The Islamic State won’t find it easy to wipe away post-colonial borders
The Washington Post - 09/10/2014
Does the triumph of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq herald the undoing of colonial-era boundaries elsewhere in the Middle East and Third World? Are other graves turning than those marked “Here Lies Sir Mark Sykes and Ci-gît François Georges Picot” – those of their partners in partition? It should not be overlooked: Nearly 40 percent of the entire length of today’s international boundaries were traced by France and Britain. The division of this part of “the Levant” into a French-dominated Syria and a British-controlled Iraq – and, for that matter, between le Liban and (British) Palestine – was but a small part of the larger parceling of the colonial world into Anglophone and Francophone imperial spheres. Were the logic of pre-colonial reunification to spread, for reasons fundamentalist and not, cartographers and atlas designers would be looking ahead to a busy time of map redrawing, indeed.