History

A century-long ‘parenthesis’ everyone hates

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
It is every Islamist’s dream, in the words of the outgoing prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, “to close the century-long parenthesis” that goes by the official name the “Asia Minor Agreement” – or, as it is more commonly known, the Sykes-Picot accord of May 16, 1916.

The "Shocking Document" that Shaped the Middle East Turns 100

by Daniel Pipes, Washington Times
The Sykes-Picot accord that has shaped and distorted the modern Middle East was signed one hundred years ago, on May 16, 1916. In the deal, Mark Sykes for the British and François Georges-Picot for the French, with the Russians participating too, allocated much of the region, pending the minor detail of their defeating the Central Powers in World War I.

How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East

Anti-government demonstrators breaching the heavily fortified Green Zone, in Baghdad, on Saturday.

BY ROBIN WRIGHT
In the Middle East, few men are pilloried these days as much as Sir Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot. Sykes, a British diplomat, travelled the same turf as T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia), served in the Boer War, inherited a baronetcy, and won a Conservative seat in Parliament. He died young, at thirty-nine, during the 1919 flu epidemic. Picot was a French lawyer and diplomat who led a long but obscure life, mainly in backwater posts, until his death, in 1950.

How the tribal warfare of our ancestors explains the Islamic State


By Luke Glowacki 
Luke Glowacki is a postdoctoral fellow in human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.
From Brussels to Paris to San Bernardino to Syria, the world appears to be erupting in violence. In this war, the targets can be anyone and anywhere. While attackers take inspiration from Islamic State leadership, in many cases they seem to act on their own initiative.

Enver Hoxha: The Lunatic Who Took Over the Asylum

arge grafiti art in "the block", downtown tirana, albania.

 

By Alex Sakalis

This article was originally published by openDemocracy on 15 March 2016.

Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania tells the extraordinary story of how one man held an entire country hostage for 40 years – and got away with it. Between 1944 and 1985, the small Balkan nation of Albania was ruled by a strange, sociopathic and, frankly, completely mad dictator by the name of Enver Hoxha. While Stalinism effectively ended in Europe with the death of its namesake, or at least with the Khruschev reforms that followed, it continued unabated and unquestioned in Albania until 1990.

CHINA’S STRATEGIC SHIFT TOWARD THE REGION OF THE FOUR SEAS: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM ARRIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Fig 1

BY CHRISTINA Y. LIN
Since the Arab Spring, China has been quietly asserting its influence and fortifying its foothold in the Middle East, while the United States pivots to the Asia Pacific after a decade of war. It is aligning with states that have problematic relations with the West and are also geo-strategically placed on the littoral of the “Four Seas”–the Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf. Paradoxically, the U.S. eastward pivot is matched by the resurgent Middle Kingdom’s westward pivot across its new Silk Road, and threatens to outflank the citadel of American geo-strategies in the region.

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