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will india attack pakistan

Will India resort to war with Pakistan?
18 November, 2017

By Asif Haroon Raja

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In the wake of constantly deteriorating security situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) owing to heightened turbulence, exasperated and outraged Indian political and military leadership and Indian public are getting restless. 750,000 Indian security forces have been unable to quell the wave of protests that spiraled after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2016.

The girl students in IOK have also joined the protests and are hurling stones on the soldiers. No one in Kashmir fear the Indian soldiers firing bullets, using chili pellet guns and applying brutal tactics. The world and human rights bodies have begun to take note of the atrocities in Kashmir and hardly a day passes without the foreign newspapers carrying stories and pictures of clashes in Kashmir. Many in India are saying that Kashmir is slipping out of the hands of India. India’s veterans have joined the critics saying that the counter measures taken are insufficient and more force should be used to put fear into the hearts of Kashmiris.

Not knowing how to deal with the uprising and to answer the questions of foreign critics, India has been trying to distract the attention of its home and foreign audiences by blaming Pakistan that it is abetting terrorism in Kashmir. While carrying out unprovoked firing across the LoC in Kashmir, engineering false flag operations and fake surgical strikes, Indian military leaders are heaving threats that India is considering punitive actions against Pakistan for allegedly supporting cross-border terrorism. Last year and this year, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged some of the heaviest fire in years along the Line of Control [LoC] in Kashmir.

The Indian army chief after threatening to carry out a hard strike at a place of its choosing claimed on May 23 that it had destroyed several Pakistani posts across the LoC. He has often hurled threat of limited war based on Cold Start doctrine. The Indian air chief after alerting the IAF to be ready for a major task threatened that Pak nuclear sites will be destroyed. Pakistan Army rubbished Indian claims and also gave befitting response to all acts of aggression.

India also created an impression that it had succeeded in diplomatically isolating Pakistan and that people of Baluchistan, Gilgit and AJK were supportive of India. Indian political leaders threatened to dry up Pakistan by closing water of the three rivers flowing into Pakistan from IOK and to fragment Pakistan into four parts.

RAW accelerated terror attacks in Baluchistan and elsewhere with the help of its proxies including ISIS (Daesh) based at Nangarhar/Tora Bora. Besides signing defense agreements with USA in 2016, India has speeded up force modernization of Indian armed forces and is frenetically building up its nuclear and conventional defense and offence capabilities. Ostensibly this is being done to make India a bulwark against China. But 80% of India’s strike formations are poised against Pakistan. The US Director Defence Intelligence Agency Lt Gen Vincent Stewart stated on May 23, ‘India was updating its military to better position itself to defend India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region and strengthen its diplomatic and economic outreach across Asia’.

To maximize pressure on Pakistan, India nudged Kabul and Tehran to heat up Pakistan’s western and southwestern borders and both obliged India. Donald Trump in his Afghan policy speech last August, maximized pressure on Islamabad by accusing it that it was involved in proxy war and was still supporting Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban. Mounting tensions have lowered down as a consequence to visits of Khawaja Asif to Washington and Rex Tillerson to Islamabad.

Panama case kept Pakistan’s political temperature on the boil. It led to disqualification of PM Nawaz Sharif for life followed by initiation of corruption cases by accountability court against him and his family. Although the new PM Khaqan Abbasi has steadied the

tottering ship, the overall political climate is wobbly. Some say that crisis have been brewed up by vested groups to derail the political dispensation, disrupt CPEC and other development projects and to pave the way for India to wage a war against destabilized Pakistan.

For all the dogmatic war mongering hyped in every Indian medium, India will never wage a war against Pakistan and if it commits the blunder, it cannot win a war. Verbose threats, surgical strikes, cross-border firing or boisterous bawling on TV channels are all signs of pent up frustration and an effort to let off steam.

The sooner Indian hawkish leaders appreciate this politico-military reality, better it will be for India. Short of total genocide, no country regardless of its war-withal could hope to achieve a decisive victory with a “short war” in today’s world.

India has seen the sorry plight of USA and NATO in the 16-year war on terror and the financial loss it incurred ($ 2.10 trillion in Afghanistan and Iraq alone) and human losses (6623) they have suffered and so far have not achieved any of their objectives. Era of short and decisive war is over. USA had promised a short war in Afghanistan but it has not come out of it till to date.

