Today in Middle East history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

Today is the 25th anniversary of the first airstrikes of Operation Desert Storm, the “oh, it’s just one play on the slots–what could go wrong?” of America’s full-blown gambling addiction to blowing things up in the Middle East. Thanks to YouTube, you kids out there can relive it as it happened, at least “as it… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

If this is what passes for “moderate”…

Zahran Alloush, Syrian rebel bigshot and leader of the Jaysh al Islam (“Army of Islam”) rebel faction, which is active in the Damascus neighborhoods of Douma and Eastern Ghouta and forms the backbone of the “Islamic Front” rebel coalition, is tragically* no longer among the living: The commander of one of the most powerful Syrian… Continue reading If this is what passes for “moderate”…

Today in Central Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

The Durand Line, AKA “the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” is one of those legacies of colonial times that everybody’s still, unfortunately, living with today. Named after the guy who dreamed it up, British Foreign Secretary for India (at the time) Sir Mortimer Durand, it was meant to fix the border between British India and… Continue reading Today in Central Asian history: the Durand Line is drawn (1893)

Today in West African history: the Green March begins (1975)

It’s hard to believe that the Spanish Empire only officially ceased to exist in 1975. I mean, when you think of the Spanish Empire, or at least when I think of it, I think of vast swathes of the Americas that were Spanish colonial domains until the successful independence movements of the early 19th century,… Continue reading Today in West African history: the Green March begins (1975)

Mossadegh, 1953: history swallowed up in legend

Today is the sixty-second anniversary (and the second time we’ve commemorated it here) of the 1953 coup d’etat, carried out by Iranian elements at the behest and with the support of British Secret Intelligence and the US CIA, that forced Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh from office. Mossadegh was nominally replaced as prime minister by… Continue reading Mossadegh, 1953: history swallowed up in legend

Happy 25th birthday to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

It took just under 2 years from the end of the Iran-Iraq War for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s relations with his two biggest allies, Kuwait and the United States, to be irrevocably destroyed. Yesterday, of course, was the 25th anniversary of Saddam’s decision to invade Kuwait and officially kick off the Gulf War, aka “The… Continue reading Happy 25th birthday to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

Today in Middle East history: Happy birthday Baghdad (762)

This whole “today in Middle East history” thing that I do is a little bit of a cheat, since most events in the Middle East at least from the founding of Islam have been happening, officially, on the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, which is a lunar calender and thus never quite lines up with the Western… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: Happy birthday Baghdad (762)