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PART I. General introduction
1. Changes in the bedouin/nomad regions of the islamic orient
The changes in the nomad areas of the Islamic Orient can be described as a product of well-aimed direct or indirect, external and/or internal forces and can be explained as a conflict between heterogeneous cultures (Balandier 1967; Redfield 1953; Scholz 1974). Both the colonial powers and the national states that came into existence after the Second World War and pursued a modernization based on western models came into conflict with the nomads who acknowledged only a loyalty to the tribe.
The following processes can be observed here (cf. Leidlmair 1965; Kraus 1969; Wirth 1962; Stein 1967; Gautier 1921). a. The establishment and securing of new national borders always resulted in further limitation of nomad freedom of movement. b. The development of a supra-tribal administration reduced the functions of the tribal head and reduced tribal independence. c. The introduction of new methods of transport led to the disappearance of camel caravan traffic; because of this and the related decrease in the need for camels, an important source of nomad income was lost. d. Official measures adopted to increase the amount of arable land usually led to a reduction in the size of nomad grazing areas.
These processes resulted in restriction or even destruction of the subsistence basis of the tribes and thus to a change in traditional economic and social patterns. This was made possible by the low esteem in which nomadism as a way of life and as an economic pursuit was held by political decision-makers. Furthermore, development was usually initiated or influenced by forces which in their cultural, social, and economic principles followed western models or were derived from them.
The strength of these trends is largely the result of the participation of numerous tribal chieftains and leading tribal families. Many leaders were able, with the help of super tribal authorities, to acquire the tribal land that had previously been used collectively. The result was loss of tribal sovereignty, or attainment of high and well-paid administrative or military positions, or shares in certain perquisites such as the tax revenues of tribal members. These tribal leaders, who had previously held office by virtue of genealogically founded claims of inheritance or through election by the council of elders, were often named as the official, legitimate representatives of the tribe by supra-tribal authorities (new governments, colonial administration). Thus the internal and external tribal structures gradually collapsed; the tribes disintegrated into a multiplicity of individual groups, formed for a specific purpose and bound together at best by the consciousness that they formerly belonged together. This does not mean, however, that nomad animal husbandry completely disappeared. Rather a wealth of local adaptations developed in response to social pressures rather than to the environment (see, e.g., Ferdinand 1969a; Hutteroth 1959: Rathjens 1969; Scholz 1974a and 1974b; Stein 1967; Wirth 1969).
For the general tribal population, the result of this development was usually a loss of their traditional, generations-old claims to the use of the economic resources of the tribe and thus a rapid change from a large degree of economic independence to dependence. Thus, the majority of uneducated tribal members had to take up new and unfamiliar jobs. The result was not only spatial disintegration but also the dissolution of the social tribal structures and the loss of familiar economic and cultural patterns. The new society was usually oriented toward western standards and was unable to provide tribal members with any help toward social orientation. Thus settling down permanently-often without supporting economic and social measures-was usually seen as the only solution (because it was the simplest and cheapest). The result was inevitable economic and social decline of this group. In most countries in the Middle East, former nomads make up a large part of the marginal population both in the cities and in the countryside (see, e.g., Capot-Rey 1962; Monteil 1959; Despois 1935, 1969; Mahhouk 1956; Montagne 1947; Boucheman 1934; Wirth 1971; Barth 1959; Salzman 1971; Singer 1973; Schweizer 1970;Scholz 1971, 1974a;Giese 1973;Humphries 1974).
A different pattern of development occurs in the nomad areas
of the Arab oil-producing countries in the Gulf region. The
following factors are responsible. a. These countries were
usually free from direct colonial and thus from European foreign
domination, and were at most under a limited, indirect control.
b. They had a class of leaders that stemmed from the bedouin
tribal tradition and that still maintained direct contact with
members following a nomadic way of life.
c. They practiced a style of government that, on the domestic level, originated in the values, social hierarchy, and social customs of the bedouin tribal tradition. d. They needed above all their own people, i.e., bedouins, for their modern economic, infrastructural, and administrative development. e. They entered upon a course of modern development at a time when sufficient financial means were available for building up the country and when scientific and technical knowledge was available. (For the above points see Cole 1974; Amin 1973; Carter 1974; Heard-Bey 1974; Scholz 1975, 1976.)
