Andrew J. Tabler is the Martin J. Gross fellow in the Geduld Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on Syria and U.S. policy in the Levant.
A century after diplomats Mark Sykes of Britain and François Georges-Picot of France drew up a secret agreement to divide the Ottoman lands of the Middle East, a look at the modern map indicates the resulting states have largely stood the test of time -- at least thus far. Most of these states are now under considerable demographic, economic, and political stress, which has led some analysts to predict eventual collapse of at least some of them.
In this Policy Focus, Andrew J. Tabler has compiled essays addressing the past, present, and future of the modern countries carved out by Sykes-Picot, including Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, as well as communities aspiring to statehood such as the Kurds and the Palestinians. Written by Institute scholars and outside experts, the essays are the product of a 2016 workshop that addressed a number of key issues: the sinews of state failure; keys to success of states resulting from Sykes-Picot; the challenges facing these states today; and what the United States and its allies can do to help these countries with problems of governance, control of territory, and human development.
ANDREW J. TABLER | Introduction
FABRICE BALANCHE | The Levant: Fragmentation and Remapping
MICHAEL KNIGHTS | Iraq: Identifying a Steady State
DAVID POLLOCK | Ending a Century of Subjugation: Sykes-Picot’s Kurdish Legacy
DAVID SCHENKER | Jordan: Resilience and Stability amid Persistent Challenges
SAM MENASSA | Lebanon, Sykes-Picot, and U.S. Foreign Policy
SONER CAGAPTAY | Turkey Faces Its Toughest Tests
GHAITH AL-OMARI | Palestine: State Institutions Before State Lines
DAVID MAKOVSKY | Israel’s Enduring Struggle over Land
BRIGITTE CURMI | The Arab World in 2016: Bringing the State Back In
MARTIN KRAMER | Repairing Sykes-Picot
ANDREW J. TABLER is the Martin J. Gross Fellow at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on Syria and U.S. policy in the Levant. During fourteen years' residence in the Middle East, Mr. Tabler served as cofounder and editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria's first private-sector English-language magazine; as a consultant on U.S.-Syria relations for the International Crisis Group; and as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, writing on Syria. Lebanon, and the Middle East. His articles and opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. He has also appeared in interviews with CNN, NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and the BBC.