Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains pretty much for good, Caliphal forces had already taken the jewel of Roman Syria, Damascus, nearly two years earlier. How they did so may illustrate part of the reason…

This month in Middle Eastern history: the Hama massacre (1982)

Lest you think that Assads killing Syrians en masse was some kind of recent phenomenon, a brief mention of the Hama Massacre, which took place during the month of February 1982, should disabuse you of that notion. Bashar al-Assad was just 16 when this massacre took place, and the idea of barrel bombing an open… Continue reading This month in Middle Eastern history: the Hama massacre (1982)

Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Marj Rahit (684)

The early caliphate was not an especially stable place. In the two centuries after Muhammad’s death in 632, the empire went through four Fitnas, or civil wars. It’s fair to say that the second of these, which lasted from 680 to 692, was really almost a do over of the first, with the same factions… Continue reading Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Marj Rahit (684)