The results of development based on these preconditions in Arab oil-producing countries lead to the realization that participation in modern developments by bedouin groups is desirable, with government support. It follows, therefore, that there is a readiness on the part of the bedouin population to share in this modern development which results in active as well as passive participation.
The most important direct measures are represented by extensive settlement projects in Medinat Sayed, Medinat Mohammed, al-Ain, along the highway between al-sin and Abu Dhabi, and in Abu Dhabi itself. Also planned are farms which are to be turned over to bedouin families after an initial phase. Economic participation in this modern process of development is encouraged in several ways.
Extensive measures designed to further handicrafts (embroidery, weaving) have been taken. Financial support has been provided for the preservation of camel breeding and for the care and planting of date groves (e.g., in the Liwa, Abu Dhabi, and al-Ain). Extension of credit has been made to bedouins for the construction of residential and business high-rise buildings. Concessions have been granted for various types of transport operations, and new occupations such as administrator, driver, police and military have been created by the government.
The construction of schools, hospitals, vocational schools, and so on represents a further government measure designed to make it possible for bedouins to enter into new economic and cultural life styles in a modern society.
Although this development process is only a few years old and is far from being completed, all signs indicate that those negative side effects which came into existence in most countries of the Islamic Orient during the change-over from nomadism to a new way of life will not take place in the United Arab Emirates.
The well-considered policy of the government with its goal of equal participation of all tribes has laid the foundation for a successful process of development. This process removes the individual from his familiar tribal area and places him in a society with new norms and new demands and is not without pain, emotional resistance, and reservations (especially among the older generation). But these reservations must and can be overcome since the Emirates want to continue to make outstanding economic and political progress.
A short introduction to the physical characteristics of the traditional bedouin area in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula will be followed by a discussion of the measures and projects for developing bedouin land, economy, and society that have been adopted and carried out in the United Arab Emirates and in the Sultanate of Oman. The results will be summarized and evaluated as far as possible at this time.
The following four questions provide a basis for the separate discussions of the United Arab Emirates (Part I I) and the Sultanate of Oman (Part III). a. What changes have occurred in the bedouin area? b. What kinds of goals are being pursued by the different governments with regard to their bedouin population? c. What direct and indirect measures have been adopted and which projects have been carried out for developing this area ? d. What developmental trends can be noted, what successes have been achieved, and what results can be expected'
The case studies of the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman (for which the author of each part is individually responsible) will describe how differences between the government policies of the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman affect the development of their rural/nomad areas.
2. Physical characteristics of the bedouin area in southeastern Arabia-physical and cultural divisions
Southeastern Arabia is part of the Old World Arid Zone. In the interior the annual total rainfall is less than 70 mm and there may be no precipitation for several years in a row. Compared with this, the coastal regions of the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman are less arid, but even so the amount of precipitation is not significantly higher despite greater atmospheric humidity. The average annual precipitation in Muscat between 1951 and 1976 was 116.2 mm. The figures for 1975 and 1976 indicate the variability of the precipitation: the 1975 total was 79.0 mm and 77.0 mm of this fell during one day in February. In 1976, on the other hand, 203.3 mm were registered and this occurred during the months of January to April.
The precipitation pattern shown in the example of Muscat is characteristic of the entire southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula. It applies also to the Oman Mountains which reach heights of over 3,000 m, and to the south of Oman, Dhofar, where precipitation, thanks to the monsoon air-circulation patterns, occurs during the summer months. The greatest variations in total precipitation are also related to the monsoon weather patterns: for example, the coastal town of Salalah received 31.0 mm in 1974, 71.0 mm in 1975, and 116.7 mm in 1976. In the interior ( nejd) the total annual precipitation is less than 40 mm.
