This date in history: January 16

A handful of relatively minor Middle East-related things happened on this date in history. Well, OK, the Shah leaving Iran wasn’t “relatively minor,” but the actual fact of his departure was pretty anti-climactic, and anyway you’re not getting a detailed recap of the Iranian Revolution today, sorry. I hope you enjoy this recap of the day’s events that I wrote last year instead.

and that's the way it was

I don’t have a long tale to share today, but January 16 is the anniversary of a few important days in Middle East-related history that should be commemorated.

  • On this date in 929, Abd al-Rahman III declared that his Emirate of Cordoba was no more, and in its place he created the Caliphate of Cordoba. This move restored the Umayyad dynasty to the (well, “a”) caliphate, at least on paper, and (more importantly) theoretically raised Abd al-Rahman’s position to an equal level with the Abbasid caliph, Al-Muqtadir, and the Fatimid caliph, Al-Mahdi. We could dig deeper into this, but the fact is that we’re almost there in our Islamic History series and I’d rather tackle it there in due course.
  • In 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser pledged to “liberate” Palestine. Whatever your definition of “liberate” might be in this context, he, ah, didn’t, so there’s really not much more to say…

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