[QODLink]
General
Balfour to Blair
A look at the development of British foreign policy in the Middle East.
Last Modified: 18 May 2008 15:53 GMT

The Israeli-Arab conflict is arguably the most intractable and the most explosive issue in the world today.

Though there may be no end in sight, it does have a beginning.
 
For nearly a century, there have been British public figures who mixed politics with Christianity, seeking to impose their own 'messianic' vision on the Middle East, with disastrous consequences for those who live there.

Tony Blair is only the latest in a long list of British political figures who have made the Middle East their business

Britain's modern association with the Holy Land goes back to the First World War, and a time when it was looking for new allies against Germany. 

The Arabian Sherif of Mecca was an obvious choice. He promised to unite the Arabs and rise against Germany's allies, the Ottoman Turks.

Britain has been heavily
involved in the Middle East
In return, Britain officially promised in 1915 to assist him realise his dream: to be the supreme Arab ruler of an independent Arab kingdom. 

Britain sent troops to fight with him, and paid him the equivalent in today's money of half a billion dollars.

But at the same time, the British, in conjunction with the French, were busy re-drawing the map of the region, dividing it into 'spheres of influence'.

Britain would have Iraq and Jordan, France would have Syria and Lebanon.

Contrary to earlier promises, there would be no independent Arab state - though no one told this to the Arabs.

Balfour to Blair, a special 30 minute film, investigates the promises made, the motivations of British policy in the Middle East at the time and the impact of the Zionist lobby on this policy.

Al Jazeera asks whether the same underlying principles that directed the policies in the beginning of the 20th century are still at play in the beginning of the 21st.

Watch part one of Balfour to Blair

Watch part two of Balfour to Blair


Balfour to Blair aired from Friday, May 17, 2008


 To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page

Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

Join our debates on the Your Views section of the site

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Experts from Minamata, Japan check for signs of mercury illnesses in Ontario, Canada.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
join our mailing list