In keeping with its low latitude and limited precipitation, the temperatures in southeastern Arabia are high everywhere. In the interior the annual temperature exceeds 30 C, on the coast it is about 40 C and only in the Oman Mountains do annual mean temperatures fall to about 19 C. The annual temperature range varies in this area between 10 and 13 C. As a consequence of these climatic conditions, the only natural vegetation is a sparse grass cover, and cultivation of crops is dependent on irrigation which is limited to a few, small isolated localities where there are wells or falaj systems.
The rest of this chapter provides a brief introduction to the natural and cultural divisions of the area in order to provide a framework for the main burden of the study. Reference should be made to the map (fig. 1); the description will deal first with the United Arab Emirates in the north, proceed along the eastern coast (Oman), and conclude with the interior of southeastern Arabia.
Northern and eastern coastal region: area of fishermen, mariners, and, in Oman, oasis farmers (region I in figure 1)
The coastal region of the United Arab Emirates is narrow and low-lying and includes many small islands. Proceeding generally eastwards, this merges into the steep coast of Musandam with its many bays, the narrow and flat coast of the Batinah (Oman), and the steep coast between Muscat and Ras al Hadd which also has numerous bays and inlets. Fishing and seafaring have formed the basis of existence everywhere in the area, and to these activities can be added the oasis agriculture of the Batinah. Today as in the past the main settlements of the region lie along this coast. These include in the United Arab Emirates the towns of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Fujairah, and in Oman the towns of Sohar, Sur, Matrah, and Muscat.
Northern coastal terrace: few inhabitants and settlements (region II)
Adjoining the coastal region within the United Arab Emirates is a clearly defined terrace composed of porous limestone. It tilts slightly toward the south and its seaward portion, a few kilometres in width, is mantled by a deep layer of sand. There is little vegetation, and in the past it was visited rarely by bedouins with their camel herds. Today there is much settlement activity in the area.
Eastern outer pediment and wadi region: area of bedouins and oasis farmers (region III)
A broad plain that rises slightly as it approaches the mountains to the south adjoins the oasis strip of the Batinah. The plain is cut by broad wadis (valleys) with innumerable tributaries. Areas poor in vegetation alternate with areas rich in vegetation. With the exception of a few oases (e.g., Hazm, Afi)), which get their water via long canals from the edge of the mountain region, this area lacks permanent settlements and is a traditional home of the bedouins, providing scattered grazing for camel and goat herds.
FIG. 1. Natural Regions and Living Areas in Southeast Arabia
Sources: Scholz 1976, 1977 a; completed by the author for the whole of southeast Arabia from aerial photographs.
Northern mountain region. area of shawawi (mountain nomads) and mountain farmers (region I V)
The Oman Mountains extend from Ras Musandam in the north in a broad arc southeast to Ras al-Hadd. In Musandam and east of Ras al-Hamra (Mine al-Fahal) they fall steeply to the sea, but in the Batinah region they are further inland.
The Oman Mountains are composed of sedimentary and volcanic rocks that are disposed to form steep escarpments cut by canyon-like valleys and broad, flat wadis. Extensive level areas occur at the higher elevations such as the plateau of Saiq. Re-entrants in the escarpments, and plateaus provide the locations for the rare settlements and their associated terrace agriculture. The broad wadis and the flanking plateaus are the home of the shawawi who use the sparse fodder and water available for their herds.
Northern inner pediment and wadi region: area of oasis farmers and shawawi (region V)
While the Oman Mountains fall off steeply in an almost unbroken line toward the east, to the west and south they are broken up into several spurs. In the far north (United Arab Emirates) and the southeast (Oman), the mountains form a narrow chain. In the central region the mountain range is broader and its southern edge is cut by valleys which widen and merge into the wadi region to the south.
