Historical Study: The Making of the Modern Middle East

Dr. Neil Faulkner gives a short interview on his new book Lawrence of Arabia’s War: The Arabs, The British and the Remaking of The Middle East in WW1.

 

Below is an article discussing the Sykes-Picot Deal, a very important key aspect in Understanding the Making of the Modern Middle East as it exist today.

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British-French WWI deal to carve up areas under Ottoman rule has been blamed by many for region’s woes; others say that’s an excuse for failed leadership

PARIS, France — On May 16, 1916, a secret pact carved up the floundering Ottoman Empire into spheres of British and French interest, foreshadowing the future map of the Middle East and, say critics, sowing the seeds of many of its problems.

The Sykes-Picot agreement between the British and French governments for partitioning the empire’s Arab provinces was struck at the height of World War I, as the two allies and Russia grappled with Turkey and its backers, Germany and Austria-Hungary.

In legal terms, the deal — named after a pair of British and French diplomats, Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot — only remained on paper.

But its geopolitical impact would resound for decades.

Clandestine negotiations started in November 1915, amid parallel moves to establish a new front during the war and counter the declaration of a holy war, or jihad, by the German-backed Ottoman sultan-caliph.

As part of those moves negotiations took place with the then ruler of Mecca, Sharif Hussein, in which Britain’s High Commissioner in Egypt, Henry McMahon, dangled the prospect of an independent Arab state.

Britain and France were well established in the region — France through economic and cultural influence in the area known as the Levant, and Britain in Egypt, which London had occupied since 1882.

Pointing to a map before him to designate areas of interest, Sykes said: “I should like to draw a line from the ‘e’ in Acre (on the Mediterranean coast) to the last ‘k’ in Kirkuk (in modern-day Iraq).”

Read the Remainder at Times of Israel

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