8/10/1918 As French troops land in Beirut, the Turkish government resigns
Britain has made a few too many promises about how Turkey’s territories in the Middle East are to be carved up after the war ends. Sharif Hussein of Mecca was given to understand that he would become ruler of a vast Arab kingdom stretching from the north of Syria to the Arabian peninsula, but in the Sykes-Picot agreement British and French diplomats agreed to divide the region into French and British spheres of influence. Then last year Britain’s foreign minister declared that Britain supported the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
On the ground it is British and Commonwealth forces who are doing most of the fighting against the Turks, although Arab forces loyal to Sharif Hussein have established themselves in Damascus. Britain’s contradictory agreements mean that it will have to disappoint someone; to make sure it is not them, the French today land in Beirut. The…
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