What was the geopolitical scale of the Sykes-Picot agreement (May 1916)? What did the British and French mid-level officials who drew lines on its maps imagine as the territorial scope of their negotiations? This essay claims that the Sykes-Picot agreement cannot be understood strictly as the beginning of a story about territorial division in the Middle East, but also as an end of a story of perceived regional potency. Rather than a blueprint for what would later become the postwar division of the region into artificially created independent states, the Sykes-Picot agreement was still based on a powerful vision of a broad region that is open for a range of developmental possibilities. This forgotten regional aspect of the Middle East’s colonial history should be revisited today in view of the disintegration of its more obvious legacies. Perhaps the significance of the Sykes Picot agreement is not strictly the enduring impact of its “lines in the sand” but rather the light it sheds on the roots of a more regional oriented system.