In his doctoral dissertation, Gibson discusses the role that oil then played in British strategic thinking and mentions Mosul Vilayet as the largest potential oil field and France`s 1918 agreement to accept its adherence to Iraq`s mandate (the Clemenceau Lloyd George Agreement) in exchange for a “share of british oil and support elsewhere.”  The agreement has been widely criticized in recent years, especially after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, because, for many, its borders are not only a symbol of foreign imperialism, but also reflect what they see as the lack of understanding of the Middle East â€“ then and now â€“ demonstrated by world leaders. Ethnic groups were divided across borders and when sectarian violence erupted after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, many Sykes-Picot accused opposing ethnic groups. One hundred years ago, on May 16, Britain and France signed a secret agreement to divide the carcass of the dying Ottoman Empire, which since then has become in the Middle East an embodiment of imperialist cranial duggery â€“ the Sykes-Picot Agreement. US President Woodrow Wilson had rejected all secret agreements between the Allies and encouraged public diplomacy and ideas of self-determination. On November 22, 1917, Leon Trotsky addressed a note to the petrograd ambassadors “which contained proposals for ceasefire and democratic peace without annexation and compensation, on the basis of the principle of the independence of nations and their right to determine for themselves the nature of their own development.”  Peace negotiations with the Quadrilateral Alliance â€“ Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey â€“ began a month later in Brest-Litovsk. On behalf of the Quadrilateral Alliance, Count Czernin replied on 25 December that “the question of the nationality of national groups that do not have independence from the State” must be resolved by “each State and its peoples independently by the constitution” and that “the right of minorities is an essential element of the constitutional right of peoples to self-determination”.  In the Middle East, few men today are as pilloried as Sir Mark Sykes and FranÃ§ois Georges-Picot. Sykes, a British diplomat, traveled to the same territory as T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia), served in the Buren War, inherited a Baronetcy, and won a Conservative seat in Parliament.
He died young, at the age of thirty-nine, during the flu epidemic of 1919. Picot was a French lawyer and diplomat who led a long but obscure life until his death in 1950, mainly in the Backwater posts. But the two men continue to live in the secret agreement they were to enter during World War I to divide the Ottoman Empire`s immense land mass into British and French spheres of influence. The Sykes-Picot agreement launched a nine-year process â€” and other agreements, declarations, and treaties â€” that created the modern states of the Middle East from the Ottoman carcass. In the end, the new borders bore little reass like the original Sykes-Picot map, but their map is still considered the main cause of much that has happened since then. To truly understand the effects of colonialism in the Middle East, one must first consider the document that served as the basis for Western colonization in the region: the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The agreement, forged by both the British and the French â€“ and briefly with the Russian government before their delegation withdrew to focus on their dramatic domestic revolution â€“ tells a traditional and stereotypical history of imperialism: Western governments arbitrarily drew lines that divided the country and formed the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Ignoring traditional ethnic, religious and tribal divisions….