A Century After Sykes-Picot, Is There a Better Map for the Middle East?

Map of the Sykes–Picot Agreement signed by Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, May 8, 1916 (U.K. National Archives image).
Map of the Sykes–Picot Agreement signed by Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, May 8, 1916 (U.K. National Archives image).

This month marks the centenary of the Sykes-Picot treaty, a French-English agreement to establish areas of control and influence in the Arab lands of the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The milestone has stirred up resentments and a sense that the flailing states of the region never really existed as coherent geographic entities. But changing borders is not easy, and even if one could draw a better map of the Middle East, it would not solve its deepest sources of distress. Much is being said about the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, a minor event […]

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