What is the point about Sykes-Picot?
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The Sykes–Picot Agreement (1916) became (in)famous once again following a tweet announcing a propaganda video by the group that call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) declaring “the end of Sykes–Picot”. In this essay I suggest that the point about Sykes–Picot is not about the “artificiality” of borders in the Middle East (for all borders are artificial in different ways) or the way in which they were drawn (for almost all borders were agreed on by a few men, and seldom women, behind closed doors) but (also) that it was shaped by a discursive economy that allowed for the International Society to decide the fate of those that were deemed as not-yet capable of governing themselves. ISIS preoccupation with the “end of Sykes–Picot” is conditioned by the same discursive economy that it apparently seeks to resist.