Recent events have once again focused international attention on the volatile politics of the Gulf region. This new book, by three former British ambassadors – all with long service in the region – demonstrates the importance of the Gulf for Britain from the days of Elizabeth I to the present. It tells the story, through the life and works of the British diplomats and consuls and the missions in which they worked, of Britain’s involvement, first for trade and later for strategic purposes, in the four key regional states of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman. With wit and insight, the book traces the origins of today’s problems from the Ottoman and Persian empires to the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. Those who know the region will find this a refreshing new slant on an old story, while those new to the subject will enjoy the mixture of politics and personalities ably described and analysed.
Hugh Arbuthnott, GMG, read history at Oxford before joining the FO and studying Persian at SOAS. He was posted to Tehran in the early 1960s and again in the early 1970s. Other postings were in Lagos and Paris and, as Ambassador, in Bucharest, Lisbon and Copenhagen. He retired from the FCO in 1996 and is now Chairman of the Iran Society.
Sir Terence Clark joined the Foreign Service from the Royal Air Force as a Russian interpreter but went on to study Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, Lebanon and spent much of his career in the Middle East, finishing as Ambassador to Iraq (1985-89) and Oman (1990-94).
Richard Muir began his career in the Foreign Service by studying Arabic. He served in Washington, in the Arab world and in a series of jobs in London, including as Chief Inspector of the Diplomatic Service. He was Ambassador to Oman and later to Kuwait (1999 – 2002).
Table of contents
Introduction (Jim Hoare); Acknowledgements; Disclaimer; Maps; List of Illustrations: Part One: IRAN (Hugh Arbuthnott); 1 The embassy; The consulates; Part Two: IRAQ; 3 Iraq (Terence Clark); Part Three: KUWAIT (Richard Muir); 4 Kuwait; Part Four: OMAN (Terence Clark) ; 5 Oman; Heads of Mission in the Gulf Posts; Bibliography; Name index; Place index