Al Buraimi Governorate

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Al Buraimi
Border control with Al-Ain as of end of 2006
Border control with Al-Ain as of end of 2006
Al Buraimi is located in Oman
Al Buraimi
Al Buraimi
Location in Oman
Coordinates: 24°15′N 55°47′E / 24.250°N 55.783°E / 24.250; 55.783Coordinates: 24°15′N 55°47′E / 24.250°N 55.783°E / 24.250; 55.783
Country  Oman
Subdivision Al Buraimi
Population (2017)
 • Total 115,000

Al Buraimi (Arabic: البريمي‎ Al-Buraimī) is a governorate of Oman which was split from the Ad Dhahirah Region.

Until October 2006, the area was part of Ad Dhahirah Region. At this time, the new governorate was created from the wilayats Al Buraymi and Mahdah. A third wilayat, As Sunaynah was created from parts of the two.


The town of Al-Buraymi is an oasis town in northwestern Oman, on the border of the United Arab Emirates. An adjacent city on the UAE's side of the border is Al Ain. For many decades there has been an open border between Al-Buraimi located in Oman and Al-`Ain (UAE). Effective from 16 September 2006, this border has been relocated to an area around Hilli which is around 8 kilometers from the traditional open border. The traditional border near Al-`Ain City is now closed to all except to those with valid visas (GCC nationals require no visa).


The surrounding landscape of Al-Buraimi differs vastly from that of Al-`Ain, consisting mainly of wide open gravel plains and sharp jutting rocks (The sohar gap found to the east of the Buraimi township is a good example of this), Samr (Acacia spp.) and Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) trees are fairly common on these gravel plains.

Al-Buraimi is considerably smaller than the adjoining city of Al-`Ain and is visibly less affluent. Streets in Al-Buraimi are not named and development could be considered "piecemeal" with large villas often appearing some metres from the roads, and footpaths do not occur away from the main streets.


Climate data for Buraimi (1986-2009)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.5
Average low °C (°F) 11.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20.4
Source: World Meteorological Organization (temperature and rainfall 1986–2009)[1]

Habitational system[edit]

Before the relocation of the border it was fairly common for expatriates from Al-`Ain to rent villas and apartments as they were roughly 50% of the cost of an equivalent villa/apartment in Al-`Ain, however the change in Border policy has led many of these expatriates to relocate to Al-`Ain due to long waiting times at the border checkpoints during peak traffic hours.


Transport in and around Al-Buraimi is by taxis, which like the majority of taxis in Oman are coloured orange and white. Drivers accept payment in both Omani Riyals(OR) and United Arab Emirate Dirhams (AED), a trip within the township of Al-Buraimi will generally cost no more than 5 AED/0.5 OMR to 1.5 OMR . A trip to Mahdha may cost over 50 AED / 5 OMR to 10 OMR.


Al-Buraimi, like the rest of Oman, features many historic forts in varying condition. The largest mosque in Al-Buraimi is the Masjid Qaboos, named after the Sultan Qaboos. There are ruins of ancient hovels and a fort in Al-Buraimi.


Al-Buraimi was part of Oman from early historical times from around 600 AD the Azd tribes of Oman occupied the area. Then Al-Buraimi town was abandoned in the 700s. Al Nuaimi tribe, the original people of the town, rebuilt and ruled it in the 1800s to the 1950s. It had only two rulers, Sheikh Sulṭan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Hamood Al Qurtasi Al Naimi, then Sheikh Saqer bin Sulṭan bin Moḥammed Al Hamood Al Qurtasi Al Naimi. The late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sulṭan Al Nahyan, was born in Al-Ain and lived in Abu Dhabi town but was brought back to Al-`Ain by his mother, Shaikah Salaamah, following the assassination of his father, Sultan bin Zayed in 1928. Zayed was raised in a fortified house in the Muwaiji district of Al-`Ain. Since 1761, Abu Dhabi was ruled by sheikhs of the Al Abu Falah dynasty.[2]

The Buraimi Dispute[edit]

The community of Al-Buraimi is probably best known as the result of an incident known as the "Buraimi Dispute", an episode that contributed to the claims of those who see Zayed as the most astute leader in the region during that time.[3]

