HMS Bulwark off Kuwait

During the 62 years that Kuwait remained one of the Empire's Arab dependencies, no significant British land force was ever called upon to defend it. Then in 1961 the oil-rich sheikhdom and its 300,000 inhabitants received independence and a British defence guarantee. Within a week the Iraq military dictator, General Abdul Kassem, laid claim to the territory and moved his tanks up to the border. Sheikh Abdullah's appeals to other Arab states for help were unheeded and he was forced to invoke the defence agreement with Britain. Immediately 6,000 British troops poured back into the country, providing a deterrent to Kassem and a humiliating reminder to the Arabs that an imperial power was still involved in their affairs.

The picture above shows the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Bulwark in the Persian Gulf with her helicopters preparing to airlift a party of Royal Marine Commandos to Kuwait.

Britain's Arabian Oil Empire Article | Kuwait

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by Stephen Luscombe