Wednesday 26 July 2017

Portrait of the Week

John Lennon's haunting Christmas song pleads for peace, but events last week prove that war is far from over

Peace talks: US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, pictured earlier this year Photo: Getty Images
Peace talks: US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, pictured earlier this year Photo: Getty Images

Rachel Lavin

As we prepare to ring in the centenary of the Easter Rising, we will commemorate how 1916 (arguably) brought us the establishment of a better nation with long-lasting peace and sovereignty in the Republic of Ireland. But in the Middle East, 2016 will mark the opposite.

One hundred years ago, Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot carved up the Middle East in straight lines and shared the spoils of the newly established states of Syria, Mount Lebanon and Northern Iraq with France while Britain claimed the rest of Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan. On finding out about the decision, Edward House, a foreign policy adviser to US President Woodrow Wilson, said "It is all bad…They are making it a breeding place for future war."

As the centenary approaches, in the Middle East it will be one that commemorates 100 years of unrest in the areas surrounding these borders, today claimed by Isil who are now battling to construct new borders for their Islamic caliphate.

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