Despite the apparent similarities in Britain's relationship with the Sheikhdoms of the Lower Gulf and the traditional states of southern Arabia, British policy-makers pursued contrasting policies towards the two sets of territories in the era of decolonization. As regards South Arabia, Britain followed a policy of amalgamating the states into a ‘Whitehall’ federation. The fact that the Federation of South Arabia remained dependent on British backing, and in consequence became ineffably associated with British imperialism in an era of anti-colonial Arab nationalism, fatally damaged its chances of longevity. Applying the lessons of failure in South Arabia, the British were far more inconspicuous in the discussions which led to the creation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indeed, the fact that the UAE essentially emerged from the initiative of Sheikhs Zaid of Abu Dhabi and Rashid of Dubai, rather than the British, was one of the key factors in its survival. By contrast, the Federation of South Arabia collapsed ignominiously once the ballast provided by the British had been removed.
Smith, S. C. (2017). Failure and success in state formation : British policy towards the Federation of South Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Middle Eastern Studies, 53(1), 84-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2016.1196667