5. National Intelligence Estimate Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

30–1–73

[Omitted here is the table of contents.]

PROBLEMS IN THE PERSIAN GULF
PRÉCIS

Much of the old political framework in the Persian Gulf area, site of two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves, has gone, opening the way for new patterns of development.

—The end of British political and military responsibility for the smaller states, whose leaders and institutions will be hard pressed to cope with demands for change, leaves them vulnerable to external subversion, internal discord, and the vicissitudes of regional politics.

—The Soviet Union, having established an important political influence in the Arab world and a significant military presence in the Mediterranean area, shows a growing interest in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf—on its own and as patron of the radical regimes in Iraq and South Yemen.

—The increasing importance of Gulf oil, coupled with Arab frustration over the impasse with Israel, raises the specter of oil being used [Page 18]for political purposes—something occasionally threatened but not attempted on a large scale before.

The relationship of Saudi Arabia and Iran is of key importance to the Western position in the Gulf. Relations between the two are good, but not likely to become close. Both seek to resist the spread of revolutionary forces. The Shah, with a large and growing oil income to pay for an expanding military establishment, has embarked on an activist, forward policy in the Gulf—reflecting Iranian apprehensions about radical Arab power and the Shah’s ambitions in the Gulf. This bothers Saudi Arabia, which aspires to a position of leadership among the smaller Arab states of the Gulf.

Given the fragility of the smaller states, the crosscurrents of rivalry between the regional powers, and external support for radical subversion, important change appears inevitable.

Certain developments would be of little consequence either for oil or political relations in the area, e.g., the replacement of one ruler in a smaller state by another. Even a radical regime replacing an incumbent conservative in one or another of the lesser states would not necessarily interfere with oil, though dealing with radical regimes on access to oil is marked by special difficulties and political complications.

Other developments could endanger US interests.

—Turmoil in one of the lesser states could lead to Iranian intervention, which in turn would set the Arabs, including Saudi Arabia, against Iran. This could badly erode US relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

—The unlikely contingency of an upheaval led by revolutionary forces in the larger oil-producing states would be difficult or impossible to reverse and would threaten the US position in the Gulf as a whole.

—A recrudescence of Arab-Israeli hostilities would be likely to lead some Gulf states to embargo oil shipments to the US for a time and perhaps to nationalize or otherwise hit at American firms. It would not be as easy for the US to ride out this kind of storm as in the past.2

1. The already great importance of the Persian Gulf region as a source of oil for the industrial world is certain to grow. Gulf states control nearly two-thirds of the world’s proved oil reserves and currently produce about one-third of the oil consumed in the non-communist world. This paper assesses local pressures for change, the interests and actions of forces from outside the Gulf, the aims and policies of the USSR, the consequences of the large Gulf states’ efforts to fill the vacancy left by the end of the British protectorate, and likely develop[Page 19]ments over the next few years flowing from the interaction of these elements. Finally, it assesses the implications for the US.

I. RADICAL CHALLENGE IN THE GULF

2. Almost all the Gulf states are conservative societies governed by traditional monarchical regimes. Only Iraq has succumbed (15 years ago) to revolution. After several violent changes of regime, Iraq is now ruled by the socialist Baath Party.3 In some of the other states of the Gulf, the growth of the oil industry has provided vast financial resources. Foreign workers, administrators, and teachers—including many Palestinians—have brought in social and political ideas at odds with traditional attitudes. Generally speaking, the leadership and institutions of these states will be hard pressed to cope with demands for change.

3. The rulers use varying means to keep frustrations and hostility under control.4 The Shah of Iran has sought with some success to deflect political pressures by leading a so-called “White Revolution”. But at the same time he vigorously represses dissent. The Amir of Kuwait has established a parliament and permits a relatively free press. King Faisal has not permitted such free expression of ideas in Saudi Arabia’s very conservative society, but makes cooperation with the regime advantageous in many ways. Moreover, the oil boom has provided such extensive social services and opportunities for personal gain that few have thus far been inclined to risk dangerous or radical means of expressing dissatisfaction. But in time, discontent seems likely to grow, especially where regimes do not satisfy the demands of the increasingly educated and politically aware elements of the population.

