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How Did the `Secret' Sykes-Picot Agreement Become Public? -- Atlantic.com
Monday marks the 100 years since the signing of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret Anglo-French pact reached during the First World War that proposed splitting the Middle East up into zones of foreign control. The Middle East has been frequently afflicted with war since then, but the situation now -- with ISIS holding territory in Iraq and across the Fertile Crescent, civil war in Syria, government paralysis in Lebanon, growing autocracy and violence in Turkey, and talk of an intifada in Israel and the occupied territories -- has inspired particular debate on the century-old agreement's legacy [...]

The agreement was concluded in secret partly because it represented a betrayal of promises the British government had already made to Hussein bin Ali, the sharif of Mecca. During the war, in an effort to foment an Arab rebellion against the Ottomans, the British sought Hussein's support by agreeing to back the creation of an independent Arab state, with a few caveats. In what is known as the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, Britain laid out the conditions: It wanted to maintain rights in Baghdad and Basra, and it wanted to set aside pieces of present-day Syria, which it said were not fully Arab. The Arabs duly revolted against the Ottomans, with the help of the British military officer T.E. Lawrence. But after the war, the British would maintain that the correspondence did not represent a formal treaty, though Hussein and his family insisted it did. In any case, the promises made to Hussein were in irreconcilable conflict with the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

by das monde on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 06:00:25 AM EST

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