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Ghalib bin Ali bin Hilal Alhinai (Arabic: غالب بن علي الهنائي‎) (c. 1912 – 29 November 2009) was the last elected Imam (ruler) of the Imamate of Oman.

Ghalib bin Ali bin Hilal Alhinai
Died29 November 2009 (aged 96)
OccupationImam of the Imamate of Oman
Known forBeing the last Imam of the Imamate of Oman

Early life and careerEdit

Prior to assuming the role of Imam, Ghalib served as the qadi (judge) of Rustaq and Nizwa.[1] He later served as the Treasurer of the Imamate.[1] After the predecessor, Imam Alkhalili, died on 3 May 1954, Ghalib Alhinai was elected to be the Imam (ruler).[1]


Oman was split between the interior, which was known as the Imamate of Oman, and the coastal Oman, known as the Sultanate of Muscat.[2] Shortly after Imam Ghalib became the Imam, in 1954, he led the Imamate of Oman, in Nizwa and Oman proper, in the Jebel Akhdar War against Sultan Said Bin Taimur's attack on the interior of Oman. In 1937, an agreement between the Sultan and a subsidiary of Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), a consortium of oil companies that is largely British owned, was signed to grant oil concessions to IPC, in which the Sultan received a sizable signature bonus. IPC informed the Sultan that oil reserves may exist in the interior of Oman and offered financial support to raise an armed force against any potential resistance by the Imamate. The British government favored IPC's plan as it sought benefits from the expansion of the Sultanate's territory and considered oil discovery in Oman as a valuable insurance against the insecurity of other parts of the middle east.[3] The war had been triggered by Sultan Said Bin Taimur on 25 October 1954, when he licensed IPC oil prospectors to search for oil near Fahud, an area located within the territory of the Imamate of Oman.[4] The move was considered by the Imam to be a breach to the Treaty of Seeb, an agreement which recognized the autonomy of the Imamate.[4]

The occupation of the interior began on 25 October 1954, when the Muscat and Oman Field Force (MOFF), later renamed Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF), occupied Fahud and on the following day, Tanam. The occupation of Fahud and Tanam was only a prelude to a "grand design" by the Sultanate to occupy the entire Imamate. On 13 December 1954, the MOFF, which was instilled with eight British officers, moved from Fahud to Adam and occupied it. Thereafter, the capital of the Imamate, Nizwa, was captured by the Sultanate on 15 December 1955. However, resistance from the Imamate forces persisted and Talib Alhinai, who was the Wali (governor) of Rustaq and the younger brother of the Imam, played a key role in strengthening the Imamate's forces by recruiting additional forces and acquiring Saudi Arabia's support. On 14 June 1957, the reinforcement of the Imamate's forces materialized when a number of the interior villages were recaptured, including Bilad Sayt. The MOFF moved an artillery battery to Bilad Sayt in anticipation of an easy victory. However, the Imamate's forces proved to be much better organized than anticipated. After weeks of skirmishes, the MOFF, with no civilian support from the locals in the interior, had no choice but to surrender their way back to Fahud. The Imamate's forces freed Nizwa (capital), Firq, Izki, Tanuf, Bahla and Jabal Akhdar from the Sultunate's control, while Ibri was the only area that remained under the occupation of the Sultunate.[5][3]

On 25 July 1958, as a result of the ongoing war and the British government's aim to be "less visible" in the middle east in the post-Suez world, letters were exchanged between the Sultan and the British leaders. As a result, an assistance in economic development agreement was signed, which consisted of strengthening the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF) by attaching British officers to lead small units and to head the SAF as a whole.[6] The war lasted five years until the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces, with much difficulty and following direct support of soldiers from the British Special Air Service, 1st Battalion of the Cameronions, a troop of the 15/19 Hussars, RAF jets and a squadron of Ferret armoured cars,[6] had put down the Jebel Akhdar revolt in 1959,[4] and Imam Ghalib managed to escape to Saudi Arabia. He continued for a short time to lead a temporary government-in-exile from Dammam, Saudi Arabia and established an Imamate office in Cairo, Egypt while the fighting continued in Oman.[7]

Imam Ghalib delegated his brother, Talib Alhinai, who was the Wali (governor) of Rustaq,[8] to present the issue to the Arab League and the United Nations in order to seek recognition and claim legitimacy of the Imamate of Oman.[2] As a result, the Imamate's cause was closely identified with Arab nationalism and the various forms of anti-colonialism that were taking place during that period.[7] On August 1959, The UN Security Council, however, voted by a narrow margin not to consider a request for an urgent meeting to discuss 'British aggression against' an independent Imamate of Oman. The 'question of Oman' meanwhile, remained on the UN General Assembly agenda in each year until 1971.[3] The Imamate's cause continued to be promoted up until 1970.[2] He continued to receive many visitors from Oman up until his death and was deeply respected by the people of Oman. He died on 29 November 2009 at the age of 96 in Dammam.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Calvin H. Allen Jr: Oman: the Modernization of the Sultanate.
  2. ^ a b c " - وفاة آخر أئمة عُمان في منفاه السياسي بالسعودية". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Peterson, J. E. (2 January 2013). "Oman's Insurgencies: The Sultanate's Struggle for Supremacy". Saqi. Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c John B. Meagher: The Jebel Akhdar War Oman 1954-1959, MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE 1985.
  5. ^ Allen, Calvin H.; II, W. Lynn Rigsbee (14 January 2014). "Oman Under Qaboos: From Coup to Constitution, 1970-1996". Routledge. Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b Robert Johnson : At the End of Military Intervention.
  7. ^ a b Majid Alkhalili: Oman's Foreign Policy.
  8. ^ Fiennes, Ranulph (8 October 2015). "Heat: Extreme Adventures at the Highest Temperatures on Earth". Simon and Schuster. Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Ghalib Bin Ali's obituary, in: Archived 2010-11-19 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic)