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39

If you look only at the numbers, then Israel was bound to lose the war of course. The Arab countries had far more soldiers and they also had better/more equipment (the Soviet Union supplied them well). This view leaves out a number of important factors however: Surprise: By launching a preemptive attack Israel took the Arab countries by surprise which ...


28

The Egyptians, along with Syria and Jordan, had worked up a plan to attack Israel a couple of weeks prior to the actual war. Apparently some recently declassified documents confirm that the Egyptians had planned to launch bombers against Israel to take out their airfields and other strategic military positions. They had also deployed a number of tank units ...


26

As Wladimir noted, the precise "vs" analysis is impossible since it depends heavily on what kind of armor, weapons, tactics, training and commanders both infantry and cavalry have, as well as economics of society (which heavily influences these things for the cavalry which is a lot more expensive to equip/train, especially heavy cavalry). Also, it's ...


18

During the last one hundred fifty years or so, the concept of Zionism, the desire of the Jews to run their own state in their historical biblical territory, become prevalent. Theoretically such a state would be free from the periodic persecutions Jews have suffered since the diaspora while living in other people's countries. This resulted in a large number ...


17

In 1948, the Arabs attacked first. A few hours after Israel became an independent country, most of the Arab countries of the region invaded. But that's just the 1948 answer. Local Arab and Jewish militia forces had been clashing for years. A few months earlier (in 1947) bombings and shootings had increased to the level of a civil war. Jews were being ...


17

Lemme have a go at this. Its rather ironic that you bring up the Fourth Crusade as it is quite probably the reason Constantinople was lost to Christianity in the first place. Taking place in 1204-5 it was supposed to go to Egypt to fight there the Ayudid sultan who controlled the Holy Land but through a disastrous chain of events it got sidetracked into ...


16

The short answer to your question is that the general avoidance of consuming pork meat is not unique to Islam, and dates back at least roughly to the ancient Egyptians. The oldest confirmed evidence of pigs domesticated and kept for pork meat come from Hallan Cemi in Southeastern Turkey from about 8000 BC. Shortly thereafter, the consumption of pork appears ...


13

This seemed to have come from Persia's freedom from the Qajars and some nationalism on the part of Germany during WWII influencing the Shah's decisions. So it was originally changed in 1935 and not 1979, unless you are only referring to the Islamic Republic addition, which was done at the Ayatollah's will, more than likely. The name of the country in ...


12

The most important thing for an outsider to understand is that Syria, while ethnically nearly 90% Arab, is made up of a rather large amount of religous minorities. Like most middle-east states, its borders were set up by Europeans during the colonial era, and really paid no heed to any actual cultural boundries. Only about half the population is Suni ...


11

Jews had traditionally been a wide-ranging people. They had centers in Europe, Asia Minor, and even India. (When Thomas went to India in 52 AD, for example, he did so in part because there was already a thriving Jewish community.) Starting in the 50s and 60s AD, many Jews were already being run out of the Israel (think Masada and all that). In 125 AD, ...


11

In 1974 the PLO adopted what is called "The Ten Point Program". It is a program that outlines a phased plan for liberating all of Palestine. Liberating here means liberating it from Israeli rule. Obviously once all of Palestine has been liberated that means there is no Israel at all. If we take this at face value, that means that any compromise you make ...


11

Following the First World War the Middle East was divvied up between the French and British under the Sykes-Picot Agreement. At this time it was expected that oil would be fond near Mosul in Iraq, although no exploration had yet been done to confirm this. In expectation of oil being found there, the French and British reached an agreement (in the Sykes Picot ...


10

There are no magic recipes to win a war. Caesar's tactic was new and surprising, it demoralized the attackers who were certain of their superiority. But this only works once - once that tactic was known it was no longer effective. Note that this wasn't the only reason that Pompey got defeated, it is probably even more important that Pompey's behavior was ...


10

The Serapeum is actually a smaller "branch" of the original library, formally part of the Temple of Serapis. The temple was converted to a Christian church by Theophilus around 390 AD, and it appears this is the reference you have noted above. This "branch" was not actually destroyed, but there is no doubt that many documents were destroyed during the ...


10

Here's my proposition, basically it's just a set of Caucasus characteristics making this region especially interesting. By which we mean: there're numerous languages, 3 distinct language families, characteristic just for this region. My first point is, language diversity / fragmentation is normal for regions without a strong state / commerce / any unifying ...


