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Old 01-06-2015   #21
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Somehow I missed this book, as have I expect others. It was published in 2007, so thanks for the pointer via Twitter to Dr. Simon Anglim, of Kings War Studies recommendation:
Quote:
Oman's Insurgencies by JE Peterson

The closest thing to an official history of the Sultan's Armed Forces of Oman, this book shows how insurgencies can be beaten and how a country
teetering on the edge of civil war can not only be pulled back from the brink, but put on the path to success and prosperity. The secret is political leadership honest and courageoous enough to address the real issues feeding an armed revolt not the ones it wants to address, and military leadership capable of applying the minimum necessary force in pursuit of this agenda.
Link:http://www.warcouncil.org/warbooks/2...r-simon-anglim

This review points out he was the Omani forces official historian:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mej/sum...4.1.allen.html

It is available in the UK in print and on Kindle:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Omans-Insurg.../dp/0863564569

In the USA:http://www.amazon.com/Omans-Insurgen.../dp/0863564569

Neither Amazon has any reviews.

Contents list:http://jepeterson.net/sitebuildercon...f_Contents.pdf
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Old 02-04-2015   #22
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Default Terrain, climate and campaigning on foot

Now that would be an interesting 'staff ride':
Quote:
In July and October 2014 I visited Oman in support of a battlefield tour of Dhofar, which gave me the opportunity to see the ground over which the SAF, 22 SAS and their local allies (the firqat forces militia), the Iranians and the PFLO fought.
A reminder that most of this war was conducted on foot:
Quote:
The second was to appreciate how tough the terrain was for the combatants, particularly because prior to the arrival of the Iranians in December 1973 the SAF were always short of helicopters. Without an efficient road network the Sultan’s Omani and Baluchi troops – and the British officers who commanded them – often had to manoeuvre and fight on foot.
Link:http://defenceindepth.co/2015/02/04/...und-in-dhofar/

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Old 04-15-2015   #23
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Default Operation Dhib: Omani raids into South Yemen

Another update via Defence-in-Depth (Kings War Studies @ UK Staff College aothors) by Geraint Hughes:
Quote:
Thanks to the declassification of British government archives under the 30 Year Rule we now have greater knowledge of the covert operations conducted during this conflict, in the form of cross-border raids conducted into the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), otherwise known as South Yemen.
He concludes, with my emphasis:
Quote:
from the documentary evidence available British officials in Oman or London did not expect that the cross-border attacks would have any strategic effect against the insurgency in Dhofar itself. Operation Dhib was ultimately conducted as a limited action to satisfy Sultan Qaboos’ wish to punish South Yemen for backing the PFLO, and in this respect it was a covert operation intended to influence an ally, rather than an enemy.
Link:http://defenceindepth.co/2015/04/15/...yemen-1972-75/
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Old 06-26-2015   #24
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Default A more complex and conventional victory – revisiting Dhofar

Actually the source for this has a fuller title: A more complex and conventional victory – revisiting the Dhofar counterinsurgency 1963-1975.

The Dhofar COIN campaign has a special place in British military history, even though at the time it was a virtually unknown war to the British public. Add in the almost unchallenged praise for the SAS, with a focus on the Battle of Mirbat (19th July 1972) – is now a relatively well known public incident. Post-Afghanistan some apparently want to use Dhofar as a model campaign for today rather than the ‘Malayan Emergency’.

