The years immediately prior to the outbreak of the Second World War saw the earliest and the more recently established Arab Air Forces attempting to play a role on the regional if not yet on the world stage for the first time. It was a period when those Arab states which had real or merely theoretical independence were more or less allied with European countries that were gearing up to face the growing Fascist and Nazi threats. Unfortunately, these anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi countries were themselves the imperial powers, France and the United Kingdom, which were still seeking to maintain their domination of the greater part of the Arab World. To say that this complicated the situation, and strained the loyalties of the men of the newly emergent Arab air forces would be an understatement.
Volume 5 of the Air Power and the Arab World series therefore seeks to shed light on a difficult and widely misunderstood time. It draws upon decades of research, including previously unpublished interviews with men now dead, archive sources than have never before been translated into a European language, and material which, though available in obscure Arabic publications, has been almost entirely neglected by aviation historians. Dr. David Nicolle especially wishes to acknowledge the contribution of his late colleague, Air Vice Marshal Dr. Gabr Ali Gabr, without whose scholarly research and publications this series would never have got off the ground, let alone been published.
This volume is richly illustrated with specially commissioned colour artworks illustrating the aircraft flown by the air forces in the Arab world during this dynamic period of time.