Pakistan has adequately compensated for its inferiority in conventional power by maintaining full spectrum nuclear deterrence and achieving nuclear parity with India. India’s stratagem of achieving superiority in men and material to overawe Pakistan is a weak strategy and has failed to overawe Pakistan. Pak Army’s stunning gains against foreign backed terrorism has astounded the world and shot up its image. It is now the hardiest Army of the world and is looked upon with respect.

Despite Pakistan’s handicaps and India’s superior diplomatic clout, Pakistan has managed to sail past the rough patch and today it finds itself in a better geopolitical position and seem to have turned the tables on India which had schemed to destabilize it, denuclearize it, isolate and strategically encircle it and then deliver the military instrument to Balkanize it.

Decades of mutual cooperation, technology transfer, training, equipment sales, have bonded the two armies of Pakistan and China into a formidable joint force. The duo has achieved sufficient intimacy and understanding to carry out joint missions against India.

Pakistan’s fast-tracked accomplishments in nuclear technology, missile delivery systems, logistic supply chain of equipment, and spares as well as new-age technologies such as cyber and drone warfare are all the result of close cooperation between the two countries.

In contrast, India has not even been able to integrate its three services, what to speak of assimilation with political leadership, industry, academia and indigenous defense capabilities.

While Pak Army having successfully fought the insurrectional war for 14 years is fully battle inoculated and motivated, Indian military has gained no such experience and its performance against Kashmiri freedom fighters, Naxalites and host of other insurgent groups in various parts of India is dismal. Indian Army is suffering from inertia, sagging morale and ever rising moral and discipline problems.

Indian armed forces still have over 60% of Russian origin defense arsenal which has become obsolete and absorption of western technology will take considerable length of time. This incongruity has affected India’s war preparedness.

India has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing tensions with regional rivals China and Pakistan and is the largest importer of arms. It is now planning to produce defense equipment locally. Defence and nuclear up-gradation is at the cost of alleviation of poverty stricken of great majority.

Praveen Sahwney has mentioned in his book “The Dragon on our doorsteps,” India has primarily focused on developing its military arsenal whereas Pakistan and China have

been developing war waging capabilities, which is a synthesis of many strengths other than just military force.

Whereas Russia is still a strategic partner of India, however, warmth of yester years has cooled after India signed three defense deals with USA last year. Unlike in the past, Russia is now a strategic partner of China and has friendly relations with USA under Trump. It is gradually getting closer to Pakistan and finding space in Afghanistan. Iran’s coolness with Pakistan is fast fading and GCC States misunderstandings with Pakistan has faded.

Notwithstanding the Indo-US strategic alliance, the US cannot afford to lose Pakistan which certainly has a lot of say in Afghan tangle. It has no choice but to continue supporting Pakistan financially and militarily to ensure continuity of logistics supply for its troops and for its safe exit from Afghanistan. On the other hand Pakistan’s dependence on the US has reduced dramatically with China filling in the gap. Pakistan has clearly stated that it needs mutually beneficial trade and not aid.

China’s economic aspirations and access to the Arabian Sea through CPEC and Gwadar seaport is a strategic masterstroke by Pakistan and China. 63% of CPEC is complete while Gwadar Port can get converted into a naval base in the event of war. Not only it is a win-win for the duo but it is also a “lose-lose” for India since CPEC has broken India’s plan to encircle and isolate Pakistan and has landed itself and Afghanistan into the mold of isolation. Full operationalization of CPEC can break the US strategic encirclement of China around South China Sea and China’s dependence on Malacca Strait.

China’s One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) project of which CPEC is the linchpin has welded the two neighbors into permanent partners. With its heavy economic stakes in Pakistan, China is bound to come to the aid of Pakistan whenever its security is threatened.

Baluchistan, AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan and some vulnerable points along the CPEC in Punjab and Sindh marked as possible targets by India have become exceedingly perilous

objectives for India in the wake of possibility of China’s intervention, thereby precluding the possibility of Indian military action.

Indian former Army Officer Raghu Raman says that “any Indian operation that endangers thousands of Chinese citizens working on the CPEC project in Pakistan will draw the wrath of China and give them the loco standi to initiate hostilities against India. So beyond shallow skirmishes all along the border, India really has no operational or strategic options without the risk of drawing China into a two-front war.”

