They're going to tell you that Sykes-Picot created the modern borders of the Middle East (only a few of them), that it is being overturned by ISIS (even less so), that it was ever really implemented /imposed (only in a limited sense), and that all the problems of the Middle East stem from it (a bit more arguable), not to mention that the whole reason that the Middle East is such a
Not because I approve of British and French diplomats carving up the Middle East while a) not asking the locals what they wanted and b) in the British case, promising the Promised Land to themselves, Jews, and Arabs at the same time. The fact is, though, that Sykes-Picot is not what you think it is because, as I've ranted before, and in fact more than once, Sykes-Picot, deplorable as it may have been, was never implemented as written.
Look at the map above. Does it look like today's Middle East? In addition to the British and French (pink and blue) zones, Zones A and B are areas of their influence. France controls Mosul, Kirkuk, and northern Iraq. Britain gets the rest of Iraq, plus southern Palestine, while northern Palestine and Jerusalem are internationalized. Russia controls Constantinople and the Straits, and Armenia. Italy gets its own pound of flesh. But that is not the postwar map of the Middle East.
The reason is simple: "Sykes-Picot" has become a convenient shorthand for "the entire postwar settlement of the Ottoman territories," not the original agreement.
My readers who have studied the history know this: even before the agreement the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, and soon after,the Balfour Declaration, the Paris Peace Talks, the Treaty of Sèvres, the San Remo Conference, the Treaty of Lausanne, and other agreements.
I will be discussing the whole postwar settlement package in coming days. My goal is not to exonerate Sir Mark Sykes and M. Picot, but to place their colonial enterprise in broader context.