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 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 toppled our old pal Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his secret police/torture network in favor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and, uh, his secret police/torture network. But across the Persian Gulf Saudi … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)

Are the “Sudairi Seven” consolidating power?

Earlier today, or late last night if you're in the US, we all received a pretty big announcement out of Saudi Arabia: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz sacked his younger half-brother as crown prince and appointed his nephew, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the new heir apparent, state television said....King Salman also appointed … Continue reading Are the “Sudairi Seven” consolidating power?