Opinion: Mapmaking and warmongering in Africa
Stelios Michalopoulos and Elias Papaioannou
Providence/London – Why are some regions plagued by seemingly endless instability? In the Middle East, one widespread argument, which even the Islamic State expounds, puts much of the blame for chronic conflict on the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret deal agreed 100 years ago by France and Great Britain to divide between them the soon-to-be-former Ottoman Empire. According to this view, while the “lines in the sand” drawn by the diplomats Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot served the short-term interests of the colonial powers, the arbitrary partition of the region spurred a century of violence, organized and otherwise.