Britain's Revival and Fall in the Gulf: Kuwait, Bahrain, by Simon C. Smith

By Simon C. Smith

Britain's courting with the Gulf area continues to be one of many few unexplored episodes within the examine of British decolonization. the choice, introduced in 1968, to go away the Gulf inside 3 years represented an particular acceptance through Britain that its 'East of Suez' function was once at an finish. This publication examines the decision-making strategy which underpinned this reversal and considers the interplay among British decision-making, and native responses and tasks, in shaping the trendy Gulf. utilizing resources formerly unavailable to students, Britain's Revival and Fall within the Gulf is a useful addition to the stories at the smooth Gulf.

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57 With an eye to Britain’s long-term reputation, Crawford concluded that ‘The presence of British forces in the Gulf has always in the past been a steadying element and has never attracted local hostility. ’58 The Foreign Secretary’s newly-appointed personal representative in the Gulf, Sir William Luce, was of the same mind. 60 In the report of his recommendations submitted towards the end of 1970, Luce was even more definite on this point. 61 Noting in his report62 that the real threat to stability in the Gulf came from ‘subversion and revolution by Arab nationalist and left-wing elements’, he indicated that ‘the presence of a British battalion will not deter the threat, indeed it could encourage it’.

27 Following discussions between Healey and US Embassy staff, Ambassador Bruce reported that ‘By making common cause with Brown and Thomson and Callaghan . . 30 The Treasury, however, was mindful to ensure that this was indeed a terminal date with respect to British commitments towards the Gulf. This was especially so in the context of the Gulf Rulers’ offer to contribute towards the costs of a continuing British military presence. 35 With the election of a Conservative government in Britain in June 1970, nevertheless, the possibility of extending the British presence beyond the end of 1971 was raised.

In the first half of March, disturbances broke out in Bahrain. Initially demonstrators focused their anger on the Bahrain Petroleum Company’s redundancy scheme, but later extended their activities to agitation in favour of the formation of unions. 114 In these circumstances, he sought authority to commit British forces should the Bahrain Ruler request assistance in maintaining order. In December 1964, Britain had renewed an undertaking, first given in 1958, that HMG would ‘as in the past, and on the basis of existing treaties and engagements, support Bahrain, should the need for help arise, and maintain Bahrain’s independence’.

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