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From Certain Defeat to Decisive Victory
by Jim White, Small Wars Journal
An often-overlooked counterinsurgency campaign of the mid-20th century was the one that raged from 1965-1976 in the Sultanate of Oman. Overshadowed by the larger conflicts that engulfed Southeast Asia, by 1970 a communist-led insurgency in the Southern Omani province of Dhofar (Dhufar) came very close to achieving victory over the British-backed government of the Sultan. However, in a remarkable turnabout grounded in time-tested counterinsurgency 'best practices,' by 1976 the communist insurgency had been defeated and government control restored to this strategically located nation. This paper will describe the causes of the insurgency, the actions of the insurgents and counterinsurgents, and finally, the factors that led to the success of the government and the defeat of the insurgency.