The likelihood of a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians has always been negligible in the absence of a determined outside mediator. Indeed, the recent resumption of direct negotiations that have been suspended for almost three years is due solely to the determined efforts of the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry. So, why has the Obama administration chosen to dig in now? And so what?
An inscribed marble throne at the Ethiopian port of Adulis offers us a rare window into the fateful events comprising what has come to be known as the “Red Sea Wars.”
By Kathleen Cavanaugh
Since 2003, Iraq has experienced significant political unrest and the emergence of ethno-religious divisions. That there is a sectarian complexion to emerging socio-political movements in Iraq (religious, ethno-political) is not in question. The ‘fear of sectarianism’ has undoubtedly shaped and formed how protest movements in Iraq (and indeed regionally) are constituted.
By Stephanie Dalley
I once gave a general talk about ancient Mesopotamian gardens, and was astonished, when I prepared for it, to find that there was really no hard evidence for the Hanging Garden at Babylon, although all the other wonders of the ancient world certainly did exist.
From the beginning of the Nazi persecution the numbers of Jews who wished to settle in Palestine rose. As the extermination policies began to unroll in the war years, they made nonsense of British attempts to restrict immigration, which was the side of British policy unacceptable to the Jews; the other side – the partitioning of Palestine – was rejected by the Arabs.
By Robert Repino
While interest in Islam has grown in recent years—both in the media and in educational institutions—there remains a persistent misunderstanding of the religion’s practices, beliefs, and adherents, who now number over one and half billion people. Addressing this problem is not simply an academic exercise, for the past decade especially has shown that our understanding of Islam can have enormous consequences on foreign and domestic policies, as well as on social relations.
For most of the modern world, ancient Nubia seems an unknown and enigmatic land. Only a handful of archaeologists have studied its history or unearthed the Nubian cities, temples, and cemeteries that once dotted the landscape of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Nubia’s remote setting in the midst of an inhospitable desert, with access by river blocked by impassable rapids, has lent it not only an air of mystery, but also isolated it from exploration.
By Andrew Robinson
The polymath Thomas Young (1773-1829) — physicist, physiologist, physician and polyglot, among several other things — became hooked on the scripts and languages of ancient Egypt in 1814, the year he began to decipher the Rosetta Stone. He continued to study the hieroglyphic and demotic scripts with variable intensity for the rest of his life, literally until his dying day. The challenge of being the first modern to read the writing of what appeared then to be the oldest civilization in the world — far older than the classical civilization of Young’s beloved Greeks — was irresistible to a man who was as equally gifted in languages, ancient and contemporary, as he was in science.
By John Welshman
At the time of the collision, Hanna Touma was standing in the doorway of the family’s cabin. She was talking to one of the other migrants from her village. It was just a jolt, but it made the door slam shut, cutting her index finger. Two of the men went to find out what had happened while Hanna went to the Infirmary to get her hand bandaged. Everyone she passed wondered what had caused the jolt and why the ship had stopped.
By Martin Evans
On 5 July 1962, Algeria achieved independence from France after an eight-year-long war — one of the longest and bloodiest episodes in the whole decolonisation process. An undeclared war in the sense there was no formal beginning of hostilities, the intensity of this violence is partly explained by the fact that Algeria (invaded in 1830) was an integral part of France, but also by the presence of European settlers who in 1954, numbered one million as against the nine million Arabo-Berber population.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence. Martin Evans, author of Algeria: France’s Undeclared War, talks about the complexities of Algerian colonial history and the country’s fight for independence in this new video.
This Day in World History
Late in the afternoon of May 14, 1948, a group of Jewish settlers fulfilled a long-cherished dream and declared, as of midnight that night, the existence of the state of Israel. The announcement created the first Jewish state in nearly two millennia — and outraged the Palestinian people and their Arab allies.
This Day in World History
Six years before, the emperor had ordered the building of a vast new city. On May 11, 330, construction was sufficiently complete for that city to be dedicated. The Emperor Constantine took part in a solemn mass at St. Eirene, his newly built church, that dedicated the new city to the Virgin Mary. He issued an edict that declared the city New Rome, or the Second Rome, capital of the empire. Within a hundred years, though, the city came to be known by another name — Constantinople.
: This Day in World History
In the middle of the night, 2 May 2011, a brief message was radioed from Pakistan to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia: “EKIA.” “EKIA” is military shorthand for “enemy killed in action.” The enemy was Osama bin Laden. After a manhunt of nearly ten years, the United States had found and killed the al Qaeda leader who had ordered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
Ahmed Ben Bella was born in Marnia, near the Algerian-Moroccan border, although some doubt remains about whether the year of his birth was 1916 or 1918. One of five brothers of a farmer, in sociological terms Ben Bella’s family was part of the countryside elite that had been impoverished by French colonialism. From these rural roots Ben Bella rose to become the first post-Independence President of Algeria in 1963 and, until his overthrow in June 1965, one of the most famous leaders of the third world revolutionary movement that took off across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This Day in World History
On April 12, 1204, French and Italian Crusaders breached the walls of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and one of the richest cities in the world. Their capture of this rich prize launched one of the most destructive sacks of a city in history. But why did Crusaders who set off to win control of the Holy Land from Muslims attach the chief city of the Eastern Orthodox Church?