Twitter users react to Sykes-Picot centennial with humor, scorn

Published May 17th, 2016 - 07:18 GMT
A map of the Sykes-Picot agreement (credit: Creative Commons)
A map of the Sykes-Picot agreement (credit: Creative Commons)

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.

But others scorned those who blame the modern Middle East's problems on a 100-year-old agreement:

Murtaza Hussein, a reporter for The Intercept news site, made fun of Sykes-Picot's many critics, who say the agreement drew arbitrary borders in the Middle East:

Others joined in: 

Meanwhile, TIME magazine argued that Sykes-Picot owes much of its fame to Hollywood: 

"Born of western imperialism and colonialism, the Sykes-Picot agreement… became a key factor behind the rise of military dictatorships in the 1950s and 1960s," wrote Gulf News. 

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. 

--HS


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