Britain’s Post-Colonial Foreign Policy Towards the Persian Gulf Security (1971-1991): An Alternative Approach

Esra Cavusoglu
Content Type
Journal Article
Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue Number
Publication Date
Sakarya University (SAU)
British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf in 1971, started a new era in the region with new political order and new security map. Iran and Saudi Arabia emerged as the guardians of the status quo to be filling the power vacuum left by the British in behalf of the West. Britain adopted a new post-imperial role in the region along with new post-colonial foreign policy in the post-withdrawal context. British policy towards the regional security is analysed in this article with central focus on the shift emerged in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution in the British policy. After 1979, Iran, no longer a Western ally, has been defined as the major internal threat for the regional security following the major external threat of the Soviet expansion in the British foreign policy. This paper argues that the shift in the British policy came along with a sectarianist approach towards the region. The sectarianization emerged with the securitization of the Gulf based on “Iran threat” within the determinants of the Anglo-American alliance on the regional security. The sectarianist discourse adopted by the British foreign policy was employed as an effective tool of the securitization of the Gulf that was deepened during the regional conflicts, the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War.
Security, Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Sectarianism
Political Geography
United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Persian Gulf