Taimur ibn Faisal, 1913-32

Persian Gulf States Table of Contents

Taimur ibn Faisal succeeded his father as sultan in October 1913. When he assumed suzerainty over the country, he inherited an external public debt and widespread rebellion among the tribes. Between 1915 and 1920, the sultan's forces were aided by British financial and matériel support against the rebel tribes, ensuring adequate resistance but not total victory. An uneasy situation of no war, no peace, existed, with the sultan controlling Muscat and the coastal towns and the imam ruling the interior. This was tacitly codified in the Treaty of As Sib in 1920, brokered by the British political agent in Muscat. The treaty was between the sultan and the tribes, represented by Shaykh Isa ibn Salih al Harthi, leader of the Al Harth tribe.

In return for full autonomy, the tribes in the interior pledged to cease attacking the coast. The Treaty of As Sib was, de facto, a partition agreement between Muscat and Oman, serving Britain's interest in preserving its power through the office of the sultan without dispatching British troops to the region. The Treaty of As Sib ensured political quiescence between Muscat and Oman that lasted until the 1950s, when oil exploration in the interior reintroduced conflict. In return for accepting a truncation of his authority, the sultan received a loan from the government of British India with an amortization period of ten years, sufficient to repay his debts to merchants. When Sultan Taimur ibn Faisal abdicated for financial reasons in 1932, the twenty-two-year-old Said ibn Taimur inherited an administration that was in debt.

A United States Department of State bulletin on the sultan of Muscat and Oman in February 1938 describes the situation in which Sultan Said ibn Taimur found himself after assuming power: "The young Sultan found the country practically bankrupt and his troubles were further complicated by tribal unrest and conspiracy by certain of his uncles, one of whom immediately profited by the occasion to set up an independent regime. The Sultan tackled the situation with resolution and within a short time the traitorous uncle had been subdued, unrest quelled, and most important of all, state finances put on much more solid footing."

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress