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 Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Right off the bat I should note that today's post is somewhat ahistorical. February 11 is generally considered the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and I'm not sure I agree with that. The date is not insignificant--it was on February 11, 1979, when the royal Iranian army surrendered, marking the end of organized resistance to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iranian Revolution ends (1979)

Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

You've probably noted those question marks in the title to this post, and they aren't there to remind me to go back and check my facts later. The question marks are there because there's no compelling reason to believe that this event happened on the date that corresponds with January 11, 630, on our calendar. … Continue reading Today (?) in Middle Eastern history: Muhammad conquers Mecca (630?)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)

Religious fervor was truly in the air in 1979. Presumably we don't need to go into much detail about that year's Islamic Revolution in Iran, which ousted Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's monarchy in favor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamic Republic. But across the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia had its own run in with Islamist … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)

As the Abbasid caliphate lost much of its real power in the 10th century it gave way to a series of “caretaker” sovereigns in the imperial core (first Turkish slave soldiers, then later the Buyid and Seljuk dynasties) and local emirates elsewhere. These emirates were technically dynastic governorships. Most paid nominal homage to the caliph … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Andrassos (960)