Reporters talk about Sykes-Picot of 1916 (and ignore the Balfour Declaration of 1917)

Israel/Palestine
on 62 Comments
Brooke Gladstone, by David Waitz

Brooke Gladstone, by David Waitz

With the blurring of the border between Syria and Iraq by the Sunni militant group ISIS, American journalists have been talking a lot about the Sykes Picot treaty, the secret agreement during World War I between the French and the British to carve up the Middle East when the Ottoman Empire ended.

These journalists all describe Sykes Picot as an instance of imperial arrogance: European powers dabbling in Middle East geography and ignoring traditional ethnic and religious lines.

Fair enough. But if they’re going to bring up Sykes-Picot as a sign of how wrong the west is about religion in the Middle East, why don’t they bring up that other secret agreement of World War I, just a year later: the Balfour Declaration, when the British promised Lord Rothschild as representative of the Jewish community that the Jews could have a “national home” in Palestine? The Balfour Declaration was soon published in November 1917, but it was arrived at after months and years of lobbying by Zionists. And it also carved up the Middle East in ways that haunt us to this day.

Here is some of the Sykes Picot chatter.

Last night Richard Engel on NBC Nightly News said that the instability in Iraq has its “roots in another war,” the first world war, when Britain and France “carved up” the Middle East “with little regard for ethnic and religious differences.” Today, he said, “the map Europeans drew is fading.”

Three days before, Dexter Filkins discussed the agreement on Fresh Air:

Terry GROSS: Well, they seem to want a caliphate, like a fundamentalist, Sunni state that stretches across borders. And that would include territory from Iraq and Syria and I don’t know where else. But they want to like undo the boundaries that were created in World War I, like at the end of World War I, when the victorious powers carved up the Middle East. So what do you know about what they’re envisioning for this caliphate?

FILKINS: Well, it’s pretty amazing. You know, the modern Middle East was formed really all but on the back of an envelope. You know, after World War I, you had the Ottoman Empire, you know, ruled out of Istanbul, which, you know, governed most of the Middle East, collapsed after World War I. And then the British and the French basically just, you know, took out the pen and then started drawing the borders. And these are the borders that we have today. And they really, you know, they don’t represent really much of anything other than the whims of the colonial powers at the time. They don’t, you know, they don’t – they’re not aligned with tribal identities or religious or sectarian or ethnic groups or mountains or rivers or anything. I mean, look at Iraq. It’s a bunch of straight lines drawn with a ruler. And so – but, you know, and this is sort of famously referred to as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. It’s named after these two colonial administrators that first drew up this map back in the first World War. And this across the Muslim world, I think it’s fair to say is – it’s notorious. It’s, you know, this is when – first of all, the caliphate was destroyed. The Ottoman Empire, which was the seat of, you know, Islam. The caliphate was destroyed. And then these colonial boundaries were imposed on us. So among, among radical Islamists, the dream is to revive that caliphate. And that means erasing the borders, these artificial borders that were drawn, you know, 90 years ago, 100 years ago after World War I. And that’s what they want to do. Now, what do they really have in mind? I think for the immediate future is – if you look at ISIS, it stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and also al-Sham, which is the reference to Syria and Lebanon. And so I think for starters, what ISIS imagines it can do, and has already done quite a bit of, is control the vast area of essentially Eastern Syria and Western Iraq. And that’s basically a big desert with the Euphrates River and the Tigris River kind of forming its borders. So from sort of Aleppo in Syria, running east, all the way to Mosul. And that’s a pretty big area. And they – ISIS already controls a whole string of towns in Eastern Syria, along the Euphrates River and other places. They actually control a provincial capital in Syria, where they’ve ruled very brutally. They’ve begun to impose – it looks like Islamic law in Mosul, in Iraq. And so this is what they have in mind. I mean, this is the beginning, I think, of, you know – they call it the Islamic state, but what they really want is a return of the caliphate.

Next, here’s Brooke Gladstone of On the Media, talking with Ibrahim al-Marashi. It’s an excellent interview because Gladstone gave al-Marashi a platform to describe European colonial responsibility for sectarian hatred, and Arab dictatorships’ agency in this process as well. But what I found curious was Gladstone’s insistence on a certain lens, Sykes Picot, with nary a reference to the role of Zionism. She said:

Many historians, notably David Fromkin in his 1989 magisterial bestseller The Peace to End All Peace, said that the groundwork for today was laid in 1916 by France and Britain with Russia’s assent in the secret agreement that divided the Mid East in spheres of influence and then later in 1920 the borders were withdrawn, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan Saudia Arabia, Turkey– they didn’t exist prior to World War I. Many of these states seem to be intended to divide one group from another or impose the rule of minorities over majorities?

Gladstone persisted in this view later in the interview:

What do you think of David Fromkin’s view then, the author on the Peace to End all Peace? He likened the situation in the Middle East to Europe in the fifth century after the collapse of the Roman Empire. He wrote, ‘It took Europe a millennium and a half to resolve its post Roman crisis of social and political identity and nearly 1000 years to settle on the nation state form of political organization and 500 more years to determine which nations were entitled to be states… The issue is the same. How diverse peoples are to regroup to create new political identities for themselves after the collapse of an age-old political order to which they’ve grown accustomed.

I’m as confused by these questions as any other American: I see a drawn out and violent process in which dictatorships give way to democracies in the Middle East; I see a broad conservative constituency in Egypt that prefers dictatorship to extremism and fears Egypt turning into Syria.

But I also see our role in this mess: the colonialist/Zionist hand in fueling religious extremism. Imperial Britain came up with the Balfour Declaration in utter defiance of local political and religious sentiment in 1917, and the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 engendered religious conflict in the region. When you travel around Palestine and its neighbors, there is a lot of rage toward the Jewish state/US client, and not a lot of talk of “a caliphate.” The State Department warned back in 1948 that recognizing a Jewish state would lead to endless unrest in the region; the reporters should be addressing that factor.

Yes, these reporters are all justifiably focused on Syria and Iraq. But I can’t wait for them to get to Israel, the west’s role in establishing it during World War I, and how its “borders” affect the rule of one religious group over another.

Postscript: Comments had closed on this post when John Lewis-Dickerson sought to add this comment. I’m supplying it.