So with interest I read an article in ‘Small Wars & Insurgencies’, an international academic journal, in the March 2012 issue, by Marc R. DeVore: A more complex and conventional victory – revisiting the Dhofar counterinsurgency 1963-1975.
Link to journal website:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fswi20#.VY2fLlI0piU
His argument is summarised as:
Quote:
Only Iran’s direct intervention and post-1973 greater Omani financial resources enabled large-scale offensive action. Previous counterinsurgency lessons proved of only limited vale.
‘Drawing on declassified primary sources, I argue that Oman’s victory was or owes itself to a far more complex combination of factors than is usually acknowledged’.
The one outstanding success was British and Omani psy ops. Notably in the use of Islamism, long before its use in Afghanistan following the USSR’s intervention.
Note the local population was 30k in the 1960’s and 50k by 1970.
The insurgency started locally in 1963 and changed in 1967 when South Yemen (PDRY) emerged following the UK’s withdrawal from Aden. The insurgents renamed themselves People’s Front for the Liberation Occupied Arabian Gulf (PFLOAG) and by 1970 had a Marxist agenda, duly supported by China, USSR and others.
PFLOAG set itself the dual tasks of defeating Omani government forces and forcibly reshaping Dhofar society. Helped by being better trained and trained the group controlled 80% of Dhofar province between 1968-1970, with two thousand trained guerrillas and four thousand part-time militia. One helpful factor was that Omani forces were from Northern Oman and Pakistan, who were unacceptable to the local Dhofar population.
In July 1970 a coup replaced the old sultan; this was not popular with the many UK officers who had served him – so they were excluded from the planning.
Local auxiliary forces, known as Firqats were developed from PFLOAG members who had surrendered. By October 1971 there three hundred men involved; they were often not reliable. In one group forty of the sixty-six retired after factional fighting and others refused in an offensive operation to fight during Ramadan to seize a town.
I was not aware that the insurgency involved for long periods – before Mirbat in July 1972 – Yemeni artillery firing across the border and Omani jets (flown by British pilots) hitting back with bombing missions. The UK feared PDRY would escalate, whilst the young sultan was not so concerned. By 1973 PDRY had a greater conventional capability, plus modern Soviet jets in support giving them potentially local air superiority.
In April 1972 a new forward base @ Surfait was established, albeit in an ineffective blocking position vis a vis cross-border supplies reaching the insurgents. In February 1973 PDRY a bombardment stopped all flights and to the rescue came Imperial Iranian helicopters. The British commander of the Omani forces had wanted to withdraw, the sultan did not. The base was regularly mortared and sometimes by PDRY artillery till 1975.
A fixed line, known as the Hornbeam Line was built from late 1972 onwards, with eight company or platoon bases; its impact on insurgent supplies was limited as up to twenty kilometre gaps existed between the bases and only August 1974 were the gaps closed. Another fixed line was also built.
Both sides mutually escalated in 1973. New weapons, including rockets and regular Yemeni soldiers supported insurgent raids and larger British numbers (SAS support, medics, mortar locating radar and advisers) with the Omani forces. Yemeni rocket fire lasted three months, August to November 1973.
In October 1973 Imperial Iran committed fifteen hundred soldiers, then in June 1974 another two thousand four hundred soldiers. A Jordanian SF battalion arrived too. The first Iranian unit used for the first time “free fire” zones to keep open the newly constructed road between Dhofar and Oman.
By the end of 1974 Oman could use eleven thousand soldiers and others in Dhofar: five thousand Omani (including Pakistani Baluch), three thousand Iranians, twelve hundred in Firqats, a thousand British (contract officers, loan officers and regular soldiers) and eight hundred Jordanians.
PFLOAG had six hundred full-time fighters and twelve hundred militia men.
Nevertheless Omani and Iranian forces were still being hurt hard in attacks. By resisting the Omani and allied conventional operation PFLOAG lost too much and became a hollow force. An end to the insurgency was declared by the sultan in late November 1975.

The author concludes:
Quote:
Acknowledging that conventional offensives rather than traditional counterinsurgency techniques, played the predominant role in winning the Dhofar War is not to argue conventional operations are always the best response to insurgencies.
In the July 2012 issue of Small Wars & Insurgencies another author, I.I. Martinez, wrote ‘The Battle of Mirbat: turning point in the Omani Dhofar Rebellion’. He cites that after the battle PFLOAG lost at least 10% of its active members (80-200 dead) and the 2iC was killed. A bout of factional fighting followed, with twenty-five dead, leaders were executed and in the following months large numbers defected.
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Old 07-20-2015   #25
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Default Firqats: some mythology