This is the location of the large oases in Oman-which get their water from falaj systems or, in the past, from draw wells-and the oases are intensively cultivated. Each settlement is the seat of a particular tribe and has its own individual lay-out. The area surrounding the scattered settlements is used by the shawawi for grazing their herds.
Northern wadi region: area of bedouins (region VI)
The wadi region comprises broad, flat terraces which are cut by numerous wadis into long, low ridges or mesas. In the north and south, the wadi region is encroached upon by sand dunes from west and south and is quite narrow. In the central part, where the huge wadis reach southward from the mountains, it extends far to the south and is cut off only by the sand masses of the Rub al-Khali. The terraces of the wadi region bear only sparse grass but, where there are small draw-wells, serve as grazing land for the herds of the bedouins. The wadis represent the traditional migratory paths of the bedouin population; here the bedouins set up their camps under isolated umbrella-shaped trees and bushes and in some places build simple huts. The movements of the bedouins, who spend the summer months near the oases and the winter months in the distant wadis, extend as far as the sand region. In this way they make use of an area that cannot be used for more productive agricultural purposes. Oman's oil deposits are also located in this region.
Sand region: hostile landscape with few settlements, Oman; area of bedouins, United Arab Emirates (region VII)
The boundary of the wadi region lies where the sand masses of the Rub al-Khali and the Ramlat al-Wahibah form a solid expanse. Within the area covered by sand hills of many shapes and mighty dunes there are individual locations that are free of sand and, where there are layers of hard rock below, as in the oasis regions of the Liwa, al-Ain, and Buraimi, a sparse vegetation is able to grow on the sandy surface. The oasis regions, formerly the site of a limited date-palm culture, were the areas toward which the bedouins moved in the summer; in the winter they moved north as far as the coast. In the United Arab Emirates, the greatest on-shore oil deposits are located within this region.
Central wadi region: barren area inhabited by a few bedouins (region VIII)
The sub-surface of the central wadi region is formed of layers of sedimentary rock which slope gradually eastward and end abruptly at the steep coast. An almost table-like plain, cut by innumerable wadis, extends inland as far as the sands of the Rub al-Khali; its surface is composed of dust, sand, and rock fragments. Precipitation is very rare here, but relative humidity is so high during the summer months that a sparse growth of vegetation is available and used to enable a few bedouins to graze and breed camels.
Southern wadi region: area used seasonally by camel- and goat-breeding bedouins (region IX)
The border between the central and southern wadi regions is difficult to define. The larger gravel banks in the wadis indicate that they originate in an area of greater precipitation and that flash floods are more frequent than in the central wadi region. The surface is even as in the northern region and the courses of individual wadis are indistinguishable and merge with the sand masses of the Rub al-Khali to the north. The sand bedouins move from the Rub al-Khali, the winter pasture area, to regions IX and X, the summer pasture areas, every year at the beginning of the hot season (March/beginning of April). Region IX is also used periodically by the nejd bedouins who live all year round primarily in the area of regions X and XI. During the summer months they camp at natural water sources on the border between regions X and XI or they move, with only their camels, to the watershed in the Dhofar Mountains, or to the plain of Salalah. The latter is also the pasture area for all bedouin groups in Dhofar in times of need, the Dhofar bedouins visiting the southern wadi region during summer months only in years when fodder is in extremely short Supply,
Southern inner pediment and wadi region: area of bedouins and traditionally the main region for the cultivation of incense (region X)
The transition from the southern wadi region to the southern inner pediment and wadi region is gradual. The wadis have cut down to the sub-surface and the sedimentary layers have been cut into low mesa-like caps in the area at a distance from the mountains. Nearer the mountains the mesas are higher and more numerous. The southern inner pediment and wadi region is the most important area for the bedouins of Dhofar who are collectors of precious incense, formerly one of Dhofar's most important exports.