4. Antiregime revolutionary forces are active in the smaller Gulf states5 and are supported by the radical regimes in Iraq and in the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY)—also called South Yemen. Both aid the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf (PFLOAG), an umbrella group dedicated to the overthrow of all monarchies in the region. Iraq also supports branches of its faction of the Baath Party in Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE and backs a variety of other dissidents. Syria does something along these lines, but has [Page 20]few supporters. Socialist splinter factions which are even smaller and which are not backed by any Arab state (e.g., the Arab Nationalists Movement and the National Liberation Front of Bahrain) are also active.

5. The radical regime in South Yemen has concentrated its subversive activity on the adjacent Dhofar Province of Oman. It is offering materiel, financial assistance, and a safe-haven to the rebels, now under PFLOAG, who have been fighting the Sultan’s forces in the hinterland for 10 years. The leaders of the PDRY regime are also encouraging PFLOAG dissidents in Bahrain and elsewhere along the Gulf in hopes of facilitating the establishment of revolutionary governments in the Gulf proper.

6. Most Palestinian fedayeen groups have representatives in the Gulf states. Although they are there primarily to raise money, the sheikhdoms, as a sign of support for the Arab cause, accord the fedayeen a degree of freedom which has increased the latter’s influence. The fedayeen have some potential for terrorist activity against Western interests, including American oil installations, and also against conservative regimes. In the event of an outbreak of major Arab-Israeli hostilities, their presence would increase pressure on the Gulf states to act against US interests.

II. EXTERNAL FORCES

The Oil Consumers

7. Britain abandoned its historic role as protector of the smaller Gulf states at the end of 1971, but it has not disengaged entirely. British seconded and contract officers remain the backbone of the security services and defense forces in Oman and the former protected states. The Royal Air Force (RAF) maintains a detachment at Salalah in accordance with an agreement imposed by Oman in exchange for the right to maintain the RAF station on the island of Masirah. In 1972, sales of UK military and civilian goods and services to the Gulf states amounted to $820 million, while the US sold them $1.1 billion worth of goods. Together this comprised over a third of the imports of the Gulf regimes. British companies retain a large share of oil production in the Gulf and US oil companies produce and market somewhat over half of production from this region. The US and UK are the principal sources of arms for the Gulf states (except for Iraq, which relies on the USSR). The small US Navy presence (MIDEASTFOR) in the Gulf symbolizes US interest in the area. Japan and some large West European states consume sizable quantities of Gulf oil and are expanding commercial activity to pay for it. None of these countries plays an important political or security role in the Gulf, but government level contacts with oil producers are growing. France, however, is becoming increasingly active in efforts to sell arms in the Gulf.

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The USSR

8. The USSR in recent years has shown a growing interest in Gulf affairs. Soviet moves have been probing and exploratory. Despite their efforts, diplomatic relations have yet to be established with some states. Moscow sees the Gulf as part of its overall policy in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean areas, and seeks to expand its influence there. Not only do the Soviets wish to buttress their relations with radical Arab states, but they want access to shore facilities to extend the deployment duration of their naval forces.6 Western dependence on Gulf oil resources and the growing importance of the Gulf to the US further attract Soviet attention to the region. If one or more area state on its own should undertake to limit or stop production, the USSR would be in a position to lend political and propaganda support, perhaps even using naval ships to make a demonstration. But the USSR will not, for many years to come, have the financial resources, the transport, or the marketing mechanism to broker any large quantity of oil.7

9. In seeking to establish themselves in the Gulf, the Soviets frequently find their interests and objectives in conflict. The objectives of good relations with Iran, continuing military support to Iraq, and establishing a presence in the lesser Gulf states are pursued, although they are not always compatible. The USSR gives political support to national liberation movements both directly and through Iraq and PDRY. The Soviet position is also complicated by divisions and antagonisms among Arab revolutionary groups who seek Moscow’s aid, by lack of control over such groups, and by rivalry with the People’s Republic of China. The Soviets are providing weapons, and the Chinese provide arms and training directly to the rebel movement in Oman.

