Today in Middle Eastern history: the 8 March Revolution (1963)

As with Iraq’s 1963 “Ramadan Revolution,” which preceded and helped to inspire the event we’re here to discuss today, Syria’s “8 March Revolution” is a military coup that got rebranded by the successful coup plotters. However, just as the “Ramadan Revolution” had a fair amount of civilian support—mostly from middle class Iraqis who were displeased … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 8 March Revolution (1963)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, Israel’s militarily decisive but politically confounding rapid defeat of armies in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria (Iraq and Lebanon were involved as well) that has done as much as any other single event to help shape the modern Middle East. Your perspective on how the war started … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Six-Day War begins (1967)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Exporter begins (1941)

The Middle Eastern front in World War II often merits only a brief mention before you move on to Pearl Harbor, the Pacific campaign, and so forth. So Operation Exporter, or the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, doesn’t get that much attention. Indeed, even during the war news about the campaign was downplayed or outright suppressed in Britain, … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Exporter begins (1941)

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

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Hama massacre begins (1982)

Like any major conflict, when it broke out in 2011 the civil war in Syria didn't have one single cause and there was no One Simple Trick to preventing it. Some of its causes built on one another. For example, rising food prices caused in part by a severe Mediterranean heatwave/drought exacerbated Syria's escalating socioeconomic … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Hama massacre begins (1982)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Yom Kippur War begins (1973)

On October 6, 1973, Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal in a surprise attack against Israeli positions in the Sinai Peninsula (which was then under Israeli occupation), while Syrian forces attacked Israeli positions in the Golan Heights (which is still under Israeli occupation). Thus began the Yom Kippur War, or the 1973 War if you … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Yom Kippur War begins (1973)

What’s the Deal With Chemical Weapons?

Three weeks ago this Wednesday, on August 21, an apparent chemical weapons attack in a suburb outside of Damascus changed the scope of the Syrian civil war from a mostly internal affair with limited involvement from outside the immediate region to an international incident. The attack violated several international accords banning the use of chemical … Continue reading What’s the Deal With Chemical Weapons?