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Book chapter

The Arab Legion

2019

Abstract

The military is a key component of the state. It is also a crucial tool of imperial control. The Arab Legion, therefore, as the Jordanian national army financed by Britain and staffed by British and Arab officers, was a crucial feature of the formative Jordanian state. It was the bedrock of British imperial control, provided security for the Hashemite regime, and formed the basis for the modern Jordanian army. The history of The Arab Legion has primarily been written by its former British officers, such as James Lunt and Peter Young. Though a state-sanctioned official history was written by Syed Ali el-Edroos, a retired officer from the Pakistan army. For many years academic analysis of the Arab Legion was restricted primarily to P.J. Vatikiotis’s 1967 Study of the Arab Legion. But the recent emergence of the unofficial archive of the Arab Legion – which includes the private papers of Glubb Pasha and his man in London, Robert Melville – has enabled a new wave of Arab Legion studies, including my own recent book, Glubb Pasha and the Arab Legion, which focuses exclusively on the last decade of the Arab Legion’s existence, after the Second World War.

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