Although India has posed a two-front threat to Pakistan, Pakistan military has correctly appreciated that the force levels which India will be able to muster against it will be more or less evenly matched, and in the event of Indo-Pak hostilities, it can depend on China for its logistics supply chain as well as splitting the Indian armed forces’ resources and focus by deploying PLA divisions along the border with India. This would in effect, pin down a substantial part of the Indian Army’s reserves to cater for the eastern front.

India also know that now there are too many stakeholders dependent on the success of the OBOR/CPEC project and any disturbance in this area would be attributed to India’s truculence.

Under the circumstances, Indian covert or overt intrusion to scuttle CPEC will earn her a bad name. Likewise, by staying away from composite dialogue with Pakistan to settle disputes will depict India as an obdurate country incapable of setting aside bilateral issues for the larger good of the region.

For the fulfilment of Modi’s ambition to improve the economy of India, the fulcrum for development is stable and peaceful environment and not war mongering and disturbed border. War clouds are an antithesis for economic investments. Even preparation for war costs billions of dollars in terms of resources. Already the covert and propaganda wars unleashed against Pakistan has cost India millions of dollars. India can scarcely afford to go to war when millions of Indian youth are entering the job market whose un-channelised energies is another potential risk.

For a nation to go to war, all its pillars of strength, including its military, economic prowess, industrial capability, external alliances and national will must be aligned in a singular direction to achieve meaningful success. India is engulfed in too many internal vulnerabilities and can ill afford to wage an all-out war with nuclear Pakistan.

While IOK is slipping out of India’s hands, the story is no different in Afghanistan where Taliban are gaining ground and turning the tide.

There is an old couplet by Ramdhari Dinkar which suggests that forgiveness befits a snake which has venom in its bite—not one which is weak, toothless, and harmless. To be taken seriously, India needs to build that strength first rather than spewing ineffectual rhetoric.”

The only option India has against Pakistan is the Covert War supplemented with Hybrid War. At best it may resort to limited attacks close to the border and LoC, which will be effectively retaliated by Pakistan.

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre.



saudi -iran at crossroads

Repercussions of the US bid to isolate Iran
01 November, 2017

By Asif Haroon Raja

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Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi enjoyed best of relations with USA as well as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Their relations dipped to lowest ebb once Imam Khomeini came to power in March 1979 and the King had to take refuge in Cairo. Iran under Khomeini crashed the twin pillar policy of USA for the Middle East based on Iran and KSA. Islamic revolution in Iran which had a ripple effect in the entire Muslim world including six Muslim Republics of Central Asia was one reason which impelled former Soviet Union to step into Afghanistan in December 1979.

KSA supported Saddam Hussain regime in its nine-year war with Iran (1980-88) owing to its ideological rivalry with Iran. However, KSA led GCC States severed relations with Baghdad when Saddam occupied Kuwait in August 1991. They not only provided military bases to USA but also paid the expenses incurred by US-NATO forces in fighting the First Gulf War in November 1991. The GCC States once again extended support to US-NATO forces in their occupation of Iraq in March 2003, and were on board in 2011 when civil war was triggered in Syria to topple Bashar al-Assad regime, and when Libya was attacked in the same year to knockdown Qaddafi.

Despite the Iran-US antagonism, Iran didn’t object to the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 since it was opposed to the Sunni Taliban regime and viewed it as its ideological rival. It helped US-NATO military by assisting the Afghan Northern Alliance (ANA) which it had hosted since 1996, and in league with Indian military had trained and equipped it. Subsequently, Iran provided support to US-NATO forces in their venture against Iraq in March 2003. Iran-US relations strained again when ostracized Iran was ruled by Ahmadinejad and his regime started to actively pursue nuclear program and develop missile power with the help of Russia.

Over the years, the influence of USA waned in Iraq owing to its policy of ruthless persecution of Sunni Muslims and resistance movement launched by the Jihadists and Baathists. In the wake of mounting casualties of American soldiers, the US military had to abandon Iraq in 2011, but it left behind a monster ISIS, which seized bulk of northwestern Iraq including Fallujah and Mosul in 2014. Conversely, Iran enhanced its influence in Iraq substantially mainly because of Shia heavy southern Iraq contiguous to Iran and the installation of Shia heavy regime under Nurul Maliki and later under Haider Al-Abadi in Baghdad.

