Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Forewarning: this post is mostly outsourced. For background you’ll want to read Michael Collins Dunn’s account of the Second Battle of Kut from late February. April 1916’s First Battle of Kut, as we know, was a complete Ottoman victory and one of the low points for Britain in the whole war. Following that disaster, the British … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1953 Iranian coup

The 1953 CIA- and MI6-backed coup that overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh is one of the few bits of Middle Eastern history that actually gets overemphasized in the popular consciousness, mostly because relations between the US and Iran are what they are. It’s also not an easy fit in this “today in history” series because, believe it … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1953 Iranian coup

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Nile (1798)

The “Battle of the Nile,” which didn’t really take place on the Nile but whatever, can be seen as the naval companion to the Battle of the Pyramids, fought 11 days earlier between French and Egyptian forces outside of Cairo. It can also be treated as that battle’s bookend. As successfully as the Battle of the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Nile (1798)

Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

and that's the way it was

British General Edmund Allenby enters Jerusalem in 1917 (Wikimedia)

Edmund Allenby was the first Christian commander to capture Jerusalem in battle since the leaders of the First Crusade managed the feat in 1099. There had been brief periods during the later Crusades, after Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187, when the city nominally came back under Christian control via negotiations, and there was technically a “Kingdom of Jerusalem” in the Levant until the fall of Acre to the Mamluks in 1291, but that stuff was mostly for show. Now obviously World War I wasn’t a religious crusade, and Allenby wasn’t there to establish a new Christian kingdom in the Holy Land, but I do think there’s something to be said for the parallel, and the fact that Jerusalem remained (remains) so symbolically important.

The Battle of Jerusalem was an almost six-week affair that began in mid-November, when…

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Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Exporter begins (1941)

The Middle Eastern front in World War II often merits only a brief mention before you move on to Pearl Harbor, the Pacific campaign, and so forth. So Operation Exporter, or the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, doesn’t get that much attention. Indeed, even during the war news about the campaign was downplayed or outright suppressed in Britain, … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Exporter begins (1941)