Sykes-Picot, 100 Years Later: A Collage of Opinions

Here is a collage of opinion pieces on the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, the 100-year anniversary of which was May 16 (or 19, depending on whom one reads). I tend to fall on the side of those (minority) voices who dare to suggest that not every problem in the modern Middle East can be traced to a defunct-before-the-ink-was-dry agreement. At the same time, Sykes-Picot does bear some responsibility for what actually transpired, for different reasons, after the war was over. But, maybe it’s just me, I tend to be cautious about making correlation equal causation. At the very least, it is a warning about what happens when you assign people without the requisite expertise to a delicate assignment. Anyway, here is an array of pieces arguing the relative merits or demerits of the Western powers’ secret agreement to carve up the Middle East:  [** = highly recommended]

Sam Prince, Heavy, READ: ISIS releases statement on 100th anniversary of Sykes-Picot Agreement.(**)

Martin Kramer, The American Interest, Sykes-Picot and the Zionists.

Lawrence Katzenstein, Global Risk Insights, The Sykes-Picot Agreement and its lasting implications.

Thanassis Kambanis, The Boston Globe, The Middle East’s fading frontiers.**

Ian Bremmer, Time, How the Sykes-Picot Agreement helped make a messed-up Middle East.

Michael Young, The National, Sykes-Picot was not such a bitter pill for some.

Robin Wright, The New Yorker, How the curse of Sykes-Picot still haunts the Middle East.**

Radio Free Europe, The Legacy of Sykes-Picot.

Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute, Was Sykes-Picot a Bad Thing? **

Steven A. Cook and Amr T. Lehta, Foreign Policy, Don’t blame Sykes-Picot for the Middle East’s mess.**

Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star, Let us assess Sykes-Picot’s ugly century.**

Daniel Pipes, The Middle East Forum, The foul legacy of Sykes-Picot.

Daniel Hilton, The Daily Star, Sykes-Picot at 100: a troubled legacy.

Abedllatif Zaki, Morocco World News, In the beginning was Sykes-Picot deal.

David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Rebuilding After Sykes-Picot.

Janko Bekić, The National Interest, From Bosnia to Iraq: The Failure of Forced Coexistence.**