Said bin Taimur

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Sheikh Said bin Taimur
سعيد بن تيمور
Said Bin Taimur.jpg
Sultan of Oman
Reign 10 February 1932 – 23 July 1970
Predecessor Taimur bin Feisal
Successor Qaboos bin Said
Born 13 August 1910
Oman
Died 19 October 1972(1972-10-19) (aged 62)
London, England
Burial Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, England
Royal cemetery, Muscat
Spouse Sheikha Fatima al-Mashani
Sheikha Mazoon al-Mashani
Issue Qaboos Bin Said
Dynasty Al Said
Father Taimur bin Feisal
Mother Sheikha Fatima bint 'Ali Al-Sa'id
Religion Ibadi Islam

Sheikh Said bin Taimur (13 August 1910 – 19 October 1972) (Arabic: سعيد بن تيمور‎‎), (Balochi: سعید بن تیمور) was the sultan of Muscat and Oman (the country later renamed to Oman) from 10 February 1932 until his overthrow on 23 July 1970.

In 1932 at the age of 21 became the 13th Sultan of the Said bin dynasty, replacing his father Taimur bin Feisal. In 1936 he married his second wife, Mashani al-Mashanih (cousin of his first wife, Fatima)[1] who gave birth to Said's only son Qaboos bin Said al Said in 1940. Said consolidated power with the help of the British SAS in regaining control of the tribal interior, bringing together Muscat and Oman. Oman and Muscat then became a fully sovereign and independent state in 1951 under Sultan Taimur. The name would change in 1970 to the Sultanate of Oman.

Once the country was united Said left the capital of Muscat and resided in a coastal town in Dhofar. Said became more reclusive from his people and country. In 1965 after making concessions to export oil with Iraq, Iran and Britain he did little to improve the life of his people.The benefits of this deal would not come to fruition until his removal from power. His conservative policies became the reason Oman had an infant mortality rate of 75%. Trachoma, venereal disease and malnutrition were widespread. There were only 3 schools, with the literacy rate at 5%, and 6 miles of paved roads before the 1970 coup.[2]

Foreign affairs[edit]

Once he became Sultan, Said maintained a friendly relationship with the United States of America. In 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt invited Said and his father to come visit the United States. Said landed in San Francisco and began a tour from California to the Washington D.C.. During his visit to the White House President Roosevelt presented him with two books he had written. Said toured the FBI Headquarters, and laid a wreath upon George Washington’s tomb, at Mount Vernon.[3]

During World War II the Sultan cooperated readily with the British and several Royal Air Force landing fields were constructed between Salalah in Dhofar and Masqat. This allowed the channels of supply to remain open between India and the Allies.[3]

Education[edit]

He attended Mayo College at Ajmer in Rajputana, India, from 1922-1927 where he mastered English and Urdu. Upon his return to Muscat in May 1927, it was suggested he attend Beirut to further his education. His father, Sultan Taimur bin Feisal, feared that by sending him to Beirut, he would be influenced by Christianity.[3]

Said’s father was strongly against him learning the ways of the Western world and speaking English.When Said was younger his father found Sa’id and his brother Nadir possessing an English primer, and he ordered all their books to be burned. Instead of sending Said to Beirut, his father sent him to Baghdad to study Arabic literature and history for a year.[3]

Early political career[edit]

After completing his year-long study in Baghdad, Said participated in the Omani government upon his return home. He became the president of the Council of Ministers in August 1929. Sultan Taymur’s inability to govern the state affairs of Oman created an opportunity for a new leader. The British were very fond of Said and during February 1932, at the age of 21, Said became the new crowned Sultan.[4] Sultan Said inherited a country that was heavily in debt to Britain and India. In order to break away from Britain and maintain autonomy his country needed to regain economic independence. Therefore, beginning in 1933, he controlled the budget of the state until being overthrown in 1970.[4]

Upbringing[edit]

The son of Taimur bin Feisal, he inherited the remains of an Omani Empire, which included the neighboring provinces of Oman and Dhofar, as well as the last remnants of an overseas empire, including Gwadar on the Indian coast—the latter was ceded to Pakistan in 1958. Nevertheless, his petroleum-rich country also had long established ties with the United Kingdom, based on a 1798 Treaty of Friendship, and had been a British protectorate since 1891.

Leadership[edit]

As sultan, oil wealth would have allowed Sultan Said bin Taimur to modernize his country, and, in fact, he secured British recognition of its independence in 1951. Nevertheless, he also faced serious internal opposition, from Imam Ghalib Bin Ali, a religious leader of Oman, who claimed power in the sultanate for himself. The Imam's revolt in Jebel Akhdar was suppressed in 1955 with the help of the United Kingdom, but this in turn earned Taimur the animosity of Saudi Arabia, which supported the imam, and of Egypt, which regarded British involvement in suppressing the revolt as inconducive to the cause of Arab nationalism. In 1957, these two countries supported a renewed revolt by the Imam, which was similarly suppressed by 1959.

In 1958 Said sold Gwadar to Pakistan for $1 million.

In 1965, the province of Dhofar revolted, this time with the support of People's Republic of China and some of the nationalist Arab states, followed by an assassination attempt in 1966. It had a marked effect on Said, causing him to become even more erratic in governing the country. It was forbidden to smoke in public, to play football, to wear sunglasses or to speak to anyone for more than 15 minutes.[5] No one was safe from the sultan's paranoia, not even his own son, Qaboos, who was kept under virtual house arrest at the Sultan's palace in Salalah.

Departure[edit]

In 1964 Qaboos returned from his educational studies in the United Kingdom at the Royal Military Academy, and a year of service in the British Army infantry, and was placed under house arrest.[6] Said did not speak or talk to his son during the last 14 months before the coup, even though they lived in the same palace. On July 23, 1970 at the Sultan’s palace in Salalah, Qaboos executed a successful coup against his father with the help of the British and his uncle, and exiled his father to the United Kingdom. Said lived his last two years at the Dorchester Hotel in London.[7] He was originally laid to rest in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, England. His corpse was then disinterred and transported back to Oman whereupon he was buried in the Royal cemetery in Muscat.[8]

Sources[edit]

  • Harris M. Lentz III, Heads of States and Governments: A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Over 2,300 Leaders, 1945 through 1992. McFarland & Company, Inc., 1994, p. 604. ISBN 0-89950-926-6.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ Cleveland, Bunton, William L, Martin (2013). A History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 409–410. 
  3. ^ a b c d Phillips, Wendell (1966). Unknown Oman. David McKay Company, Inc. New York. p. 19. 
  4. ^ a b Rabi, Uzi (2011). The Emergence of States in a Tribal Society: Oman Under Said Bin Taymur, 1932-1970. Apollo Books. p. 48. 
  5. ^ Curtis, Mark (1998). The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order. London: Pluto Press. p. 21. 
  6. ^ Jones, Ridout, Jeremy, Nicholas (2015). A History of Modern Oman. Cambridge University Press. p. 146. 
  7. ^ Gold, frankincense and mirth in deepest Arabia | Travel | The Observer
  8. ^ Tony Jeapes: SAS Secret War. Operation Storm in te Middle East. Grennhill Books/Stakpole Books, London/Pennsylvania 2005, ISBN 1-85367-567-9, page 29.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Taimur bin Feisal
Sultan of Oman
10 February 1932 – 23 July 1970
Succeeded by
Qaboos bin Said