Tracing the Disappearing, Man-Made Borders of the Middle East

Dispatches from the front.
July 22 2014 10:55 AM

The Disappearing Borders of the Middle East

They were drawn incorrectly in the first place.

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Slate has partnered with Brooklyn Brewery and RISC to bring its hit war correspondent interview series to our readers. In this second installment, Steve Hindy, founder of Brooklyn Brewery and a former Associated Press foreign correspondent, sits down with Scott Anderson, veteran war correspondent and author of the book, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.​

Almost a century ago, Mark Sykes of Britain and François Georges-Picot​ of France arbitrarily carved up what was then the Ottoman Empire, doling out territories to the victors of World War I, and creating the modern borders of the Middle East in the process. The effects of those ham-fisted efforts are still felt today, especially in ISIS-dominated Iraq, where ethnic divides within the post-WWI borders have been the primary cause of unthinkable bloodshed. In the clip above, Anderson delves into that dark legacy and discusses whether the Sykes-Picot borders are here to stay much longer.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate Video blogger.

Chris Wade is a producer for Slate Video and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

Jika González is a freelance visual journalist from Mexico City currently based in New York.​

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