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 midst 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 could 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 area into 5 new international locations 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 forged 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 fast yet an important period whilst Britain and France governed the center East. It explains precisely how the outdated antagonism among those powers infected the extra widely used sleek contention among the Arabs and the Jews, and finally resulted in struggle among the British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 eventually succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and was hoping that, having performed so, it'd be in a position to hold directly to Palestine. utilizing newly declassified papers from the British and French records, James Barr brings this missed clandestine fight again to existence, and divulges, for the 1st time, the beautiful method during which the French eventually obtained 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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But the forty-three-year-old Georges-Picot had been young once. As a student he initially followed in his father’s footsteps and read law at university. Then, at the age of twenty-eight, he suddenly changed career. The timing of his decision to become a diplomat is crucial, for it took place in 1898: the same year as the Fashoda incident, a debacle that his father’s pressure group had helped to cause. ‘Fashoda’ and its consequences dominated Georges-Picot’s early years at the Quai d’Orsay, and the humbling episode left its mark.

In this he had the full support of two of his senior ambassadors, Maurice Bompard and Paul Cambon. ³³ The Comité, therefore, was obliged to try a different route. In May that year it arranged for its strongest ally in the French Senate, a corpulent lawyer named Etienne Flandin, to issue a report that it hoped would increase the pressure on Delcassé. Flandin’s blustering effort makes entertaining reading. ³⁴ He listed the economic benefits of taking control of the country – everything from the healing powers of thermal springs to perfumes from flower oils and, in passing, petroleum.

Egypt’s economy had been badly affected by the war, and its mostly Muslim Arab population was the closest and most susceptible audience of the sultan’s call for jihad. By mid-1915 McMahon and his advisers were frightened that a Turkish attack on the canal might easily provide the spark that lit an Arab uprising against them in the Nile delta. It was another self-confident young man, the devious, balding Ronald Storrs, who came up with the ingenious idea of using Sharif Husein to blunt the force of the jihad.

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