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Stirring the Middle East

Fergal Keane visits Israel to tell the story of Britain's promises in WWI, which left a poisonous legacy for the Middle East.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War created a tangle of real and potential conflicts for world leaders to unpick.

In the course of the war Britain, in its desperate quest for allies, made three apparently contradictory promises. A secret deal with France divided future control of the Middle East between the two allies, the Sharif of Mecca was offered a new Arab kingdom and support for a Jewish homeland had been given to the Zionists.

Fergal Keane explores how Britain tried and failed to untangle the knots, setting the scene for so much of the violence to come in the Middle East.

Producer: Alasdair Cross.

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15 minutes