RE: “Well, they seem to want a caliphate, like a fundamentalist, Sunni state that stretches across borders. And that would include territory from Iraq and Syria and I don’t know where else. But they want to like undo the boundaries that were created in World War I, like at the end of World War I, when the victorious powers carved up the Middle East.” ~ Terry Gross MY COMMENT: And Likudnik Israel has also been pretty open about wanting to undo the boundaries that were created at the end of World War I, when the victorious powers carved up the Middle East. The difference is that Likudnik Israel certainly does not want any pan-Arabism (whether secular or sectarian) that stretches across the Sykes-Picot borders, just like they and the U.S. did not want the secular pan-Arabism of the Nasser era. In fact, the CIA quietly supported fundamentalist Muslims like those in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Egypt during Nasser’s presidency (and probably to destabilize the other country that had for a time joined the UAR, namely Syria). Instead of pan-Arabism (whether of the sectarian “Caliphate” type, or of the more secular UAR type) Likudnik Israel wants to see the balkanization of the nation-states in the Middle East [i.e. fragmentation or division of the Middle East’s multicultural (but primarily Arab/Muslim) nation-states into smaller, more sectarian states (like Israel) that are often hostile or non-cooperative with one another]; hence Likudnik Israel’s support for virtually every separatist movement [e.g., Kurds, Armenians, Jundullah (i.e., Iran’s Sunni Muslims), etc.] in the Middle East, except – of course – anything even approaching a separatist movement in Israel, or on lands Likudnik Israel has long-term designs upon [i.e., lands Likudnik Israel has on its “to-do list” (i.e., lands Likudnik Israel discretely has in its cross-hairs)]. Balkanization in this context is essentially a variation of nearly every colonial power’s favorite tactic of “divide and conquer”.   P.S. SEE: “The Prophecy of Oded Yinon: Is the US Waging Israel’s Wars?” ~ By Linda S. Heard, Counterpunch, 04/25/06

[EXCERPT] . . . A premise, which many in the Arab world believe, should also be dissected. Is the US manipulating and remoulding the area so that Israel can remain the only regional superpower in perpetuity? This is not as fanciful as one might imagine on first glance. Read the following strangely prophetic segment from an article* published in 1982 by the World Zionist Organisation’s publication “Kivunim” and penned by Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Yinon’s strategy was based on this premise. In order to survive Israel must become an imperial regional power and must also ensure the break-up of all Arab countries so that the region may be carved up into small ineffectual states unequipped to stand up to Israeli military might. Here’s what he had to say on Iraq . . .

SOURCE – http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/04/25/is-the-us-waging-israel-s-wars/   * Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf   P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Small Homogeneous States Only Solution for Middle East”, By Mordechai Kedar, Bar-Ilan University, 4/01/11

[EXCERPT] . . . If the world wishes to bring stability and calm to the Middle East, there is no choice but to let the modern Arab countries – those whose boundaries were set by colonialism – collapse and break up into small states, each based on one homogeneous group. Allowing the residents of these states to decide for themselves the group upon which to build the future state is the important element in this process. It is time to re-think colonialism and the problematic legacy it bequeathed the Arab world. Legitimate states based on traditional social groupings would be able to create partnerships, federations or other types of unions. Witness the Gulf: each of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates is completely independent, and the emirates, together with Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia established the Gulf Cooperation Council, an effective security body that recently deployed forces to Bahrain, forces that succeeded in restoring order there and in quashing the Shi’ite majority’s demonstrations. Relief to the chronic ailments of the Arab world, immersed as it is in corruption, poverty and violence, will come only through the establishment of homogeneous states which accommodate the traditional Arab social framework; these ailments are all the result of the modern Arab state’s failure to become the focal point of individual and collective identity. . .

ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=51683   P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Arabs, Beware the ‘Small States’ Option”, By Sharmine Narwani, english.al-akhbar.com, 7/29/13 LINK – http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/16566

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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62 Responses

  1. CitizenC
    June 29, 2014, 11:49 am

    The role of Israel and its US supporters is more direct than inciting Arab and Muslim anger. The states that were created after WW1 eventually were accepted and earned the allegiance of their inhabitants. The current breakup of the region was an Israeli/neocon gambit, as Israel Shahak presciently noted in 1982. His notes and translation of Oden Yinon’s 1982 article “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” made it notorious. Today one finds maps of a Balkanized Middle East in the NYT and elsewhere.

    This link is to the valuable Palestine with Provenance archive kept by Irish activists at Univ of Cork.

    http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html

  2. edwards
    June 29, 2014, 11:57 am

    Since the Balfour declaration didn’t even call for a “homeland”, no borders were defined, a situation which persists to this day. It talks about creating a “home” for Jews in Palestine, which is a different kind of intervention than drawing lines on a map. Much more sinister as it turns out. Maps can be redrawn, but de-implantation is hard to conceive.

    • Citizen
      June 29, 2014, 4:30 pm

      @ edwards
      Balfour did call for a “homeland,” but not a state, and said homeland was conditioned on maintaining full equal rights for non-Jews in the area so called for. This has not been obtained.

  3. bilal a
    June 29, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Sykes Picot was but the political expression of an economic cooperative agreement which existed for some time prior to it; WW1 and Balfour being merely means to bring it to its full potential eliminating German-Turkish cooperation and opposition.

    Zionism, then and now, can then be seen as but the use of cultural religious ideologies to support occult financial interests which found expression in the IPC international petroleum cartel: BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total are vestigial remnants of the original organization, originally aligned with the Young Turks subversion of the Ottoman empire. The US Justice department had a keen interest in the decartelization of the IPC but chose later not to prosecute for ‘national security’ rationales. That is, it still exists, even if its omission is telling, in the New York Times of then, and today.

    ——————
    Following the Young Turk Revolution (1908), the National Bank of Turkey, in which Gulbenkian was a major shareholder, was established to stimulate the country’s economic development. Gulbenkian, who was already the Financial and Economic Advisor to the Ottoman embassies in London and Paris, began negotiations with German and British interests that had separately and unsuccessfully sought oil concessions from the Turkish Government. He turned what might have been a disadvantage – being an immigrant from a very different culture – into an advantage, bringing East and West together.
    ..
    Consequently, the Turkish Petroleum Company (T.P.C.) was founded in 1912 to exploit the exceptionally rich oil fields in Iraq. Royal Dutch Shell held a 25% stake in the company, the National Bank of Turkey owned 35% and German interests held a further 25%, while the remaining 15% belonged to Calouste Gulbenkian.
    http://www.gulbenkian.pt/Institucional/en/TheFoundation/TheFounder?a=8

