Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17

AlfRodchenko

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

After the rebellions of the 1950s, the Sultan of Oman’s armed forces

were reorganised, with British advice, training, equipment and funds.

More Omanis were recruited into the ranks, but all of the officers were

British. Some were “seconded officers” while others were so-called

contract officers, or mercenaries – men who had previously served in

Oman with the British Army and who had chosen to return to earn

handsome rewards.

46

Initially, the rebels they faced in Dhofar were Arab nationalists. However,

to the west of Dhofar lay Aden, from which the British were forced to

withdraw at the end of 1967, in the face of increasingly violent rebellions.

British rule had been replaced by a Marxist state, the People’s Democratic

Republic of Yemen, which received aid from both China and Russia.

By early 1968, a Dhofari nationalist insurgency was developing into a

Chinese-backed revolutionary movement with pan-Arabian ambitions. To

the British officers, however, the foe was always simply the adoo – Arabic

for enemy. By the end of 1969, the adoo had captured the coastal town

of Raysut, and by early the following year they controlled most of the high

plains and were within mortaring distance of the RAF base at Salalah.

Any enemy corpses we recovered were propped up in the souk as a

salutary lesson to would-be freedom fighters

Anonymous British officer

The new oil fields on the desert between Dhofar and the capital, Muscat,

were beginning to look vulnerable. Some in London were developing a

fearful Middle Eastern domino theory, in which they envisaged the Strait

of Hormuz falling under communist control.

SHEEP IN THE ROAD : NUMBER 15

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