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"

Oman Introduction

Picture of Qaboos bin Said

In 1970, Sultan Said's Government had come to be regarded as the most reactionary and isolationist in the area. Slavery was common and many medieval prohibitions were still in force. In 1964 a rebellion broke out in the Dhofar province and on 23rd July 1970 the Sultan was deposed by his son Qaboos bin Said at the Royal Palace in Salalah. Qaboos, the new Sultan, was 29 years old and had trained at Sandhurst. The new Sultan asked the rebels for their cooperation in developing the country using the petroleum revenues formerly used exclusively for defence. Only the Dhofar Liberation Front responded favourably. The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf and its ally the National Democratic Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arab Gulf appeared to think that little had changed.

Picture of an SAS signaller

In August 1970, Muscat ceased to be part of the title of the country and it became the Sultanate of Oman. The war in Oman was a war kept secret from the public. Britain had no 'official' involvement but SAS detachments under the designation BATT or British Army Training Team were sent to Oman in July 1970, directly after Sultan Qaboos had deposed his father in a coup. As well as supporting the new regime in military matters, the BATT teams also engaged in a 'Hearts and Minds' campaign to establish support for the new Sultan amongst his people.