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At the close of World War I, Britain and France sought to preserve and secure greater control over their economic interests in the Middle East, which at that point primarily consisted of shipping lanes and potential sites for oil production. For Britain, access to its colonial holdings in India via the Suez Canal (opened 1869) was of utmost import. During the war, Britain made an array of competing promises about how the post-war global order would redistribute Ottoman territories. British officials championed both Zionist and Arab national claims, a situation that ensured conflict between the two groups once either side demanded that Britain make good on its promise.