OMAN-Oman Emerges: An American Company in an Ancient Kingdom

Article excerpt

Oman Emerges: An American Company in an Ancient Kingdom, by Lois M. Critchfield. Vista, CA: Selwa Press, 2010. $29.95.

Reviewed by Calvin H. Allen, Jr.

Lois Critchfield is a former Central Intelligence Agency employee who worked in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey and the wife of the late James Critchfield, president of Tetra Tech International (TTI) and subject of this book. In it, she argues that James Critchfield played a central role from 1975-1988 in the development of Oman both as a personal advisor to Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id Al Sa'id and through the oil, water, and other infrastructure planning and projects completed by TTI.

Critchfield divides the story into three sections. "Part I: Oman in Transition" provides historical background to 1975, including a survey of United States relations with Oman; the first years of the reign of Sultan Qaboos; the emergence of a group of American advisors, including Robert Anderson, Tom Hill, Charles Black, C. Stribling Snodgrass, and Chester Nagle; and Oman's early foreign policy efforts, and oil and finance policy.

In "Part II: Oman's Critical Development Begins," Critchfield traces the rise of TTI, beginning with the company's founding and early operations in Oman, and then its role in water-resource development, the Masandam Development Committee, and the formulation of a long-term energy policy.

"Part III: Critical Developments in Oman 1980-1990" documents TTI's diminishing role in the Sultanate. Although the company began the decade taking on the implementation of a development plan for the Buraimi/ Dhahirah region, Critchfield describes how successful completion of the water and Masandam development projects and the combination of philosophical differences in such matters as energy policy and pressures for "Omanization" brought TTI's operations to an end in 1988. …