From trucial states to nation state : decolonization and the formation of the United Arab Emirates, 1952-1971




Barnwell, Kristi Nichole

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Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister, announced in January 1968 that the British government would withdraw from the Persian Gulf by the end of 1971. For Britain, the decision indicated a re-prioritization of British global defense obligations. For the rulers of the Arab emirates of the Persian Gulf, Wilson‘s announcement signaled an end of British military protection, and the beginning of a process of negotiations that culminated in the establishment of the United Arab Emirates on December 3, 1971. An examination of the process by which the individual Persian Gulf states became a sovereign federation presents an opportunity to examine the roles of nationalism and anti-imperialism played in the establishment of the Union. This work demonstrates that Arab rulers in the Persian Gulf strove to establish their new state with close ties to Great Britain, which provided technical, military, and administrative assistance to the emirates, while also publicly embracing the popular ideologies of anti-imperialism and Arab socialism, which dominated the political discourse in the Arab world through most of the twentieth century. viii This dissertation draws on primary source materials from British and American government archives, speeches and government publications from the Arab Emirates, memoirs and a wide variety of secondary sources. These materials provide the basis for understanding the state-building process of the United Arab Emirates in the areas of pre-withdrawal development, the decision to withdraw, the problems of establishing a federal constitution, and the problems posed by the need for security in the post-withdrawal Persian Gulf.




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