Drawing the Middle East’s modern borders on map with a ruler certainly seemed simple. Perhaps that’s why the lines, set in 1916 by Englishman Sir Mark Sykes and Frenchman Francois Georges-Picot were straight ones. The infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement was a pact between Great Britain and France, made in the middle of World War I (with Russia’s blessing). With it, they planned to dismember the Ottoman Empire. It led to the division of the Turkish-held Middle East into 5 French and British-administered countries.
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