The Buraimi Dispute arose from Saudi Arabia's claim, first made in 1949, of sovereignty over a large part of Abu Dhabi territory where oil was suspected to be present and an area in a 20-mile circle around the centre of the Buraimi Oasis. The claim arose after a geological party from the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) crossed the 'Riyadh line'. This was a border line negotiated in 1935 by Great Britain on behalf of Oman and Abu Dhabi with Saudi Arabia, which the latter had rejected[4][5]. The Aramco party was accompanied by Saudi guards and was met by Patrick Stobart, then political officer for the Trucial States. Stobart was briefly detained by the Saudis, who disarmed his guards. The incident led the British to formally protest to the king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The Saudis responded by extending their territorial claim to include the right to negotiate with the sheikhs of the entire Buraimi/Al Ain Oasis and areas of the southern and western part of Abu Dhabi.[6] [7]

The Saudis relied on historical precedent (the oasis was under Wahhabi influence in the period between 1800-1870) for their claims, which were countered by arguments from Abu Dhabi and Muscat based on more recent events. The argument led to the 1950 'London Agreement' whereby all exploration and troop movements would take place in the area until the issue of sovereignty was resolved. Despite ongoing negotiations, the Saudis attempted to take back the oasis.[6] In 1952 a group of some 80 Saudi Arabian guards, 40 of whom were armed, led by the Saudi Emir of Ras Tanura, Turki Abdullah al Otaishan, crossed Abu Dhabi territory and occupied Hamasa, one of three Omani villages in the Oasis, claiming it as part of the eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The Sulṭan of Muscat and Imam of Oman gathered their forces to expel the Saudis but were persuaded by the British Government to exercise restraint pending attempts to settle the dispute by arbitration.[7] A British military build-up took place, with 100 Trucial Oman Levies (later known as the Trucial Oman Scouts), a British-backed force based in Sharjah, 300 Aden Protectorate Levies, 7 armoured cars and 14 Land Rovers supported by 4 Lancaster bombers (2 based at the British airbase in Sharjah and 2 at Habbaniyah), 3 Ansons in Bahrain and a section of Meteor fighters based in Sharjah. These were supported by two frigates. These forces were used to blockade the Saudi contingent, with attempts to reinforce them seeing truck convoys and camel trains from Saudi Arabia being turned back.[8]

A standstill agreement was implemented and, on 30 July 1954, it was agreed to refer the dispute to an international arbitration tribunal.[9] Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia embarked on a campaign of bribery to obtain declarations of tribal loyalty on which its case was based. This campaign even extended to Shaikh Zayed bin Sulṭan al Nahayan, brother of Sh Shakhbout, Ruler of Abu Dhabi whom he would later overthrow in 1966. Zayed reportedly turned down an offer of $20,000,000. In 1955 arbitration proceedings began in Geneva only to collapse when the British arbitrator, Sir Reader Bullard, objected to Saudi Arabian attempts to influence the tribunal and withdrew. A few weeks later, the Saudi party was forcibly ejected from Hamasa by the Trucial Oman Levies. Together with a few refugee sheikhs and their families, the Saudis were taken to Sharjah and dispatched to Saudi Arabia by sea. The dispute continued to rumble on for many years to come until settled in 1974 by an agreement, known as the Treaty of Jeddah, between Sheikh Zayed (then President of the UAE) and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.[7]

The first episode of the seventh season of the Goon Show was called "The Nasty Affair at the Buraimi Oasis". The Goon Show often used a piece of contemporary news as a framing theme of the story, even though it equally often diverged from reality shortly into the story.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Climatological Information - Buraimi". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Rulers of the United Arab Emirates
  3. ^ "The Jebel Akhdar War Oman 1954-1959" by Major John B. Meagher (USMC) Global Security Report
  4. ^ Quentin., Morton, Michael (2013). Buraimi : the Struggle for Power, Influence and Oil in Arabia. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9780857722676. OCLC 858974407. 
  5. ^ Clive., Leatherdale, (1983). Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925-1939 : the Imperial Oasis. London, England: F. Cass. ISBN 9780714632209. OCLC 10877465. 
  6. ^ a b Donald., Hawley, (1970). The Trucial States. London,: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0049530054. OCLC 152680.  P 188
  7. ^ a b c Morton, Michael Quentin (2013). Buraimi: The Struggle for Power, Influence and Oil in Arabia. London: IB Tauris. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-84885-818-3. 
  8. ^ Cabinet office memorandum C.(53) 128, 17 April 1953 (UK National Archive reference CAB/129/60) - Marked 'Secret'
  9. ^ [1]

External links[edit]