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)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Badr (624)

The Battle of Badr was a small affair, involving maybe around 1250 combatants in total, but seeing as how it was the the first military victory by a Muslim army (of sorts), I suppose you could say it’s pretty important. It was the first of three named battles between Muhammad’s Medinan followers and the Quraysh … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Badr (624)

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

Forewarning: this post is mostly outsourced. For background you’ll want to read Michael Collins Dunn’s account of the Second Battle of Kut from late February. April 1916’s First Battle of Kut, as we know, was a complete Ottoman victory and one of the low points for Britain in the whole war. Following that disaster, the British … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Obviously there are a lot of important works of literature that have been created over the years and across the many cultures of the world, so if I were to describe Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh as simply a great work of literature I would be doing it something of an injustice. It is a great work … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

Because the Mamluk dynasty wasn’t a “dynasty” in the traditional sense, when the Ottomans toppled it in 1516-1517, there were a lot of important mamluk aristocrats and officials still running around Egypt and Syria who had no particular loyalty to the sultan (Tuman Bey) who had just been overthrown. It was much simpler for the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1966 Syrian coup

Syria’s road from French colony (er, I mean “protectorate” or whatever) to the mess it is today was littered with coups d’état: three in 1949, one each in 1951, 1954, 1961, 1963, and 1966, and finally the 1970 Corrective Movement that brought Hafez al-Assad to power. I’m probably missing a couple somewhere along the way. … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1966 Syrian coup