Partitioning Syria: Oil, Gas And Peace, by James Durso

The nation of Syria, as well as a host of other Middle Eastern and Northern African nations, are lines drawn by Europeans that do not reflect ethnic and sectarian realities, and in many cases have led to conflict and violence. Partitionsmake more sense than trying to put the square pegs of tribal loyalties in the round hole of artificial nations. From James Durso at

It’s the 101st anniversary of the Sykes–Picot Agreement and, in light of the non-stop Syrian Civil War, it’s time to ask, “How’s that working out for you?”

The Sykes–Picot Agreement formalized the British and French spheres of influence in the Middle East and set the stage for the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, which ran from 1923 to 1946. In 1936, Ali Sulayman al-Assad, grandfather of Syrian President Bashir Assad, and other Alawite notables petitioned French President Leon Blum, in an attempt to stay under French protection: “The spirit of hatred and intolerance plants its roots in the heart of Muslim Arabs toward everything that is non-Muslim, and is forever fueled by the spirit of the Islamic religion. There is no hope that the situation will change. If the Mandate is canceled, therefore, the minorities in Syria will become exposed to a risk of death and annihilation…”

Al-Assad’s thoughts are timely in light of a proposal by Jamsheed and Carol Choksy of Indiana University for an “impartial partition plan” for Syria. The proposal would complement a cease fire with partition along ethnic lines (with concomitant population transfers) and no role for Russia, Iran, and Turkey who have acted as belligerents. The majority Sunni Arabs would get the provinces in the center and the north, the Kurds would take the northeast, the Alawites and Shiites would keep the Mediterranean coastal provinces, the Christians, Druze, and Jews would share the southwest and south, and the Yezidis would get an enclave on the Syria-Iraq border.

To continue reading: Partitioning Syria: Oil, Gas And Peace



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