Today in North African history: the Battle of Derna ends (1805)

For a military clash that didn’t involve that many soldiers, the 1805 Battle of Derna has a lot of symbolic importance. For one thing, it was the final and most decisive battle of the First Barbary War, arguably the first overseas war the United States ever fought (unless you count the 1798-1800 Quasi-War against the … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Derna ends (1805)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

A few days ago we passed the anniversary of the Oslo I Accord, US President Bill Clinton’s attempt to foster a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that turned out instead to be a lopsided, unworkable framework that’s fostered nothing but many years of failure and frustration. Today we mark the anniversary of Oslo’s closest antecedent, the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Camp David Accords (1978)

Using Middle Eastern Christians for Imperial Aims

I'm very excited to bring you our first attwiw guest post! Georgetown University's Joshua Mugler looks at the Trump administration's "defense"of Middle Eastern Christians and places them in the context of similar--and generally cynical--past claims. If you would like to pitch something for attwiw, please email me. And if you enjoy this content, please consider … Continue reading Using Middle Eastern Christians for Imperial Aims

Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1953 Iranian coup

The 1953 CIA- and MI6-backed coup that overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh is one of the few bits of Middle Eastern history that actually gets overemphasized in the popular consciousness, mostly because relations between the US and Iran are what they are. It’s also not an easy fit in this “today in history” series because, believe it or … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the 1953 Iranian coup

Today in North African history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Stephen Decatur (d. 1820) is one of the US Navy's first famous figures, alongside Revolutionary War captain John Paul Jones, and among the first famous American military figures in general. Technically we should call him Stephen Decatur Junior, so as not to confuse him with his father, who was also an important early American naval … Continue reading Today in North African history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis ends (1981)

On this date in 1981 the Iranian government finally released the last 52 of the 66 hostages it took when Iranian students/paramilitaries seized the US embassy in Tehran in November 1979. The Carter administration, when it wasn't busy planning botched rescue operations, spent most of the 444 days those hostages were held captive trying to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis ends (1981)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

Today is the anniversary of the initial airstrikes of Operation Desert Storm, the "oh, it's just one pull on the slots--what could go wrong?" of America's full-blown addiction to blowing things up in the Middle East. Thanks to YouTube, you kids out there can relive it as it happened...or, at least, "as it happened" to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Operation Desert Storm begins (1991)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Eisenhower Doctrine, or: They All Lived Happily Ever After (1957)

The United States enjoys two things more than just about anything else: doing war and making presidential doctrines about doing war. If you include "domestic" conflicts like the genocide of Native Americans, the United States has been at war for almost its entire existence, and of its 44 presidents, at least a quarter of them … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Eisenhower Doctrine, or: They All Lived Happily Ever After (1957)