Dhofar Rebellion
The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

 against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, which had British support, from 1962 to 1976. It ended with the defeat of the rebels, but the state of Oman had to be radically reformed and modernised to cope with the campaign.


In 1962, Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 was a comparatively underdeveloped country in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Sultan Said bin Taimur
Said bin Taimur
Said bin Taimur was the sultan of Muscat and Oman from 10 February 1932 until his overthrow on 23 July 1970. His second wife was Mazoon al-Mashani...

, the absolute ruler, had outlawed almost all aspects of twentieth-century development and relied on British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 support to maintain the rudimentary functions of the state. Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

 itself was a dependency of Oman and it was subjected to severe economic exploitation. Moreover, the population of Dhofar, who speak various modern South Arabian languages, were subjected to even greater restrictions than other Omanis.

The province of Dhofar consists of an intermittent narrow, fertile coastal plain, on which stand Salalah
Salalah , is the capital and seat of the governor or Wali of the southern Omani province of Dhofar. The population of Salalah was 197,169 in 2009....

, the provincial capital, and other towns such as Mughsayl, Taqah
Taqah is a coastal town in the Dhofar governorate, in southwestern Oman. It is located at about .-Places of interest:* Approx. 2 km after the western entrance to the town there is a mosque. In its cemetery Mazoon al-Mashani, the mother of Sultan Qaboos, is buried. Under identical marble...

 and Mirbat
Mirbat is a coastal town in the Dhofar governorate, in southwestern Oman. It is located at about ....

. 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
Khareef is a colloquial Arabic term used in southern Oman and southeastern Yemen for the south east monsoon. The monsoon affects Dhofar Governorate and Al Mahrah Governorate from about June to early September. Towns such as Salalah depend upon the khareef for water supply...

 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 were known as jibalis. To the north, the hills slope down via rough wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

s and cliffs into the gravel plains and sand seas of the Empty Quarter.

Early years of the rebellion

In 1962 a dissatisfied tribal leader, Mussalim bin Nafl, formed the Dhofar Liberation Front (DLF) and obtained arms and vehicles from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. 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
Jebel Akhdar (Oman)
The Jebel Akhdar, Jabal Akhdar or Al Jabal Al Akhdar , also known as the camals hideout, is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in Oman, which extends about 300 km northwest to southeast, between 50-100 km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast. It is one of Oman’s most spectacular areas...

 in the interior of Oman in 1957–59. The DLF also received support from Imam Ghalib Bin Ali
Imam Ghalib Bin Ali
Imam Ghalib bin Ali Al-Hinai was the last elected Imam of The Imamate of Oman. Since 1954, he led a faction of the Ibadis from his Imamate of Oman in Nizwa and Oman proper in Jebel Akhdar revolt against Sultan Said Bin Taimur through small uprisings and attacks against the oil exploration convoys...

, the exiled Imam of Oman, who had led these earlier revolts.

Bin Nafl and his men made an epic crossing of the Empty Quarter to reach Dhofar. As early as December 1962, Bin Nafl'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
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 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
Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces
The Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces are the Royal Army of Oman , Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman and other defence forces of the Sultanate of Oman...

 (SAF), or of the Trucial Oman Scouts
Trucial Oman Scouts
The Trucial Oman Scouts was a paramilitary force raised by the British to serve in their Trucial States.-History:The Trucial Oman Scouts were established at Sharjah originally as the Trucial Oman Levies in 1951...

 in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...


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
Search and destroy
Search and Destroy, Seek and Destroy, or even simply S&D, refers to a military strategy that became a notorious component of the Vietnam War. The idea was to insert ground forces into hostile territory, search out the enemy, destroy them, and withdraw immediately afterward...

 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."

An emboldened movement

From the early days of the rebellion, Nasserite
Nasserism is an Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was a major influence on pan-Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to have significant resonance throughout the Arab World to this day. It also...

 and other left wing movements in Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 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
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. The other was the British withdrawal from Aden
Aden Emergency
The Aden Emergency was an insurgency against the British crown forces in the British controlled territories of South Arabia which now form part of the Yemen. Partly inspired by Nasser's pan Arab nationalism, it began on 10 December 1963 with the throwing of a grenade at a gathering of British...

 and the establishment of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen — also referred to as South Yemen, Democratic Yemen or Yemen — was a socialist republic in the present-day southern and eastern Provinces of Yemen...

 (PDRY). From this point, the rebels had a source of arms, supplies and training facilities adjacent to Dhofar, and fresh recruits from among groups in the PDRY. Training camps, logistical bases and other facilities were set up in the coastal town of Hauf, only a few miles from the border with Oman.

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.

