The partition of the Ottoman Empire (Armistice of Mudros, 30 October 1918 – Abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate, 1 November 1922) was a political event that occurred after World War I and the occupation of Constantinople by British, French and Italian troops in November 1918. The partitioning was planned in several agreements made by the Allied Powers early in the course of World War I, notably the Sykes-Picot Agreement. As world war loomed, the Ottoman Empire sought protection but was rejected by Britain, France, and Russia, and finally formed the Ottoman–German Alliance. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamic state in geopolitical, cultural and ideological terms. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire led to the rise in the Middle East of Western powers such as Britain and France and brought the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish national movement but did not become widespread in the post-Ottoman states until after World War II.
The League of Nations mandate granted French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and British Mandate for Mesopotamia (later Iraq) and British Mandate for Palestine, later divided into Mandatory Palestine and Emirate of Transjordan (1921–1946). The Ottoman Empire's possessions in the Arabian Peninsula became the Kingdom of Hejaz, which was annexed by the Sultanate of Nejd (today Saudi Arabia), and the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. The Empire's possessions on the western shores of the Persian Gulf were variously annexed by Saudi Arabia (Alahsa and Qatif), or remained British protectorates (Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar) and became the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.
After the Ottoman government collapsed completely it signed the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. However, the Turkish War of Independence forced the European powers to return to the negotiating table before the treaty could be ratified. The Europeans and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey signed and ratified the new Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, superseding the Treaty of Sèvres and solidifying most of the territorial issues. One unresolved issue, the dispute between the Kingdom of Iraq and the Republic of Turkey over the former province of Mosul was later negotiated under the League of Nations in 1926. The British and French partitioned the eastern part of the Middle East, also called Greater Syria, between them in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Other secret agreements were concluded with Italy and Russia. The Balfour Declaration encouraged the international Zionist movement to push for a Jewish homeland in the Palestine region. While a part of the Triple Entente, Russia also had wartime agreements preventing it from participating in the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the Russian Revolution. The Treaty of Sèvres formally acknowledged the new League of Nations mandates in the region, the independence of Yemen, and British sovereignty over Cyprus.
The Western powers had long believed that they would eventually become dominant in the area claimed by the weak central government of the Ottoman Empire. Britain anticipated a need to secure the area because of its strategic position on the route to Colonial India, and perceived itself as locked in a struggle with Russia for imperial influence known as The Great Game. These powers disagreed over their contradictory post-war aims and made several dual and triple agreements.
Syria and Lebanon became a French protectorate (thinly disguised as a League of Nations Mandate). French control was met immediately with armed resistance, and, in order to combat Arab nationalism, France divided the Mandate area into Lebanon and four sub-states.
Greater Lebanon was the name of a territory created by France. It was the precursor of modern Lebanon. It existed between 1 September 1920 and 23 May 1926. France carved its territory from the Levantine land mass (mandated by the League of Nations) in order to create a "safe haven" for the Maronite Christian population. Maronites gained self-rule and secured their position in the independent Lebanon in 1943.
French intervention on behalf of the Maronites had begun with the capitulations of the Ottoman Empire, agreements made during the 16th to the 19th centuries. In 1866, when Youssef Bey Karam led a Maronite uprising in Mount Lebanon, a French-led naval force arrived to help, making threats against the governor, Dawood Pasha, at the Sultan's Porte and later removing Karam to safety.