Prologue from Defence in Depth Dr. Geraint Hughes (cited before):
Quote:
Last month, I was invited to a workshop at the University of Glasgow on ‘Proxy Actors, Psyops, and Irregular Warfare’. This proved to be a valuable experience, giving me the opportunity to share and debate ideas with fellow academics, and also to develop a strand of research that started with an article I co-authored with Christian Tripodi six years ago. Just under a century ago the German sociologist Max Weber observed that one of the essential attributes of a modern state was that it possessed ‘a monopoly of violence’, and that it alone had both the authority and the means to raise and use military and police forces both for external defence and internal security. Yet throughout history governments have raised militias consisting of irregular volunteers to fight internal foes, and the US-led coalitions engaged in campaigns in Afghanistan (2001-2014) and Iraq (2003-2011) likewise raised local surrogate forces against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

On the Oman campaign:
Quote:
The mythology surrounding the firqats in Dhofar (1970-1975) overlooks the fact that the Sultan of Oman and his British backers ensured that they never outnumbered the Omani military, and that its fighters were armed with nothing heavier than machine-guns and light mortars. The equivocal commitment of this militia to the government’s cause was such that in December 1973 Sultan Qaboos summoned tribal leaders to a meeting in which he berated them for maintaining contacts with the insurgents, and gave them an ultimatum best paraphrased as ‘you are either with me or against me’.
The Omani state and its British allies managed the firqat forces so that they could never be sufficiently strong enough to rebel against the Sultan, and also carefully monitored them for their loyalty. In other conflicts the government side has been less successful in controlling its own militiamen.
Link:http://defenceindepth.co/2015/07/20/...orary-warfare/
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Old 08-06-2015   #26
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Default A really long time as "boots on the ground": 24yrs

From the Obituary for a British Ghurkha officer, whose career in Oman spanned twenty-four years by the look of this:
Quote:
Soon after retiring from the Army in 1960 he was back in service at the start of a long association with the Sultanate of Oman, where his fluent Urdu and Arabic, learned in addition to Gurkhali, were put to good use. As Deputy Commander of the Oman Gendarmerie he helped to defeat rebels in the rugged and inhospitable Dhofar region and ran the sultanate's navy, sailing dhows as Commander, Coastal Patrol. After Sultan Qaboos came to power in a coup against his father Sultan Said bin Taimur, in July 1970, Vivian served in the Oman Research Department (Intelligence), then as Jebel Liaison officer (Political Officer) in the Jebel al Akhdar mountains. Oman decorated him in 1984 with the Sultan's Distinguished Service Medal.
Link:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/pe...-10436152.html
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Old 08-13-2015   #27
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Default Defectors

Just found a note from a 2009 RUSI conference, where a retired British Army brigadier, David Venn (whose career in intelligence included service during the Dhofar War) stated:
Quote:
By the end of the Dhofar campaign a thousand Surrendered Enemy Personnel (SEP) had changed sides.
I have not seen this figure before, including the Wiki entry and here.
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Old 09-01-2015   #28
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Default New documentary

Thanks to twitter I found out that in July 2015 a short, hour long documentary was released and is available to buy or rent via Vimeo:https://vimeo.com/ondemand/operationoman

From the website:
Quote:
More than 40 years have passed since Britain fought a secret war in Oman. Major Nicholas Ofield has returned for the first time since his involvement in the conflict to retread his battlegrounds and reflect on what the conflict meant personally, and in the wider socio-political context. Supported with rare archive footage and interviews from Colonel Mike Ball and Major Mike Austin, who also fought in the conflict, Operation Oman is the gripping true story of one of the most successful counter-insurgency campaigns ever fought.
I just watched the clip 'Kill Group' where Major Olfield recounts firing 1500 rounds from four machine guns and missing five insurgents at 400m range.

