Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

Welcome to the anniversary of one of the most symbolically important events of the First World War, British General Edmund Allenby’s dramatic entrance into Jerusalem. The Battle of Jerusalem was an almost six-week affair that began in mid-November, 1917, when Allenby and his Egyptian Expeditionary Force followed up their success at Mughar Ridge by pushing… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Caliph al-Hakim (1009)

This post always worries me a bit because there’s the chance somebody will read the title and think, “See? Muslims persecuting Christians; it’s been going on for over a thousand years!” That would be unfortunate, because it wasn’t “Muslims” who ordered the destruction of the church that supposedly stands on the site of Jesus’s crucifixion… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Caliph al-Hakim (1009)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Saladin takes Jerusalem (1187)

While you know that I don’t generally have very nice things to say about the Crusaders, there is a certain something about the defense of Jerusalem, manned by common citizens and squires, some of whom were knighted by Balian out of a sheer desperate need for manpower, that you have to respect. These weren’t the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Saladin takes Jerusalem (1187)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade captures Jerusalem (1099)

For all the grief I give the warriors of the First Crusade, it would be wrong not to note that they actually did accomplish what they set out to accomplish, the capture of Jerusalem. Well, OK, what they officially set out to accomplish was to save the Byzantine Empire from the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia,… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Crusade captures Jerusalem (1099)

Middle East update: July 12 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military seized the city of Daraa on Thursday, symbolically flying the Syrian flag in the middle of town in commemoration. Daraa is an important tactical victory–you can’t control southwestern Syria without it, obviously. But it may be an even bigger symbolic victory, because it was in Daraa in the spring of 2011… Continue reading Middle East update: July 12 2018

Middle East update: July 5 2018

Well, we’re back. As usual when I’ve been gone for a while this update will mostly stick to things that happened today with some pieces I flagged while I was gone in there for good measure. It will probably be long and there’s not much I can do about that. SYRIA Owing to a combination… Continue reading Middle East update: July 5 2018

Middle East update: May 31 2018

SYRIA Bashar al-Assad must be feeling pretty good about himself, because in an interview with Russia Today that was broadcast on Thursday he threatened to attack northeastern Syria if the Kurds won’t agree to return it to government control, whether US solders are in the way or not. Assad cited the example of Iraq as… Continue reading Middle East update: May 31 2018