    ——————
    Despite these various maneuvers, neither D’Arcy’s group, now held by Anglo-Persian, nor the Turkish Petroleum Co. had yet been able to obtain an actual concession agreement for Middle East oil. With the British Government actively engaged in pushing Anglo-Persian’s interest, the owners of the rival Turkish Petroleum Co. felt that steps were necessary to remove the opposition of Anglo-Persian. Accordingly, a conference was held in 1914 at the British Foreign Office, and the Foreign Office agreement of March 19, 1914, was adopted. Parties to the agreement were representatives of the German and British Governments, the National Bank of Turkey, Royal Dutch-Shell through the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co., Ltd., the D’Arcy group, and the Deutsche Bank. This agreement provided for a fusion of interest in Turkish Petroleum concessions. Specifically it was agreed that the D’Arcy group (acting for Anglo-Persian) should obtain a 50-percent stock interest in Turkish Petroleum Co., while the Deutsche Bank and Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. were each to hold a 25-percent stock interest. A 5-percent beneficiary interest for Mr. C. S. Gulbenkian was to be contributed equally by the D’Arcy and Anglo-Saxon groups out of their respective holdings, and, in the event of Gulbenkian’s death, the D’Arcy group and Anglo-Saxon were to have the option of purchasing his interest in their names. Aside from admitting the D’Arcy group into Turkish Petroleum Co., the Foreign Office agreement also provided that—

    the three groups participating in the Turkish Petroleum Co. shall give undertakings on their own behalf and on behalf of the companies associated with them not to he interested directly or indirectly in the production or manufacture of crude oil in the Ottoman Empire in Europe and Asia, except in that part which is under the administration of the Egyptian Government or the Sheikh of Koweit or in the transferred territories on the Turco-Persian frontier, 19 otherwise than through the Turkish Petroleum Co. 20

    This provision and Gulbenkian’s 5-percent share became important factors in subsequent negotiations.
    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/Petroleum/ftc4.htm
    ———————————-

    Note: this is managed trade, exclusion of competition in designated geographic locales , targeted years before war acquired the same locales for exploitation. Churchill then or Bush-Clintons now, merely found political justifications for the acquisitions, the means being of course state violence, often aligned with indigenous tribal elites.

  4. Pat Nguyen
    June 29, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Richard, just because religious zealots are not happy with political outcome does not make it wrong. Surely it does not help to excuse people from the need to be tolerant.

    • Shingo
      June 29, 2014, 7:46 pm

      Balfour did call for a “homeland,” but not a state

      Balfour never used the term “homeland” because even the Jewish members of the British cabinet did not want Jews in other states to be descriminated against.

    • Shingo
      June 29, 2014, 7:49 pm

      Richard, just because religious zealots are not happy with political outcome does not make it wrong.

      Of course it was wrong. Balfour said that he did not care about the opinions or aspirations of the Arabs, and that Zionst aspirations were all that natters. That’s racist, supremacist and colonialist. How can it not be wrong?

      Surely it does not help to excuse people from the need to be tolerant.

      Balfour clearly had no tolerance for Arabs.

  5. Donald
    June 29, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Count your blessings. Don’t imagine that if they did discuss the Balfour Declaration they’d be inviting too many scholars sympathetic to the Palestinian side to participate. The Fromkin book “A Peace to End All Peace” has many pages on Zionism, but it’s all laudatory. The Zionists are portrayed as idealists who wanted to live in peace with the Arabs. Churchill is portrayed as someone who was used to dealing with diplomats who understood the necessity of compromise, in contrast to the Palestinian Arabs, who were intransigent. Here is Fromkin stating his view of objective facts on page 521–

    “This was the sort of statesmanship to which Churchill was accustomed, but he did not find it in the Palestinian Arab delegation in London which did no more than repeat its demands. Palestine was and is an area of complex and competing claims but the Arab delegation took account of no claims, fears, needs or dreams other than its own. Unlike Zionist leaders, who sought to compensate Arab nationalism by supporting Arab versus French claims to Syria, who envisaged areas of Arab autonomy within Palestine and who planned economic and other benefits for Arabs who chose to live within the confines of the Jewish homeland, the Arab leaders made no effort to accommodate Jewish aspirations or to take account of Jewish needs.”

    That isn’t Fromkin describing the views of some Zionist–that’s Fromkin describing The Truth according to Fromkin. It’s unintentionally funny–in what universe has any people ever voluntarily granted a chunk of their own homeland to foreign immigrants to create their own state? Fromkin thinks it was terribly generous of the Zionists to allow Palestinians to exert autonomy in some portion of Palestine and to allow some to live within the Jewish state. “A Peace to End All Peace” is often recommended as a way to understand how European colonialism led to so many problems in the region today, but its treatment of Zionism and of Palestinians is ridiculously one-sided.

    • john h
      June 29, 2014, 11:14 pm

      “The Truth according to Fromkin. It’s unintentionally funny–in what universe has any people ever voluntarily granted a chunk of their own homeland to foreign immigrants to create their own state?”

      None better to tell the real truth about that than Jabotinsky, writing this in 1923:

      “My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.

      The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.

      Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators.

      Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised.

      That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of ‘Palestine’ into the ‘Land of Israel’.” [from The Iron Wall”]

  6. Don
    June 29, 2014, 1:07 pm

    “…David Fromkin in his 1989 magisterial bestseller The Peace to End All Peace…”

    Magisterial?? Maybe not so much…

    http://palestinereview.blogspot.com/2012/08/deconstructing-peace-to-end-all-peace.html

    “Despite 20 years of favorable reviews and the endorsements of the U.S. foreign policy and academic establishments, A Peace to End All Peace is a deeply flawed and highly prejudiced work. Fromkin denigrates Arab nationalism, belittles the promises made to the Arabs to prompt their revolt against the Turks, and minimizes the Arab contribution to winning WWI. A Peace to End All Peace also hews closely to the Zionist narrative, American version. Fromkin presents colonization of Palestine as an essentially benign, if misunderstood, process.”

  7. MHughes976
    June 29, 2014, 2:06 pm

    Margaret Macmillan’s ‘Peacemakers’ (2001) is the really magisterial work. The outrageous disregard of Palestinian rights is made clear.

  8. Annie Robbins
    June 29, 2014, 2:33 pm

    I mean, look at Iraq. It’s a bunch of straight lines drawn with a ruler.

    what about colorado, new mexico, utah, wyoming and kansas, just to name a few?

    i think what’s fairly obvious is imperial powers have drawn a new middle east map and they’d like it implemented sooner than later. does anyone mention that?

    speaking of iraq i recommend this great read by Nafeez Ahmed from
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/16/blowback-isis-iraq-manufactured-oil-addiction

    Simultaneously, influential neoconservative US officials saw an opportunity here to pursue hair-brained ambitions to re-engineer the region through the de facto ethno-sectarian partition of Iraq into three autonomous cantons: a vision that could not be achieved without considerable covert violence.

    According to US private intelligence firm Stratfor, Cheney and deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz co-authored the scheme, under which the central and largest part of Iraq populated mostly by Sunnis (including Baghdad) would join with Jordan; the Kurdish region of northern and northwestern Iraq, including Mosul and the vast Kirkuk oilfields, would become its own autonomous state; and the Shi’a region in southwestern Iraq, including Basra, would make up the third canton, or would join with Kuwait.

    Stratfor warned presciently that: “The new government’s attempts to establish control over all of Iraq may well lead to a civil war between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish ethnic groups… The fiercest fighting could be expected for control over the oil facilities” – exactly the scenario unfolding now. Fracturing the country along sectarian lines, however, “may give Washington several strategic advantages”:

    ….

    In this context, contradictory US policies appear to make sense. In early 2005, Pakistani defence sources revealed that the Pentagon had “resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population,” consisting of “former members of the Ba’ath Party” – linked up with al-Qaeda insurgents – to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement.” Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its ‘Salvador option’ to sponsor Shi’ite death squads to “target Sunni insurgents and their sympathisers.”

    The strategic thinking behind arming both sides was alluded to by one US Joint Special Operations University report [*] which said: “US elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.” This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” to fuel “factional fighting” and “to set insurgents battling insurgents.”

    This short-sighted divide-and-rule strategy went nowhere within Iraq beyond fueling sectarianism, but has played out across the region. As I previously wrote in the Guardian and elsewhere, both the Bush and Obama administration have – through Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states – fostered extremist Sunni groups affiliated to al-Qaida across the Middle East to counter Iranian influence.

    there’s a lot more at the link. and let’s not forget, obama has just decided to give $500 million more dollars to “vetted” syrian “rebels” . http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/06/syria-obama-prolongs-the-conflict.html

    [*] the “US Joint Special Operations University report” leads to stanford’s hoover institute and has now been scrubbed. howerver, if you google the quote Nafeez Ahmed cites, this pops up on google:

    Divide et Impera | Hoover Institution
    https://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover…/7460
    Hoover Institution
    Jan 30, 2006 – In Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States is wielding its power for the revolutionary goal of …. in Vietnam, U.S. elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.

    • seafoid
      June 29, 2014, 2:43 pm

      “what about colorado, new mexico, utah, wyoming and Kansas”

      the natives in those cases had already either been exterminated or confined to refugee camps .

    • Bumblebye
      June 29, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Well whaddya know – the world’s Nuttiest PM has just been quoted on the bbc World Service proclaiming that an independent Kurdistan would be such a good thang! And that Israel has to help Jordan repel ISIS.

      • DaBakr
        June 29, 2014, 6:22 pm

        why isn’t an independent Kurdistan (at least in parts of the former ‘falsely drawn borders of) Iraq and Syria a good thing? or is it just that Israel supports such a region? and even if it does-it will be a very long time before any ‘official’ recognition would come from a Kurdish region, nation or state for Israel as they depend entirely too much on Turkey and Iran.

        However-I believe the Kurds are the only ethnic group without their own nation that can trace its cultural roots back further then ancient Jews, Syrians , Persians, etc.

      • RoHa
        June 29, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Far from being modern, it seems to me that far too many Kurds cling to tribal ethnic nationalism instead of trying to make themselves part of the countries they live in.

      • PeterAgur
        June 30, 2014, 5:14 pm

        And why should the Kurds try to make themselves a part of Iraq, a country that used mustard gas against them?

      • RoHa
        July 1, 2014, 12:56 am

        “And why should the Kurds try to make themselves a part of Iraq, a country that used mustard gas against them?”

        The gas attack was a response to Kurdish insurgency.

      • eljay
        June 29, 2014, 10:56 pm

        >> DaBakr: why isn’t an independent Kurdistan (at least in parts of the former ‘falsely drawn borders of) Iraq and Syria a good thing?

        I don’t see anything wrong with a secular and democratic state of Kurdistan – a state of and for all its Kurdish citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally – if that’s what the people of Kurdistan want.

        >> However-I believe the Kurds are the only ethnic group without their own nation that can trace its cultural roots back further then ancient Jews, Syrians , Persians, etc.

        Better no Kurdish state than a supremacist Kurdish state. The world does not need another supremacist state.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2014, 10:59 pm

        the US are planning on having a permanent base on the ‘new’ kurdistan as well has taking a chunk out of turkey and having it read to the black sea.big footprint under US jurisdiction.

      • eljay
        June 29, 2014, 11:09 pm

        >> the US are planning on having a permanent base on the ‘new’ kurdistan as well has taking a chunk out of turkey and having it read to the black sea.big footprint under US jurisdiction.

        America talks freedom, but walks greed and control.

  9. chet
    June 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    “But I can’t wait for them to get to Israel, the west’s role in establishing it during World War I, and how its “borders” affect the rule of one religious group over another.”

    Don’t hold your breath.

  10. just
    June 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Good question.

    (It’s in PNAC, which has never gone away…..)

    • Citizen
      June 29, 2014, 4:42 pm

      @ just
      PNAC macher-pundits appear on Fox News Channel every day, despite the fact they were totally wrong about Iraq. Now they seek to attack Iran. Americans are generally oblivious.

  11. atime forpeace
    June 29, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Here is a recap of the conversation within the Jewish community between the children and the adults in the room.

    Jack is on the adults side and Tom represents the children also in the room.
    Jessep (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?
    Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.
    Jessep: You want answers?
    Kaffee: I want the truth!
    Jessep: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said ‘thank you’ and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to! ”

    my favorite line.
    “And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.”

  12. Hostage
    June 29, 2014, 4:06 pm

    You know, the modern Middle East was formed really all but on the back of an envelope.

    No, to be honest, anyone who’s ever ordered a copy of the full size color map from the UK Archives knows that it has to be folded-up to in order to fit in even the largest envelope. It also had spheres of influence for not only the British French, but also ones for the Italians, Russians, Arabs, and an International one in Palestine. They were all governed by various secret treaty agreements. The ISIS state is in Area A and B which was always set aside for an independent Arab State. See page 6 of 17 in CAB 24/72/7
    Memorandum Former Reference: GT 6506A
    Title: Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.
    Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
    Date: 21 November 1918
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7732547

    • Hostage
      June 29, 2014, 4:15 pm

      P.S. There is a very interesting map on pages 11 and 12 of the pdf file at the link above, which deals with the possible redistribution of territory on the basis of self-determination.

      • bilal a
        June 29, 2014, 5:18 pm

        that’s facile. where are the oil concessions ?

      • Hostage
        June 29, 2014, 7:56 pm

        that’s facile. where are the oil concessions ?

        Inside the Red Line;-) But that wasn’t finalized until 1928. The US didn’t declare War on the Ottoman Empire, but it demanded a share in the post-war settlements including the oil concessions in Turkish Asia. The San Remo Conference was mainly devoted to the squabbling over the oil fields in Mesopotamia, not to the allocation of mandates. Volume 1 of the League of Nations Yearbook reported that:

        “France and Great Britain signed, at Paris on December 23, 1920, a compact, intended to settle finally “the problems raised by the attribution to Great Britain of the mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, and by the attribution to France of the mandate over Syria and the Lebanon, all three conferred by the Supreme Council at San Remo. By this treaty a portion of southern Syria, bordering upon Palestine, is transferred from France to Great Britain. One reason for this transfer appears in this paragraph:
        “The French Government consents to the nomination of a special commission, which, after having examined the ground, may readjust the frontier line in the valley of the Yarmuk as far as Nasib in such a manner as to render possible the construction of a British railway and pipe line connecting Palestine with the Hedjaz railway and the valley of the Euphrates, and running entirely within the limits of the areas under the British mandate.

        “The new frontier includes enough of the Syrian mountain country to enable England to give Palestine a water supply. On the other hand France obtains a share of the Mesopotamian oil lands, and a promise from England not to cede or dispose of Cyprus without the consent of France.

        link to books.google.com
        That agreement was later remodeled to accommodate US oil interests during the Lausanne Conference of 1923, which dealt with the cession from Turkey and superseded the Treaty of Sèvres. There were further modifications in favor of other interests that resulted in the so-called Red Line Agreement of 1928. It established the international Middle East Oil Cartel. During WWII the US experienced shortages, established the strategic reserve, and entered into an agreement with the Cartel members. In the early 1950s the State Department reported that the US could no longer be energy self-sufficient and requested that the Federal Trade Commission not draw attention to the fact that a cartel controlled world oil prices. The editors of the 1943 FRUS cited a copy of the agreement in the possession of the Congress and a few of its details:

        For text of the Group (Red Line) Agreement between private American and European oil companies, July 31, 1928, see House of Representatives, Current Antitrust Problems: Hearings before Antitrust Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, 84th Cong., 1st sess., pt. 2, pp. 1004 ff.; the name is derived from the red line drawn on a map which was included as an attached schedule to the agreement, illustrative of certain restrictive provisions imposed by the companies on themselves in the agreement. The red line delimited a “defined area” from which the companies mutually excluded (with slight qualifications) themselves except as shareholders of the Turkish (Iraq) Petroleum Company; as the area of demarcation included generally all of the old Ottoman Empire except the sheikhdom of Kuwait and Egypt, this self-denying provision in effect confined the operations of the participating companies to the [so-called] Iraq concession area.

        The Eisenhower administration intervened with both conventional forces and financial assistance in Lebanon decades before Camp David. The US had 14,000 troops on the ground – a much larger number than even the Lebanese had at the time. We were also providing arms to regimes in Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and using covert operations to overthrow the elected regime in Iran, e.g. link to dtic.mil.

        I used to have a link to the Red Line map, but it’s sadly dead now.
        Our role in the 1950s in overthrowing the government of Iran, occupying Lebanon, assisting Great Britain in putting down opposition to the Hashemites in Jordan are all well known, together with our continuing involvement in Saudi Arabia and Gulf.

      • Feathers
        June 29, 2014, 8:14 pm

        The role of Sam Untermyer & his son Alvin in securing, or attempting to secure, the rights of the heirs to Sultan Abdul Hamid’s oil-rich holdings in Mesopotamia is intriguing. http://umdearborn.edu/dept/armenian/bts/APRIL05_12_4_1922_TT_MesopotamianOilAStoryOfAbdulHamid.pdf

        If it is true, as the reports claim, that the Sultan owned oil rights worth billions of (1922) dollars, no wonder Theodor Herzl’s decade-long attempt to persuade the Sultan to convey Ottoman Palestine to Jews in return for relief of debts. The Sultan didn’t really need the money/debt relief; he had an ace in the hole.

      • bilal a
        June 29, 2014, 9:30 pm

        brilliant. I wish we had some contemporary insight into the political economy
        of the rothschild cartel inside Iraq today.

      • wes
        June 29, 2014, 8:03 pm

        hostage thanks for link

        interesting comment about kurdistan page 4 item 6

        “certainly cannot be treated tribally”

        great line …this product is certified as …CERTAINLY CANNOT BE TREATED TRIBALLY

    • Citizen
      June 29, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Where can we go to see these various secret treaty agreements? Preferably a site where they discuss the impact of those agreements?

      • Hostage
        June 29, 2014, 8:07 pm

        Where can we go to see these various secret treaty agreements? Preferably a site where they discuss the impact of those agreements?

        Trotsky published them after the revolution and the are available in various online archives, e.g. THE SECRET TREATIES AND UNDERSTANDINGS http://www.gwpda.org/comment/secrettreaties.html

      • W.Jones
        June 29, 2014, 9:49 pm

        Thanks for sharing. Trotsky’s anti-colonial effort in exposing how empires worked to control the Middle East was impressive and admirable.

        And yet what do you think about his discussion about the “planned” “migration” of the “scattered” “Arab” population in the context of Palestine? Was it an echo or forerunner of Ben Gurion’s concept of “transfer”? Perhaps Trotsky was privy to some information or public discussions about this?
        http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/jewish.htm

      • wes
        June 30, 2014, 12:19 am

        w jones

        what was impressive-trotsky asking for funds from american jews and then calling for them to overthrow capitalism.

        “the British government has sharply altered its policy toward the Jews, and has actually renounced its promise to help them found their “own home” in a foreign land. The future development of military events may well transform Palestine into a bloody trap for several hundred thousand Jews. Never was it so clear as it is today that the salvation of the Jewish people is bound up inseparably with the overthrow of the capitalist system”.

  13. amigo
    June 29, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Filkins used the term “you know” 13 times in his response to terry Gross.

    Just thought you should know that.

    • Walid
      June 30, 2014, 9:03 am

      He also got confused with his different caliphates. He appears to believe the ISIS wants to go back to the Ottoman caliphate which ended in 1918. Actually, the holy rollers want to roll back to 1400 years ago and the caliphate that took root after the death of the Prophet. They don’t look very medieval bouncing along in the desert in their newly acquired Humvees.

  14. Feathers
    June 29, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Eventually the whole story will be told and the world will come to label ISIS zionism — the reclaiming of Islamic lands for Muslims — as Woodrow Wilson’s War.

    Chaim Weizmann’s leading role in acquiring the Balfour Declaration will become common knowledge (Deo volente; the influence on Wilson of Bernard Baruch, Louis Brandeis, the Warburg brothers in Versailles negotiations, that pivotal moment when the promise of Arab self-determination was betrayed but zionists achieved “a dual triumph” will become as well known as the theme from Exodus.

    Hoteliers in Oberlin, Ohio will thrive as journalists pore over the King Crane reports, which failed to find their way into Wilson’s hands before the end of the treaty confab, but which are now archived at Oberlin College.

    • Hostage
      June 29, 2014, 8:28 pm

      Hoteliers in Oberlin, Ohio will thrive as journalists pore over the King Crane reports, which failed to find their way into Wilson’s hands before the end of the treaty confab

      The King-Crane Commission Archives at Oberlin College has a webpage which makes it clear that Wilson and the State Department suppressed the report. It explains that the findings of the Commission were so at odds with the actions being taken by the Allies that the Chairman sent urgent telegrams to President Wilson calling for modification of the extreme Zionists program for Palestine (See page 2 of the cable). Charles R. Crane, telegram to Woodrow Wilson, 1919. Henry Churchill King Presidential Papers, Record Group 2/6, box 128, folder 1, Oberlin College Archives link to dcollections.oberlin.edu

      The final report was submitted to the Paris Peace Conference and hand carried to Washington, but Wilson and State Department officials decided suppress it until after the post war treaties were concluded. The Oberlin page cites a “Letter from Undersecretary Henry Fletcher to Secretary of State Leland Harrison, April 7, 1922. Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State, 763.72119/7161, Microfilm Publication 367, Reel 439, National Archives and Records Administration” and explains that:

      Though both Henry Churchill King and Charles Crane felt that the Commission’s report should be made public, they believed themselves unable to distribute the report or speak with the press without the explicit permission of either the Department of State or Woodrow Wilson himself. The State Department prevented even other U.S. government officials from seeing the report, stating that, “it would not be compatible with the public interest.”

      There was quite a bit of public outrage when the report was finally published after the US and the Allies had signed the Treaty of Sevres and partitioned Ottoman Asia against the wishes of the inhabitants of Palestine and Syria.

  15. Sycamores
    June 29, 2014, 8:43 pm

    The McMahon-Hussein Agreement of October 1915 no mention of that either i see.

    i was surprise to read this in the Irish Times

    Betrayal of Arabs after first World War set stage for turbulent century
    Jun 21, 2014

    When, on June 5th, 1916, the Arabs launched their revolt against the Ottoman empire, Germany’s ally, their partners Britain and France had already decided to betray commitments given to the Arabs for joining battle on the eastern front.

    The Arabs had agreed to take part in the war in exchange for independence for Arab lands ruled by the Ottomans. In correspondence conducted from July 14th, 1915, until January 30th, 1916, Britain’s Sir Henry McMahon told Sherif Hussein of Mecca, that Britain would, without “detriment to the interests” of France, “recognise and support the independence of the Arabs in the regions within the limits demanded” by the sherif.

    Britain also promised to advise the Arabs on “suitable forms of government in those various territories”. In turn, the Arabs were to recognise British “special administrative arrangements” in Baghdad and Basra.

    In spite of the qualified commitment to Arab independence, Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes opened talks with France’s Georges Picot May 16th, 1916, with the aim of betraying the Arabs, abrogating the McMahon accord, and carving up Ottoman domains between their faltering empires.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/betrayal-of-arabs-after-first-world-war-set-stage-for-turbulent-century-1.1840067

  16. Hostage
    June 29, 2014, 9:51 pm

    In spite of the qualified commitment to Arab independence, Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes opened talks with France’s Georges Picot May 16th, 1916, with the aim of betraying the Arabs, abrogating the McMahon accord, and carving up Ottoman domains between their faltering empires.

    If you look at the map at the UK National Archives above, it labels Areas A & B of the Sykes-Picot agreement “The Independent Arab State”. Map 3 Possible Settlement of Arab Countries, one of the last maps in the file, divides the blue area between the Hashemites groups under: Feisal, Abdullah, Husein, and Zaid. (See the legend on page 14)

    During a meeting of the Council of Four held during the Versailles Conference, Lloyd George insisted that the LoN mandates could not be used to violate the treaty agreements concluded with the Hashemites. He also explained that the McMahon-Hussein agreement had been the basis of the Sykes-Picot treaty. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

    Sykes and Picot went to the Hedjaz to conclude the details spelled-out in the preliminary McMahon-Husein correspondence. The British Cabinet papers regarding the commitments to Husein note that the Sharif advised both Picot and Sykes during the negotiations that he would only agree to British or French advisors on the understanding that they would have no executive authority whatsoever.
    * See pdf file page 9 of 21 in:
    Former Reference: GT 6185
    Title: British Commitments to King Husein.
    Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
    Date November 1918
    Catalogue reference CAB 24/68
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7644719

    Article 3 of the Sykes-Picot agreement of May 1916 specifically required the British and French to consult the Russians, the other Allies (Italy), and the Sharif of Mecca on the form of government that was to be adopted in the international condominium located in Palestine. It did not include any of the Muslim Holy sites, which were to remain under a Muslim ruler (more below). link to wwi.lib.byu.edu

    Lord Curzon had chaired a War Cabinet meeting of the Eastern Committee attended by Balfour and a great many others on 5 December 1918. The agenda was devoted to a discussion of a memorandum and maps that were distributed by Lord Balfour on the subjects of Syria and Palestine. It also envisioned an international condominium in Palestine. During the morning session on Syria Curzon said:

    “First, as regards the facts of the case. The various pledges are given in the Foreign Office paper* [E.C. 2201] which has been circulated, and I need only refer to them in the briefest possible words. In their bearing on Syria they are the following: First there was the letter to King Hussein from Sir Henry McMahon of the 24th October 1915, in which we gave him the assurance that the Hedjaz, the red area which we commonly call Mesopotamia, the brown area or Palestine, the Acre-Haifa enclave, the big Arab areas (A) and (B), and the whole of the Arabian peninsula down to Aden should be Arab and independent.” (E.C. 41st minutes, for 5 December 1918, page 6).

    In the second half of the meeting on the subject of Palestine he said:
    “The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . . the United Kingdom and France – Italy subsequently agreeing – committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time . . . A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr. Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine ‘should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done – and this, of course, was a most important proviso – to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine.” (E.C. 41st minutes, for 5 December 1918, page 16)

    E.C. 2201 contained two documents:
    The Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula cited above and:
    Former Reference: GT 6506
    Title: The Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.
    Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
    Date 21 November 1918
    Catalogue reference CAB 24/72
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7732546

    Furthermore, British Cabinet papers reveal that the Muslim Holy Places in Hebron and Jerusalem had been completely excluded from the territory of the brown, Palestinian International Enclave, shown on the map attached to the Sykes-Picot Agreement in accordance with the Government of India’s Proclamation No. 4 to the Arab and Indian Sheikhs and the Sharif of Mecca. The remainder of Palestine was included in the area pledged for Arab Independence. See for example paragraph 4 (c) on pp 4 (pdf page 5) and paragraph 6 (a), (d), & (e) on pp 8-9 (pdf page 9-10) CAB 24/72, “The Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula” (Former Reference: GT 6506) , 21 November 1918 and the collection of small and large detailed maps of Palestine in CAB 24/72 “Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula”, (Former Reference: GT 6506A) 21 November 1918 cited and linked above.

