Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

However, the Hasanids had their moments of rebellion. For example, there was a Hasanid-led revolt in September 762, which was ultimately squashed by the Abbasids at the Battle of Bakhamra on January 21, 763. This is sometimes considered to have been a “Zaydi revolt,” since the Zaydis claim its leader as one of their imams,… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

The Fallujah operation is reportedly going sideways

The operation to liberate Fallujah has reportedly hit a wall, and control over it appears to have slipped entirely from Baghdad’s grasp. The Iraqi special forces that have been tasked with leading the advance into the city say that they’re being stymied not by ISIS’s resistance but by an inability to coordinate their operation with… Continue reading The Fallujah operation is reportedly going sideways

Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

The various Shiʿa movements that have sprung up over the centuries trace their origins, obviously, to Ali b. Abi Talib, the cousin and son in-law of Muhammad. But apart from that common ancestry there have (again, obviously) been a number of disagreements within the Shiʿa community over which line of descent from Ali was legitimate.… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Bakhamra (763)

This is what provocation looks like

ISIS only survives in the long-run (at least in Syria and Iraq) to the extent that it’s able to continue taking advantage of Sunni alienation and anger at the governments in Baghdad and Damascus. Their leadership is well aware of that, which is why on Monday they did this: At least 32 people were killed… Continue reading This is what provocation looks like

Arbaʿeen

Amid all the San Bernardino news, I almost forgot that today is (or really was, at this point) Arbaʿeen (there are some great photos at that link). This is a Shiʿa religious observance that occurs forty days (hence the name, arbaʿin, which is Arabic for “forty”) after Ashura, the commemoration of the day when Imam… Continue reading Arbaʿeen

When your government takes away your identity

Bahrain has been stripping people of their citizenship for, well, practicing the wrong kind of Islam, apparently: The Bahraini government began revoking citizenship shortly after the Arab Spring engulfed large sections of the Middle East, Bahrain included, in 2011. On Feb. 14 of that year, both Shiite and Sunni Bahrainis took to the streets to… Continue reading When your government takes away your identity

Islamic History, part 28: Islamic legal terms

Islamic History Series If I listed all the caveats I should list about this episode of our series, this post would be nothing but caveats. Suffice it to say that there are lots of people who spend their entire lives pursuing a study of Law, and lots of people who spend their entire lives pursuing… Continue reading Islamic History, part 28: Islamic legal terms