Tracing the Islamic State Desire

ISIS/ISIL claims one of the goals of its insurgency is to reverse the effects of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Islāmic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said that “this blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes-Picot conspiracy.”

The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret treaty between the UK and France, with Russia playing a minor role. It laid out a plan for control of the Middle East should the Russians, French, and British defeat the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Britain was given control of the coastal strip between the sea and River Jordan, Jordan, southern Iraq, and a small area including the ports of Haifa and Acre, to allow access to the Mediterranean. France received control of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Russia was to get Istanbul, the Turkish Straits and the six Ottoman Armenian provinces. The controlling powers were left free to decide on state boundaries within these areas.

Further negotiation to decide international administration was pending with Russia and other powers, including the Sharif of Mecca. However, following the Russian Revolution in October 1917, the Bolsheviks exposed the agreement.

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