Who Did the Sykes Picot Agreement Upset

The Sykes-Picot Agreement: Who Did it Upset?

The Sykes-Picot agreement, also known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement signed between the United Kingdom and the French Republic in 1916 during World War I. The agreement aimed to carve up the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence, with the goal of controlling the region’s resources and ensuring long-term stability.

While the agreement was intended to further the interests of the British and French governments, it had a profound impact on the people living in the Middle East. The agreement drew artificial boundaries across a region that had long been home to diverse communities with complex identities and histories. These boundaries ignored linguistic, cultural, and religious differences and imposed new nation-states that had very little in common with the people living within them.

One of the most significant groups to be negatively impacted by the Sykes-Picot agreement was the Arab people. The agreement broke the promise of Arab independence made to them by the British. The Arabs had been promised self-rule in exchange for their participation in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire — the primary antagonist of the British at the time. However, the Sykes-Picot agreement showed that the British had no intention of fulfilling that promise.

The agreement also upset the Ottoman Empire, which was struggling to maintain its territorial integrity. The Ottomans had been fighting against the British and French for years and had hoped to maintain control over the Arab provinces in the region. The agreement ensured that the Ottomans would lose control over these territories and that the British and French would gain access to valuable resources, including oil.

The Sykes-Picot agreement also created divisions between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The agreement effectively placed Iraq under British control, while giving Syria and Lebanon to the French. The British viewed the Shia-majority regions of Iraq as a threat and favored the Sunni minority in the region. This move created a lasting divide between the two groups.

In conclusion, the Sykes-Picot agreement had far-reaching consequences that are still being felt today. It was a clear example of how colonial powers imposed their interests on the people of the Middle East, causing deep-seated divisions that continue to fuel conflict and instability. While the agreement may have served the interests of the British and French governments at the time, it ultimately caused great harm to the people of the region.