Southern mountain region: area of cattle-breeding mountain nomads (region XI)
The Dhofar Mountains slope gradually down to the north and drop steeply to the plain of Salalah and toward the Arabian Sea in the south. These mountains, which rise to a height of 1,400 m, consist of broad, high plateaus and steeply cut, canyon-like valleys. This region receives monsoonal precipitation and the plateaus are the home of a semi-permanent population which engages in a wandering style of cattle raising. Their individual settlements, which are usually inhabited by a single extended family, are made of dome-shaped huts and stalls.
Among the mountain nomads (jebalis), however, there are also groups that engage in camel and goat herding. Unlike the cattle herders, they live in the mountain wadis. Additional pasture areas (used, for example, during the monsoon period) are found on the plain of Saialah as well as on the narrow level area at the watershed in the Dhofar Mountains. Because of their greater mobility, the jebalis do not live in permanent shelters but in caves and under trees; traditionally these mountain nomads used only windscreens and awnings as shelter.
Southern, outer pediment and wadi region: area of bedouins and goat herders (region XII)
Adjoining the Dhofar Mountains is a plain which slopes down gently toward the sea. Near the mountains it is divided into numerous terraces by wadis which end before reaching the sea. In spite of the precipitation brought by the summer monsoon, the wadis and terraces are poor in vegetation because the plain of Salalah is used for intensive grazing; it is not only where the bedouins from the interior drive their camels, it is also the grazing land for the camels, goats, and to a small extent also for the cattle of the mountain dwellers as well as for the cattle of the inhabitants of the foothill and central settlements.
Southern coastal region: area of fishermen, mariners, and oasis farmers (region XIII)
The southern coastal region includes the small bays east and west of the plain of Salalah and the oasis strip of Salalah. The innumerable bays have only small settlements which are inhabited by fishermen and mariners. Oases are found only in the area of Salalah and are located immediately behind the beach wall in a strip parallel to the coast. Favour able ground water conditions for the drilling of wells make possible an intensive garden agriculture. The centre of the coastal strip is Salalah which is made up of several walled-in residential sections and the palace quarter.
3. A survey of the geographical setting and nomadic habits of the bedouin and nomad population groups in southeastern Arabia
Of the 13 geographical and settlement areas we have identified, 11 are of particular importance for the purposes of this report. The changes which have taken place under governmental direction in the bedouin/nomad way of life in these areas are briefly summarized in table 1, and a more detailed study follows in the text.
The division of southeastern Arabia into its geographical and cultural regions helps to identify the different locations available to mobile population groups for their economic activities and for the well-being of the people and their animals. The slight edaphic and climatic variations have been exploited and have led to seasonal or periodic movements by nomadic groups and their herds. The area within which these movements take place can be viewed horizontally or vertically, depending on the physical characteristics of the territory; camps can be sought out either during the winter or the summer months, or can be located independently of a particular rhythm of use. The following areas can be distinguished (see fig. 2): a. the horizontally ordered summer and winter grazing areas of the wadi, sand, and pediment (foothill) regions; b. the vertically ordered and seasonally used grazing areas or periodically used areas within the wadis in the northern (Oman) and southern (Dhofar) mountain regions; c. the periodically visited grazing areas of the central wadi region.
These settings, the regional mobile behaviour (here referring to a process of adaptation to economic, social, and natural conditions that takes place within a certain area and is determined by the need to maintain subsistence level) which binds the areas together, and the settlement and life styles of the population groups involved require a more thorough description. The traditional situation will receive attention first, modern changes will be mentioned subsequently.
The Horizontally Ordered Summer and Winter Grazing Areas of the Wadi, Sand, and Pediment Regions
The locations of the summer and winter pasture areas (SPA and WPA) in the United Arab Emirates and the northern part of the Sultanate of Oman are determined by the necessity for agriculture in addition to animal husbandry. Because the southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula is so barren, the cultivation of food crops is dependent on irrigation and is thus limited to a few oases. The location of the oasis determines the length of the harvest period (between May and October) for the most important product in southeastern Arabia, the date, as well as the spatial organization of the groves and the time during which the SPA is needed. The grazing of camel, goat, and sheep herds is concentrated on the area surrounding the oases and leads to exhaustion of the pastures. Therefore WPAs with fodder and water supplies as well as suitable climatic conditions for human habitation must be found. The locations of these supplementary winter pasture areas vary depending on the whereabouts of the oases (fig. 2).
