Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916


an agreement concluded between Great Britain and France on the division of the Asian, primarily Arab, possessions of the Ottoman Empire. Prepared by the British diplomat M. Sykes and the French diplomat F. Georges-Picot, the agreement was coordinated with the tsarist government in March 1916 and concluded in London in the form of an exchange of notes between May 9 and 16.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement provided for British domination, both through outright annexation and through spheres of influence, in Iraq (south of Mosul), Transjordan, and certain emirates of the Arabian peninsula and French domination in Lebanon, Syria, northern Iraq, and southeastern Anatolia. Palestine, with the exception of Haifa and Acre, which went to Great Britain, came under an international administration whose form was to be determined later. With this accord, Britain violated its commitment to create an independent Arab state, a commitment formalized in an exchange of letters between the British High Commissioner in Egypt, McMahon, and Sherif Husain (Hussein) of Mecca.

After World War I, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was revised in Britain’s favor. However, implementation of the agreement with regard to Turkish territories was upset by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and the triumph of the Kem-alist Revolution in Turkey. In November 1917 the text of the Sykes-Picot Agreement was published by the Soviet government on instructions from V. I. Lenin. The exposed policy of the colonialists aroused tremendous indignation among the Arabs of the Middle East.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One of the most famous of these secret agreements was the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Mark Sykes, a member of the British Parliament and self-appointed expert on the Middle East, met with Picot and mapped out a possible division of the Middle East between Britain and France.
The Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 fixed a bayonet that cut through the heart of the Arab people, set a sabre to traditional loyalties, and ensured that its fusillade of folly still echoes -- now in Iraq, in Syria and across Palestine.
Referring on a symbolic level to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 through which the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the Russian Empire, effectively defining their proposed spheres of influence in the Middle East, Nafi said,"Sykes-Picot generated despotic regimes which were detached from their people.
Unknown to the Arabs, Britain and France brokered a covert deal that directly conflicted with the promises made to them - the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Diplomats Mark Sykes, representing Britain, and Georges Picot of France agreed to divide the hoped-for Ottoman spoils.
Summary: Apart from modifications in 1947 (the creation of Pakistan) and 1948 (the creation of Israel), and the birth of the Gulf states, the core of the Islamic world has kept the same shape since the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 and the delineation of modern Iraq by Gertrude Bell in1920.
Some six months ago, Davotoglu felt so confident and optimistic to assess that "it was now finally possible to revise the order imposed" by the British - French Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 to divide the Arab legacy of the Ottoman Empire between them.
The map of the Middle East is undergoing dramatic change as the old order that has existed since the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, that arbitrarily divided the region steadily disintegrates, triggered in large part by the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Shaped at will by the British and the French with the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, the Middle East has come to be known as a land of bloodshed, tears, dictatorships and instability.
When Hashemite King Faisal-I, one of the sons of the Sharif Hussein of Mecca, attended the 1919 Versailles Conference and demanded independence, few Arabs knew Britain and France had carved the region through their Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. After the Arab Revolt, Faisal assumed the throne of Syria in 1920.
A secret agreement between major colonial powers was concluded to redraw the geopolitical map of the Middle East.Indeed, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the government of Britain and France, with the assent of Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in West Asia after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire once the First World War had ended.
He argued that international agreements over the Middle East, such as the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, imposed a political system on Arabs who did not have the understanding of a state system.