The assault on the Omani fort at Habrut on the 5th of May 1972, which had been provoked when a group of the Firqat al Hudud al-Gharbiyah had strayed over into the PDRY territory, had enraged Sultan Qaboos. He was determined to take revenge but was persuaded by his defence secretary Colonel Hugh Oldman not to do so. HMG also were not in favour for a multitude of reasons most of which centered around avoiding blame being placed upon the British. – see SOAF-Habrut.
Whilst Oldman was away in Pakistan the sultan consulted Brigadier Graham whose advice to retaliate was just what the sultan wanted to hear.
Accordingly Brigadier Graham wrote to the Commander Dhofar Colonel Harvey on the 15th of May and issued instructions for Op Aqubah (Punishment)