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Lebanon News

Jumblatt: Weren't the French better than dictators?

Walid Jumblatt sits in his garden house in Beirut, Lebanon.(AP Photo/File/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt Monday questioned if the region was truly better off since the end of European rule in the Middle East.

"What if the French or the British mandates, or even the rule of the Ottoman Empire had continued? Was it not better than the sectarian strife that we see worsening day by day, the latest of which is in Iraq?” Jumblatt wrote in his weekly column in Al-Anbaa.

“Didn’t that era that we cursed back then provide the institutions that performed at the bare minimum, some form of constitution and a general system?”

After the end of World War I in 1918, Syria, Lebanon, Alexandretta and other portions of southeastern Turkey were ruled under the French Mandate as per the Sykes-Picot Agreement that was signed between Britain and France during the war.

“What if the mandate – which established departments, public institutions and made basic laws for the many administrative and institutional structures – had continued?” Jumblatt went on to say.

He slammed the Baath Party, which emerged in Syria and Iraq after the end of the French and British mandates.

“What if the mandate had continued instead of giving way to the dictatorial regimes - namely the Baath parties in Syria and Iraq – one of the worst ideological philosophies, which is parallel to fascism and Nazism, under the Assad regime in Syria, and Saddam's Iraqi-Tikriti regime in Iraq?

“It seems that the boundaries that were drawn back then and criticized as setting artificial barriers between sisterly countries, were much better than the barriers made by Daesh [ISIS] and its affiliates who grew in dictatorial prisons, especially in Syria and Iraq.”

 

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