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ISIS and the Secret “Sykes-Picot” Agreement

Why does Islamic State care about the century old secret "Sykes-Picot" agreement?

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ISIS affected regions, Wikimedia commons

“If Sykes-Picot represents the fragmentation of the Islamic world as well as historical Western, Christian intervention in the region, then we claim to stand for all that runs counter to Sykes-PicotAbu al-Baghdadi (leader of ISIS).

  • Also known as the Asia Minor Agreement, the Sykes-Picot was a secret agreement signed between United Kingdom of Great Britain, French Third Republic and Ireland (with the agreement of Russia) on 16th May 1916.
  • It was kept secret till 1917. On 26 November 1917 the agreement was made public in the British Guardian. The agreement was all about dividing the Middle East after World War I.
    • Britain was allocated the coastal strip areas between the Mediterranean Sea and River Jordan to have access to the Mediterranean.
    • France was given southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
    • Russia was supposed to take control of Istanbul, the Turkish Straits, and Armenia. However, it was left free for the controlling powers to decide on their state boundaries within their areas.
  • The agreement was a turning point in western-Arab relations. In 1918, the partitioning of Ottoman’s Arab provinces took place and the empire was divided effectively.
  • After US invasion in Iraq (in 2003), the Asia Minor Agreement was widely criticized. People were stipulating this whole act as a foreign dominance by the world leaders in the Middle-East regions.
Captured ISIS fighter, Wikimedia commons
Captured ISIS fighter, Wikimedia commons
  • Presently, the Islamic State militant group (IS) is taking a stand in destructing the borders between Iraq and Syria. They also released a video on YouTube titled “The End of Sykes-Picot”. The video projected the destruction of the border between Iraq and Syria. An IS fighter can be seen in the video mentioning “There is no border. We all are one country and IS-held territory should not be divided.” He further quotes the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as saying “he was the breaker of barriers.”

Related articleTruth Uncovered: Origin of the Islamic militant group

  • IS subcategorised the Sykes-Picot themes into the following 4 fragments.
    • Fragmentation
    • Intervention
    • Geopolitical
    • Symbolic
  • Intellectuals believe that the Sykes-Picot agreement might be key to understanding the propaganda and ideology of the IS militant group. This can also be seen from the fact that the group renamed itself from Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Syria) to just Islamic State. They are planning for bigger fish. Aiming to destroy foreign imperialism, ISIS plans to establish its own state (not just an organization working in 2 countries).
  • However, there have been arguments regarding the Sykes-Picot deal. Some say foreign borders were formed over a long period of time, not by some foreign imperialism. Another notion is that the Remo conference held in the 1920s is ultimately responsible for the foreign borders that we are witnessing today not Sykes-Picot agreement. (Input from Radio free Europe)

Edited by Pritam Pritam, a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself.)

Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

 

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Nigeria, Cameroon Vow to Tackle Terrorism

The Cameroon-Nigeria Transborder Security Committee has as prime objective strengthening border security for both countries. It was created in 2012 in Nigeria

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Cameroon and Nigeria agreed on Friday to take further measures to boost multifaceted cooperation in the fight against terrorism along their shared border. Wikimedia Commons

Nigeria has promised to assist Cameroon in combating the separatist crisis rocking the central African country’s English speaking region. The pledge, made during a security meeting, has been described by Cameroon authorities as reassuring, following accusations that separatist fighters in Cameroon were being trained in Nigeria, and that weapons they use are brought in through the neighboring country.

Brigadier General Emmanuel Adamu Ndagi, leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Cameroon-Nigeria transborder security meeting that ended in Yaounde Saturday, says his country has been seriously affected by the separatist crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

The closure of parts of the border has led to a sharp decline in food imports, like sorghum, rice and onions, to Nigeria on one hand, while basic commodities exported from Nigeria, like fuel, are hard to get into Cameroon. Ndagi says because of the security, economic and humanitarian threats caused by the separatist war, Nigeria will support Cameroon in bringing peace to its troubled regions.

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Delegates respect the Cameroon and Nigerian anthem during the Yaounde security meeting in Camerron, July 6, 2019. ( Moki Kindzeka/VOA)

“The current political upheavals in that region will not be allowed to affect our cordial relations,” said Ndagi. “We will continue to support your efforts to bring lasting peace to the region. This will facilitate the return of Cameroonian refugees that have crossed the border into Nigerian territory. We must reduce vulnerabilities along our borders that are being exploited to perpetrate transnational organized crime notably terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as piracy.”

When Cameroon declared war on the armed separatists in November 2017, it said gunmen were attacking border localities in Cameroon’s southwest and escaping to Nigeria, where some of them were trained. Nigeria denied the assailants were crossing over from its territory into Cameroon.

In January 2018, 47 separatists, including Ayuk Tabe Julius, head of a group from Cameroon’s Angolphone regions pushing for a breakaway from the French-dominant country, were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria, extradited and jailed in Cameroon.

Paul Atanga Nji, territorial administration minister and Cameroon’s leader of the delegation to the security meeting, says in spite of the collaboration, the separatists continue to use porous borders to import weapons through Nigeria, making the security situation very uncertain.

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Weapons used by separatist fighters suspected to have been made in Nigeria and brought into Cameroon, June 6, 2019. ( Moki Kindzeka/VOA)

“The security situation along our common borders has all of a sudden become a cause for concern,” Nji said. “These threats take the following forms. Secessionist tendencies, illegal exploitation of natural resources, conflicts between boarder communities, highway robbery, drug and human trafficking, illicit trafficking of fire arms, agro pastoral conflicts etc.”

The UNHCR says that by December 2018 there were more than 32,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria’s Cross River state. Nigeria’s longest international border is with Cameroon. All along the 1,975 kilometer border there are violent crises. Nigeria’s northeast states of Borno and Adamawa continue to have Boko Haram terrorist attacks.

As the Yaounde security meeting was going on, Kildadi Taguieke Boukar, governor of Cameroon’s Adamaoua region that shares a boundary with Nigeria’s Taraba state, announced renewed conflicts with Nigerians escaping farmer-herder clashes to Cameroon.

“There is a conflict along some tribes in Nigeria’s Taraba state. About 100 people from Nigeria flee [have escaped] to our territory around Kontcha division [administrative unit and], there is agro-pastoral [farmer-herder] conflicts,” Boukar said.

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Paul Atanga Nji, head of Cameroon delegation (left) and Brigadier General Emmanuel Adamu Ndagi, leader of the Nigerian delegation (right) in Yaounde, Cameroon, July 6, 2019. ( Moki Kindzeka/VOA)

Nigeria has not confirmed the renewed violence, but confrontations erupted last year in Cameroon’s Adamaoua region between farmers and Nigerian cattle ranchers who had escaped tribal wars in Taraba state.

ALSO READ: US Institute of Peace Trains Kenyan Women to Help Fight Terrorist Radicalization Campaigns

The Cameroon-Nigeria Transborder Security Committee has as prime objective strengthening border security for both countries. It was created in 2012 in Nigeria. Cameroon and Nigeria agreed on Friday to take further measures to boost multifaceted cooperation in the fight against terrorism along their shared border.

They did not disclose details of how their cooperation will be carried out, but they said they would share information regularly to stop terrorist activities including Boko Haram attacks and separatists fighting for the independence of an English-speaking sate in Cameroon. They said they would make it difficult for criminals to leave Nigeria for Cameroon and vice versa. (VOA)