10. Beyond this, the national interests of the Persian Gulf states impose limits on what the Soviet Union is likely to seek or to be able [Page 22]to accomplish in coming years. The Soviets are unlikely to gain much influence in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or the lesser Gulf states, at least so long as the present anticommunist regimes remain in power. For the moment, Moscow’s progress in establishing diplomatic relations with the smaller states is blocked by the latter’s deference to Saudi and Iranian objections. Moscow is likely to make slow headway at best in increasing its influence in Iraq. It will probably get rights to greater usage of port facilities at Umm Qasr, which it now uses intermittently. The Soviets have now established an almost continuous naval presence on the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and they could attempt to do the same in the Gulf. On balance, despite limitations and possible temporary setbacks, the overall Soviet position in the Gulf area can be expected gradually to improve.

11. Knowing how critical the resources of the area are to the West and Japan, the Soviets would no doubt like one day to be in a position to be able to control or deny the flow of these resources. Were they able to do this, the balance of power in the world would be drastically changed in their favor. But they are a long way from achieving such a position, and the self-interest of the states in the region will remain a considerable obstacle. Moreover, the Soviets know that an attempt to affront the vital interests of all the advanced industrial states in this manner would entail the highest risks.

Regional States

12. Some of the larger and richer states in the Middle East and South Asia view the Gulf as an arena in which to exercise their nationalist ambitions. Egypt, which once had pretensions to leadership in the Gulf, is no longer particularly active there. President Qadhafi of Libya aspires to take part in the defense of Arab interests against Iran. Qadhafi used British acquiescence in the Shah’s 1971 occupation of three small islands in the lower Gulf as the occasion for nationalizing the British Petroleum Company in Libya. He strongly supports the fedayeen and encourages them to act against US interests in the Gulf. At the same time, his strong anticommunist convictions led him to promise Sultan Qabus of Oman $30 million in military aid to assist in the fight against the PFLOAG guerrillas.

13. Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen (Sana), and Sudan have all sought and received financial aid from the smaller Gulf states. Jordan, which is also seeking political allies, is providing military supplies and technicians, security advisors, and some technical assistance to economic projects. Less directly concerned with money, but worried by the potential for turbulence in the area, the Pakistani regime is providing similar services to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and, on a smaller scale, to various Gulf states. India is concerned about oil supplies and countering Paki[Page 23]stani maneuvering in the Gulf. It is establishing closer relations with Gulf states, especially Iraq. India has recently signed a 12-year oil agreement with Iraq and is supplying advisors and training to the Iraqi Air Force. However, this association has created strains on India’s relations with Iran due to Iranian hostility to Iraq and its closeness with Pakistan.

III. PROSPECTS FOR THE GULF

14. The Gulf states have weathered the 18 months since the withdrawal of British forces rather better than was generally expected. Iran has drawn Arab criticism of its self-declared mission as guardian power, but it got away with the occupation of three islands near the Strait of Hormuz with little more than verbal abuse. Bahrain held its first general election in an orderly fashion. The UAE has hung together. But there remain many problems and uncertainties in the Gulf situation, and disquieting and potentially destabilizing events continue to occur. The rebellion in Dhofar Province of Oman persists; an extensive network of antiregime elements has been turned up in Bahrain; Iraq attacked a Kuwaiti border post to reinforce a territorial claim. Over the next four or five years, the key questions in the Gulf system are the durability and adaptiveness of the several regimes and whether conflict and difference among the larger ones upsets—or only modifies—the present pattern of relationships.

