Signed by the respective parties on the 9th and 16th of May 1916, the “Exchange of Letters between France and Great Britain respecting the Recognition and Protection of an Arab State in Syria”, also known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, is seen as a symbol of the arrogance and short-sightedness of European colonial practices. So much so that when, on 18th June 2014 ISIS fighters straddled the border between Iraq and Syria, a border which the Agreement created, they proclaimed their military advance on twitter with the hashtag #SykesPicotOver. On the occasion of its centenary the readings that follow include material from various OUP online sites that has been made freely available to help readers to gain a fuller understanding of the origins, background, and impact of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Biographical sketches of three of the protagonists can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
• Sir Mark Sykes
, traveller and politician, and co-author of the Sykes-Picot Agreement
Historical and Legal Context
The background to the Ottoman Empire’s involvement in World War I and its dismemberment are addressed in this chapter
from Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958
by D.K. Fieldhouse.
, such as Sykes-Pictot, prompted Woodrow Wilson’s call for ‘[o]pen covenants of peace, openly arrived at’ to be a feature of a post-War landscape. This article is taken from the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
Sykes-Picot’s place in British and French imperial policy is set out in the chapter “Of Covenants and Carve Ups
” from Susan Pedersen’s The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire
Repercussions of Sykes-Picot
from the Oxford Handbook of Nationalism
looks at the ways in which the division of the Ottoman territories into separate European-dominated entities also divided loyalties between pan-Arabism and state patriotism.
From the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law
, legal aspects of the history of Arab-Israel conflicts
, and their origins in the diplomacy surrounding the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Ethnographic accounts of how generations of Iraqis view Britain through the lens of Sykes-Picot appear in the second half of this chapter “History and power, from above and below
” from Post-Colonialism: A Very Short Introduction
Texts of the Agreement
Introduction and suggested reading list provided by the article European Imperialism
from the Islamic Studies module of Oxford Bibliographies Online
From AJIL Unbound Symposium on The Many Lives and Legacies of Sykes-Picot: