Today in Middle Eastern history: the Wahhabi sack of Karbala (probably 1802)

Ideologically, Wahhabism takes the embrace of God’s oneness and avoidance of shirk as its main point of emphasis, so it’s no wonder that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab embraced what Ibn Taymiyah had to say about the treatment of saints and their shrines. He went further though, arguing that Shiʿa were guilty of elevating their imams over Muhammad… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Wahhabi sack of Karbala (probably 1802)

Middle East update: January 10 2018

SYRIA The United Nations reports that 85 civilians have been killed just in Ghouta so far in 2018 and says there are concerns that combatants on both sides are failing to distinguish between civilian and military targets. Meanwhile, to the north, Turkey is continuing to demand, without effect, a halt to the Syrian offensive in… Continue reading Middle East update: January 10 2018

Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

SYRIA The fighting in Idlib province continues to intensify, and at this point I think we can officially scrap any notion of “deescalation.” For now the Syrian army’s goal remains the Abu al-Duhur airbase (they’re nearly there after capturing the village of Sinjar over the weekend), though they also want to take the eastern part of… Continue reading Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

Middle East update: November 9 2017

SYRIA The Syrian army made it official on Thursday: it (with some help from its allies) has taken al-Bukamal from ISIS. This occasioned a dramatic declaration of victory from Damascus, but ISIS still controls enough Syrian countryside to disappear and go underground if that’s what its leaders want to do. That’s not really a clear victory.… Continue reading Middle East update: November 9 2017

Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Where to even begin. IRAQ With Qaim under control, the Iraqi plan is to move back east along the Euphrates and take the town of Rawa while simultaneously clearing out the rest of the Syrian border area. The focus for now seems to be back on ISIS, though conflict with the Kurds could flare up… Continue reading Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Middle East update: August 14-15 2017

IRAQ Those two US soldiers who were killed in northern Iraq on Sunday were apparently killed by an artillery “mishap.” Oops! I guess mistakes will happen, when you’ve been at war nonstop for 16 years in seven different countries! Color us embarrassed! Reminder that ISIS still says its rockets killed those two soldiers. But artillery… Continue reading Middle East update: August 14-15 2017

Middle East update: August 1 2017

You may have noticed that I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. While I’m absolutely not going to try to catch you up on everything that’s happened while I’ve been away, I will be interspersing the usual daily news with a few stories that developed over that time. IRAQ Combat operations in western Mosul… Continue reading Middle East update: August 1 2017