Today in European history: the Siege of Vienna ends (1529)

The city of Vienna has kind of an odd but prominent place in Ottoman history. It was never part of the Ottoman Empire, but two Ottoman attempts to conquer it bookend the period of the empire’s greatest territorial reach and military power. The 1683 Battle of Vienna signaled the end of the empire’s dominance, but today… Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Vienna ends (1529)

Today in European history: the Battle of Vienna (1683)

So yesterday, when we talked about the Great Siege of Malta, I mentioned toward the end that the Ottomans, despite losing that siege, were still one of the preeminent military powers in the Mediterranean region (if not the preeminent military power) for another century plus. Well, by 1683 it had been a century plus, and… Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Vienna (1683)

Today in European history: the Siege of Vienna ends (1529)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The city of Vienna has kind of an odd but prominent place in Ottoman history. It was never part of the Ottoman Empire, but two Ottoman attempts to conquer it bookend the period of the empire’s greatest territorial reach and military power. We’ve already looked…

The Syrian peace talks and governance, my latest at LobeLog

A new piece from yours truly went online at LobeLog yesterday, and while I think the main point still holds, I’ll admit that it got a little overtaken by events (I sent it in late Friday afternoon, before…well, you know). Please go read it anyway! See, on Saturday, in the aftershock of the Paris attack,… Continue reading The Syrian peace talks and governance, my latest at LobeLog

Negotiating games

Even if the latest attempt at negotiating and end to Syria’s civil war don’t make any progress, at least Iran’s inclusion has upped the entertainment factor. First, the Iranians are making noises about walking away from the talks because Saudi Arabia is being too “negative”: Iran said on Monday it would quit Syria peace talks… Continue reading Negotiating games

At least they agreed to keep talking

In other Syrian news, the Committee to End the Syrian War Without Talking to Any Syrians met today in Vienna and failed to end the war: Major powers meeting in Vienna have failed to reach an agreement on Syria, especially the future role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but found enough “common ground” to meet… Continue reading At least they agreed to keep talking

A necessary step, but will it matter?

Word broke yesterday that Iran would be invited (with US approval) to participate in the next round of international talks over ending the Syrian civil war. The Guardian is calling this a “significant shift” in US policy, and I guess it is, but it’s one that was long overdue. You can’t get a political settlement… Continue reading A necessary step, but will it matter?