Tuesday, 26 November 2019

mandatory syria

Negotiated and ratified in secret in May of the same year, the Manchester Guardian published an invective report detailing the memorandum of understanding between Britain and French ambassadors Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot (see previously here and here) regarding the partition of a soon to be defeated Ottoman Empire days after it was presented to the Bolshevik government of Russia, whom first exposed it to the public, the arrangement contingent on its assent. With parallels to the present and storied abandonment of the Kurds, the terms of the treaty amplified and circulated to the British readership, the government was embarrassment by its betrayal to the Arabs, whom had been promised an independent homeland in the Levant (which was not on the map) in exchange for their revolt that destabilised the Empire and precipitated a victory for the Triple Entente. The consequences of this line in the sand are still informing and shaping geopolitics more than a century later.