The Individual States

15. The Shah of Iran, a strong and effective ruler, has coopted or suppressed internal political opposition. Even if succession arrangements do not prove lasting, a coalition of forces based on the military and the Shah’s loyal subordinates is a good bet to run Iran for some time after he leaves the scene. There almost certainly will be changes in the distribution of power. But the chances of a radically different successor taking over are not great, given the wariness of the Shah and the effectiveness of his security service, SAVAK. Although nationalist feeling is on the rise, the dependence of any successor government on oil revenue, which has become central to Iranian hopes for development, would temper the desire to act rashly. If a more violently nationalist regime took charge, it might justify its takeover by loosening presently close political ties to the West. But its view of Iran’s national interest and role in the region would probably not differ much from the Shah’s.

16. The Saudi Arabian regime is more conservative and less efficient than that of the Shah. Moreover, Faisal is almost 70 and has some health problems. Arrangements for succession in the event of his death have been made and are likely to be carried out, although factional conflict within the royal family remains a possibility. If he should [Page 24]undergo an extended decline in health and mental capacity, there would be increasing prospect for intrafamily dispute over a successor. The large Saudi royal family has a number of capable individuals and probably would unite against outside threats. Princes serve in the army, and the national guard is closely controlled by the royal family. For the next several years, therefore, the chances seem reasonably good that the Saudi monarchy will survive.

17. The Baathi regime in Iraq has a firm grip on the reins of government. It faces continued opposition from the Kurds who have maintained effective autonomy for more than 10 years in the north, although they cannot operate successfully outside their mountain fastness. Other dissidents have been ruthlessly suppressed. While military factions have the power to overthrow the present ruling group, the main facets of Iraqi foreign policy would probably be basically unchanged under new leadership. Any Iraqi regime would persist in antipathy to Iran, maintain designs on Kuwaiti territory, and attempt to influence Gulf affairs. Infighting, however, might distract the Iraqi Government from disruptive activity in the Gulf.

18. The durability of the regimes in the smaller states is less assured. Kuwait has managed to avoid revolutionary dissidence by a generous system of social welfare, high wages, and deportation of anyone who attempts to agitate against the regime. The loyalty of the immigrant population (about half the total) is suspect to many Kuwaitis, who solidly support the government policy of not granting citizenship or political status to immigrants, even to Arabs. Although there are some 200,000 Palestinian residents, most are there for the money and are politically passive; nonetheless, there is a small but growing number of fedayeen who present a potential hazard. Kuwaiti attempts to increase its security by buying friends abroad through loans and development have not secured the strong backing it sought among Arab states against such ever-present dangers as Iraqi territorial demands. The Kuwaitis keep tight control of all military and security services. They will have internal security problems, but dissidents are unlikely to find the means to overthrow the government.

19. Oman is the sole state in the area experiencing active rebellion. The war stretches the regime’s financial and manpower resources, taking more than half the budget. Thanks to continuing British assistance and aid from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and Iran (which has sent a military contingent to Oman), Sultan Qabus has been able to contain the rebellion in Dhofar Province, far from the capital and from the oil producing areas of the Gulf. The promised Libyan aid, if it materializes, will also help. Yet the recent series of arrests in northern Oman indicate that a subversive threat persists there as well, and it will be difficult in any case to eliminate small guerrilla bands from [Page 25]Dhofar’s rugged terrain. The war is likely to continue as long as the rebels find safehaven in neighboring South Yemen. In this situation, the prognosis for the Oman regime remains uncertain.

20. Bahrain is also potentially unstable, but at the same time its more educated, sophisticated population has perhaps the best chance of the smaller Gulf states of developing political and economic institutions that can meet its needs. Oil production is slowly declining and jobs and money are growing tighter. The population is also divided between Sunni and Shia Muslims, many of the latter of Iranian origin. The presence of British officers in charge of its security service is important to the regime’s chances of survival.

