Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf said in an October 23, 2019 interview on Diwan Al-Mullah Internet TV (Kuwait) that the Arabs gained Mosul, South Sudan, and other territories from the British as part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and that Arabs should stop accusing the British and British colonialism of having prevented Arab unity. He said that it was the Arabs themselves who failed to unite and that the Arabs should similarly stop blaming the Balfour Declaration for the establishment of Israel, which he said was ultimately established as a result of WWII and the actions of Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1917 and 1947, who he accused of never having made a correct decision. In addition, Al-Nesf said that since the British started abandoning colonialism after 1945, any praise of post-1945 Arab “heroes” who fought off British colonialism is nonsense. He further said that Arabs are generally ignorant about history and that Arab historians are liars who fabricate history and twist shameful events into victories for the Arabs. He added that the Middle East has become the “sick man of the world.”
Following are excerpts:
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: The English [signed] the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Arabs did not lose anything in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. On the contrary, they gained Mosul. The Arabs received Mosul’s 90,000 square kilometers from the English. They did not have the right to it. There had been a ceasefire agreement between the English and the Turkish army, and the English moved in and annexed Mosul. We never give the English credit for adding Mosul to the Arab world. They got us South Sudan in its entirety. Even when they ruled Egypt, they annexed Uganda to the Egyptian Crown, along with Sudan and other areas. The English annexed to the Arab world areas that we later neglected, like South Sudan, which seceded in our days and not in the days of the British. The size of South Sudan is 620,000 square kilometers. [it is claimed that] the British prevented Arab unity, but did the Arabs unite when the British left, or did they split into 22 countries? Now we fear for Iraq because Kurdistan and the south might secede.
Interviewer: We fear for Lebanon, too…
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Even Lebanon. All our countries. Syria… So why do we blame the British and say that they prevented our unity? Even the Balfur Declaration could have been dissolved in the annals of history… But we sanctified it…
Interviewer: We made it into a big deal.
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: The declaration itself did not create a [Jewish] state. You could say that the declaration had 10% of the responsibility [for Israel’s establishment]. Hitler alone – whom the Arabs sanctify and whose picture you can see everywhere – had 30-40% of the responsibility for the establishment of Israel, because he made what was a political issue into a humanitarian issue.
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: I would say that Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who made all those mistakes, has 40% [of the responsibility for Israel’s establishment], because his decisions…
Interviewer: Why do [the Arabs] sanctify Amin Al-Husseini? If you look at his record, you see…
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: A very dubious man.
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: He was also wrong. He was elected but never held accountable. Over the course of 30 years – from 1917 to 1947 – he did not make a single right decision. All his decisions were wrong. Should we not have paid a price for that? Of course we should have. Imagine that I chose you to negotiate on my behalf, but you turned out to be unqualified – am I supposed to pay the price? Yes, I am. We shouldn’t exaggerate in blaming the British. [People talk] about British colonialism even after 1945. In 1945, after World War II, the government of Clement Attlee, who wrote the book My Last Victory, decided that colonialism was useless, and they moved to end colonization. So everything that was said after 1945 about this-or-that patriotic hero, who fought colonialism and liberated countries… It’s all nonsense. When the UAE, along with Qatar and Bahrain, became independent, and when the [Iranian] Shah was still powerful… Some of these Gulf states tried to delay the British withdrawal because they feared the Shah. But Britain refused. It insisted on pulling out. Much of what has been said about Britain is not true – like in 90% of cases in our history. Maybe sometimes we can sit together and discuss case by case, and you will see that it is all the complete opposite of the truth.
Interviewer: For many years, we studied some politicians who were influenced by the Arab Revolution without giving any thought to the record of the people who wrote about the revolution and whatever… We glorified some people only to find out that they had nothing to contribute…
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: They all fabricated history. One of them was [Hassanein] Heikal, the greatest fabricator of history. Heikal turned the shameful defeat of 1956 into victory. He even found justification for the [defeat] in 1967. He would justify anything that could harm Egypt and the Arab world. Even today we have the same kind of fabricating writers.
Interviewer: Nothing has changed.
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Nothing has changed.
Interviewer: To this day, the public listens to people who are liars and who fabricate history – the history of Kuwait and the history of the Arabs.
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: And some Arabs even sanctify them…
Interviewer: Very much so, sadly. This is due to the general level of ignorance.
What’s going on today is perhaps more dangerous than Sykes-Picot. Today, the countries of the region…
Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: More dangerous than Sykes-Picot?
Interviewer: Yes, much more dangerous. In the days of Sykes-Picot, the Ottoman empire was the “Sick Man of Europe.” Today, our region, with its countries and resources, constitutes the “Sick Man of the World.”