Middle East Desk
Note: I wrote this post about a month and got distracted from my main interests, the Middle East, by the situation in Ukraine……I hope to rectify my oversight this week.
On another note….this is my 6,666th post…..The Highway To Hell!
Good Morning………Today’s lecture is about the formation of the Middle East as we know it today……
Sykes-Picot? What the hell?
The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between Great Britain and France regarding the division of territory in the Middle East after the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. Although Russia did not sign the treaty, they acknowledged and accepted the terms of Sykes-Picot, which allocated to them parts of a defeated empire. Sykes-Picot is named for its negotiators who were French diplomat in Beirut, Francois Georges Picot and senior British diplomat, Sir Mark Sykes. It is important to note that the Sykes-Picot Agreement was independent from and did not account for any mandates from the League of Nations. The territory partitions described in the Sykes-Picot Agreement were later reaffirmed and ratified at the inter – Allied San Remo conference in April of 1920, which further resulted in mandates from the League of Nations in July of 1922.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed on 16 May 1916, partitioned the Ottoman Empire into different zones of control or zones of influence for Great Britain, France, Russia and an Allied Powers or International Zone stretching from Haifa to Gaza. Great Britain was allocated the areas of Mesopotamia (southern Iraq), modern day Jordan, modern day Kuwait, north coast of modern day Saudi Arabia and an area around Haifa which allowed them access to the sea port. France was to control modern day Syria, modern day Lebanon, northern Iraq and Mosul, Armenia and parts of central-southern Turkey.
Once the war was over the empires set about setting up what is today’s modern Middle East countries…..BTW, in the Arab world T.E. Lawrence is NOT the hero or well admired person that the West thinks he is……you see he knew about this agreement but yet he continued to lie to the Arabs bout their chances of home rule….on a side note….the borders of the Middle East we designed by Gertrude Bell (a little trivia for you)……
This is how the Middle East was divided up…….
Basically it was empires dividing up the old Ottoman empire for their benefit….in other words to expand their dwindling empires at home…..a land grab.
I say a land grab because during all the bureaucratic negotiations no Arab was included….just the 3 major powers of the day….England, France and Russia, although Russia was excluded after the 1917 revolution…..so it came down to the “Big Two” to divide the conquered land among themselves….
Then there was the “international zone” or as we shall call it, by its name, Palestine…..
Following the outbreak of World War I, Zionism was first discussed at a British Cabinet level on 9 November 1914, four days after Britain’s declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire. At a Cabinet meeting David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, “referred to the ultimate destiny of Palestine.” Lloyd George’s law firm Lloyd George, Roberts and Co had been engaged a decade before by the Zionists to work on the British Uganda Programme. In a discussion after the meeting with fellow ZionistHerbert Samuel, who had a seat in the Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board, Lloyd George assured him that “he was very keen to see a Jewish state established in Palestine.” Samuel then outlined the Zionist position more fully in a conversation with Foreign Secretary Edward Grey. He spoke of Zionist aspirations for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish state, and of the importance of its geographical position to the British Empire. Samuel’s memoirs state: “I mentioned that two things would be essential—that the state should be neutralized, since it could not be large enough to defend itself, and that the free access of Christian pilgrims should be guaranteed. … I also said it would be a great advantage if the remainder of Syria were annexed by France, as it would be far better for the state to have a European power as neighbour than the Turk” The same evening, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith announced that the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire had become a war aim in a speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet.
(thanx to wikipedia for the above piece)
Yes, you read it correctly……there was a plan or at least a serious thought of taking Palestine and making it a Jewish state.
Fast forward to today……all the violence and discontent in the Middle East can be traced back to the end of WW1 and the Sykes-Picot Agreement…..there was No Arab involvement in the decisions to make countries out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire…..there were no considerations for tribal loyalties or ethnic problems or cultural difference….nothing was considered other than who gets what and where….
Because of this secret agreement…..we are still paying for the pact and its impact on the Middle East.