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100 Years of Sykes-Picot: The Colonial Partition of the Middle East

A century ago, on May 16, 1916, diplomats from Britain and France set about carving up the former Ottoman Empire, drawing boundaries and separating peoples based on Western imperialist interests. Syria and Lebanon were to be the domain of the French, Jordan went to the British, and both took half of Iraq—while setting into motion the events that would lead to the settler-colonial state of Israel in Palestine.

It wasn't until a year later that the agreement drafted by diplomats Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot was revealed, thanks only to a revolutionary government seizing power in Russia and publishing the text. But the effects were felt immediately and the deal continues to shape the Middle East today.

teleSUR looks back at the Sykes-Picot agreement, 100 years later, and its ramifications then and now for the region and the world.

Forgotten History: The Story of Sykes-Picot

Sykes-Picot and the Palestinians

Yasir Tineh is part of the Palestinian diaspora, his ancestors coerced from their homes to make way for the state of Israel. He reflects back on the agreement and its impact today. READ MORE

Imperialist Borders Shape Conflicts Today

Sykes - Picot line Britain and France drew to create Syria and Iraq.

From the wars in Iraq and Syria to the ongoing conflict in Palestine, teleSUR's Mohammed Hemish looks at how Sykes-Picot continues to play a part in the conflicts of today. READ MORE

Is It Time for a Kurdish State?

Kurdish people take part in a protest in the city of al-Derbasiyah, on the Syrian-Turkish border, in this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo.

An imaginative geography, as Edward Said calls it in his seminal work Orientalism, was established as the new status quo in the region, a status quo that until today denies any kind of self-determination to the Kurds. READ MORE

The Self-Determing Kurds

General News, 1st prize singles, World Press Photo Awards: Mauricio Lima - IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital. A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, 16, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, at a YPG hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka August 1, 2015.

Whether the world deigns it or not, Kurds are fighting for their autonomy and, as Dilar Dirik writes, they are winning. READ MORE

Lebanon's Sectarian Politics

Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (C) poses with the Future Movement candidates after announcing their list of candidates for the municipality elections in Beirut, Lebanon, April 26, 2016. | PHOTO: Reuters

Lebanon was created to be a Christian state by French colonialists, and while its demographics have changed and its now a country with a Muslim majority, Lebanese journalist Kareem Cheyaeb notes that the sectarian vision upon which it was founded continues to shape its politics today. READ MORE

 
  • Hezbollah supporters hold posters of group

    Hezbollah supporters hold posters of group's leader Hassan Nasrallah. | Photo Reuters

  • A Hezbollah rally in Lebanon

    A Hezbollah rally in Lebanon | Photo AFP

  • Syrian children at a refugees camp in Lebanon

    Syrian children at a refugees camp in Lebanon | Photo AFP

  • Children walk near garbage in al-Jazmati neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria April 22, 2016.

    Children walk near garbage in al-Jazmati neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria April 22, 2016. | Photo Reuters

  • Riot police clash with protesters at the entrance to the Environment Ministry in downtown Beirut, Lebanon September 1, 2015.

    Riot police clash with protesters at the entrance to the Environment Ministry in downtown Beirut, Lebanon September 1, 2015. | Photo Reuters

  •  People carry Lebanese national flags and banners as they take part in an anti-government protest at Martyrs

    People carry Lebanese national flags and banners as they take part in an anti-government protest at Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon August 29, 2015. | Photo Reuters

  • An Israeli supporter of a soldier charged with shooting a wounded Palestinian holds a placard calling for the genocide of Palestinians

    An Israeli supporter of a soldier charged with shooting a wounded Palestinian holds a placard calling for the genocide of Palestinians | Photo Reuters

  • A protester runs with a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the Nahal Oz border crossing with Israel, east of Gaza City, on Nov. 1, 2013.

    A protester runs with a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the Nahal Oz border crossing with Israel, east of Gaza City, on Nov. 1, 2013. | Photo AFP

  • Palestine protesters hold up banners.

    Palestine protesters hold up banners. | Photo Reuters

  • A Palestinian wearing a Santa Claus costume holds a candle as he sits between symbolic coffins during a rally to pay tribute to Palestinians who organizers said were killed recently by Israeli troops, on Christmas day in Gaza City December 25, 2015.

    A Palestinian wearing a Santa Claus costume holds a candle as he sits between symbolic coffins during a rally to pay tribute to Palestinians who organizers said were killed recently by Israeli troops, on Christmas day in Gaza City December 25, 2015. | Photo Reuters

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