THE SHOCKING DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED THE MIDDLE EAST: The secret agreement that shaped the Middle East set the stage for lethal instability.

The Sykes-Picot accord that has shaped and distorted the modern Middle East was signed over 100 years ago, on May 16, 1916. In the deal, Mark Sykes for the British and François Georges-Picot for the French, with the Russians participating too, allocated much of the region, pending the minor detail of their defeating the Central Powers in World War I.

Sykes-Picot (official name: the Asia Minor Agreement) bears recalling because its profound two mistakes are in danger of being repeated: one concerned form and the other substance.

FORM: Negotiated in secret by three European imperial powers, it became the great symbol of European perfidy. Not surprisingly, the Allied Powers secretly carving up the central Middle East without consulting its inhabitants prompted an outraged response (George Antonius, writing in 1938: "a shocking document ... the product of greed at its worst ... a startling piece of double-dealing" ). Sykes-Picot set the stage for the proliferation of a deeply consequential conspiracy-mentality that ever since has afflicted the region.

Sykes-Picot created a miasma of fear about foreign intervention that explains the still widespread preference for discerning supposed hidden causes over overt ones. What in 1916 appeared to be a clever division of territory among allies turned out to set the stage for a century of mistrust, fear, extremism, violence, and instability. Sykes-Picot contributed substantially to making the Middle East the sick region it is today.
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SUBSTANCE: In simple terms, France got Syria and Lebanon, Britain got Palestine and Iraq. But it was operationally not so simple, as borders, administrations, and competing claims needed to be worked out. For example, French forces destroyed the putative kingdom of Syria. Winston Churchill one fine afternoon conjured up the country now known as Jordan. Under pressure from Lebanese Catholics, the French government increased the size of Lebanon at the expense of Syria.

But the largest issue, of course, was the issue of control over the area the Holy Land, or Palestine, a problem complicated by London's having promised roughly this area to both the Arabs (in the McMahon-Hussein correspondence of January 1916) and the Zionists (in the Balfour declaration of November 1917). It appeared that London had not just sold the same territory twice but also double-crossed Arabs and Jews by arranging (in Sykes-Picot) itself to retain control over it.

From the vantage point of a century later, Sykes-Picot has an almost purely malign influence without redeeming qualities. It laid the basis for the future rogue states of Syria and Iraq, the Lebanese civil war, as well as exacerbating the Arab-Israeli conflict.

On its centenary, Sykes-Picot's central achievement, the creation of the Syrian and Iraqi states, appears to be in tatters. In a surprising parallel, each has rapidly devolved from the all-powerful totalitarianisms of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein into three micro-states. Both have an Iranian-backed, Shi'ite-oriented central government; a Turkish- and Saudi-backed Sunni opposition; and a U.S.- and Russian-backed Kurdish force.

The Islamic State (or ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) proclaimed "the end of Sykes-Picot" when it eliminated border posts along the Syria-Iraq border; nevertheless, many observers, including myself, see the fracturing of these two rogue states into six mini-states on balance as a good thing because the small states are more homogeneous and less powerful than the prior regimes.

SYKES-PICOT has a LESSON for the PRESENT DAY; a SIMPLE and IMPORTANT ONE: foreign powers must not attempt unilaterally to decide the fate of distant regions, and especially not in a clandestine manner. This may sound like outdated or obvious advice but, at a time of failed states and anarchy, the powers again find it tempting to take matters in their own hands, as they did in Libya in 2011, where their intervention failed dismally. Similar efforts could lie ahead in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Beyond those conflicts, Michael Bernstam of the Hoover Institution has argued for a broader redrawing of the region's "antiquated, artificial map."

No. Rather than seek to impose their will on a weak, anarchic region, the powers should hold back and remind locals of their own need to take responsibility. Rather than treat Middle Easterners as perpetual children, outsiders should recognize them as adults and help them succeed. Only in this way, over time, will the volatile, brutal, failed Middle East evolve into something better. Only in this way will it overcome the foul legacy of Sykes-Picot.
-- by Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum

1 month ago - Translate

The Palestinian Myth

What you are about to read I have validated noted by source links. Where minor errors existed I corrected them to a clearer factual contention than was in the original text. If you are a faux-Palestinian Muslim – boohoo. If you are Jewish committed to your heritage or a Biblical oriented Christian noting the prophetic return of Jews to their Land what that means for the return of Jesus the Messiah/Christ – yeah baby be excited:
#palestinianmyth #jewishhomeland

SlantRight 2.0: The Palestinian Myth

SlantRight 2.0: The Palestinian Myth

I found this very supportive rendition for a sovereign Jewish nation and the delegitimizing of nationhood of Arabs pretending to be Pale...

Interesting ...

Beginning in the late 1940s, soap-maker Emanuel Bronner (February 1, 1908 – March 7, 1997), a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States, featured the maxims of Hillel on millions of product labels.

He referred to these as "Rabbi Hillel's Moral ABC." The label texts were later collected into a self-published book titled The Moral ABC I & II by Dr. Emmanuel Bronner.

On page 23, Bronner wrote, "Rabbi Hillel taught Jesus to unite the whole human race in our Eternal Father's great, All-One-God-Faith."

On page 39, he stated that "Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds teach Rabbi Hillel's Moral ABC."

These references to 'Rabbi' Hillel remain in print in the book and on the million more soap labels manufactured since Dr. Bronner's death. (1)

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying:

"12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12, NIV) (2)

And, in the Babylonian Talmud, it is recorded that a certain Gentile came to Shammai, and said, 'Make me a proselyte, that I may learn the whole law, standing upon one foot': Shammai beat him with the staff that was in his hand. He went to Hillel, and he made him a proselyte, and said, That which is odious to thyself, do it not to thy neighbour: for this is the whole law." (3)

To me, these maxims are two sides of the same coin. One positive, the other negative.

Do to others what you want done to yourself. Do not do to others what you would hate for yourself.

It's interesting to consider how this applies to each of us in normal, everyday life. And, also how one might apply these principles in broader terms across varying political issues of the day.

Shabbat shalom everyone.


1. "The Moral ABC I & II" by Dr. Emmanuel Bronner.

2. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 12 (New International Version)

3. Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a


2 months ago - Translate

Israel’s flailing democracy

Caroline Glick views parallels between the Marxist-Dems fabricating allegations against President Trump and Israel’s Left loosely examining Israeli statute law to render Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a criminal to question his legitimacy as a Prime Minister. It’s an interesting read for both Americans and Israelis:
#corruptleft #usapolitics #israelpolitics #trump #netanyahu

SlantRight 2.0: Israel’s flailing democracy

SlantRight 2.0: Israel’s flailing democracy

Caroline Glick views parallels between the Marxist-Dems fabricating allegations against President Trump and Israel’s Left loosely examinin...
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  • Understanding the history, geography, topography, archaeology and spiritual significance of Israel, the land of the Bible...and also some related aspects of the surrounding region.