The Military and Police Forces of the Gulf States Volume 4: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar 1921-1980

Published on
October 11, 2023
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Athol Yates and Cliff Lord
Other Publication Information
Paperback (11.75” x 8.25”) 92 pages with 161 color photographs, 94 black and white photographs, 16 color profiles, 4 maps, and 10 diagrams.
Product / Stock #
Middle East@War #53, HEL1133
Company: Helion & Company - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Military and Police Forces of the Gulf States Cover

The Military and Police Forces of the Gulf States Volume 4: Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar 1921-1980 is the fourth in the series. The previous three volumes are:

This volume covers three Gulf Arab states. While small in physical size, they have become an economic and security center of the Middle East.

While all three Gulf Arab states examined in this book – Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar – share a similar Arab, Islamic and tribal culture, the history of each of these states’ militaries and police forces are unique. This reflects each state’s geography, its rate of development, its demographics, the assertiveness of its neighboring states, and broader geopolitical developments which had local impacts.

The authors chose the years of 1921-1980 as the focus of the book. The years highlight for each country vary depending on its history going back centuries to the early 2000s. The authors carefully selected dates for each country to provide the necessary background, i.e., Bedu tribes from what is now Saudi Arabia to recent conflicts in the late 1990s/early 2000s. The dates reflect their importance in the post-World War I era and influence in the Gulf region. The British agreements were to provide British military power should an external threat emerge, while policing their own people within their borders were the rulers’ responsibilities. All three countries started off with police forces that expanded and split into different functions. As the British timeline to depart the Gulf in the late 1960s/early 1970s approached, they relinquished more power and the States’ militaries grew from the requirement to protect themselves.

The background for each country is fascinating and worthy of the book themselves. The inter-tribal, rural-urban, native and foreign worker relations are well described and highlight how each country approached modernization and assuming their own unique identities. The discovery of oil and natural gas in each country transformed their economies from herding and pearling (which took a dramatic downturn in the 1930s due to the Great Depression and Japanese-manufactured cultured pearls). Each of the three countries weren’t densely populated and foreigners had to be recruited to bolster their economies. This had positive and negative benefits, and differing affects in each country, including Pan-Arabism, anti-British, and anti-Western attitudes. The authors do an admirable job explaining these backgrounds and their impacts.

The book, complete with extensive photographs, maps, detailed illustrations, and a color profile section, is a fascinating and remarkable insight into these three Gulf States and their police and military forces. It contains the following three chapters:

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar

Modelers will find the color profile section useful for uniform colors, badge and patch details, combat vehicles and systems including the Skyguard AAA system, 25 pounder guns, Centurion MBTs, and armored cars: Ferret, Saladin and Saracen. Aircraft include F-5E Freedom Fighters, Hawker Hunter fighter-bombers, Mirage F.1, BAC Lightning and Jet Provost, Alpha Jet, DHC-4 Caribou, Westland Scout and Whirlwind helicopters. Also included are a plethora of black and white photos of older weapons.

The authors bring a varied and well-educated background to this book. From the Casemate Publisher website:

Cliff Lord served in Britain’s Royal Signals during the 1960s as a cipher operator in England, Germany and on active service in Aden and the East Aden Protectorate. After the Army, Cliff worked in Paris for the Washington Post and later moved to New Zealand working as a computer operator, a communications network controller for Air New Zealand, and Team Leader International Operations for the Southern Cross fibre optics trans pacific cable before retiring. He is Honorary Historian for Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals. Cliff has written nine books on military history and insignia.

Dr. Athol Yates has written three books: two in this series and another on the United Arab Emirates. He is an Associate Professor at the Australian Army Research Centre where he teaches civil security, disaster management, public policy, and military history. He is also an Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

I found the book to be greatly educational. I wish I had this in my kit bag during my military deployments in the region where I spent time in two of these countries. I have much more respect for these countries and how they developed their identities and capabilities.

Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.


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