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Aussöhnung mit Sykes-Picot

NEW YORK – Dieser Monat markiert das 100. Jubiläum des Sykes-Picot-Abkommens, des britisch-französischen Geheimabkommens, das eine jahrzehntelange Serie von Grenzanpassungen im postosmanischen Mittleren Osten einleitete. Die meisten Kommentare zu diesem Jubiläum waren bisher negativ und suggerierten, dass die Vereinbarung beträchtlichen Anteil an der Häufigkeit und Dauerhaftigkeit der Konflikte der Region hat.

Diese Interpretation freilich grenzt an eine Karikatur. Ziel von Mark Sykes und François Georges-Picot war es, einen Plan zu entwickeln, der Großbritannien und Frankreich in die Lage versetzen würde, eine ruinöse Rivalität im Mittleren Osten zu vermeiden. Sie waren damit überwiegend erfolgreich: Ihr Konzept verhinderte, dass die Region in der Folge zwischen den beiden europäischen Mächten stand, und schaffte es, ein Jahrhundert zu überdauern.

Natürlich spiegelten viele der Grenzen des Sykes-Picot-Abkommens in Europa getroffene Absprachen wider und nicht die demographischen oder historischen Realitäten vor Ort. Aber damit steht der Mittlere Osten nicht gerade allein: Die meisten Grenzen auf der Welt beruhen weniger auf einer durchdachten Absicht oder einer Bevölkerungsentscheidung als auf einer Mischung aus Gewalt, Ehrgeiz, Geographie und Zufall.

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