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James Barr: A Line in the Sand

James Barr: A Line in the Sand

James Barr: A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the rivalry that shaped the Modern Middle East

In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them. Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; François Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. They drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier, and together remade the map of the Middle East, with Britain’s ‘mandates’ of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France’s in Lebanon and Syria.

Over the next thirty years a sordid tale of violence and clandestine political manoeuvring unfolded. Using declassified papers from the British and French archives, James Barr vividly depicts the covert, deadly war of intrigue and espionage between Britain and France to rule the Middle East, and reveals the shocking way in which the French finally got their revenge.

James Barr has worked in politics, at the Daily Telegraph, in the City, at the British Embassy in Paris, and is currently a visiting fellow at King’s College, London.

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