Mossadegh and the CIA, 64 years later

The 64th anniversary of the coup that toppled Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was Saturday, and rather than write another Deep Thought about that event and the impact it had on Iranian and world history, I thought–mostly because I am extremely swamped at the moment–that I would link you to this Foreign Policy piece which in… Continue reading Mossadegh and the CIA, 64 years later

Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Otluk Dağı or Otluk Beli* (1473)

I assume anybody reading this blog has at least heard of the Ottomans (I mean, I have to assume you do read these posts), but I have to say I’d be pretty impressed if any of you have heard of the Aqquyunlu. They didn’t have a very long run as a major world power. But… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Otluk Dağı or Otluk Beli* (1473)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre of the Citadel (1811)

Egypt’s Mamluks are one of the rare historical dynasties that gets to have two endpoints, where most just get the one. We’ve talked about the Mamluks before, several times, but since the nature of their dynasty is a big part of the reason why they survived their first “end,” let’s recap. The Mamluk dynasty grew… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre of the Citadel (1811)

Valentine’s Day is for lovers

In addition to being Valentine’s Day, February 14 is also the anniversary of the arrival of Saudi King Abdul Aziz b. Saud aboard the heavy cruiser USS Quincy in 1945, there to meet with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was returning from the Yalta Conference–technically he was sailing home from Malta, having flown from there… Continue reading Valentine’s Day is for lovers

Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The Ottoman Empire of 1713 wasn’t the Ottoman Empire of 1513 or even 1613, but it was still a formidable enough power that it could play an active role in European affairs. The so-called “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender,…

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
I’m kind of cringing at writing this, because you can’t really talk about the Balfour Declaration without pissing somebody off and I actually approach these historical pieces with the hope that I won’t do that (I don’t so much care whether or not I do…