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Social organisation

According to Harasiis oral tradition, the original section of the tribe was Beit Afarri, living in Wadi Kadrit, between Salalah and Hadramaut. Over the past few hundred years the Harasiis have gradually pushed - and been pushed - north east into the Jiddat. As they moved into the various wadis that mark the natural geographic borders of the Jiddat, they have come up against other pastoral tribes such as the Jeneba to the east and the Wahiba to the north. Along the way, they have also incorporated groups ‘expelled‘ from their own tribes making the Harasiis something of a ‘refuge’ tribe in this remote and inhospitable landscape.

The Harasiis tribe organizes itself into seven lineages or subgroups called beit: Beit, Aksit, Mutaira, Barho, Sha’ala, Aloob, Afarri and Katherayn. Theses seven lineages are divided into two factions; one headed by the Beit Aksit and the other by the Beit Mutaira. The leadership of the tribes as a whole lies with the Beit Aksit whose ancestral forbearer is acknowledged to have united the disparate units into one tribe about 180 years. This leadership is however being challenged by the Beit Mutaira, whose leader is more popular with the government-appointed governor and oil company officials. Each lineage generally recognizes or appoints two spokesmen who act on its behalf. These men, called rashiid / rushada, represent the lineage in meetings with the local governor or wider intra- tribal discussions regarding the welfare of tribal members.

Their traditional economy is based on the raising of camels and goats by natural graze for the production of milk rather than meat. Women own the herds of goat, a combination of white short-haired, Somali goat and, the more recently introduced, long-hair dark goat from north Oman. Men own the herds of camels, and men exclusively milk the camel herds. At the core of their way of life is migration - at least of their herds - to best utilize available pasture and water. Survival in this environment makes movement from deficit to surplus areas vital. With the introduction motor vehicles in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the mobility of men and herds has increased, although the main family households have become less mobile. Most households have one or two men employed in wage labour in Haima, or further afield in the Army or Police Force. A few Harasiis men have managed to become business entrepreneurs carving out an area of activity in transport, or the service industry. The Harasiis tend to live in wadis (valleys) and haylats (depressions) where there are trees under which to shelter and where graze for their animals is more plentiful. In recent years a number of families have taken up residence in the government housing compounds at Haima, Wadi Bu Mudhabi and Zawliya. Often these are seasonal homes made up largely of women with children attending school, or the elderly and disabled. Many families have multiple households and temporary herding camps manned by hired foreign labourers from Baluchistan and Sindh.