Later on, Iran spread its influence into Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been the main backer of Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitary force. IRGC, Iraqi Shi’ite militias, Iraqi Kurds together with Iraq National Army managed to oust ISIS from Iraq. IRGC Commander Gen Nasseri was killed in the battle of Mosul.

The US lost the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and had to pullout bulk of ISAF forces (120,000) from Afghanistan in December 2014, leaving behind a token force of 12000. Iran, which had considerably lost its influence in Afghanistan during the five-year Taliban rule (1996-2001), once again increased its sway in Shias heavy western Afghanistan and Hazaras dominated Central

Afghanistan due to its close ties with ANA heavy government under Hamid Karzai and later under Ashraf Ghani.

Assisted by Afghan refugees and Al-Qaeda which it had hosted for a long time, Tehran established contacts with Taliban groups and allowed them entry into Iran. It is now supplying arms to them covertly. Presence of Daesh (ISIS) in Afghanistan since mid-2014 and desire to have a say in resolution of Afghan tangle are the main reasons behind arming the Taliban. Afghanistan brought Iran-India closer and coolness in Iran-Pakistan relations.

Iran strengthened its nexus with Syria, its most consistent ally since 1979, and Lebanon based Hezbollah, by adding Iraq and Huthis controlled Yemen. Officers and men of IRGC have been taking active part in Syrian war against the rebels and Daesh. Provision of logistics, technical, financial support ($6 billion annually) coupled with deployment of IRGC (up to 10,000 operatives) by Iran and participation of Hezbollah fighters in the war helped Bashar al-Assad regime to stay in power. IRGC suffered 2000 casualties including Brig Gen Abdollah Khosravi in Syria. Entry of Russian air force in September 2015 helped Assad regime to recover territory and regain balance.

Expansion of Shia arc in the Middle East together with Russia assisted nuclear and missile programs of Iran consternated KSA led Gulf States, Israel and USA. KSA feels it has been strategically encircled by Iran and is well poised to create disturbances in Arab States, while Israel feels its dream of establishing Greater Israel has been shattered.

Alarmed by the growing power of Iran, Israel and USA actively worked on contingencies to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. Besides imposing four-fold harsh sanctions, hurling threats and developing bunker busting bombs and missiles to be able to hit underground nuclear sites, aircraft carriers were deployed near Suez Canal to dissuade Iran from manufacturing nuclear bomb. In November-December 2011, Israel had come perilously close to exercising the military option but was restrained by USA. Iran managed to keep them at bay due to its nuclear/missile capabilities and Ahmadinejad’s threats to wipe out Israel off the face of earth and to block Strait of Hurmuz. While speed boats were offensively deployed in the Persian Gulf to counter sea invasion, two intruding US drones were shot down by Iran.

It took Bush/Obama Administrations and CIA over 8 years of covert operations to be able to remove hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from power and replace him with Reformist Hassan Rouhani in June 2013. After two years of sustained efforts put in by John Kerry, Iran agreed to roll back nuclear program under a deal with the US, China, Russia, France Germany, UK (P5+1) in July 2015 in return for lifting of sanctions which were badly hurting Iran’s economy. Another reason of cozying up with Iran was to reduce dependence on Pakistan for supplies to ISAF troops and to make use of Afghan-Chahbahar route because of coolness in Pakistan-US relations.

Israel and KSA were unhappy with the nuclear deal, former expressing fears that Iran was continuing to develop weapon-grade uranium bomb. Netanyahu wanted re-imposition of sanctions and to cut Iran’s potent missile program to size. Although Obama expressed his

reservations that Iran was not living up to the spirit of the deal, but he gradually lifted some of the sanctions and unfroze $1.7 billion assets in foreign banks.

Israel view Iran as an existential threat to Israel because of its nuclear/missile capability, linkage with Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza and its bellicosity. Miffed by Obama’s disinclination to jeopardize the deal, Israel and American Jewish lobby succeeded in sidelining frontrunner Hillary Clinton and empowering Donald Trump in January 2017.

One of the tasks assigned to Trump was to cancel the nuclear deal, or else restore sanctions to force Iran to curb its missile development program. In compliance with the dictates from Tel Aviv, Trump has adopted a highly confrontational posture against Iran from the very outset. This was evident from his declaration that the nuclear deal is the worst kind of deal which he will tear off. Iran was included in the list of seven Muslim States that were denied US visas.

