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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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Russian Lawmakers Come Up In Support For Bill on ‘Sovereign’ Internet

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

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The coat of arms of Russia is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 12, 2019. Pixabay

Russian lawmakers backed tighter internet controls on Tuesday to defend against foreign meddling in draft legislation that critics warn could disrupt Russia’s internet and be used to stifle dissent.

The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament.

The bill seeks to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if the country is cut off from foreign infrastructure.

internet
The legislation, which some Russian media have likened to an online “iron curtain,” passed its first of three readings in the 450-seat lower chamber of parliament. Pixabay

The legislation was drafted in response to what its authors describe as an aggressive new U.S. national cybersecurity strategy passed last year.

The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.”

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has said the bill poses more of a risk to the functioning of the Russian internet segment than the alleged threats from foreign countries that the bill seeks to counter.

internet
The Agora human rights group said earlier this month that the legislation was one of several new bills drafted in December that “seriously threaten Internet freedom.” Pixabay

The bill also proposes installing network equipment that would be able to identify the source of web traffic and also block banned content.

The legislation, which can still be amended, but which is expected to pass, is part of a drive by officials to increase Russian “sovereignty” over its internet segment.

Also Read: Now Russian Telecom Watchdog To Direct Facebook, Twitter to Localise Users’ Database

Russia has introduced tougher internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.

The bill faces two more votes in the lower chamber, before it is voted on in the upper house of parliament and then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.(VOA)