“Screening the food from the flies”: Britain, Kuwait, and the dilemma of protection, 1961-1971

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    Abstract

    This study looks at how the widening gap between Britain’s available military resources and its remaining overseas commitments in the 1960s affected its ability and willingness to protect Kuwait after the latter elected for independence in June 1961. It provides a fresh account of how successive British governments addressed the dilemma of providing adequate cover for the Kuwaiti commitment. Over the course of the decade, Britain found it increasingly difficult to maintain the minimum forces considered necessary for forestalling an attack from Kuwait’s principal threat Iraq. The challenge of providing protection became more difficult by political conditions in Kuwait, which prohibited the stationing of troops, and the evolving nature of the Iraqi threat. British decision-makers increasingly saw the Kuwaiti military as a way to make up for the shortfall in cover and eventually replacing British protection altogether. This move towards self-reliance, however, would prove a failed strategy for Kuwait over the long term.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)85-109
    Number of pages25
    JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
    Volume28
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017

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