Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Happy (Belated) Sykes-Picot Day!

Yesterday was the one hundredth anniversary of the date the notorious secret agreement was signed, So the old scapegoat for all that is wrong with the Middle East is getting some attention again. Don't get me wrong, the colonialist carving up of the region definitely was a major contributor to current problems, but you could also say that about a lot of other things too.

I'm a map person. I can't read an article about how territory is divided without trying to find a map. The thing that always struck me about the S-P agreement is that, for the talk about how it set down the modern borders of the Middle East, the map of the lines in the agreement are pretty different from modern borders.

(click image to embiggen)

Sure, I can see how the lines were influential on the eventual borders. But just by looking at this image, it is pretty clear that the agreement was far from the final word on where things ended up. So put me in the Cook-Leheta camp. Sykes-Picot was a big deal, but not the only deal.