A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the by James Barr

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By James Barr

In 1916, in the course of the 1st global conflict, males secretly agreed to divide the center East among them. Sir Mark Sykes was once a visionary baby-kisser; 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 percentages their pact survived the battle to shape the root for the post-war department of the sector into 5 new nations Britain and France may rule. The construction of Britain's 'mandates' of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France's in Lebanon and Syria, made the 2 powers uneasy neighbours for the next 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 an important period while Britain and France governed the center East. It explains precisely how the previous antagonism among those powers infected the extra ordinary glossy competition among the Arabs and the Jews, and eventually resulted in struggle among the British and the French in 1941 and among the Arabs and the Jews in 1948. In 1946, after a long time of intrigue and espionage, Britain ultimately succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and was hoping that, having performed so, it might be in a position to dangle directly to Palestine. utilizing newly declassified papers from the British and French information, James Barr brings this missed clandestine fight again to existence, and divulges, for the 1st time, the beautiful method during which the French ultimately received their revenge.

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Extra info for A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East

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They lost Libya and the empire’s remaining European possessions in the Balkans three years later. The Ottoman Empire’s centre of gravity now shifted significantly eastwards. Besides Turkey itself, the Ottomans now controlled only Syria and Palestine, Iraq and the coastal fringes of the Arabian peninsula. And yet, despite the Ottomans’ decay, the sultan remained influential across the wider Sunni Muslim world as the caliph, or successor, to the Prophet Muhammad and guardian of the three holiest cities in Islam: Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

We have always regarded this 90 or 100 miles of desert upon her eastern side as a stronghold of Egypt; now you propose still further east of that to give us a bit of inhabited and cultivated country for which we should be responsible. ’ Kitchener came to Sykes’s defence. ‘I think that what Sir Mark Sykes means is that the line will commence at the sea-coast at Haifa. ’ pressed Balfour, referring to the French. Sykes sliced his finger across the map that lay before them on the table. ‘I should like to draw a line from the “e” in Acre to the last “k” in Kirkuk,’ he said.

Georges-Picot soon felt able to report an improvement in the situation to his allies in Paris and elsewhere. ⁷ But although he was correct to say that he had forced the British government to address the matter that so exercised the Comité, what he did not know was that his British counterparts could no longer view France’s demand in isolation either. For, unknown to him, but just as he had feared, they had been secretly making their own overtures to the Arabs. The upshot was another, overlapping territorial claim, this time from Sharif Husein of Mecca.

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