Punishing the truly guilty

It took the Russians a few days to properly formulate a response to Turkey shooting down its Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft, but over the weekend they finally took vengeance on the real villains: Syrians who eat bread and drink water. I really do wish I was joking: A reported Russian airstrike on Saturday in central Idlib… Continue reading Punishing the truly guilty

A great argument for ending the Libyan civil war

It’s no secret that ISIS thrives on power vacuums. Its rise from the ashes of al-Qaeda in Iraq was fueled by the chaos created by the actual Syrian civil war and the undeclared civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and the Maliki government. Its expansion abroad has similarly targeted places that are unstable or potentially unstable:… Continue reading A great argument for ending the Libyan civil war

Al-Shabaab: the terror group that has Kenyan authorities terrorizing their own people

The University of Chicago is closed today, apart from its hospitals. I can tell you from personal experience that this is almost unprecedented. It took real-deal blizzards (and I mean “blizzard” by Chicago standards, which means “so much snow that it would shut DC down for a month”) to get that place to even consider… Continue reading Al-Shabaab: the terror group that has Kenyan authorities terrorizing their own people

Today in European history: the Battle of Sinop (1853)

Apart from the Charge of the Light Brigade (the actual charge, but also the poem), the Crimean War (1853-1856) is perhaps best known (at least by some of us) as the first “modern” war, in that it was during the Crimean War when later military staples like rail, telegraphs, trenches, and rifled firearms and artillery… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Sinop (1853)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Hama (903)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a fairly small, radical–apocalyptic, even–and highly militarized Islamic sect carves out a chunk of territory, including a sizable piece of Syria, in which to establish its own very wealthy political entity that could be described as revisionist, expansionist, and even irredentist. They specialize in hit-and-run attacks on… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Hama (903)

Good history reading: the Battle of Ctesiphon (1915)

Earlier this week (November 22-25) was the 100th anniversary of World War I’s Battle of Ctesiphon, the point at which Britain’s 1915 campaign to take Baghdad went from a bad decision in theory to a bad decision in fact. That campaign, in short, consisted of the 6th (Poona) Division of the British Indian Army, under… Continue reading Good history reading: the Battle of Ctesiphon (1915)

Today in European history: the Council of Clermont (1095)

The title of this post is a bit misleading. The Council of Clermont actually ran from November 18 through November 28, 1095, so November 27 is the anniversary of neither its beginning nor its end. It is, however, the anniversary of the day on which Pope Urban II (d. 1099) got to the point. It… Continue reading Today in European history: the Council of Clermont (1095)