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
Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf
The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf , later renamed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf , 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...

(al-Jabha al-Sha'abiya li-Tahrir al-Khalij al-'Arabi al-Muhtall), or PFLOAG. The move towards Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

 ensured that the PFLOAG received sponsorship from both South Yemen and China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. China in particular was quick to support the PFLOAG as it was a peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

-based organisation, giving it a strong Maoist
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 credence. 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
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

. 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. Both the Chinese and Soviets also provided members of the PFLOAG with indoctrination and training in unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare is used to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing...


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

Nevertheless, by 1969 the DLF and PFLOAG fighters (known widely as Adoo) had overrun much of the Jebel Dhofar, and cut the only road across it, that from Salalah to "Midway" (Thumrait
Thumrait is a small town in southern Oman on the main road which links Dhofar to the rest of Oman. In ancient times Thumrait was an important point on the caravan routes through the Arabian peninsula. Frankincense trees used to grow in abundance although now they are fewer in number...

) in the deserts to the north. They were well-armed with such weapons as the AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

. They also used heavy machine guns (the DShK
The DShK 1938 is a Soviet heavy machine gun firing the 12.7x108mm cartridge. The weapon was also used as a heavy infantry machine gun, in which case it was frequently deployed with a two-wheeled mounting and a single-sheet armour-plate shield...

), mortars up to 82mm in calibre and 140mm BM-14
The BM-14 , is a Soviet-made 140mm multiple rocket launcher, fielded by the Soviet Union.The BM-14 can fire rockets fitted with chemical , smoke or high-explosive fragmentation warheads...

 or 122mm "Katyusha" rockets.

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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 vintage weapons such as bolt-action rifles, which were inferior to the PFLOAG's modern firearms. These rifles were replaced by the FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

 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. Small detachments of the British RAF Regiment
RAF Regiment
The Royal Air Force Regiment is a specialist airfield defence corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. After a 32 week trainee gunner course, its members are trained and equipped to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance; minimise the damage caused by a successful attack; and...

 and Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

 had to be deployed to protect the vital airfield at Salalah from infiltrators and from harassing mortar and rocket fire.

Other insurgents in the north of Oman formed another organisation, the National Democratic Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf
National Democratic Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf
The National Democratic Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf was a guerrilla movement in the Arabian peninsula.NDFLOAG was formed in Iraq in 1969 by Omani students and other emigrees. Some had been members of leftwing organizations , others were hithero unorganized opponents of...

(NDFLOAG). In June 1970 they attacked two SAF posts at Nizwa
-Attractions:The main tourist attractions in the city are Nizwa Fort, the traditional Souq and Falaj Daris. In the 1990s, the Jama, the fort and the souq which sit next to each other in the centre were renovated using the same traditional materials...

 and Izki
Izki is a town in the region Ad Dakhiliyah, in northeastern Oman. It is located at about and has a population of 35,173 ....

. They were repulsed but the incident convinced many (including the Sultan's British advisers and backers) that new leadership was required.


On 23 July 1970, Said bin Taimur was deposed. (The coup was almost bloodless. Folklore has it that one of the plotters, two of the Sultan's bodyguard and the Sultan were slightly wounded, all by the Sultan himself). Sultan Said went into exile in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. He was replaced by his son, Qaboos bin Said
Qaboos of Oman
Qaboos bin Said Al Said is the Sultan of Oman and its Dependencies. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty.-Early life:...

, who immediately instigated major social, educational and military reforms. 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 nation-wide 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
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 (SAS) soldiers were being 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
    Hearts and Minds
    Hearts and Minds may refer to:* A biblical quotation; see the Wikisource link-Film:* Hearts and Minds , a 1974 documentary film about the Vietnam War-Television:...

  • Intelligence gathering and collation;
  • Veterinary assistance;
  • Medical assistance.

The military commanders on the ground (rather than the UK Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

) 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
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 leader Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

) supported this unconventional approach to the counterinsurgency campaign. It approved the deployment of 20 personnel of the British Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

, who would aid in the construction of schools and health centres, and drill wells for the population of Dhofar. A Royal Air Force medical team 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
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

 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
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

 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
John Akehurst (British Army officer)
General Sir John Bryan Akehurst KCB CBE was a British Army General who rose to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.-Military career:...

 from that date).

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.

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 surrendered, with a bonus if they brought their weapon. The surrendered rebels formed Firqat
Firqa (military)
Firqa refers to local militia units in Oman. The British were known for utilising Firqa during their occupation there, converting former enemies into pro-British militia to aid them in their counter-insurgency....

 irregular units, trained by teams (British Army Training Teams, or BATTs) from the British Special Air Service. Eighteen Firqat units, numbering from between 50 to 150 each, were eventually formed. They usually gave themselves names with connections to Islam, such as the Firqat Salahadin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

. These 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
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 personnel of the regular SAF. 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.

