fasteddie9318

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How Sinai became a magnet for terror

The Bedouin desert wastes where a Russian passenger jet was downed are now a launchpad for Egypt’s deadly Isis offshoot<p>Grey jeans, black trainers and a surface-to-air missile were all that could be seen of the man waiting under a tree for an Egyptian military helicopter to fly past in early January …

Middle East

Sierra Leone’s Long Road to Becoming Ebola-Free

The World Health Organization declared the West African nation clear of the disease on Saturday.<p>More than 19 months since the first case of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak was reported in West Africa, Sierra Leone has been declared free of the disease.<p>The World Health Organization said Saturday …

Morocco's king rules out compromise over Western Sahara

Morocco's king has renewed Rabat's insistence that there will be no compromise on the kingdom's claim to sovereignty over the Western Sahara, vowing that he will offer no more than autonomy to end the four-decade deadlock over the region.<p>"This initiative is the maximum Morocco can offer," Morocco's …

Africa

Historic election underway in Myanmar

Polls have opened in Myanmar in elections that will test whether popular mandate can loosen the military's longstanding grip on power. It's the first …

At least they agreed to keep talking

Posted on October 30, 2015<p>In other Syrian news, the Committee to End the Syrian War Without Talking to Any Syrians met today in Vienna and failed to …

Middle East

Today in European history: the Battle of Río Salado (1340)

Posted on October 30, 2015October 30, 2017<p>Whoever came up with the term <i>Reconquista</i> to describe the Christian conquest of the Iberian Peninsula from …

Ancient History

Today in North African history: the Eighth Crusade ends (1270)

Posted on October 30, 2015October 30, 2017<p>King Louis IX of France (d. 1270, which is a bit of a spoiler), who would later become St. Louis, would …

World History

Confounding expectations again

Posted on November 1, 2015November 1, 2015<p>Well, it looks like today’s Turkish snap poll was conclusive after all, and I should have listened harder …

Middle East

Today in Turkish history: the last Ottoman Sultan is deposed (1922)

Posted on November 1, 2015November 1, 2017<p>If we’re going to talk about the beginning of the Ottoman Empire, then we ought to also talk about its end, …

World History

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Balfour Declaration (1917)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:<br>I’m kind of cringing at writing this, because you can’t really talk about the Balfour Declaration …

Balfour Declaration

Mythologizing and demonizing the deceased

Posted on November 4, 2015<p>In addition to being the 36th anniversary of the Iranian seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, today is also the 20th …

Israel

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis begins (1979)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:<br>It’s only been 36 years since a group of Iranian students from an organization called “Muslim Student …

Iran

Today in West African history: the Green March begins (1975)

Posted on November 6, 2015January 19, 2016<p>It’s hard to believe that the Spanish Empire only officially ceased to exist in 1975. I mean, when you …

Africa

Iran deal dead, say people who never wanted it in the first place

Posted on November 6, 2015<p>Over at <i>The New York Times</i>, Thomas Erdbrink (hey, at least it wasn’t David Sanger) lays down some mad truth about the Iran …

South Asia

Saturday Night Tunes: Happy Birthday to Adolphe Sax

Posted on November 7, 2015November 7, 2015<p>Yesterday was the birthday of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894), and since I happen to …

Flute

Meet the new Taliban boss (?), Akhtar Mansur

Posted on July 30, 2015May 19, 2016<p>So the Taliban officially acknowledged that Mullah Omar is, in fact, no longer among the living, though one …

Afghanistan

If you’re worried about Iranians chanting “Death to America,” I found something for you to read

Posted on July 30, 2015<p>Robin Wright, one of the best Western journalists out there when it comes to reporting from inside Iran, has a new piece in <i>The</i> …

University of Tennessee

Saturday Night Tunes: Louis Armstrong

Posted on August 1, 2015August 4, 2015<p>If all you know about Louis Armstrong (d. 1971) comes from his popular hits in the 1960s, when he was more a …

New Orleans

Fighting Barack Obama’s (?) Politics of Fear on Iran

Posted on August 4, 2015August 9, 2015<p>Folks, <i>Bloomberg View</i> columnist Eli Lake is mad that President Obama is scaring people about the Iran deal. Yes, …

Middle East

Here it is, the most disingenuous argument against the Iran deal

Posted on August 5, 2015August 5, 2015<p>John Bolton (R-YouKiddingMeWithThatMustache) most famously served for a little over a year as George W. Bush’s …

South Asia

Joe Biden’s Iraqi federalism idea isn’t “terrible,” it just probably wouldn’t do much good

Posted on August 5, 2015<p>Max Fisher is upset about a couple of things. First, he’s irritated that Vice-President Joe Biden’s 2006 call for Iraq to be …

Middle East

When horrible human beings collide

Posted on August 8, 2015<p>If you’re wondering why a bunch of really terrible people seem all abuzz today, here’s the short version. Yesterday, in a CNN …

Donald Trump

Saturday Night Tunes: Sidney Bechet

Posted on August 8, 2015August 8, 2015<p>The downside to Louis Armstrong’s overwhelming level of popularity is that other early jazz musicians are often …

Flute

Define “can’t win”

Posted on August 10, 2015August 10, 2015<p>Ezra Klein:<p>In a war with Fox, Trump will likely lose<p>Now Trump and Fox News are at war. And as Nate Silver …

Donald Trump

REMINDER: You can’t choose your family, even when you’re Bashar al-Assad

Posted on August 10, 2015August 10, 2015<p>I assume most, if not all, of the people reading this have at least one cousin. Hell, technically we’re all …

Middle East

Busy day in Turkey

Posted on August 10, 2015August 10, 2015<p>Turkey is dealing with the aftermath of a series of attacks in the southeastern part of the country and in …

Extremism

Who are you going to believe, a bunch of experts or Chuck Schumer?

Posted on August 10, 2015<p>Chuck Schumer has unsurprisingly become every right-winger’s favorite Democrat since he declared last week that he’s voting …

James Martin

Rebuilding Iraq’s government could be a risky proposition

Posted on August 10, 2015November 8, 2017<p>Something pretty fascinating is happening in Iraq, where in spite of the ongoing war with ISIS that must be …

Middle East

Turkish archeological site shakes up prehistory

Posted on August 11, 2015August 11, 2015<p>For a change, let’s start today with a story that isn’t about people killing other people or crazy people …

Archaeology

Today in Middle East history: the Battle of Otluk Dağı or Otluk Beli* (1473)

Posted on August 11, 2015August 11, 2017<p>I assume anybody reading this blog has at least heard of the Ottomans (I mean, I have to assume you do read …

World History