With tribute to:

Martin Spirit

James Paul

Co-written by:

David Carter

Britain's Small Wars

The preservation of British Military History

Oman (Dhofar) 1969-1976

"The Desert Song"

Hearts and Minds

An SAS medic attending to a local

After the SAS and Firqats had established themselves on the djeble, the Regiment started to carry out 'Hearts and Minds' operations to win over the support of the Dhofaris. The SAS were well trained in this type of psychology after previously achieving success in the Malaya and Borneo campaigns.

The SAS went to great lengths to explain to the Dhofaris that they would be far better off to align themselves with the new Sultan rather than the Communists. The SAS encouraged total religious freedom for the Dhofaris, some thing the Communists had forbidden. By respecting the Arabs' devotion to Islam, SAS soldiers gained a lot of respect from the Arabs they encountered. This helped greatly, especially when it came to offering medical help to the Dhofaris. SAS medics were allowed to treat women as well as men, which was something previously unheard of. SAS medics set up many clinics through out the Dhofar for the distribution of medical aid to the Dhofaris. Dealing with the Dhofaris' medical problems was some times difficult.

One evening, an Arab mother brought her young daughter to the Mirbat Medical Centre. The mother told the SAS medics that her daughter was suffering from a strange stomach upset. Without giving the girl a major examination, the medics knew she was pregnant. The SAS asked the young girl if she had missed her period but before the girl could reply her mother said, "She has NOT been with a man".

After hearing this the SAS medic calmly walked over to the window and started staring out at the night sky. When asked what he was doing by the other medic, he said "Well I'm looking for a bright star and three wise men"

The 'Hearts and Minds' operations were not all pills and potions. The SAS brought in British and Arab engineers, with heavy drilling equipment, to drill new water wells in the djeble. After the Sultan's forces had occupied an area, the engineers would build wells, Mosques and schools. The SAS then told the Dhofaris that if the Adoo returned to the area, they would simple cut the water off.