The SPAs are located inland from the coast in the United Arab Emirates and are the "oasis chain" of the Liwa and the "oasis group" of al-sin and Buraimi, al-sin being the part of the "oasis group" which belongs to the UAE and Buraimi the part belonging to the Sultanate of Oman. The SPA of the Liwa is surrounded by huge sand dunes; the SPA of al-sin is located at the transition from wadi to sand region. The date-palm oases are located in the depressions between sand dunes and are supplied with water from wells (in the Liwa) or from wells and falaj systems (in al-sin and Buraimi).
In the Liwa shelter is provided by huts made of palm-branch mats, the huts being clustered in small, rectangularly arranged groups which are located at random throughout the area. Mud huts grouped together in villages provide the shelter in al-sin and Buraimi. Animals, primarily camels, are driven to pasture, especially in the north; only milk producing animals are kept at the settlements. Formerly men from both regions would travel to the coast in small caravans to work at pearl diving and fishing.
The associated WPAs lie toward the coast north of the oases. They extend in a wide arc from the border of Qatar in the northwest to the coast of the northern emirates, and include the peninsula of Abu Dhabi. Some pasture areas are located in depressions surrounded by sand dunes where nomad camp sites are set up at the few water holes found there. The camps consist of scattered windscreens and isolated huts built of palm-branch mats. Water and fodder in this area are limited, the herds must Coyer greater distances, and the nomads must move frequently. In times of need the WPAs are used during summer, but normally they are avoided during the summer months because of the unfavourable climatic conditions, in particular the high relative humidity.
Table 1. Geographical Regions and Changes in the Bedouin/Nomad Cultural Regions
|Geographical region||Cultural region||Recent changes in the bedouin/nomad cultural region||
|III.||Eastern pediment and wadi region||Bedouins and oasis farmers||Permanent settlement in individual isolated shelters||x||Land grants for agriculture and housing|
|IV.||Northern mountain region||Mountain nomads and mountain farmers||No significant changes||x|
|V.||Northern inner pediment and wadi region||Oasis farmers and shawawi||Permanent settlement in individual isolated huts, in some cases near the oases||x|
|VI.||Northern wadi region||Bedouins||Permanent settlement in individual isolated and scattered farms with gardens (a settlement project is planned)||x||Grants of land and credit for well construction|
|VII.||Sand region||Bedouins||Settlement of bedouins in self-contained settlement projects; abandonment of migration and decrease of camel breeding||x||Construction of settlements, financial support, formal job training|
|VIII.||Central wadi region||Scattered bedouins||None (settlement project is planned)||x|
|IX.||Southern wadi region||Bedouins||No significant changes||x||Construction of water wells and military post|
|X.||Southern inner pediment and wadi region||Bedouins||Permanent and semi-permanent settlements near government centres (sometimes with small gardens). Bedouins working as soldiers and a few as traders||x||x||Construction of water wells, military posts, schools. Doctor service weekly|
|Bedouins||See X. (Decrease of frankincense trade)||x||x||See X|
|XII.||Southern outer pediment and wadi region||Cattle-, camel-, and goat-herders (jebalis) and bedouins||Many new government centres. After the losses of the war slow increase of cattle- and camel-breeding. Renovation of shelters using modern construction materials. (introduction of modern tents; jebalis working as soldiers)||x||x||See X|
|XIII.||Southern coastal Region and bedouins||Oasis farmers, fishermen, jebalis, and jebalis around the big coastal settlements. Few low cost housing projects||Permanent and semi-permanent settlements for bedouins and and jebalis||x||x||Grants of land (60 x 60 feet) for bedouins|
Source: Scholz 1977a and b; completed by the author and his research associate J. Janzen.
