The End of the Sykes-Picot Line

Andrea Plebani, Lorenzo Vidino, Stefano Torelli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


On June 2014 the world was taken by surprise by the blitzkrieg launched by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Within three weeks, annihilating the weak defenses posed by the Iraqi army, the group seized a swath of land that goes from the city of Mosul to the outskirts of Baghdad. The media-savvy organization accompanied its military feat with a propaganda barrage on Twitter and other social media outlets. It started with the launch of the hashtag #SmashingSykesPicot, which surprised occasional observers but not those who had long monitored ISIS and other Islamist groups. The names of François Georges-Picot and Sir Mark Sykes are all but forgotten in the West but have long been a rallying cry for Middle Eastern Islamists. At the height of World War I the two diplomats had negotiated a secret deal on behalf of, respectively, France and Britain in which the two powers divided among themselves the spoils of the moribund Ottoman Empire. These designs, which fit the interests of the colonial powers and largely overlooked historical, ethnic and religious dynamics on the ground, formed the basis of the territorial order that grew out of the war and that has since characterized the region. Islamist narrative has long argued that the Sykes-Picot borders are artificial machinations designed by colonial powers to serve their interests by dividing the ummah, the global community of Muslim believers which, by its very nature, should know no internal boundaries.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)32-37
Numero di pagine6
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • iraq
  • islamic state
  • state
  • syria
  • terrorism


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