Britain's withdrawal from the Gulf : with particular reference to the Emirates
This thesis is an attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the British withdrawal from the Gulf in 1971, with special emphasis on the Trucial States before it became the United Arab Emirates in December 1971.The work commences with a review of the historical British connection with the Gulf from 1820 to the Kuwait operation of 1961. Then we look at various nationalist movements and the politicai upheaval around the Gulf, such as the Aden and Dhofar rebellions, and how that affected the British presence in the area. The British tried to curb such influence from reaching the Trucial States, especially those of Nasser and the Arab League, by introducing some economic development through the Trucial States Development Office. Furthermore, Britain gradually ceded various responsibilities such as legal and internal security to the rulers. At the same time the British companies working in the Emirates were encouraged to rely on their own resources without the protection of the British troops. The establishment of a federation between the nine emirates was Britain’s prime aim but when that failed in July 1971, the federation of the seven was established (Ras al-Khaimah entered the federation in February 1972). Furthermore, Britain worked hard to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran together in order to help to fill the vacuum that would occur after the withdrawal of the British troops. The latter policy changed Britain's stance on the territorial disputes from support for the rulers of the Trucial States to pressuring them to compromise with Iran over the Islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs and with Saudi Arabia over Buraimi. The thesis concludes that all of these factors prepared the Emirates to stand on their own and consequently enabled the British withdrawal in December 1971.