Intelligence collection in Arabia: Britain’s roaming information-gatherers in the Trucial States, 1956-1971

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    Abstract

    Imperial powers, facing considerable information challenges in far-flung territories, adapted intelligence practices and machinery to fit local conditions. In contrast to the attention placed on British intelligence activities in territories considered within the ‘formal empire’ (i.e. where Britain was in direct control), we know very little about intelligence arrangements in ‘informal empire,’ where external powers exerted influence and protected their interests by working through local elites. Exploiting declassified documents and drawing upon interviews with retired intelligence officials, this article reveals Britain’s unique intelligence system in a remote corner of empire–the Trucial States (today’s United Arab Emirates)–which was built around a group of roaming officers tasked with collecting full-spectrum intelligence.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)767-786
    Number of pages20
    JournalIntelligence and National Security
    Volume35
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 18 Sep 2020

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