Small snag. It may not be available in the USA. They are on offer:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Operation-.../131570220457?
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Old 09-01-2015   #29
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Default A 'hedgehog' in Oman

On a tweet by @OperationOman is the photo below:
Quote:
A Hedgehog. 44 gallon oil drums filled with sand to create a defensive position. Mounted with a Vickers Machine gun
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Old 03-07-2016   #30
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Default Revising the history of this campaign

Dr Geraint Hughes, from the blog Defence-in-Depth, refers to Oman in a wide-ranging article:
Quote:
With reference again to Dhofar, the Popular Front still had a base of sympathisers within the local community even after their formal defeat in December 1975, and the province was by no means 'at peace' even after Qaboos declared the emergency over.
The main article is likely to be added to the COIN thread, maybe a new thread. The cited article alas is behind a link to a "pay wall" and entitled 'Demythologising Dhofar: British Policy, Military Strategy, and Counter-Insurgency in Oman, 1963–1976,' by Geraint Hughes, The Journal of Military History, 79:2 (April 2015): 423-456.
Quote:
This article re-examines the civil war (1963–1976) between the Sultanate of Oman and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (PFLO), particularly the U.K.’s support of the government. Using archival evidence and private papers, it argues that the counter-insurgency (COIN) campaign’s image as “population-centric” is flawed, and that the British and Omani governments relied more on military measures against the PFLO to recapture Dhofar province than on the “hearts and minds” and civil development programmes emphasised in traditional accounts. It counsels against using Dhofar as a possible example of indirect military assistance in contemporary COIN, arguing that the conflict’s specific historical characteristics may not be replicated now or in the immediate future.
Link:http://www.smh-hq.org/jmh/jmhvols/792.html
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Old 05-09-2016   #31
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Default

SWJ has an article which uses the Dhofar campaign as an example, with a lot of references, especially to one book: J.E. Peterson, Oman’s Insurgencies: The Sultanate’s Struggle for Supremacy (London, United Kingdom: Saqi Publishing, 2008 (which is cited in the thread).

There alo a reference to a 2011 JSOU report on Oman, which has a chapter on Dhofar:http://jsou.socom.mil/JSOU%20Publica...Oman_final.pdf Which I don't think is cited here and has not been read beyond the cover.

I don't think this journal article has featured here: Jones, C. (2011). Military intelligence, tribes, and Britain’s war in Dhofar, 1970-1976. Middle East Journal. Vol, 65, No.4, p.557-574. A quick search cannot find an open access edition.

Link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...-islamic-state
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Old 06-06-2016   #32
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Default Fighting alongside unequal, if not hostile allies

Contemporary conflicts in the Middle East and beyond find the US and others fighting alongside or with nearby if hostile allies.

So a new short article on the Iranian involvement in the Dhofar, Oman insurgency 1972-1079 is very topical; as the author writes:
Quote:
At a time when the UK and other Western powers favour a ‘light footprint’ in military interventions, the prospects are that British military trainers and advisors will be working with allies like the Artesh – with armed forces with little if any record of alliance interaction with the UK, and with specific weaknesses such as those originating from the coup-proofing of militaries by regimes.....The Iranians had a steep learning curve to climb. Their initial performance in combat showed that their soldiers often lacked basic infantry skills.....(a British officer in Omani command) noted in December 1976 that ‘without Iranian assistance we would not have won the war’.
Link:https://defenceindepth.co/2016/06/06...he-dhofar-war/
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Old 06-10-2016   #33
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Default Update

In the last post I referred to this article, which I now have access to if anyone is interested PM me please:
Quote:
Jones, C. (2011). Military intelligence, tribes, and Britain’s war in Dhofar, 1970-1976. Middle East Journal. Vol, 65, No.4, p.557-574. A quick search cannot find an open access edition.
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Old 06-10-2016   #34
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Default

My professor at Fletcher, Dr. Richard Shultz, travelled over to work with the Omani Army in the early Spring and got to get some great stories about their efforts in Dhofar.
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Old 07-09-2016   #35
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Default An earlier campaign in Oman 1959

An article by Dr Simon Anglim, whose work IIRC has appeared on SWC, possibly on the Dhofar campaign; id'd via Twitter and from the website The Strategy Bridge in 2014:http://www.thestrategybridge.com/the...bel-war-195759

