Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1799)

Napoleon’s siege of Acre, which lasted for two months from March 20 to May 21, 1799, was the high water mark of his eastern campaign. The French general (his years as emperor were still to come) had arrived in the eastern Mediterranean with a splash, capturing Malta on the way to a crushing victory against … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Acre ends (1799)

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

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: 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 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)

Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

January 9 is the anniversary of the end of World War I's very extended Gallipoli campaign, which lasted eight and a half months starting from late April 1915. In full disclosure, the date is a bit misleading--while "January 9" is the date upon which the last British (Canadian, if you want to be particular about … Continue reading Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

Today in European history: the Knights Templar order is purged (1307)

The Knights Templar are the more famous of the two major Christian military orders that were founded during the Crusades. We’ve talked about the other, the Knights Hospitaller, when we looked at the failed Ottoman siege of Malta in 1565. Ironically, while the Templars get more press it’s the Hospitallers who have survived to the present day, … Continue reading Today in European history: the Knights Templar order is purged (1307)