Today in Middle Eastern history: the North Yemen Civil War begins (1962)

Historians of the 20th century Middle East have to reckon with the impact of not one, but two cold wars. The main one was of course the Cold War, in which the United States and Soviet Union jockeyed for power and influence all over the world and particularly in the oil-rich Greater Middle East. The second was … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the North Yemen Civil War begins (1962)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

A few days ago we passed the anniversary of the Oslo I Accord, US President Bill Clinton’s attempt to foster a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that turned out instead to be a lopsided, unworkable framework that’s fostered nothing but many years of failure and frustration. Today we mark the anniversary of Oslo’s closest antecedent, the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

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, which was fought 11 days earlier between French and Egyptian forces outside of Cairo and which, coincidentally, didn’t take place anywhere near any pyramids. It can also be … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Nile (1798)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Abukir (1799)

Napoleon’s chances for a successful Middle Eastern campaign ended shortly after that campaign began, at the Battle of the Nile in early August 1798. We’ll talk about that battle and its repercussions later. But from Napoleon’s perspective, the British victory at the Battle of the Nile meant that he could no longer rely on offshore French … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Abukir (1799)

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

It is Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt to which we’re turning today, and specifically to one of the two major battles of that invasion, the July 21, 1798, Battle of the Pyramids. Here Napoleon’s forces almost annihilated an Ottoman army trying to defend Egypt and suddenly made France the new military power in the Middle East. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of the Pyramids (1798)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

The Arab conquest of Egypt can be considered the third stage of the early caliphate’s expansion, after its early successes against the Byzantines and the Persians. It also presented a different challenge for the caliphate and its armies. While Egypt may be home to more Arabs than any other country in the world today, in … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Heliopolis (640)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, Israel’s militarily decisive but politically confounding rapid defeat of armies in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria (Iraq and Lebanon were involved as well) that has done as much as any other single event to help shape the modern Middle East. Your perspective on how the war started … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

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

Egypt's Mamluk Sultanate was ushered to its end by the invading Ottomans in 1517. But while their sultanate ended, the mamluks themselves really didn't go anywhere. The distinctions has to do with the unique nature of the sultanate, so even though this is something you've probably read about before, here if nowhere else, we should review. The … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Mansurah begins (1250)

Before King Louis IX of France (d. 1270) led the weirdly conceived and badly failed Eighth Crusade against Tunis, he earned his Crusader bona fides on the better conceived but still badly failed Seventh Crusade, which is our subject today. As I wrote when we talked about the Eighth Crusade, if medieval BuzzFeed had put together a … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Mansurah begins (1250)