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Simon Mayall

Sir Simon Mayall

speaker location icon U.K.

Middle East Defence and Security Expert

Former British Army General

Appointed as David Cameron’s Security Envoy to Iraq in 2014

General Sir Simon Mayall had a distinguished 40 year career in the British Army, during which he served in Germany, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. He also held several high level appointments in the policy world of the Ministry of Defence. By family background, academic inclination and professional choice and circumstances, he served much of his time in Arabia. He spent three years on secondment to the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces and was the Operations Officer for the 1st UK Armoured Division during the liberation of Kuwait in the first Gulf War. Having studied Modern History at Oxford, including a specialisation in the Crusading period, he also wrote a book on Turkish Security Policy, and completed a thesis on Jihadi ideology for his Masters at King’s College. In 2006 he was the Deputy Commanding General for the Multi-National Corps in Iraq. Having been both Assistant Chief of the General Staff, and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Operations), he set up the post of Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East, in which appointment he was responsible for the new Royal Navy base in Bahrain, Britain’s first permanent military base East of Suez since 1971. His last appointment was as Prime Minister Cameron’s Security Envoy to Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government after the fall of Mosul to Islamic State in 2014.

Having retired in 2015, General Mayall acts as a senior adviser to Greenhill, and to Coutts Bank. He appears regularly on television and radio, discussing issues around the Middle East, and his book, Soldier in the Sand, A Personal History of the Middle East, will be published later this year. Knighted in 2014, he also holds the US Legion of Merit for service in Iraq.

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