Sandhurst And The Sheikhs

Ep 1/1

Wednesday 27 August



Four reigning Arab monarchs have passed through the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst or its associated institutions: the kings of Bahrain and Jordan, the Emir of Qatar and the Sultan of Oman, alongside a long list of sheikhs and princes as well as many of the region's military Chiefs of Staff.

Matthew Teller uses archive, analysis and new interviews to examine Sandhurst's longstanding links with the Gulf, exploring whether there is a detectable 'Sandhurst influence' on the repression of popular protests across the Middle East, and ask whether Sandhurst should help deliver officer-trained military leaders to Middle Eastern allies if they have questionable records on rights and accountability.

Links between Sandhurst and the elite families of the Middle East stretch back over a century. Today, the region has started to turn the tables. Gulf monarchies are deploying 21st-century techniques (and, above all, money) to extend their own soft power. In recent years Sandhurst has sparked debate by accepting £3m from Bahrain and £15m from the UAE to rededicate two buildings.

Sandhurst insiders - including a former commandant, Middle Eastern activists and exiled academics - debate the rights and wrongs of Sandhurst's role in bolstering at best undemocratic, and at worst repressive, regimes.

Presenter/Matthew Teller, Producer/Karen Pirie for Whistledown productions

BBC Radio 4 Publicity