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December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
19 May 2016
CNEWA staff

The map above shows how countries in the Middle East were divided up as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed in May of 1916. (photo: Wikipedia)

In America Magazine, CNEWA’s External Affairs Officer, the Rev. Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D., takes a close look at an agreement that was signed 100 years ago this week, reshaping the boundaries of the Middle East:

The Sykes-Picot Agreement, one of the most fateful pacts in modern history, was signed 100 years ago on 16 May 1916. It is not an anniversary to be celebrated. An agreement made between Great Britain and France to divide up the Turkish Ottoman Empire after the end of the First World War, it was negotiated by the Englishman Mark Sykes (1879-1919) and the Frenchman François Georges-Picot (1870-1951).

Far from being relegated to Leon Trotsky’s often-cited “dustbin of history,” the Sykes-Picot Agreement has influenced the history of the Middle East for a century, and there is no indication that the influence will dissipate any time soon. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, boasted of “the end of Sykes-Picot” when in 2014 the group took control of the Iraq-Syria border — physically removing the posts that marked the internationally recognized boundary. It is impossible to make sense of events in the Middle East today — from the rise of ISIS to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — without an understanding of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Read the full story, “Colonial Creations,” at America Magazine.