During the Paris peace talks, on Sunday, December 1, 1918 during a meeting at the French Embassy in London, by David Lloyd George's own account, Georges Clemenceau asked him what he wanted, and Lloyd George immediately replied, "Mosul." Clemenceau then said "You shall have it. Anything else?" To which Lloyd George responded "Palestine from Dan to Beersheba," (or in another version, "Jerusalem.") (Much of Palestine was supposed to be under international control under Sykes-Picot.) Clemenceau, who wanted British support for French claims in the Rhineland, quickly agreed.The rise of the Turkish Republic undermined the hopes of Italy and Greece for carving out their shares, and the Treaty of Lausanne and the results of the San Remo Conference had far more than the Sykes-Picot agreement to do with the modern borders, which continued to change at least as late as the 1939 transfer of the Hatay to Turkey.
So I'm pleased to see two recent additions to the choir:
- Marc Lynch, "Rethinking Nations in the Middle East," at The Monkey Cage. This is both a useful essay in its own right and a justified plug for a new POMEPS study called "Rethinking Nations and Nationalism," based on a symposium Marc and Laurie Brand convened earlier this year.
- 'Lines Drawn on an Empty Map': Iraq’s Borders and the Legend of the Artificial State (Part 1) by Sara Pursley at Jadaliyya. Along with Part 2 here, this is one of the best takedowns I've seen to the "Iraq is artificial" theme. The maps alone are wonderful, And if anybody in the field isn't already reading Jadliyya regularly, it's a great reminder of why you should be.