Iran is accused of violating the nuclear deal by carrying out 12 ballistic missiles tests. IRGC which has been blacklisted is on the hit list and is accused of fomenting instability in the region. Sanctions have been imposed on 25 individuals/entities connected with IRGC and plans are afoot to declare it a rogue outfit. Washington is pressing Europe to stop doing business with IRGC.

Taking advantage of the heightened tiff between Riyadh and Tehran, Trump decided to attend the US-Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh in May 2017. During his highly pungent speech, Trump expressed his open ended hostility against Iran. He declared Iran as the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. He backed the Saudi led 41-member Islamic Alliance and signed $110 billion defence deal with Riyadh. All this was done to pitch GCC States against Iran and to isolate and contain Iran.

Another significant development which took place soon after the Summit was the standoff between KSA and Qatar. Strengthened by the US support, King Saud decided to take a tough line against Qatar which it felt had become an eyesore on account of its close economic ties with Iran and its support to Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Doha controlled Al-Jazeera which lambasts Gulf States is another point of friction. KSA, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt snapped diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and cozying up with Iran. A de facto blockade was imposed on the country by closing the air, sea and land routes to isolate Qatar.

The US which maintains a large airbase in Qatar stood by Riyadh since tiff between Muslim States suits its overall policy of ‘divide and conquer’. To start with President Trump took credit for the Riyadh-Doha tiff, which he implied was an intentional US-led strategy. However, in its bid to isolate Iran, the US is now trying to deescalate tensions between KSA and Qatar but so far no breakthrough has been achieved since Doha is defiant and refuses to cut off support to the MB, break its ties with Iran and close Al-Jazeera media outlet as demanded by Riyadh. Qatar is in the know of KSA’s policy of promoting Wahhabism and supporting Salafi Jihadists.

Moving ahead with its policy of isolating Iran, the US under Trump played a role in bringing a thaw in Riyadh-Baghdad relations in 2017. In its bid to wean away Iraq from Iran, US Secretary of

State Rex Tillerson has succeeded in wooing the Gulf allies to cozy up with Iraq with a view to isolate and contain Iran and to counter its growing assertiveness in the region. Haider has assented since he is badly in need of the US monetary assistance to reconstruct war torn Iraq.

The big question is what happens if the nuclear deal is scrapped by Washington? Obviously, Iran will recommence its frozen nuclear program and double its efforts to manufacture a uranium bomb at the earliest irrespective of re-imposition of sanctions. The next question is whether Israel will singly, or backed by USA attack Iran’s nuclear sites? The problem at hand is that while Netanyahu and his hawkish cabinet are war mongers, Trump is impulsive and will prefer a military action over restraint policy as practiced by Obama. Furthermore, Trump’s core national security team was against the nuclear deal and James Mattis consider Iran as “single most enduring threat to the stability and peace in Middle East”.

On the contrary, Russia, China and most Europe are eager to preserve the deal and to do business with Iran. Russia which has signed S-400 air defence system deal with Riyadh, and is close to Iran and Syria is likely to play the US and Iran off each other to make Iran more dependent upon Moscow. Over one-year breather has allowed Iran to refurbish its economy. It has escape doors in Europe, China, Russia, South Korea and India to export its oil and gas.

Undoing of nuclear deal and sounding of war drums by Israel will have dangerous repercussions for the region which is already in turmoil. Military adventure by Israel will evoke a very strong response from Iran and could trigger war in the region. IRGC Commander has already threatened to raze the US military base in Bahrain and to devastate Tel Aviv with its missiles. Blockade of Strait of Hurmuz will deprive the world of one-thirds of oil trade. Anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments have once again begun to gather steam in Iran. If Iran is ditched by USA, it will hasten to join the block of China-Russia-SCO, towards which Turkey and Pakistan are also inclined.

The US already stuck in the quagmires of Afghanistan and Syria and having no clue how to get out of them, has antagonized nuclear North Korea and is now infuriating Iran. It is also showing eyes to Pakistan. China, Russia, Turkey and most of Middle East countries are wary of USA because of its jingoistic foreign policy, dangerous designs and duplicities. Many European countries are also cagy in their dealings with USA under Trump. Instead of isolating Iran, the US itself is getting isolated. So is the case with India under extremist Modi trying to isolate Pakistan! Without the US intimate support, Israel will become a Pariah State. The warmongering US, Israel and India are spoilers of peace and have made the world insecure. Conversely, China through its One-Belt-One-Road policy has become the leading promoter of peace and development and is on its way to become the leading economic power.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre.