21. The other sheikhdoms are challenged more by traditional tribal factionalism than by dissidents seeking to change the orientation of the regimes. The UAE remains a collection of small, traditional communities largely lacking central governmental institutions. With a total population of 225,000 and area roughly the size of West Virginia, there are still two ministries of defense, five armies, eight police forces, one navy, one helicopter force, and one air force. While the states of the UAE are slowly learning to work together, it will be a long time—if ever—before they speak with one voice.

22. Replacement of any one of the UAE’s rulers by a tribal or dynastic rival would probably have little effect upon either the larger alignment in the Gulf or upon US interests. The UAE could probably cope with a small band of revolutionaries if it has some warning. Nonetheless, these regimes are fragile and could be overthrown suddenly by relatively small forces.

23. While the chances that the smaller Gulf regimes will survive appear fair, there are always unforeseeable events—the accidental death or assassination of a key figure, the carefully hidden coup plot—which could bring a revolutionary regime to power in one state or another. Even if such a government were short-lived it would have great potential for making trouble among the Gulf states.

Regional Conflicts

24. Enmity between Iraq and the principal monarchies—Iran and Saudi Arabia—is not likely to moderate as long as the Baath regime in Baghdad survives. Each side frames its policies in response to the success or failure of the other in expanding influence in the area. Iraq continues to receive Soviet arms, but Iran is the stronger power, and, with its program of purchasing the most modern weapons, primarily from the US, is almost certain to remain so for many years to come. Despite their arms buildups, both sides are reluctant to engage in all-out hostilities. The Shah would respond to Iraqi thrusts if he saw them as a major threat to Iran. Otherwise he would be inhibited from [Page 26]responding forcefully, as in the case of the recent Kuwaiti border incursion, by fears for Iran’s oil installations and by concern at arousing a strong negative reaction among Arabs generally. And the Iraqis would probably draw back if they felt they were provoking a major confrontation with the Shah.

25. Although they have a common interest in opposing the spread of revolutionary forces in the region, Saudi Arabia and Iran are uneasy associates. The Shah is using Iran’s rising oil revenues to expand Iranian military power and will continue to exploit American (and Western Europe’s) need for oil to assure support for Iran’s ambitions. King Faisal is disturbed by the Shah’s pretensions to dominate the Gulf and also by Iran’s ties to Israel. Faisal looks to the US to discourage the Shah from actions that would embarrass Saudi Arabia in the Arab world or challenge its leadership. The Saudis believe that they should be not only the pacesetters for oil matters, but spokesman for the Arab interest and the country to which the smaller Arab states of the region look for guidance.

26. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia appear good on the surface, but are not likely to become close. While Faisal and the Shah both seek to cooperate in maintaining stability in the Gulf, their capacity for cooperation is limited. The pervasive suspicions raised by the deep incompatibilities of Iranian and Arab nationalism will not be easily overcome and neither ruler has confidence in the long-term stability of the other’s regime. And the Saudis’ effectiveness in dealing with Iranians is not high; they resent being pushed toward action by the latter. The Shah and Faisal generally act independently in opposing radical threats, e.g., in providing assistance to Sultan Qabus of Oman. Some improvements in consultation between the two governments may nevertheless be effected.

27. In this atmosphere the ouster—or threat of imminent ouster—of a ruler in a smaller Gulf state by revolutionary forces would strain the present tentative cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran has the military force and command structure to intervene rapidly. The Shah is not spoiling for a fight, but would probably react quickly if he judged that only urgent action could foil revolutionaries. Such action would raise serious problems for Faisal, who tends to respond more cautiously to external events. Saudi Arabia, whose military forces would require longer reaction time than Iran’s, would prefer that only Arab troops be used on the western side of the Gulf. Hence, the prospect of Saudi-Iranian misunderstanding or even confrontation would be high if Iran should unilaterally send troops to an Arab state. Indeed, all Arab states of the region would be concerned in face of a serious confrontation; pressures of Arab nationalism might compel even Gulf states directly threatened by the prospect of another revolutionary regime in the area to oppose Iran.

