Monday was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the notorious Sykes-Picot agreement that split up the Ottoman Empire into smaller nation-states led by Britain and France.
Sykes Picot is often seen as the epitome of Western meddling-gone-wrong, and the current conflicts in Syria, Palestine and Iraq are often blamed on Britain and France's poor choice of borders for the current boundaries in the region.
Twitter users weighed in on the anniversary with some colorful reactions. Some took the opportunity to heap more criticism on the flawed treaty:
"On 100th anniversary of Sykes-Picot agreement, borders/sovereignty have become meaningless. Sykes-Picot is over," said Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq.
On 100th anniversary of Sykes-Picot agreement, borders/sovereignty have become meaningless. Sykes-Picot is over. https://t.co/4At4dxNRoj— Masoud Barzani (@masoud_barzani) May 16, 2016
But others scorned those who blame the modern Middle East's problems on a 100-year-old agreement:
I am boggled by arguments Sykes-Picot set the Middle East's borders. Does this look like the modern Middle East? pic.twitter.com/uYMLZ4WVVa— DavidKenner (@DavidKenner) May 16, 2016
Sykes-Picot created arbitrary borders, unlike the rest of the world where borders were formed naturally by the earths crust.— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) May 16, 2016
Others joined in:
Unfortunately Borders we inherit in much of the world was carved by same pipe-smoking creators of Sykes-Picot https://t.co/f5gnTiuZLW— Suhrob Ahmad سهراب (@ndrshb) May 16, 2016
Meanwhile, TIME magazine argued that Sykes-Picot owes much of its fame to Hollywood:
The Sykes-Picot agreement was signed 100 years ago today but it owes its fame to its inclusion in Lawrence of Arabiahttps://t.co/ICfr8H3c0Z— TIME.com (@TIME) May 16, 2016
As far away as Japan, media outlets were running analyses of "what the treaty means" for the current state-of-affairs in the Arab World. "Resentment over Sykes-Picot deal still driving Turkish foreign policy," read a headline in the Japan Times, which is Japan's oldest English-language newspaper.
Meanwhile, news outlets here in the Middle East attempted to clear the air. "Sykes-Picot is not to blame for the Middle East's problems," wrote James Barr, the author of A Line In The Sand: Britain, France, and the Struggle That Shaped The Middle East, in Al Jazeera.
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