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Children giving birth to children in Pakistan
Murtaza HaiderUpdated December 06, 2014
—Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
—Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
These girls could have also become Malala Yousafzai or Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, but they didn’t.

They were married off in their early teens, and before they could escape childhood, some gave birth to their own children.

Child marriage is widespread in Pakistan. Girls as young as 13 are married off by their parents or guardians. Poverty, illiteracy, religious beliefs, and cultural norms and pressures are some of the reasons behind this practice. For the young mothers, early motherhood is often accompanied with high fertility, and poor maternal and children health.

Over the past five decades, significant improvement has taken place in battling child marriages.

A relatively much smaller proportion of young girls is married off today than was 50 years ago. Still, much more work is needed to curb such practices to ensure Pakistan’s future mothers and their children can lead healthy and prosperous lives.

Know more: Married off for ‘honour’: Pakistan’s child brides

Teenage pregnancies are not just a challenge for developing countries. Even the US is struggling with the same challenge, with additional complexities.

In 2006, the cumulative risk of a teenager becoming pregnant in her teen years was one in three. The US government has been struggling to curb this trend. By 2010, the numbers were down to one in four. Teenage pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates were all down. Greater awareness about contraceptives and their effective use and cultural changes are the reason behind the decline in these numbers.

In Pakistan, though, teenage pregnancies result in additional complexities. In a recent paper published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, Muazzam Nasrullah and others explore the impact of girl child marriages on fertility in Pakistan.

Read on: Fatal conception — stilled life

Using data from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey for 2006-07, the authors found that over 50 per cent of the ever-married women in Pakistan between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before they turned 18. Most international conventions consider individuals under 18 as children.

The authors believe that the adverse impacts of girl child marriages include high fertility rates (three or more childbirths), frequent childbirth with fewer than 24 months between births, unwanted pregnancies, and pregnancy termination.

Source: Nasrullah et. al., 2014
Source: Nasrullah et. al., 2014
Pakistan has made tremendous progress in increasing the average age at marriage for girls, which increased from 13.3 years in 1950-59 to 23.1 in 2006-07. But despite the good work done, one in two young girls is still married off before she turns 18.

This has to change.

The poor health of the teenage mother and her child, and higher risks for disease and death for both should convince the governments to increase the legal age for marriage.

Explore: Half of South Asia’s girls marry before 18: UN

The main determinants of childhood marriage are the usual suspects. Most child brides have no formal education and live in Pakistan’s rural areas. Of those, who were between 20-24 years old, 75 per cent women reported at least one childbirth. Almost 32 per cent women in the same cohort gave birth to a child in the first year after their marriage. Another 20 per cent of 20-24 years old had at least once terminated a pregnancy.

The recent crisis of over 100 reported deaths of children in rural Sindh should be a revelation for the government and the public at large.

At the face of it, drought has been identified as a contributing factor. It could very well be true that these children were of poor health from the beginning and that some of them may have been born to teenage mothers.

The mother and child’s health has to become a priority in Pakistan.

But given the crisis-prone nature of the country, the government’s and the media’s focus will soon shift to yet another crisis, ignoring the deep-rooted crisis of mother and child health.

Pakistan needs to invest in its people to build a prosperous country. It can start by investing in the health of mothers and children to preserve the future generation of Pakistanis.

Note: An earlier version of the blog misstated the risk of becoming pregnant in the US. The error is regretted.


Child marriage
Sindh Assembly passes bill prohibiting child marriages
Enforcement of child marriage restriction law yet to begin
Author Image
Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of

He tweets @regionomics

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Read more
Pakistan must stop dragging its feet and put an end to child marriages
Pakistan must stop dragging its feet and put an end to child marriages
A night, a lifetime at the Urs in Bhit Shah
A night, a lifetime at the Urs in Bhit Shah
Sufi traditions, a Sikh past and Islamic influences come together in a Christian shrine in Pakistan
Sufi traditions, a Sikh past and Islamic influences come together in a Christian shrine in Pakistan

On DawnNews
’امریکا، افغانستان میں بھارت کا کردار محدود کرے‘
’امریکا، افغانستان میں بھارت کا کردار محدود کرے‘
پارسی: جو بانیانِ کراچی ہیں
پارسی: جو بانیانِ کراچی ہیں
اسموگ کیا ہے اور اس سے بچنا کیسے ممکن؟
اسموگ کیا ہے اور اس سے بچنا کیسے ممکن؟
Comments (51) Closed
white noise
Dec 06, 2014 04:48pm
you would need an eternity to fix the system.

