By James Barr
In 1916, in the course of the 1st global warfare, males secretly agreed to divide the center East among them. Sir Mark Sykes was once a visionary flesh presser; Francois Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was once designed to alleviate tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line within the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line might visit France; land south of it, to Britain. opposed to the chances their pact survived the struggle to shape the root for the post-war department of the zone into 5 new nations Britain and France might rule. The production of Britain's 'mandates' of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France's in Lebanon and Syria, made the 2 powers uneasy neighbours for the subsequent thirty years. via a stellar solid of politicians, diplomats, spies and squaddies, together with T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, A Line within the Sand vividly tells the tale of the quick yet the most important period while Britain and France governed the center East. It explains precisely how the previous antagonism among those powers infected the extra time-honored glossy competition among the Arabs and the Jews, and eventually ended in struggle among the British and the French in 1941 and among the Arabs and the Jews in 1948. In 1946, after decades of intrigue and espionage, Britain ultimately succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and was hoping that, having performed so, it might be capable of grasp directly to Palestine. utilizing newly declassified papers from the British and French information, James Barr brings this missed clandestine fight again to lifestyles, and divulges, for the 1st time, the lovely approach during which the French ultimately acquired their revenge.
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Extra resources for A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East
This document survives among the paperwork he left when, three years later, he died from influenza at the age of just thirty-nine. His distinctive, muscular but juvenile handwriting gives it the look of a schoolboy’s last-minute revision notes, but it was by far the most significant thing he ever wrote. For the tour d’horizon it sketched helped him convince the cabinet that they must urgently reach agreement with France on how they should divide the Ottoman Empire between them, and that he was the man to mastermind that deal.
His decision to quote the exact phrase he had used suggests a certain smugness about its subtlety, but unfortunately for him the first person foxed by it was Storrs’s secret agent and translator, Ruhi. ¹⁸ By the time McMahon had sent this missive to Husein, Grey had seen the French ambassador, Cambon. ²¹ From this point Georges-Picot became the ventriloquist for the French government’s policy in the Middle East. He returned to Paris and anonymously drafted further instructions to Cambon, approving himself as Cambon’s negotiator and ordering him to demand a Syria that encompassed Palestine by stretching south to the Egyptian frontier and east to Mosul.
The fall of France in 1940, and the subsequent decision by the French in the Levant to back the Vichy government, ended both sides’ reluctance to interfere in one another’s problems. In June 1941 British and Free French forces invaded Syria and Lebanon to stop the Vichy administration providing Germany with a springboard for an offensive against Suez. After the Vichy French surrendered a month later, the British government entrusted the government of Lebanon and Syria to the Free French. When that move caused Arab anger British officials decided that the best way to divert attention away from Palestine was to help both Syria and Lebanon gain their independence at French expense.
A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East by James Barr