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Oman: Between independence and colonial control 1970-1976

Worrall, James Edward (2008) Oman: Between independence and colonial control 1970-1976. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

The full text of this thesis is not available.

Abstract

The British government's announcement of its intention to withdraw 'East of Suez' by the end of 1971 was the catalyst for renewed efforts to resolve many disputes in the Gulf region. Accordingly, the threat posed by the growing Marxist inspired rebellion in Dhofar to Britain's remaining interests in the area could not be left unchallenged. But the means by which this challenge was to be met (including the extent of both overt and covert support for the Sultan) in the post-Suez era, posed a number of challenges for decision-makers in Whitehall. It soon became apparent that with aid flowing to the rebels from South Arabia, the situation was rapidly deteriorating. The failure of the counter-insurgency campaign thus far was increasingly seen to be the fault of Sultan Sa'id bin Taimur whose stubborn refusal to engage in anything but repression in Dhofar and whose denial of modernity to his people in spite of increasing oil revenues meant that Sa'id came to be seen as part of the problem and not the solution. This thesis examines how officials in London defined British interests in Oman and the debates in Whitehall, under successive governments, about how best to tackle the growing insurgency. This complex balancing act between protecting British interests and influence, creating an effective indigenous administration and security bodies while maintaining the image of strategic retreat and the sovereign independence of Oman forms the focus of this thesis. Through an exploration of British government decision making regarding Oman this thesis provides a systematic re-examination of the Anglo-Omani relationship during the critical years of transformation from isolated, undeveloped state into a modern outward looking nation. Since there have been no impartial, in-depth studies of this period which have had access to a wide range of primary source documents, the thesis is able to fill a gap in the literature by demonstrating how British interests were decided upon, how foreign policy was made and how it was implemented. Through the examination of this process this thesis aims to develop a better understanding of how and why Britain decided to commit herself to the protection of the Omani regime, while, at the same time, withdrawing from the Gulf and seeking membership of the European Economic Community. Using historical methodology and drawing extensively upon newly released archival records and interviews with former officials and high ranking officers, the thesis challenges established narratives regarding Britain's role in Oman. By examining the three key pillars of British support for the Sultanate of Oman - the political, military and diplomatic - this thesis argues that the evolution of a careful, considered and sometimes parsimonious policy marked British policy towards Oman, a policy far removed from the deterministic, callous and rapacious account presented by writers such as Halliday, Newsinger and Owtram.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.493282
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 14:20
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:17
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2388

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