Integrated Foreign Military Leadership: The Dhofar Campaign as an Efficient Stabilisation Intervention

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper


The British have a long relationship with Oman, founded on its strategic location and important trade links. From the 1950’s until the late 1970’s key leadership positions in the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) were staffed by seconded British personnel. In 1970 cross-border support for a rebellion in the southern province of Dhofar from the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) saw the insurgents gaining the upper hand. The British intervened with a handful of sub-units and individuals. Most accounts of how the British–led Omani Army prevailed draw out major observations including; Iranian and Jordanian assistance, interdiction of cross border support, hearts and minds operations to regain legitimacy, the development of the ‘Firqat’ militia and the role of the SAS. Much less attention is given to the fact that pragmatic considerations limited the British Army commitment to a few hundred personnel, or how they were employed to enable local capability rather than deliver it directly. Apart from SAS and Royal Engineer sub-units, almost all ‘British’ personnel ‘beyond the wire’ served as commanders or (in the case of the Firqat) ‘fighting advisors’ posted within the SAF. The use of personnel in ones and twos provided the leadership and expertise to allow units manned by Omani, Dhofari and Baluchi personnel to successfully prosecute the war. This parsimonious and risk-minimising deployment of personnel delivered strategic effect and offers insights that may be relevant to building Australian capacity to respond to Regional Allies requests for military assistance and reinforces the argument for language and cultural training and exchange programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLand Warfare Conference Proceedings 2012
PublisherDefence Science and Technology Organisation
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventLand Warfare Conference 2012 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 31 Oct 201202 Nov 2012


ConferenceLand Warfare Conference 2012
Abbreviated titlePotent Land Force for a Joint Maritime Strategy
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