Bed, Ba’ath, and Beyond, part 1: Saddam’s Shopping Extravaganza

Hello readers! Today I'm very pleased to bring you the second attwiw guest post! Arms proliferation researcher Travis Haycraft joins us for the first part of a two-parter (coming next month) on Iraq. Part one looks at the Saddam Hussein-organized build up of the Iraqi military in the 1970s, leading up to the Iran-Iraq War. … Continue reading Bed, Ba’ath, and Beyond, part 1: Saddam’s Shopping Extravaganza

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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: 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: 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)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Sykes-Picot is signed (1916)

Today is the anniversary of ISIS’s least-favorite arbitrarily-drawn line on a map, the Iraq-Syria boundary delineated by the Sykes-Picot agreement. Al-Jazeera has a pretty handy explainer on the agreement, though I think the headline oversells the content a little bit. Here’s another explainer over at Juan Cole’s Informed Comment that is pretty good. Or you can read my long-ago look … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Sykes-Picot is signed (1916)

Today in World War I history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916), and the Battle of Rafa (1917)

There are a pair of World War I battles that have anniversaries today. Of the two, Gallipoli is far and away the larger and more famous. It's also probably the more meaningful, although considering that the side that won Gallipoli wound up losing the war, that case isn't totally cut and dried. This is actually … Continue reading Today in World War I history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916), and the Battle of Rafa (1917)