Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

oil from the Persian Gulf makes its way to market. In the 1960s, more

than 60% of the western world’s crude oil came from the Gulf, a giant

tanker passing through the Hormuz bottleneck every 10 minutes. As the

oil flowed, local economies flourished and became important markets for

exported British goods: London became even more anxious to protect its

interests in the region and the local rulers who supported them.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Britain maintained control of

successive sultans of Oman to prevent any other colonial power gaining

a foothold in the region. It achieved this through a simple means: money.

In the mid-1960s, the country’s tyrannical ruler, Sultan Said bin Taimur

received more than half his income directly from London. Only from

1967, when Omani oil was pumped from the ground for the first time,

did the country begin to generate most of its own income.


Even then, Britain exercised enormous control over the sultan. His

defence secretary and chief of intelligence were British army officers,

his chief adviser was a former British diplomat, and all but one of his

government ministers were British. The British commander of the Sultan

of Oman’s armed forces met daily with the British defence attache, and

weekly with the British ambassador. The sultan had no formal relationship

with any government other than that of the UK.

Officially, the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman was an independent state.

In truth, it was a de facto British colony


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