Mauritanian professor of philosophy at Nouakchott University Dr. Abdullah al-Sayyid Ould Abah said that the European colonialist political engineering of the Middle East served the best interest of the Arab world. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Rotana Khalijiya TV (Saudi Arabia) on March 7, 2021. Dr. Ould Abah said that although the Sykes-Picot agreement was never implemented, it gave rise to the establishment of political unity and modern states in the Arab world. He explained that there was "no real Arab unity" before the agreement. Dr. Ould Abah continued to say that it was Western colonialism that created national identity in the Arab world. He said that be believes that the military revolutionary governments that were formed in the Arab world were the first to "strike a blow against civil states in the Arab world."
Dr. Abdullah Al-Sayyid Ould Abah: "The things that we say, that colonialism divided the Arab world, and fragmentized the Arab nation... This is a delusion."
Interviewer: "So who did it?"
Abah: "The political engineering undertaken by the Europeans was in the best interest of the Arab world."
Interviewe: "Sykes-Picot as well?"
Abah: "Sykes-Picot is a delusion. There is no such thing as Sykes-Picot. It was an agreement between France and Britain, bit it was never implemented. But even the Sykes-Picot agreement was important. The idea behind it was to establish countries in the Ottoman-Arab world. This is how Iraq came into being. Iraq had not been a unified state [before]. Mosul was a part of Greater Syria, Basra was closer to the Gulf region... So, Iraq was consolidated in that matter. The same goes for Syria and Lebanon..."
Interviewer: "History aside, you are talking about the concept. You are saying that the concept of Sykes-Picot – whether it was implemented or not – was in the best interest of the Arabs?"
Abah: "Yes. It was. Because there was no real Arab unity. The political unity of the Arabs, and the establishment of modern states in the Arab world, are mainly to do the engineering of European colonialism.
"Even the political identities in the Arab world – who created them? The Europeans. The Egyptian national identity, which is based on Pharaonic tradition, and so on – that was a Napoleonic concept. The existence of a political identity and a centralized national state are part of the project that was build by the European colonial engineering and was adopted by local political powers. They were part of the project..."
Interviewer: "You are saying that it was within the interests of the Arabs."
Abah: "Yes, it was. And there were limited liberal attempts in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and so on. However, I believe that the military revolutionary regimes were the first to strike a blow against civil states in the Arab world."