By James Barr
In 1916, in the course of the 1st international battle, males secretly agreed to divide the center East among them. Sir Mark Sykes used to be a visionary baby-kisser; Francois Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which used to be designed to alleviate tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line within the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line could visit France; land south of it, to Britain. opposed to the chances their pact survived the conflict to shape the foundation for the post-war department of the sector into 5 new nations Britain and France may rule. The production of Britain's 'mandates' of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France's in Lebanon and Syria, made the 2 powers uneasy neighbours for the subsequent thirty years. via a stellar solid of politicians, diplomats, spies and squaddies, together with T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, A Line within the Sand vividly tells the tale of the fast yet the most important period whilst Britain and France governed the center East. It explains precisely how the outdated antagonism among those powers infected the extra commonplace smooth contention among the Arabs and the Jews, and finally resulted in battle among the British and the French in 1941 and among the Arabs and the Jews in 1948. In 1946, after a long time of intrigue and espionage, Britain ultimately succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and was hoping that, having performed so, it'd be in a position to grasp directly to Palestine. utilizing newly declassified papers from the British and French documents, James Barr brings this ignored clandestine fight again to lifestyles, and divulges, for the 1st time, the lovely means during which the French eventually acquired their revenge.
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Extra resources for A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East
Thanks to its members inside the Quai d’Orsay, the Comité de l’Asie Française found out immediately about Sykes’s plan, which at last provided it with the ammunition that it needed. It reacted by issuing a counterproposal that placed Syria and Palestine entirely under French control. ³⁷ Delcassé, already under fire in the French parliament for failing to show more energetic action, now buckled under pressure. ³⁹ If that sounded uncharacteristic of Cambon, it was. The ambassador personally questioned the wisdom of claiming Syria, and his forthright warning had in fact been drafted by a new attaché who had arrived from Paris days earlier to join the French mission.
He ignored the fact that the railways, which the Ottomans were building with German help, were making cheap travel a possibility for Arabs whose horizons had previously been limited by how far they could walk or ride. ¹⁴ How a postal service, the telegraph, the railway, a thriving newspaper industry and growing literacy were about to change the Arab world for ever, he either could not see or did not want to say. ¹⁶ The Caliphs’ Last Heritage helped earn Sykes the nickname ‘the Mad Mullah’ across Whitehall, a place on a committee considering the future of the Middle East, and now a summons to Number 10 to address the ‘Eastern question’, the long-running argument over who would take over when finally the Ottomans collapsed, and to which the British and the French were each certain they were the only answer.
Before the war, the British could not possibly help; now they could. At Storrs’s instigation McMahon secretly made contact again with Husein, hinting that British aid would follow if he rose up against the enemy they now shared. Storrs argued that the turbaned, white-bearded and austere Sharif Husein was ideally suited to undermine the sultan’s resonant call for holy war. Not only was Husein ruler of the city that was the axis of the Muslim world – his telephone number was Mecca 1 – but as a ‘sharif’ he was recognised as a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, an ancestry the sultan could not claim.