‘A Book in an Hour’ Initiative at the ECSSR Alhammadi: “The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan created a paradigm shift in establishing the UAE”

As part of its ‘A Book in an Hour’ initiative, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) held a discussion session with writer Dr. Muna M. Alhammadi at the UAE Federation Library on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. During the informative session, Dr. Alhammadi talked about her book, Britain and the Administration of the Trucial States 1947-1965, which the ECSSR published in its first and second editions in 2008 and 2013.

Dr. Alhammadi began the discussion by explaining her motivation for writing the book, which was to address the lack of publications on the history of the Emirates, which is a rich history, particularly the period from 1947 to 1965. In her research, Dr. Alhammadi reviewed documents on the history of the Emirates, specifically British documents available in the Library of the League of Arab States, the Library of the American University in Cairo and in the National Archives in Abu Dhabi.

For Dr. Alhammadi, the importance of the book lies in studying British policies and their ensuing transformations. These changes came in a period that witnessed many administrative developments with important repercussions for the domestic arena in the Emirates, which contributed to the establishment of a new era in its history.

During the discussion, Dr. Alhammadi reviewed the book’s chapters, including the introduction, which addresses historic relations between the Emirates and Britain from 1820 to 1947. She then covered the first chapter, on the British administration in the Trucial States before 1965, and the second chapter, titled ‘The Trucial Oman Levies and Scouts, 1951-1965’. The third chapter focuses on the Trucial States Council from 1952-1965, while the forth addresses the British role in the development of the Trucial States before 1965, which aimed to improve Britain’s image in world public opinion by offering expenses to the Emirates, although these were limited. The writer believes the move in reality offered little in practical terms, beyond contributing to new ideas on development. Dr. Alhammadi also examined the early stages of communications between Britain and the Gulf, from 1600 and ending with the Treaty of 1820, which marked the beginning of a series of treaties that helped Britain tighten its grip on the region.

The writer detailed British administration of the Trucial States until 1965 and explained how Britain established a security force in the region in the early 1950s known as the Trucial Oman Levies, which grew in size until 1965. Concluding her review of the book’s chapters, Dr. Alhammadi addressed the Trucial States Council, which was formed in the second half of the twentieth century and lasted until 1965 when the rulers of the emirates assumed the revolving chairmanship of the Council for the first time. This presented an opportunity to gather the Sheikhs of the region and encourage them to work towards the idea of ​​union.

Finally, the writer examined the relationship between the Trucial States and Britain from 1820 until the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. She believes that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace) created a paradigm shift in establishing the UAE, through his ideas about union and his unique vision of development.

Dr. Muna Alhammadi is an Assistant Professor at Zayed University and holds a Ph.D. in disability studies from Deakin University in Australia. She received her master’s degree in modern and contemporary history from Cairo University, Egypt, in 2006. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in history and archaeology from the United Arab Emirates University.