'Without Glory but Without Disaster': 50 Years after the British Withdrawal from Aden

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RUSI is hosting a conference with the support of Durham University, the British-Yemeni Society and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation to mark 50 years since Britain's withdrawal from Aden (also known as South Arabia) on 30 November 1967.

Aden, a territory now part of Yemen, was first acquired by the British in 1839 and was made a Crown Colony in 1937. From the mid-1950s, Britain had sought to create a federation between Aden - its port was one of the busiest in the world - and the lightly-administered South Arabian hinterland, known as the Aden Protectorate.

Britain envisaged that an independent South Arabia would remain on friendly terms with the British and Aden would host a permanent British garrison east of Suez. However, by 1967 Britain was forced to withdraw from the colony in the face of an Arab nationalist insurgency and South Arabia became the People's Republic of South Yemen, renamed in 1970 as the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In 1990 it united with North Yemen to form the Republic of Yemen.

The Aden Emergency of 1963-1967 marked the end of Britain's presence in the south of the Arabian Peninsula and was part of the gradual end of the British Empire after the Second World War. It also heralded a turning point in British counter-insurgency strategies, in contrast to the subsequent successes in Oman in defeating the Dhofar Rebellion and the successful formation of the United Arab Emirates.

In all of these ways, what is now a relatively forgotten chapter in the history of the region continues to have an influence on Britain and Yemen to this very day. The current civil war in Yemen is again dividing Yemen with competing regimes based in Aden and Sana'a.

To study the long-term lessons of Britain's withdrawal from Aden, the historical context that led up to the Emergency, the impact on Aden and the region after the Emergency until today, and finally the impact on British security policy, RUSI is hosting an all-day conference with the support of Durham University, the British-Yemeni Society and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

Refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

If you have any questions about this conference, please contact Nathan Mathiot via NathanM@rusi.org.

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