10

The short answer to your question is that the ancient Seleucia and the Medieval Seleucia are in fact two different cities. The original Seleucia was built in 305 BC as the first capital of the Seleucid empire, as you found in your sources. This city was built on the western bank of the Tigris and was ultimately abandoned in 165 AD, when it was destroyed by ...


10

Famously, the Ancient Egyptians knew a lot about sexuality, gynecology and genitourinary infections. Nevertheless, according to this article, there are no unambiguous description of STD's in the medical papyri of Ancient Egypt (though many reported symptoms suggest gonorrhea and some suggest pelvic infections). The same source notes that the Old Testament ...


10

Summary Nothing is known beyond the official drive the Jews into the Sea rhetoric, and nothing definitive will probably be known. Nothing is Known Most countries do not publish their unfulfilled plans, and, even when they do, there is no good way to ascertain their authenticity. This is especially true for the Arab states in question, which were at the ...


9

The question as it was posed is not entirely accurate. The Sephardic Jews are, rightly, the most famous Jewish community of the Ottoman Empire. However, in Istanbul, you could find synagogues and associations belonging to Ashknazi immigrants from Europe. These were all pre-Zionist immigrants from, if memory serves, Russia. In fact, there was a power struggle ...


9

The infantry-cavalry balance has changed a lot over time. And back and forth. In primitive warfare, the addition of a large animal gave the advantage to the cavalry. This changed during the times of the Greeks and Romans, who invented the phalanx and legion INFANTRY formations that had no cavalry counterparts. By "stabilizing" riders in horses, the ...


9

prohibition of polygamy most certainly doesn't correlate with democracy. Polygamy was prohibited in the entire Christendom throughout Dark Ages and absolute monarchies - not exactly the best circumstances for Democracy. Same with USSR and Nazi Germany. On the other side of the matter, modern western democracies and USA are fairly obviously evolving into ...


9

This is an interesting question. With the benefit of hindsight, "Russia" wasn't in a position to help Saddam Hussein in 1990-91 because the Soviet was about to implode. The reason it probably didn't help Hussein in 2003 was that they didn't believe that President George Bush Jr. would invade Iraq; his father, Bush Sr., had declined to march on Baghdad ...


9

Where to start? Starting from the forced exchange of population between Greece and Turkey in 1923, you will find no shortage of examples, some of truly unbelievable scale. Among the most prominent ones are population transfer and Russian settlements in the former USSR (considering the brutality of the regime, I think it is beyond dispute that these satisfy ...


8

I'd say controlling oil possibly played some role in the desire to go to war, but it was neither the sole reason or necessarily the impetus to start the war. My analysis of why neoconservative leaders such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were determined to war with Iraq was based on several factors. First, Iraq's location serves as a perfect buffer ...


8

Italian author Lucio Russo in his book "Forgotten revolution" argues that a large part of the scientific knowledge of Hellenistic world has been lost. I find his arguments very convincing. Exact sciences in the modern sense of this word originated in Ptolemaic Egypt and other Hellenistic states, and reached very high degree of development. Few first class ...


8

It was quite likely due to European scholars referring Arabic texts. These texts often drew inspiration from Eastern (esp. Indian and Chinese) works. However, the Arabic authors (for some reasons I am not aware of) did not properly attribute the works and therefore, European mathematicians may have thought of zero's origins as being Arabic. But, of course, ...


8

There is a notion that superpowers have, well, super powers, and can bend history to their will. There is never a shortage of conspiracy theories involving foreign agents. The reality of course is that even great powers are constrained, and the idea that Carter's appearance in Iran sparked a revolution is at the very least too Carlylian for my taste. If ...


8

Actually the problem is that somebody with a contrived mind in 1947 decided that instead of creating one state of Israel, there should be two new states: one for Jews and another for Arabs. This plan did not account for the fact that there were already 21 Arab state of which 2 bordered the territory of the "Palestinian Arab state" that was to be created. ...


8

It's difficult to give a proper answer, because during any century of Middle Ages there could be many reasons for closing trading routes for European merchants as outsiders in various parts of Islamic world (which is huge). And it didn't need to have anything in common with religion - it could be the level of civilization (early medieval Europe), an economic ...


8

The Wahhabi ideology started as a revivalist movement (return to the roots) and quickly became strongly conservative, emphasizing intolerance not just to other religions, but to other variants of Islam. This provides a tool for dealing with the dissenters (accuse them of deviations from the party line). Also, the emphasis on the early "Rightly Guided ...



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