Movement between SPA and WPA does not take place at one time but rather in stages. The rhythm of movement is determined by the supply of animal feed and water.
In the northern part of the Sultanate of Oman, the rugged terrain makes necessary a distinction between several SPA-WPA systems (fig. 2).
North of the Oman Mountains the SPA lies near the Coast, immediately adjoining the strip of coastal oases. Many bedouins own date groves here and others earn money by working in the fields or harvesting dates. Shelters were originally individual huts made of palm-branch mats. The most important animals were goats and sheep which were owned by the oasis inhabitants and usually taken to pasture by bedouins.
FIG. 2. Pattern of Traditional Migration of the Bedouin/Nomad Population in Southeast Arabia
The WPA extends throughout the area of the wadi and pediment (foothill) region. Camps are located near the mountains where trees are more numerous. Shelters resemble those used in the summer sites.
South of the Oman Mountains (inner Oman), on the other hand, the SPAs lie near the mountains. This location is determined by the oases. The oases of Jabrin, Tanam, Adam, Sanaw, Aflaj, Bilad Bani Bu Hasan, and Bilad Bani Bu Ali lie some distance from the mountains in the middle of wadis. In the area around these oases the bedouins maintain loosely laid out camps with huts made of palm-branch mats. These not only provide shelter during the summer but also storage places for dates and dried fish during the rest of the year. Some bedouins, usually only the tribal chieftains, also own date groves in the oases.
The WPA extends south from the oases to include the wadi region and the edge of the sand region. Groups of trees and bushes within the wadis provide camp sites where there are water holes, wells, or dams (ghuyal) to prevent the run-off of water.
Different patterns of regional mobility are discernible in inner Oman. The tribes in the northern part of inner Oman, such as the Afari and Duru, move between the oases and the wadi region in a seasonal rhythm. The Duru tribe has rock salt deposits at Qara al-Milh and sulfurous salt deposits at Qara al-Kilbrit in the wadi region. The salt is taken either to be sold in the oases markets or to be traded for dried fish on the Arabian Sea coast. This latter is an additional valuable source of animal feed throughout southeastern Arabia.
Adjoining the area of the Duru in the southeast are the Jenabah and Wahibah tribal lands. These extend in almost parallel strips from the edge of the mountains in the north to the coast in the south. The members of both tribes move southward from the oases in the north to a part of the wadi region that is richer in trees and bushes. The women and children remain here with the camel herds while the men move to the coast to fish.
In the eastern part of inner Oman (Shargiyah), each of the nomad groups is associated with a settled tribe. The people work in the oases and engage in producing hay near the mountain region during the summer. In the winter season, they live in coastal settlements of small huts made of palm branch mats loosely laid together. Here they engage in fishing, a primitive form of fish processing, and the marketing of fish products. The goats and usually the camels as well are driven to pasture every day by herders.
In the southern part of the Sultanate of Oman (Dhofar), SPAs are located in the area of the inner pediment and wadi region because in the summer temperatures are lower here as a result of the monsoon conditions. Individual mobile groups camp here in the deeply cut, sometimes very narrow, wadis and use recesses in the rocks, umbrella shaped trees, and bushes or windscreens as shelters.
During the winter season, which is hotter in southern Oman, the bedouins, who raise only camels, move northward out of the narrow wadis to the edge of the sand region. The sparse supply of water and fodder forces them to move frequently and further afield during the winter pasture period. Windscreens are the most important type of shelter.
Vertically Oriented and Seasonally Used Pasture Areas, or Those Located within the Wadis and Periodically Used in the Northern (Oman) and Southern Mountain Regions (Oman and Dhofar Mountains)
Pronounced differences in the spatial disposition and movements of mobile groups are related to the varied relief of mountains and different climatic conditions.
