostly neutral relations.

Operation Jaguar (Oman)

Operation Jaguar was a military operation that took place in the Dhofar Rebellion. It involved a combined force of British SAS and the Sultan's Armed forces to get back control of mountains and establish a permanent base.

Operation Simba (Dhofar Rebellion)

Operation Simba, and the subsequent fighting around high ground near Sarfait, was the longest running conflict of the Dhofar Rebellion. On 17 April 1972, a battalion of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF) landed by helicopter to establish a position on a dominating ridge at Sarfait, near the border with the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). The aim was to interdict the supply lines used by the guerillas of the PFLOAG from the PDRY to the interior of Dhofar, which ran along the narrow coastal plain beneath the foot of the escarpment at the southern end of the ridge.

It was found that the position could not be extended to the coast to block the camel and vehicle tracks running below the escarpment, and lacking water, the position could be maintained only by aircraft or helicopters. The demands placed by the Simba position on the Sultan of Oman's Air Force forced the SAF to curtail other operations in Dhofar and several times threatened the collapse of the position.

After the position had been held for three years, and the overall course of the war turned in favour of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, the Simba position became the launching point for an operation which was originally intended as a diversion but succeeded in cutting the rebels' supply line, precipitating their ultimate collapse.

Peter Ratcliffe

Peter Ratcliffe DCM is a former British Army soldier who served in the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment in a career of almost thirty years, during which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in action during the Persian Gulf War. He is the author of the book The Eye of the Storm (2000).

Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (in Arabic: الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير عُمان‎, translit. al-Jabha aš-Šaʿbiyya li-Taḥrīr ʿUmān, PFLO) was a Marxist and Arab nationalist revolutionary organisation in the Sultanate of Oman. It fought against the Sultan (ruler) in the Dhofar Rebellion from the PFLO's foundation until the suppression of the insurgency in 1976.

Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf

The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (Arabic: الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير الخليج العربي المحتل‎, abbreviated PFLOAG), later renamed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf (Arabic: الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير عُمان والخليج العربي‎), was a Marxist and Arab nationalist revolutionary organisation in the Persian Gulf Arab states. The PFLOAG was organized in 1968 as the successor to the Dhofar Liberation Front. Having close relations to the government of South Yemen, the PFLOAG opened an office there. With South Yemeni support, PFLOAG guerrillas were able to seize control over large sections of western Dhofar. In August 1969 PFLOAG captured the town of Rakhyut.In 1974 the organisation was divided into two separate bodies: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Bahrain. The PFLOAG's activities were at its peak in the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman.

Talaiasi Labalaba

Talaiasi Labalaba BEM (13 July 1942 – 19 July 1972) was a British-Fijian sergeant in the SAS who was involved in the Battle of Mirbat on 19 July 1972. Labalaba initially served in the British Army in the Royal Ulster Rifles.

Timothy Creasey

General Sir Timothy May Creasey (21 September 1923 – 5 October 1986) was a British Army officer who became General Officer Commanding of the British Army in Northern Ireland, as well as the commander of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

Timothy Landon

Brigadier Sir James Timothy Whittington Landon, KCVO, (born 20 August 1942, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada; died 6 July 2007, Winchester, Hampshire, England) served in the British and Omani armies and was instrumental in the development of the present Sultanate of Oman. He was one of Britain's wealthiest people.

Tony Jeapes

Major General Anthony (Tony) Showan Jeapes, (6 March 1935) is a former British Army officer who commanded the 22 Special Air Service Regiment during the Dhofar Rebellion.

Dhofar Rebellion
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