Today in Middle Eastern history: the Capture of Damascus (1918)

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s capture of Damascus in early October, 1918, marks the end of World War I in the Middle East. Some scattered fighting continued around Aleppo, but it took only two weeks after losing Damascus for the Ottoman Empire to undergo a complete political upheaval and reach out to the British government to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Capture of Damascus (1918)

Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Some days there are a bunch of little historical anniversaries to commemorate, but none that of themselves seem to warrant their own post. June 10 is one of those days. We’ve got four different anniversaries to note, so let’s take them in chronological order. This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the … Continue reading Today in European/Middle Eastern history: Frederick Barbarossa drowns (1190) and more

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

The First Battle of Kut was as complete an Ottoman victory as you're likely to find in World War I's Middle Eastern theater, and it stands as one of the lowest points for the British military not just in that war, but ever. Following the disaster, the British army replaced its commander in Mesopotamia, Lt. General … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Turkish War of Independence begins (1919)

There’s a kind of symmetry in the fact that the Turkish War of Independence began around three years to the date after Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot agreement on how to divide up the Arab world. Sykes-Picot, for better or worse, has become the symbol for all of the plans the Allies had for … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Turkish War of Independence begins (1919)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Sykes-Picot is signed (1916)

Today is the anniversary of ISIS’s least-favorite arbitrarily-drawn line on a map, the Iraq-Syria boundary delineated by the Sykes-Picot agreement. Al-Jazeera has a pretty handy explainer on the agreement, though I think the headline oversells the content a little bit. Here’s another explainer over at Juan Cole’s Informed Comment that is pretty good. Or you can read my long-ago look … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Sykes-Picot is signed (1916)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Surrender of Kut (1916)

Today is the anniversary of one of the worst military fiascos in British history, the surrender of the 6th division of the Indian Army to the Ottomans at the Iraqi town of Kut. Kut followed right on the heels of the Battle of Ctesiphon in November 1915, and this epilogue turned that indecisive battle into a major strategic … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Surrender of Kut (1916)

Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

The Battle of Sarikamish was one of the more overwhelming Russian victories of World War I. It was so overwhelming, in fact, that it put the Russians on the offensive in the Caucasus for good--or, well, until Russia quit the war following its 1917 revolution. And so its long term military impact has to do … Continue reading Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

January 9 is the anniversary of the end of World War I's very extended Gallipoli campaign, which lasted eight and a half months starting from late April 1915. In full disclosure, the date is a bit misleading--while "January 9" is the date upon which the last British (Canadian, if you want to be particular about … Continue reading Today in European history: the Gallipoli campaign ends (1916)

Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)

In a sense, if you're into this sort of thing, the British army's capture of Jerusalem marked a very belated end to the Crusades. I mean, it took a while, but Edmund Allenby was technically a European Christian, and there he was, on December 11, 1917, marching into the city that had been the object … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: General Allenby comes to Jerusalem (1917)