My Grandfather: Scapegoat for a Century of Middle East Madness

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tags: Sykes-Picot Agreement, Sir Mark Sykes



Christopher Simon Sykes is the grandson of Sir Mark Sykes.

My grandfather, Sir Mark Sykes, was only 36 years old when he signed one of the most controversial treaties of the 20th century, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

That secret pact was drawn up between the British and French two years into World War I, looking to divide up the Ottoman Empire in the event of their victory. It laid the groundwork for the creation of Israel and defined several national boundaries in the region which still exist, and are still being challenged, today.

A line drawn by Sir Mark Sykes and his French counterpart, François Georges-Picot on a map of the region went from Acre in Palestine (now northern Israel) to Kirkuk in present-day Iraq. The region north of this line—including modern-day Syria and Lebanon—was to be given to France; regions south of the line were to become zones of British influence, including the provinces of Basra, Baghdad, Transjordan (Jordan), and Palestine.




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