2018-04-23 02:05:09 UTC
The British appear through WWI, the peace conference and the early Mandate years to be working overtime to actually conquer the place and make alliances and promises with local and international groups to justify their claims.
Hence you have the large British campaigns in the Middle East, but also the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, sponsorship of the Arab Revolt, but also the contradictory Balfour Declaration and even other overtures towards the Ottomans for a separate peace.
You have the British being intensely concerned that the French will exploit any British weakness or excuse to press claims to the Palestine Mandate (which at first included Transjordan).
Meanwhile, the French appear to be making claims to all of Syria as well as Palestine and northern Iraq, based on....mere desire and a remarkably self-assured sense of entitlement.
The French both invested less militarily in the region during the war (for understandable reasons) but *also* were less concerned with "winning friends and influencing people" than the British. They were anti Hashemite and anti-Zionist at the same time. I do not really know who they expected to be their constituency in the Middle East, beyond the quite small Maronite Christian minority.
What accounts for the French sense of entitlement in the Levant and self-assuredness, and Britain's respect for those claims that it could have easily denied by force, finance and diplomacy?
Why wasn't it France more worried about Britain or British puppets taking over Syria and Lebanon than Britain worried about France taking over Palestine and Jordan?