Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Aqaba (1917)

Though not a particularly large battle (the Arab rebels had about 5000 men with them against less than a thousand Ottoman defenders), the Battle of Aqaba was important because it came shortly after the Arabs had suffered their first serious defeat of the World War I Arab Revolt, and because it allowed the Arabs to… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Aqaba (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Surrender of Kut (1916)

Today is the anniversary of one of the worst military fiascos in British history, the surrender of the 6th division of the Indian Army to the Ottomans at the Iraqi town of Kut. Kut followed right on the heels of the Battle of Ctesiphon in November 1915, and its final result turned that indecisive battle into… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Surrender of Kut (1916)

This Week in Middle Eastern history: the Second Battle of Gaza (1917)

Having noted the 100th anniversary of World War I’s indecisive First Battle of Gaza just a few weeks ago, I suppose it would be inappropriate to skip over the centennial of the slightly less indecisive Second Battle of Gaza, which was April 17-19. I say that both of these battles were indecisive mostly because each was… Continue reading This Week in Middle Eastern history: the Second Battle of Gaza (1917)

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…

Today in South Asian history: the Siege of Delhi ends (1857)

The 1857 Siege of Delhi is interesting in that it serves as both a pivotal battle and a pivotal marker in world history. Or at least it seems that way to me. As a phase of the 1857-1859 Indian Rebellion, it was a decisive British victory that did much to stifle the rebellion’s national ambitions,… Continue reading Today in South Asian history: the Siege of Delhi ends (1857)

Today in Iranian history: the 1921 Iranian coup

The irony of Iran’s experience during World War I is that the evaporation of Imperial Russia in the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution should have marked a positive turning point for the Qajar Dynasty, but instead it eventually led to their overthrow. Russia and Britain had dominated Iranian affairs (first as rivals, then as… Continue reading Today in Iranian history: the 1921 Iranian coup