One hundred years ago, the Sykes Picot agreement was signed – a deal that would help shape the future of the Middle East. It was the middle of the First World War and the Ottoman Empire appeared on the brink of collapse. A secret plan was formed to carve up its territories into spheres of European control. It was left to a pair of British and French civil servants – Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot. Their choices were made in their countries’ best interests – but not those of the local population. The deal was officially known as the Asia Minor agreement, but it will be their names forever associated with it – and with the events after, which finalised many boundaries of the modern Middle East.
The Newsmakers discusses how, 100 years after it was signed, the Sykes-Picot agreement has shaped the modern Middle East with Avi Shlaim, Tarek Osman, Afzhal Ashraf and Peter Galbraith.