Meanwhile, the regular units of the SAF were expanded and re-equipped. Extra officers and NCO instructors from the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 (and also the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

) 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
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

. British specialist elements also rotated through Oman over several years including mortar locating radar troops and artillery observation officers.

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" had already been established in 1969, but this line had to be abandoned during the monsoon season as it could not be supplied. The more effective "Hornbeam Line" was set up in 1971, 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 gainst 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 anti-tank land mines on tracks used by SAF vehicles.

The Sultan of Oman's Air Force
Royal Air Force of Oman
The Royal Air Force of Oman is the air arm of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces-History:...

 was also expanded, acquiring BAC Strikemaster and Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 aircraft which provided air support to units on the ground, and eight Shorts Skyvan transport aircraft and eight Agusta Bell 205
UH-1 Iroquois
The Bell UH-1 Iroquois is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet the United States Army's requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter in 1952, and first flew...

 transport helicopters which supplied firqat and SAF posts on the jebels. A flight of RAF Westland Wessex
Westland Wessex
The Westland Wessex is a British turbine-powered version of the Sikorsky S-58 "Choctaw", developed under license by Westland Aircraft , initially for the Royal Navy, and later for the Royal Air Force...

 helicopters also operated from Salalah.

The defeat of the rebellion

As a result of these combined measures, the rebels were deprived both of local support and supplies from the PDRY. To retrieve the situation, they mounted major attacks on the coastal towns of Mirbat and Taqah during the monsoon season of 1972. At the Battle of Mirbat
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...

, 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.

From this point on, the rebel defeat was inevitable, although they defeated an offensive by the SAF in 1973 intended to seal the border with the PDRY and capture the main Adoo base in the Shershitti Caves. The SAF had earlier gained one success when they made a helicopter landing to capture a position codenamed Simba at Sarfait
Sarfait is a settlement in the Dhofar Governorate of Oman on the coast of the Arabian Sea, near the border with Yemen. There is an international border checkpoint at Sarfait; on the Yemeni side of the border is the settlement of Hawf....

 near the border. The post at Sarfait was held at some cost in aircraft for two years, and overlooked the rebels' supply lines along the coastal plain although it did not block them. The Adoo earned the respect of their opponents for their resilience and skill.

In January 1974, after several splits and defections, the rebel movement renamed itself the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman
Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman was a Marxist and Arab nationalist revolutionary organisation in the Sultanate 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
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

 had sent a brigade of troops 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. 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.

In July 1975, the SAF launched a second "final" offensive. An attack from Simba, intended to be a diversion, nevertheless succeeded in descending cliffs and slopes 3000 feet (914.4 m) in total height to reach the coast at Dalqhut, and thus finally cut off the Adoo from their bases in the PDRY. Other SAF units finally captured Deefa, the Shershitti Caves and other defended positions in the Jebel Qamar. Hawker Hunter aircraft of the Sultan's Air Force (31 of these had been transferred to the SAF from the Royal Jordanian Air Force
Royal Jordanian Air Force
The Royal Jordanian Air Force is the air force branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces.-Early days:...

) 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 defeated in January 1976, although isolated incidents took place as late as 1979.


The Sultan of Oman had also been the ruler of the port of Gwadur in Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 in Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 until 1958. Baloch troops formed a substantial part of the Sultan's Army. During the rebellion, Oman sought to hire more Baluchi troops. One act of resistance against this was in 1979 when Hameed Baloch
Hameed Baloch
Hameed Baloch was an activist for the Baloch Students Organization who was executed by the Pakistani government in 1981, and is regarded as a heroic martyr by Baloch nationalists...

, an activist of the Baloch Students Organization
Baloch Students Organization
The Baloch Students Organization, or BSO was founded in 26 November 1967 as nationalist student organization in Pakistani part of occupied Balochistan. The main objectives of BSO were to organize and educate Baloch youth politically for the liberation of Balochistan.It this time BSO is divided into...

 (BSO) tried to shoot at an Omani military officer who was visiting Balochistan to recruit more Baluchi troops. As a leftist organization, the BSO expressed solidarity with the Dhofari rebels. Hameed Baloch was later executed by the Government of Pakistan
Government of Pakistan
The Government of Pakistan is a federal parliamentary system, with an indirectly-elected President as the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Armed Forces, and an indirectly-elected Prime Minister as the Head of Government. The President’s appointment and term are...

for the incident, even though the Omani officer was unhurt.

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