He starts with:
Quote:
The years 1955–1959 brought a major insurgency to the Gulf state of Muscat and Oman which, for a while, threatened the integrity of the Omani state. All the key battlefields were in Northern Oman, within 150 miles of the capital, Muscat, and because this is a mountainous region, Omanis remember it as the Djebel (Mountain) War; in the UK it is referred to usually as the Djebel Akhdar campaign, after its climactic battle. Historically, the Djebel War has been almost completely overshadowed by Oman’s other insurgency, Dhofar 1965–1975, which was longer, bigger, bloodier and far better covered in print. However, the Djebel War sends messages in its own right. It was truly ‘complex’, difficult to pigeonhole as either insurgency or civil war and showing many of the characteristics of both, and at the tactical level mixed battalion-level battles, including sieges of fortified areas, with close air support and bombing of the rebel infrastructure, alongside guerrilla warfare, sabotage and terrorism. As strategy, it illustrates limited military force dealing with a potentially major crisis where larger-scale deployments were unacceptable politically.
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Old 08-02-2016   #36
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Default Oman / Dhofar campaign: catch all

The Secret War: Intelligence and Covert Operations in the Dhofar Rebellion


Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-02-2016 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Copied from SWJ Blog
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Old 08-02-2016   #37
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Default Was South Africa seeking lessons from Dhofar?

A new Journal article, with many references to sources cited in this thread.

The author cites several times a hitherto unknown article, which has very few references cited, but on a quick read has points of interest:
Quote:
Monick, S.; Victory in Hades: The Forgotten Wars of Oman 1957-1959 and 1970-1976, Part 2A: The Dhofar Campaign 1970-1976; Scientia Militaria, South African Journal of Military Studies, Vol. 12, Nr 4; Saldanha, South Africa; 1982
The author concluded:
Quote:
Precisely because of its dual COIN-conventional aspect, the lessons derived from the Dhofar war are peculiar to each individual dimension of warfare, as well as being common to both. They are thus both extensive and complex and, to do them justice, detailed discussion is reserved for a succeeding, final paper
(Section B).
Link:http://scientiamilitaria.journals.ac...e/view/600/605

The SWJournal author does not refer to Monick's 'Section B, which was published in 1983 and it appears the author had written on Rhodesian COIN. It is more concerned with any potential application to South Africa, then in the midst of several campaigns, internally and in SW Africa / Angola.

In his conclusion is one good passage:
Quote:
This clearly exemplifies a fundamental characteristic of all insurgencies; success is far more dependent upon the reaction of their adversaries (i.e. the established government and security forces) than upon any inner impetus within the revolutionary movement itself.
Link:http://scientiamilitaria.journals.ac...e/view/591/596
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Old 01-07-2017   #38
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Default Another author wrote

Just found a review of 'Dangerous Frontiers: Campaigning in Somaliland and Oman' by Bryan Ray, pub. 2008 by Pen & Sword (UK). Not spotted this before. The author served on 'loan' to Oman 1972-1974, commanding the Northern Frontier Regiment; plus other stints in service.

The reviewer in British Army Review (Spring 2009) writes:
Quote:
...it is an excellent account of the trials and tribulationss, successes and occasional failures commanding foreign troops - Omani and Baluch - not to mention Iranian Special Forces....
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #39
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Default Oman's Insurgencies by JE Peterson

Thanks to a clue on SWJ Blog I have located this extensive book review by Alexander Schade:https://medium.com/@schadeam/applyin...n-d131e3859a22

He writes critically:
Quote:
The book does not include sources or accounts by the insurgents, nor are there any sources from Omani officers, members of the firqat mixed platoons, or Omani political elite. Whether these omissions were intentional or due to availability, the lack of Arabic sources limits the objective examination of the conflict. One example of an Arabic language source that could have been referenced is Mohammed Said al Duraibi’s The Oman Revolution, published in 2004, which incorporated accounts from insurgent fighters as well as Omani officers during their struggle in the war.
Alas this book cannot readily be identified!

He concludes:
Quote:
Oman’s Insurgencies fills a valuable gap in the scholarly research of the Dhofar Rebellion and is a succinct examination of developing counterinsurgency strategy in a contemporary conflict.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #40
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Default Oman / Dhofar campaign: catch all

Counterinsurgency Strategy in the Dhofar Rebellion

This is a Journal article by Captain Alexander Schade, submitted forthe Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest.

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