    The boundaries established for the OETA East included everything on the maps inside the boundaries of the Independent Arab State. There was a written agreement at Versailles on boundaries that cited “the Sykes-Picot line” and the “Arab State”. It included all of the territory Feisal had liberated in what later became the new state of Transjordan and Syria. “Palestine” was strictly limited to the area under actual British occupation after Allenby’s forces withdrew from Syria. See the terms of the “Aide-memoire in regard to the occupation of Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia pending the decision in regard to Mandates, 13 September 1919″ that was handed by Mr. Lloyd George to M. Clemenceau and placed before the Versailles Conference.
    link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

  17. Sycamores
    June 30, 2014, 2:33 am

    Hostage,

    thanks for the links a lot of info to read.

    you might find this interesting if you haven’t read it already.

    http://www.balfourproject.org/balfour-and-palestine/

    Balfour and most of the British cabinet at the time never intended to allow the Arabs self-determination.

    in reply to Lord Curzon, Balfour stated quite categorically that

    ‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land’.

    there was 700,000 Palestinians Arabs in Palestine making up 94% of the population prior to 1919

    • Hostage
      June 30, 2014, 3:44 am

      ‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country

      Thanks for the link. You are quoting a portion of Balfour’s infamous memo 242. The whole thing is available online and is even more cynical than you might imagine. See Nº. 242. Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia’ [132187/2117/44A], August 11, 1919, link to scribd.com

    • talknic
      June 30, 2014, 5:58 am

      @ Sycamores

      Further to the Balfour quote “The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the ‘independent nation’ of Palestine … “ http://wp.me/PDB7k-Q#jews-can-live-anywhere

      • Sycamores
        June 30, 2014, 11:10 am

        It is interesting to note he says “the ‘independent nation’ of Palestine“, which indicates the intention of the Balfour declaration was not to have a separate Jewish ‘state’

        i agree that the Balfour declaration was not to have a separate Jewish ‘state’ but the intention was there it was obvious to Lord Edwin Montague who was Jewish Englishman and an anti-zionist.

        On the Anti-Semitism of the Present Government

        A Dissenting Note on the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917

        By Lord MONTAGUE

        It is in this atmosphere that the Government proposes to endorse the formation of a new nation with a new home in Palestine. This nation will presumably be formed of Jewish Russians, Jewish Englishmen, Jewish Roumanians, Jewish Bulgarians, and Jewish citizens of all nations – survivors or relations of those who have fought or laid down their lives for the different countries which I have mentioned, at a time when the three years that they have lived through have united their outlook and thought more closely than ever with the countries of which they are citizens.

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15584.htm

        he saw zionism as ‘a mischievous political creed’

        Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on the Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will shake British soil from his shoes and go back to agricultural pursuits in Palestine, he has always seemed to me to have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and to have admitted that he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain, or to be treated as an Englishman. I have always understood that those who indulged in this creed were largely animated by the restrictions upon and refusal of liberty to Jews in Russia. But at the very time when these Jews have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorized to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the “national home of the Jewish people”. I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mahommedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine. Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test.

  18. Naftush
    June 30, 2014, 3:06 am

    It’s Sesame Street all over again. Syria, Iraq, Israel: one of those does not resemble the others. Lest you say, “Yes, one was formed of foreign invaders,” were this so, a fortiori it would have come unglued under the pressures that are fragmenting the other two. Instead, it has been growing rapidly and in every sense.

  19. OlegR
    June 30, 2014, 10:21 am

    Talk as much as you want, but we are here, now
    and we ain’t going nowhere not without one hell of a fight :)

  20. Hostage
    June 30, 2014, 2:42 pm

    we ain’t going nowhere not without one hell of a fight :)

    Israelis used to say the same thing about southern Lebanon. The problem for you is that there are forces in your neighborhood who will be glad to give you one and that anything one army can do in six days, another army can undo in roughly the same amount of time.

  21. PeterAgur
    June 30, 2014, 5:04 pm

    I’m not sure I understand the main point of this article – Reporters talk about Sykes-Picot of 1916 (and ignore the Balfour Declaration of 1917). I mean yes – these reporters are talking about Iraq and Syria, in the context of ISIS. Why are they expected to invoke the Balfour declaration, which had nothing to do with that part of the middle east? Not everything that happens in the middle east is about Israel…

    • Shingo
      June 30, 2014, 9:51 pm

      Why are they expected to invoke the Balfour declaration, which had nothing to do with that part of the middle east?

      What are you talking about? The Levant was certainly part of the region? And if were talking about drawing borders and handing out parcels if land or facilitating massive immigration, how can it nor be?

      Not everything that happens in the middle east is about Israel…

      As we are seeing, what happens in the ME usually has US fingerprints all over it – which means Israel is a factor.

  22. Hostage
    June 30, 2014, 7:57 pm

    I mean yes – these reporters are talking about Iraq and Syria, in the context of ISIS.

    Yes, and they consider everything between Bilad as-Sham, Bilad al-Iraq to Bilad al-Yamin, including Palestine, to be an integral part of their homeland, Arabia.

    • PeterAgur
      June 30, 2014, 9:02 pm

      What I meant is that when discussing why ISIS cares little about the border between Syria and Iraq, it makes sense to discuss the history that led to the creation of that border – and once can cogently do so without necessarily discussing other aspects of Middle East history

      • Hostage
        June 30, 2014, 11:15 pm

        What I meant is that when discussing why ISIS cares little about the border between Syria and Iraq, it makes sense to discuss the history that led to the creation of that border – and once can cogently do so without necessarily discussing other aspects of Middle East history

        You obviously don’t understand that restoration of the Caliphate will include jurisdiction over Palestine as part of natural Syria. After all, the Caliphate was what ultimately led to the breakdown in relations between all of the parties in the post-WWI negotiations. The borders and states in the region were established to facilitate the construction of a British pipeline from Mesopotamia to Haifa, without passing through French mandated territory or its sphere of influence in Area A of the Sykes-Picot map.

        Neither France nor Great Britain had the armed forces necessary to garrison the vast Arab interior, so they needed to install Hashemite suzerains and arm their defense forces to protect the pump stations, pipelines, and communications lines in the interior. The British talked the French into issuing the joint Anglo-French Declaration of 1919 in order to abrogate Sykes-Picot, and then set about remodeling and renegotiating the territorial division and concessions to their advantage at San Remo. The British and French oil company continued to require the cooperation of the Hashemites, even after the Battle of Maysalun. That’s why Britain insisted that the French could not use their mandate to abrogate the deal that had been struck between the parties.

        The Balfour memo 242 explained that the allies had agreed in 1915 to allow Husein to delineate the borders reflected in the maps annexed to the secret treaties I cited above. Among other things, the British directed Chaim Weizmann to sign an agreement on a boundary commission with the Arab state and King Feisal. They asked Georges Clemenceau to do the same with respect to the French mandate and the new Arab state. Its boundary ran west of the new Arab state’s cities of Damascus, Homs, Homa, and Allepo as shown on the maps. Lloyd George was adamant during the Versailles Conference that the French could not occupy those cities or the region east of them.

