Sometimes, political leaders want wars. And sometimes they start them even though they fear that the results will not measure up to the financial, the political, the human cost – but think that they have exhausted any other means at their disposal to no avail. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a case of the latter. It is an instructive case on how policy is made – not only regarding Afghanistan. We’ll have a look at Afghanistan as a hotspot of great power competition from the 19th century on before we examine the events that led to the Soviet intervention in 1979, and finally, the brutal war of attrition that followed – as always, accompanied by board games.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Islam
The Expansion (Early Islam, #3)
Welcome back to the third and last part of our exploration of early Islam in history and (this time, more) board games! We’ve already seen the power of Muhammad’s revelation and his shrewd statecraft. Now, at Muhammad’s death, we find Arabia united under the banner of Islam. Today, we’ll look at the succession of Muhammad in Arabia, the campaigns for Syria and Iraq, and finally, Islamic expansion into the wider world.Continue reading
The Statesman (Early Islam, #2)
A few weeks ago, you’ve read the tale of the birth of Islam – Muhammad’s revelation, his initial teachings, and the flight to Medina. That’s where we continue the story of early Islam today. As Muhammad, the protagonist of this story, juggled with several balls at any given time, this account will not be entirely chronological. Instead, we’ll look at his early clashes with the Quraysh from Mecca, his ascendancy in Medina as well as his political and social reforms there, and finally his unification of Arabia under the banner of Islam.Continue reading
The Revelation (Early Islam, #1)
What can be said to have lasted long in history? As I post this article, Liz Truss has been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for only twelve days. Queen Elizabeth II has just died after a reign of 70 years. The United Kingdom itself has been in existence for 201 years.
What can be said to have left its mark on history? – Liz Truss certainly hasn’t (yet). Elizabeth II has, a delicate fingerprint of ceremonial monarchy. And the United Kingdom has left indelible traces almost everywhere in the world.
Yet all of them pale in longevity and importance to the story you’re going to read today. It begins almost one and a half millennia ago. It has swept the world from Spain to Indonesia. And almost two billion people follow its teachings today. I’m talking about Islam, of course (you read the headline, didn’t you?).
The story of early Islam is a story of a remarkable land – Arabia. It is the story of a remarkable experience – revelation. And it is the story of upheaval which was not only religious, but also social and political.Continue reading