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

England

By James Barr

In 1916, in the course of the 1st global struggle, males secretly agreed to divide the center East among them. Sir Mark Sykes used to be a visionary baby-kisser; Francois Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which used to be 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 conflict to shape the foundation for the post-war department of the sector into 5 new nations Britain and France could 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 an important period while Britain and France governed the center East. It explains precisely how the previous antagonism among those powers infected the extra widespread smooth competition among the Arabs and the Jews, and finally 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 eventually succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and was hoping that, having performed so, it'd be capable of hang 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 eventually received their revenge.

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

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McMahon felt uncomfortable with the responsibility he had been given, not least because he knew that as soon as British forces withdrew from the Dardanelles the Turks would counter-attack, and their target would probably be Egypt. This prospect raised another fear. 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.

Lacking neighbourly support, both France and Britain resorted to violent tactics to crush protest that only enraged the Arabs further. The French had long believed that the British were actively aiding Arab resistance to their rule, but up until the outbreak of the Second World War this suspicion was unfounded. 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.

In Damascus he was assailed by ‘packs of filthy dogs . . ¹² The souks there were ‘ankle deep in decaying guts and offal; the kennels run with congealing blood and stinking dye in sluggish and iridescent streams, nauseous to behold and abominable in odour’. Sykes sounded appalled, and yet in truth he did not want this colourful, decaying society to disappear, depriving him of the glimpse into the medieval world it gave him on his holidays. ¹³ He ignored the fact that the railways, which the Ottomans were building with German help, were making cheap travel a possibility for Arabs whose horizons had previously been limited by how far they could walk or ride.

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