Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Richard Olson

Third Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Fourth Advisor's Name

Nicholas Onuf

Date of Defense



The object of this dissertation is to record and analyze the foreign policy of the Sultanate of Oman from the early twentieth century until 2004. It challenges the central assumption of the contemporary scholarship on the subject that Muscat's modern foreign policy begins in 1970. It is often presumed that the pre-1970 era does not merit a thorough investigation to understand Muscat's modus operandi today. This study argues that for a comprehensive understanding of Muscat's foreign policy since 1970, the frontier of the historical analysis of Oman's regional and international involvement should be pushed back to the 1930's, when the young Sultan Said assumed power over the country divided by the "Treaty" or the "Agreement" of Sib. Indeed, the thrust of this research lies at once in repudiating the conventional wisdom regarding both the persona of Sultan Said and the customary political/historical narrative of Said's reign. The critical analysis of this period is utilized to rebut the pervasive and largely inaccurate historical narrative of the events prior to 1970, to recount an original interpretation of the period, and to use the narrative as a preamble for subsequent foreign policy directions and initiatives. Furthermore, this dissertation covers the gaps in the literature resulting from the absence of any materials that either record or analyze Muscat's foreign policy from 1996 until 2004. In addition, his study provides new information and a fresh analysis of the international relations of the region, including great power rivalry, especially the competition between the United States and Great Britain, and the attitudes of major regional actors, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

The use of a thorough historical inquiry is vital to support the central claim of this dissertation; therefore, a large section of this dissertation is based almost exclusively on archival materials collected from the British Public Records Office, the University of Oxford and the Library of Congress. This project represents the most comprehensive use of archival materials on the subject matter to date.





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