Oman today is a rapidly modernizing and peaceful country on the fringes of a region in turmoil. It does, however, have a long history of internal strife. In the twentieth century, this strife took the form of two internal conflicts. The Northern Oman or al-Jabal al-Akhdar War of the 1950s was a struggle between the forces of the old tribally based Imamate and the newer Sultanate in the rthern part of the country. In the Dhufar War of the 1960s-70s an anti-Sultanate - and later Marxist - front sought secession in the south. J. E. Peterson takes a detailed look at these two wars in the context of insurgency and counter-insurgency warfare. He surveys Oman's transition from a strictly traditional regime controlling only parts of the country to a modern, inclusive state, particularly in terms of security concerns. Peterson analyses the development of the Sultanate's successful responses to security challenges, especially in the creation and evolution of modern armed forces.
J. E. Peterson is a historian and political analyst specialising in the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf. He has taught at several universities in the US and spent some years in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Security and Defence in the Sultanate of Oman. He is the author of Oman in the Twentieth Century, Yemen: The Search for a Modern State, Defending Arabia and Saudi Arabia: The Illusion of Security.