North of the Oman Mountains (Musandam), the SPAs are located in the deeply cut, narrow wadis in the area of oases, or in the extensive pediment region on the west side of the mountains. Some groups transport their herds by boat to uninhabited islands off the coast to pasture. Here the men engage in fishing, rounding up their herds at the end of the fishing season for ferrying back to the mainland.
The WPAs, on the other hand, are located on terraces and other level areas on the steep sides of the wadis and mountains. Here individual groups build permanent housing from rock. The settlements are small and inhabited by a few closely related families. In some isolated instances, these mountain nomads plant crops on the smallest of the terraced fields where there is sufficient rainfall.
In the central and eastern part of the Oman Mountains, the mountain nomads remain within the long, broad wadis. Here they move camp from one tree and bush cluster to another with their herds of sheep and goats following the scarce supply of fodder and using rock ledges and caves as shelter. There is no marked seasonal movement. These mountain nomads (shawawi) visit neighbouring oases in the summer, either to drive the animals of the oasis dwellers (hadr) to pasture in exchange for goods such as dates and grain, or to participate in the date harvest for pay. They camp at some distance from the oases to prevent their herds overrunning the oasis gardens.
In the Dhofar Mountains, which have a monsoonal climate (i.e., a cooler summer with precipitation and a hot, dry winter) the nomadic tribes which engage in cattle raising, namely the mountain dwellers collectively designated jebalis, camp at the lower and middle elevations where they build dome-shaped huts as shelter from cool and rainy weather. The animals are kept in similar stalls sunk into the ground. During the monsoon season the animals are kept inside these stalls during the day to protect them from mosquitoes and are only driven to pasture at night. For security, only the grazing areas immediately surrounding the camp are used and consequently additional winter pastures are needed.
Winter pasture areas are found in the level tracts at high elevations in the mountains. Camps are built by clumps of trees because of the higher temperatures during the winter. Pens for the animals and sturdy, dome-shaped huts for humans are sometimes made. Animals are put out to pasture during the day and given additional hay grown on the steep wadi cliffs which are inaccessible to the cattle.
Crops, dependent on a modest rainfall, are grown in walled in fields as a complement to animal husbandry. In years when the supply of fodder is extremely short, dried fish from the coastal settlements of Dhofar is used as animal feed.
Periodically Used Pasture Areas of the Central Wadi Region
The broad transitional area between northern and southern Oman, the central wadi region, lacks any kind of oasis and has only a few wells which have little water. Information about the way of life here, and about the tribe of the Harassi which inhabits the area, is very limited although it is thought that the small nomadic groups pursue camel herding exclusively and engage in periodic movements.
Any differences between SPA and WPA are unknown.
In this rainless area of few wells, during the summer monsoonal air masses create a higher relative humidity and water is provided by dew. During the winter water is brought from distant wells by caravan. Some sub-groups of the Harassi appear in northern oases such as Adam during the summer, but little is known about these people.
The pattern of summer and winter pasture areas, and the different forms of regional mobility, indicate how the population of southeastern Arabia exploits the natural features of the land to secure its existence. It is significant that, traditionally, nomadic animal husbandry has been supplemented by other activities such as fishing, trading dried fish and salt, labour in the fields, and harvesting, and these have broadened the economic base and given more security to the inhabitants. Furthermore, with a few exceptions in the United Arab Emirates and in northern Oman, the nomad groups of southeastern Arabia do not use tents. These two factors distinguish these people from other bedouins in the Arab world.
These traditional life styles, nomadic habits, and economic activities of the southeastern Arabian bedouins are rapidly changing and little is preserved today. The wealth derived from oil has led to economic developments that have profoundly changed the settlement patterns and the way of life of the nomadic people who make up the majority of the inhabitants in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. In the United Arab Emirates, this process of change is already quite advanced and it is evident that the bedouins are participating in the new developments in a positive and beneficial manner. The following chapters discuss these developments in greater detail.
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