The Failures of the International Community in the Middle East since the Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916-2016

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Freddy Eytan - Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot divided the Middle East between Britain and France in secret in the midst of World War I in a way that did not take into account the demographic, socio-cultural and religious aspects of the local peoples. Several Arab tribes found themselves dispersed into different states. Rule by the Alawite minority in Sunni majority Syria and domination of the Sunni minority over the Shiite majority in Iraq led to uprisings, coups and revolts that continue to this day. Today, across the region, authority has collapsed and people are reaching for their older identities - Sunni, Shiite, Kurd. Sectarian groups, often Islamist, have filled the power vacuum. All the unrest in the Arab world is internal, social, religious and tribal, with no link to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It emerged as a result of corrupt leaders who, for decades, benefited from the poverty and ignorance of their citizens and stole from the national treasury by creating a police state and ruling by terror and a cult of personality. The greatest challenge to the legacy of the Sykes-Picot Agreement comes from radical Islam, whose factions deny the idea of nationalism in general and of local nationalism in particular. They believe in reviving the Islamic Ummah (nation) as one political entity that should be governed according to Shariah (Islamic law). Amb. Freddy Eytan, a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels, was Israel's first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

2016-01-07 00:00:00

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