The Says Picot Agreement: What is it and Why is it Important?

The Says Picot Agreement, also known as the Asia Minor Agreement or the Sykes-Picot Agreement, is a historical document that shaped the political landscape of the Middle East for years to come. Signed in 1916 by representatives of Great Britain, France, and the Russian Empire, the agreement divided the Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence and laid the groundwork for the establishment of new nation-states.

The agreement was named after the two diplomats who negotiated it, Sir Mark Sykes of Great Britain and François Georges-Picot of France. The Russian Empire was also a signatory, although the agreement was never implemented as Russia withdrew from the First World War before it could be implemented.

According to the agreement, France was to take control over the northern part of modern-day Lebanon and Syria, while Britain would take control over the southern part of the same territories, as well as modern-day Iraq. Jerusalem and its surroundings were designated as an international zone to be controlled by an unspecified international administration.

The Says Picot Agreement was criticised even at the time of its drafting, and in the years following its implementation, it became a symbol of imperialist exploitation and a source of resentment in the Middle East. Many of the new nation-states that emerged in the aftermath of the First World War were fragile and poorly constructed, leading to internal strife and conflict.

The legacy of the Says Picot Agreement is still felt today, as the region continues to grapple with the consequences of its imposed borders and artificial divisions. The agreement is often cited by anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist movements as evidence of the West`s interference in the Middle East, and its effects continue to shape the political and cultural landscape of the region.

In conclusion, the Says Picot Agreement is a significant historical document that continues to have a profound impact on the Middle East today. Its legacy serves as a reminder of the consequences of colonialism, and the importance of respecting the sovereignty of nations and the autonomy of their people.