Arabia’s Frontiers. The Story of Britain’s Boundary Drawing In The Desert.

Wilkinson, John C.

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Book ID: 7070

ISBN:      1850433194


8vo. xxxix, 422 pp., 11 maps, cloth, title gilt on spine & upper cover, notes, biblio, index, previous owner’s inscription verso lower cover, some ink underlining on page 379 only, otherwise copy in very good condition, I.B. Tauris & Co.Ltd, London, first edition, 1991.


As the author points out in this scholarly and balance study, Britain for over forty years was virtually the sole arbiter of boundaries in Arabia. Iraq justified its August 1990 invasion and attempted annexation of Kuwait, in part, on the grounds that the frontier between the two countries was an artificial creation of British imperialism. Wilkinson tracks Britain’s repeated attempts, first with the Ottomans and later with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, to negotiate boundaries in the interior of Arabia that would protect its sphere of influence along the Persian Gulf littoral and in southern Arabia. Each of the boundaries drawn could be challenged by a neighbor or a third party and, in Dr Wilkinson’s opinion, not one of the states of the Arabian Peninsula today could put up a watertight case in international law to retain the territory it actually occupies. [International Journal of Middle East Studies. Reviewed by Brooks Wrampelmeier, Society for Gulf Arab Studies, Washington DC].

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