Bed, Ba’ath, and Beyond, part 2: War Is a Racket

Happy Hallowen! Today I'm very pleased to bring you the second part of Travis Haycraft's two-part series on Saddam Hussein's military buildup in Iraq. Part one took us through the 1970s, leading up to the Iran-Iraq War, and today's piece looks at how the war both affected and was affected by the military machine Saddam … Continue reading Bed, Ba’ath, and Beyond, part 2: War Is a Racket

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: Iraq’s Ramadan Revolution (1963)

The Ramadan Revolution--don't let the name fool you, it's really a coup that got good branding--is the middle chapter in a trilogy of coups, from 1958 to 1968, that collectively transitioned Iraq from a Hashemite-run monarchy to a Baathist-run republic. Obviously the third one is beyond the scope of this essay since it hadn't happened … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Iraq’s Ramadan Revolution (1963)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

The First Battle of Kut was as complete an Ottoman victory as you're likely to find in World War I's Middle Eastern theater, and it stands as one of the lowest points for the British military not just in that war, but ever. Following the disaster, the British army replaced its commander in Mesopotamia, Lt. General … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (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 this epilogue turned that indecisive battle into a major strategic … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Surrender of Kut (1916)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

Today is the anniversary of the initial airstrikes of Operation Desert Storm, the "oh, it's just one pull on the slots--what could go wrong?" of America's full-blown addiction to blowing things up in the Middle East. Thanks to YouTube, you kids out there can relive it as it happened...or, at least, "as it happened" to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran-Iraq War begins (1980)

Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict and possibly the US invasion of Iraq, it would be difficult to find anything that has defined the course of recent Middle Eastern history as much as the Iran-Iraq War. I suppose you could add the 1979 Iranian Revolution to that list, but since this war followed almost immediately on … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran-Iraq War begins (1980)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Iraq invades Kuwait (1990)

It took just under 2 years from the end of the Iran-Iraq War for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to irrevocably destroy his relationships with his two biggest allies, Kuwait and the United States. Yes, that’s right, today is the anniversary of Saddam’s decision to invade Kuwait and officially kick off the Gulf War, aka “The … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Iraq invades Kuwait (1990)