        For their own part, the Arabs continued to insist that the British and French restore the Caliphate and fulfill the promises about Arab independence in Palestine and elsewhere. They were still insisting that the agreement between Sykes, Picot, and King Husein had provided for an independent Arab state and had not granted the British and French advisors full executive authority. The Arab’s cooperation and assistance in manning the garrisons in the interior was essential to any pipeline and Abdullah was threatening the whole scheme. So protracted attempts to arrive at a suitable treaty were made. British Cabinet papers reveal that after the Cairo Conference:

        “Negotiations have been in progress for about a year for the conclusion of a treaty with King Hussein of the Hejaz, who is the person to whom the McMahon promises of 1915 (see paragraph 5 of the office memorandum) were given. A draft of the treaty was actually initialed in London in April 1923, but difficulties have since arisen, particularly in regard to Article 2 of the draft, which deals with our position in the Mandated States of Iraq, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.”

        See:
        Former Reference: CP 121 (24)
        Title: Palestine.
        Author: James H Thomas
        Date 19 February 1924
        Catalogue reference CAB 24/165
        http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7725901

        The Arabs have always known about the Allied double cross regarding the Caliphate and Arab Independence through works like George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, and the declassified documents, like Balfour’s memo 242 that were all published in the 1950s. Only non-Muslims or non-Arabs think these issues are completely unrelated.

      • Walid
        July 1, 2014, 1:56 am

        “Why are they expected to invoke the Balfour declaration, which had nothing to do with that part of the middle east?”

        A valid question, Peter. The Balfour Declaration messed things up in Palestine but had nothing to do with the screwing up that Sykes and Picot did with the rest of the Middle East. What they didn’t screw up in their initial faulty carving, was further screwed up by subsequent amendments in 1920 by the French and the Brits. Lebanon’s territory was tripled in size at the expense of Syria , supposedly to help the Christians by increasing the number of Christian villages to Lebanon’s territory but it did the exact opposite, and it resulted in having both countries refusing to accept each other’s borders and to have an exchange of ambassadors between them for the next 85 years.

        Balfour’s declaration also did not play any role in the aborted agreement of 1919 between Emir Husain of Arabia and Chaim Weizmann by which Husain had agreed to give all of Palestine to the Zionists in exchange for their technical know-how; that attempted Saudi deal with the Zionists to dispossess the Palestinians came after Sykes-Picot and after Balfour. The declaration certainly did not play any role in the eventual Sunni-Shia conflict in Iraq. The declaration and Sykes-Picot were 2 different tools of Imperialism.

      • Hostage
        July 1, 2014, 10:36 am

        A valid question, Peter. The Balfour Declaration messed things up in Palestine but had nothing to do with the screwing up that Sykes and Picot did with the rest of the Middle East.

        Well for starters ISIS hasn’t declared that Palestine lies outside the boundaries of their restored Caliphate. The stated demand that Muslims everywhere must pay obeisance implicitly includes Palestine in their jurisdiction. In addition, the terms regarding the international condominium in Palestine were applied by the Versailles Peace Conference. It was included inside the “Sykes Picot line” cited in the “Aide-memoire in regard to the occupation of Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia pending the decision in regard to Mandates, 13 September 1919″ and was also the subject of both the Balfour Declaration and the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement, which was one of the documents placed before the conference as well:

        Mr. WEIZMANN: I mentioned the treaty of friendship with the then Emir Feisal, subsequently King Feisal of Iraq. I should have explained a little more by saying that we drew up a treaty of friendship. This record of the treaty is part of the general record of the Peace Treaty of that time, and no doubt among the documents which are before you you will find a copy of this treaty. A postscript was also included in this treaty. This postscript relates to a reservation by King Feisal that he would carry out all the promises in this treaty if and when he would obtain his demands, namely, independence for the Arab countries. I submit that these requirements of King Feisal have at present been realized. The Arab countries are all independent, and therefore the condition on which depended the fulfillment of this treaty, has come into effect. Therefore, this treaty, to all intents and purposes, should today be a valid document.

        — United Nations Special Committee On Palestine Annex A: Oral Evidence Presented At Public Meeting Lake Success, New York, 8 July 1947 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/364A6AC0DC52ADA785256E8B00716662

        FYI, neither Balfour nor Zionist leaders, including the Revisionists and Labor Socialists alike, ever accepted that proposition that the eastern border of the historical Jewish national home had to be fixed at the Jordan river. Leaving them aside, national religious Jews can hardly be expected to settle for anything less than a border at the Babylon river in Syria if the opportunity ever presents itself. The offerings and tithes that only applied to Eretz Israel were enforced in that region according to the Talmud. Full stop. They all read whatever the like into the warrant to “reconstitute” that home contained in Mr. Balfour’s Declaration and the endorsement by the French and other allied powers.

        You don’t need to consult the Irgun map of Eretz Israel to determine the supposed applicability of the Balfour Declaration to all of the mandated territory east of the Jordan river. In 1946 Ben Gurion’s Jewish Agency publicly laid claim to that whole region and cited the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, and Article 80 of the UN Charter. See for example “Mandate is Indivisible Jewish Agency Objects to Severance of T.-J.”, Palestine Post Apr 9, 1946, page 3 http://www.jpress.nli.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI/SharedView.Article.aspx?parm=VHEVwL3dlJELy9L8zKvysgWV75iUMY14IcECy%2BvDWp%2Fy4ZJBNB%2BOkLjbo4GG6DpuYw%3D%3D&mode=image&href=PLS%2F1946%2F04%2F09&page=3

        In August of 1937, Ben Gurion made it clear to the members of the 20th Zionist Congress that he was NOT choosing between a Jewish State in Western Palestine and Jewish claims to all of Eretz Israel on both sides of the Jordan river:

        As a historian of Zionism, Gideon, you must know Ben-Gurion’s words in the 20th Zionist Congress in 1937 (this time in Zurich not in Basel): ‘If I had been faced with the question: a Jewish state in the west of the land of Israel (note the emphasis of the ‘west of the land of Israel’ meaning there is also a ‘east of the land of Israel’) in return to giving up on our historical right to the entire land of Israel I would have postponed the (establishment) of the state’. And he added (as far as I know, to applause from many of the delegates): ‘No Jew is entitled to give up the right of the Jewish nation to the land. It is not in the authority of any Jew or of any Jewish body; it is not even in the authority of the entire nation alive today to give up any part of the land’.

        – Israel Harel, Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2007, Number 208, link to jewishquarterly.org

        If you’ve read the Levy Commission report, then you’d know that the Zionists are still invoking the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo resolution, and the undetermined eastern boundary mentioned in the Palestine mandate as a pretext to contest the legal status of territory and the right to reconstitute the national home in all of it, and British failure to abide by those terms.

  23. jon s
    July 1, 2014, 5:28 am

    Walid
    The agreement was betweenWeizmann and Emir Faisal.

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