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28. Relations between Saudi Arabia and the smaller Arab states of the Gulf also are uneasy, largely because of Saudi Arabia’s paternalist approach and certain unsettled territorial claims. Faisal will probably not renounce his demands to Abu Dhabi territory, though he is unlikely to press them vigorously. Similarly, while Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Oman is now in abeyance, it has, at least until recently, been a constraint against closer Saudi-Omani relations. At the same time, other small states will seek to enlist Saudi support in their own petty dynastic rivalries; such involvement will make an effective Saudi role in the Gulf more difficult.

IV. ALTERNATIVE PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES

29. The present situation in the Gulf is relatively favorable to the US. The traditional regimes there provide oil, mostly through US and other Western companies, offer rapidly expanding markets, and provide important communications and transit facilities. There will continue to be mutual interest between the producers of oil, who want to sell it, and consumers, who want to buy it. Likewise, the states of the Gulf want the military and commercial goods that the industrialized oil consumers produce. The outlook in the near term is not for political upheaval, but there are uncertainties in the situation and over time these could evolve in several different ways.

[Omitted here is a map of the Gulf region.]

30. It is, of course, possible that something like the status quo will continue in the Gulf for some time. This is not to say that there would not be change, but that overall it would not be sufficiently great to alter the general alignment of forces or affect major US interests. For example, one dynastic rival might replace another in one of the smaller states without changing its political complexion. The UAE might even split in two or more parts. The Amir of Bahrain might delegate more authority to elected institutions. But the sum and substance of such changes would not cause wide reverberations in the Gulf.

31. A second possible line of development would be the overthrow of one of the smaller states by revolutionary forces. This would not necessarily have serious consequences for the US, though dealing with radical regimes on access to oil is marked by special difficulties and political complications. But as long as neighboring states could agree either to intervene to expel the revolutionary regime or to tolerate it, the ouster of the government in one of the minor sheikhdoms would have little significance.

32. A more serious challenge to US interests would arise from the confrontation of Iran and Saudi Arabia over ways to handle a revolution—or the threat of revolution—in the smaller monarchies of [Page 28]the Gulf. Iran enjoys such a commanding military advantage over Saudi Arabia that King Faisal would be unlikely to initiate military action to assert his position. But each party would press the US to support its stand. The US probably has considerable power to restrain both contenders, though it might have little ability to restore the status quo. But this would be a painful process and could badly erode US relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

33. The unlikely contingency of an upheaval which brought revolutionary forces to power in Iran or Saudi Arabia would have serious consequences for the US position in the Gulf as a whole. It probably could not be reversed and would inevitably entail a major shift in power away from conservative forces.

34. A serious setback to the US position in the Gulf could also come from a major intensification of the crisis in Arab-Israeli affairs and particularly if another Arab military defeat ensued. Except for the Shah, who maintains friendly relations with Israel, the other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, would all feel compelled to take actions against the US, which they regard as Tel Aviv’s principal ally. In this situation some Gulf states would likely embargo oil shipments to the US for a time and perhaps would nationalize or otherwise hit at American firms. (US requirements for Persian Gulf oil are growing and the Arabs know it.) It would not be as easy for the US to ride out this storm as it was in the past.

35. In any event, the US will be far more intimately involved in Gulf affairs than in the past. Given the fragility of the smaller states, the crosscurrents of rivalry among the regional powers, growing Western dependence on Gulf oil, and external support for radical subversion, important change appears inevitable.

