Exit Strategy not a Winning Strategy? Intelligence Lessons from the British 'Emergency' in South Arabia, 1963-67   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the thesis abstract: "The British Army is often praised for a particular skill in small wars or counter-insurgencies (COIN). Some attribute this to the special challenge of maintaining order across a global empire with a relatively small force; others cite the intellectual inheritance of great British military theorists and an inherent flexibility present within a small army that is used to adapting to overcome adversity. However, this view is challenged by recent scholars who suggest the UK record in COIN is not one of universal success. This thesis examines a less prominent British campaign-the war in South Arabia or 'Aden Emergency.' It was fought against a complex local enemy supported by a strong regional power in the Middle East with a public timeline for British withdrawal. This thesis focuses on the performance of the intelligence organization in South Arabia. There is much to learn from: extreme rural and urban terrain; cultural, religious and linguistic differences; an international political climate that condemned British actions but was sympathetic to the insurgency and its external sponsors. Finally, the issue of organizational learning is examined to identify the extent the British military was prepared to identify and address its experiences and incorporate lessons into its institutions."

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