Military Assistance as Political Gimmickry? The Case of Britain and the Newly Federated United Arab Emirates after 1971

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    Abstract

    What motivates states to provide others with military assistance? Traditional explanations naturally focus on the security interests of the sender state. But could domestic considerations–intra-party politics, for example–also be a factor in some cases? This analysis, which examines the British decision to send a Military Advisory Team [MAT] to the newly federated United Arab Emirates [UAE] in 1971, answers in the affirmative. It demonstrates that the MAT was primarily, albeit not exclusively, a means by which the British government of Prime Minister Edward Heath could stave off sharp criticism from fellow Conservative politicians that under his leadership that Britain was cutting and running from its overseas responsibilities. Furthermore, because the MAT was in inception a political tool, its military utility in assisting the UAE, or the influence Britain derived from its presence, was minimal at best and counterproductive at worst.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)149-167
    Number of pages19
    JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
    Volume32
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2021

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