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THE PERSIAN GULF STATES
[Page 30][Page 31]
Ruler (And Date of Accession) Area (Square Miles) Approximate Population (Thousands) Proved Oil Reserves (Million Barrels) Oil Revenue($ Millions) GNP ($ Millions) Armed Forces
1970 1972 Army Air Navy
MAJOR STATES
Iran Muhammad Reza Shah (September 1941) 636,000 31,000 65,000 1,093 2,400 14,200 165,000 50,000 13,000
Iraq General Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr (July 1968) 172,000 10,000 29,000 521 1,000 3,800 90,000 10,000 2,000
Saudi Arabia King Faisal (November 1964) 618,000 5,000 146,000 1,200 2,900 4,000 37,000a 5,800 500
MINOR STATES
Kuwait Amir Sabah (November 1965) 6,200 1,000 73,000 895 1,700 3,200 8,000 375 35
Bahrain Amir ’Isa (November 1961) 213 200 375 27 37 120 1,200 .. ..
Qatar Amir Khalifah (February 1972) 4,000 120 7,000 122 200 275 1,200 50 50
United Arab Emirates President: Sheikh Zayd of Abu Dhabi 36,000 225 .. .. .. .. 2,000 .. ..
Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayd (1966) 32,000 65 21,000 233 600 .. 10,000 200 375
Dubai Sheikh Rashid (1958) 1,500 75 2,000 19 50 .. 300b .. ..
Sharjah Sheikh Sultan (January 1972) 1,000 35 .. .. .. .. 230c .. ..
Ajman Sheikh Rashid (1928) 100 5 .. .. .. .. c .. ..
Umm al-Qaiwain Sheikh Ahmad (1929) 300 5 .. .. .. .. c .. ..
Ras al-Khaimah Sheikh Saqr (1948) 650 30 .. .. .. .. 300c .. ..
Fujairah Sheikh Muhammad (1937) 450 10 .. .. .. .. c .. ..
Oman Sultan Qabus (July 1970) 82,000 710 5,000 100 125 300 7,800d 200 180

a There is also a 33,000-man national guard.

b There is also a 1,100-man police force.

c These states have police forces ranging between 150 and 200 men.

d There is also a gendarmerie of 1,000 men.

[Omitted here is the annex.]

  1. Summary: The CIA assessed potential security threats to U.S. interests in the wake of British withdrawal from the region, concentrating on radical threats to new and moderate Gulf regimes.

    Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79R01012A, Box 464, Folder 5, Problems in the Persian Gulf. Secret. The CIA, the intelligence organizations of the Departments of Defense, State, and the Treasury, and the NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. It was submitted with the concurrence of all USIB members, except for the representative of the FBI, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside his jurisdiction.

  2. The likelihood of hostilities in the near term is discussed in NIE 30–73, “Possible Egyptian-Israeli Hostilities: Determinants and Implications,” dated 17 May 1973, SECRET, [handling restriction not declassified] [Footnote is in the original.]
  3. The Baath Party of Iraq—in power since July 1968—is part of a pan-Arab ideological movement founded over a quarter century ago in Syria. Baath means resurrection or rebirth in Arabic. [Footnote is in the original.]
  4. At annex is a more detailed description of revolutionary and subversive elements in the Persian Gulf area and a discussion of security conditions in certain individual countries. [Footnote is in the original.]
  5. These states include Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—itself composed of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ajman, and Fujairah. [Footnote is in the original.]
  6. The Director of Naval Intelligence, Department of the Navy, and the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, USAF, believe that the ability to influence, control, deny, or disrupt Western and Japanese access to energy resources of the Persian Gulf—especially in time of crisis—or for diplomatic-economic leverage—is fundamental to Soviet long-term strategic goals in that part of the world. The Soviet Union will likely continue to exploit every feasible, low-risk opportunity to attain the above goals. While it is doubtful that an accurate assessment of Soviet techniques of subversion, bribery, and clandestine support to radical elements can be projected, there can be little doubt that such means will continue to be employed in concert with rapid delivery of arms and profferings of limited economic assistance. While Soviet success to date has been limited, the USSR has nevertheless contributed much to the region’s growing instability, to uncertainty about futures, and to conditions which make for miscalculation. It is believed that the current estimate understates the increasing threat to Western interests represented by Soviet efforts in the Persian Gulf and its periphery. [Footnote is in the original.]
  7. This matter is addressed in greater detail in NIAM 3–73, “International Petroleum Prospects,” dated 11 May 1973, CONFIDENTIAL. [Footnote is in the original.]