Secret deals ending Britain’s control in Gulf revealed

Secret dealings which brought to an end Britain’s empire in the Middle East are revealed in a joint BBC News Arabic and Persian documentary. The film Secrets & Deals: How Britain Left the Gulf contains details of how it left Iran in control of contested islands, as well as eyewitness accounts of a British-organised coup.

The winter of 1967-1968 was a time of crisis for the British economy. Many Arab leaders were convinced Britain had secretly helped Israel to victory over its Arab neighbours in the Six Day War of June 1967. Israel had captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights.

In retaliation, the oil-rich Gulf states began selling off their holdings of the British currency.

The pound crashed. Desperate to save money, Harold Wilson’s Labour government decided it was time to terminate Britain’s imperial defence commitments in the Middle East.

Britain never officially had colonies in the Gulf, but it had been the pre-eminent foreign…

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