Borders Melt-Down: 100 Years after the Sykes-Picot Agreement

(Jerusalem Post) Alan Baker - The 1916 signing of the Sykes-Picot Agreement marked the division of the Middle East between Britain and France and its restructuring in its present borders. However, since then and virtually without any interval, the region has been marked by treaties and international conferences, often contradictory and rarely strictly observed and respected. Arab tribes found themselves separated and dispersed into different states. They strongly rejected the artificial divisions and centralized governmental frameworks. From Libya to Iraq, authority has collapsed and people are reaching for their older identities - Sunni, Shi'ite, Kurdish and even tribal. During the past six decades, 23 conflicts have been recorded, including the war between Iranian Shi'ites and Iraqi Sunnis which caused more than a million casualties. All the unrest in the Arab world is internal, social, religious and tribal - with no link to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today's greatest challenge is radical Islam, which rejects the idea of nationalism in general and of local nationalism in particular. Radical Islamic movements believe in reviving the Islamic Ummah (nation) as one political entity that should be governed according to Shariah (Islamic law). All radical Islamists reject Western culture and are committed to the need to establish a caliphate over all Muslim-populated areas and later over the entire world. The writer served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry and as Israel's ambassador to Canada.

2016-05-17 00:00:00

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