Britain and Jordan: Imperial Strategy, King Abdullah I and the Zionist Movement
In the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, it has often been alleged that King Abdullah I of Jordan and the Zionist movements colluded to partition Mandate Palestine between them, while Great Britain, the retreating imperial power, gave them tacit approval to do so. Here, Tancred Bradshaw challenges these allegations, looking at the complex and often strained relations between the emerging states of Jordan, Israel and the at first hegemonic, and then crumbling, British Empire. The creation of a viable state in Jordan was a rare British imperial success story in the Middle East that was achieved against the odds. Britain’s interests in Jordan were defined by imperial strategy and the requirement to exert their influence in Jordan on the cheap. The reasons as to why Jordan remains a stable hereditary monarchy can be found in the ways in which the British laid the foundations during King Abdullah’s rule. Examining the relationships between the British, King Abdullah I and the Jewish Agency between 1921 and 1951, Britain and Jordan covers the crucial years from the establishment of British mandates in the region, its period of rule and the eventual fall of empire and decolonisation. Bradshaw develops a nuanced picture of the strategic and diplomatic considerations at play, as King Abdullah I, the Zionist founders of Israel and the British through men such as Sir Alec Kirkbride and the infamous General Sir John Glubb, all vied to play a central and critical role in carving out what was to be the modern states of Israel and Jordan. Using a wide range of primary sources which have previously been largely ignored, Britain and Jordan offers an essential re-examination of the relationships which were to shape the Middle East as it exists today. It thus contains vital analysis for anyone involved in the study of the Middle East, its politics and history, as well as the demise of Britain’s empire in the region.
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