Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

Still, imagine the psychological shock to Muslims around the world to see Islam’s greatest city and its symbolic leader brought down like this. I don’t think we have any modern reference for it–maybe seeing the Nazis march into Paris, though I don’t even think that does it justice. Constantinople’s fall to the Ottomans was probably … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Mongols sack Baghdad (1258)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Zab (750)

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of the Zab, which took place in 750 and was the climactic battle in the Abbasid Revolution that ousted the Umayyads from the caliphate. Obviously you can find out more about the revolution elsewhere on this blog, but the battle itself deserves a little mention. Source: Today in … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Zab (750)

What Is a Caliphate and Should You Be Terrified of It?

Apparently ISIS isn't ISIS anymore. Or ISIL, either. I mean, feel free to keep calling it those things, but the group itself is now just going by "The Islamic State" (IS), or al-Dawlat al-Islamiyah in Arabic. This move clarifies all the questions people have been asking about the group's name, from whether it's better to … Continue reading What Is a Caliphate and Should You Be Terrified of It?