by Peter Salt
British covert involvement in the Yemeni civil war is the topic of the Radio 4 programme Document (broadcast 8/3/2010). Using sources from The National Archives it traces British policy towards Yemen detailing the involvement of Julian Amery and the prime minister Alec Douglas-Home (despite denials at the time). Comments from political officers in the Aden Protectorate, civil servants, and the mercenary Philip Horniblow (who wrote an autobiography about his time in the Middle east – Oil, sand and politics: memoirs of a Middle East doctor, mercenary and mountaineer) outline the covert action by Britain. The archival sources and oral testimony are supplemented by historians offering analysis. Sue Onslow discusses the role of Amery, an ardent imperialist and son-in-law of Harold Macmillan. Onslow is author of Julian Amery and the Suez operation in Simon Smith(ed) Reassessing Suez 1956 (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008). Clive Jones and Spencer Mawby discuss the political and imperial policy behind the action. Jones is author of Britain and the Yemen Civil War, 1962-65 (Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2004) and “Where the state feared to tread”: Britain, Britons, covert action and the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1964, Intelligence and National Security, 21:5 (2006) p. 717-37. Mawby is author of The clandestine defence of empire: British special operations in Yemen, 1951-64, Intelligence and National Security, 17:3 (2002) p. 105-30. And Philip Davies of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies outlines the paramilitary support action of Britain’s intelligence services and special operations.