Recommend 15
S. Haider
Dec 06, 2014 06:38pm
I wish, the members of Islamic Ideology Council read this informative article and also the research paper cited herein. This article should be translated in Urdu and published in DAWN-Urdu. The illustration of Khuda Bux Abro is excellent.

Recommend 20
Dec 06, 2014 06:38pm
1980-89 was the best era.

Recommend 5

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America Losing Afghanistan by Every Metric that Matters — Astute News

A new report by a Congressionally mandated watchdog group paints a grim picture of the progress (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan. The national conversation has been focused on North Korea and Russia lately, while talk about counterinsurgency tactics has centered on fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and northern Africa. Meanwhile, you hardly hear […]

via America Losing Afghanistan by Every Metric that Matters — Astute News


In desert of Oman, a gateway to life on Mars
‘When we fly to Mars in reality, we will need as many questions as possible already answered so that we are really well prepared’
Image Credit: AFP
Members of the Austrian Space Forum inspect a site in Oman’s Dhofar desert on Sunday, in preparation for a four-week Mars simulation mission due to begin next year.
Published: 12:37 October 31, 2017 Gulf News

DHOFAR, Oman: In sunglasses and jumpsuits, a crew of European test astronauts is laying the groundwork for a Mars simulation in the barren expanse of the Omani desert, a terrestrial mission intended to pave the way to the red planet.
The “analog astronauts” of the Austrian Space Forum — a volunteer-based collective — have arrived in Oman to begin preparations for a four-week simulation mission due to begin next year.

Touching down at Marmul Airport, a remote outpost used by oil workers, the five-person advance team loaded up on sunscreen and, with their Omani counterparts dressed in crisp white gowns and colourful turbans, boarded four-by-fours and plunged into the desert under the blazing sun.
Oil installations receded into the background and only rocky plateaus and ancient sandy riverbeds remained as far as the eye could see. Maps were spread on the hoods of the vehicles.
“We want to simulate Mars on Earth and so we need a place that looks as much like Mars as possible. And we found it here in Oman,” Alexander Soucek, the lead flight director of the AMADEE-18 mission, told AFP.

The team was on a quest to pin down the location of the base camp for the simulation, to be held in February.
“Here the humans coming from Earth will land after six months’ travel through space… Simulated, of course!” Soucek said upon arrival at the chosen site.
“When we fly to Mars in reality, we will need as many questions as possible already answered so that we are really well prepared.”
‘Sneak preview of the future’
During the mission, the team will carry out a series of experiments, from growing greens without soil in an inflatable hydroponic greenhouse to testing an autonomous “tumbleweed” rover, which maps out terrain while propelled by the wind.
“There are very few groups on this planet testing these procedures and doing these high-fidelity simulations,” said Soucek. “We are one of them.”
The team hopes the simulation will help nail down future tools and procedures for the first manned mission to Mars.
Field commander Gernot Groemer predicts a Mars mission may be carried out by a collective of the United States, Russia, Europe and possibly China relatively soon — with the first human to set foot on the red planet maybe already born.
“What we’re going to see here in about 100 days is going to be a sneak preview into the future,” said Groemer, describing a U-shaped encampment where “an exquisitely compiled suite of experiments” will take place.
Those include experiments designed to test human factors that could affect pioneering astronauts, such as mental fatigue and depression.
Just 15 people will enter the isolation phase, when their only way to troubleshoot snags will be through remote communication with “earth” in Austria.
Innovations for Earth
The total cost of the project is expected to be around half-a-million euros (about Dh2.1 million), covered mainly by private donations from industry partners.
Critics of such space missions see the massive amounts of money as a luxury in a time of austerity measures in Europe and depressed oil prices in the Gulf.
The Austrian Space Forum argues the money is not being “thrown into space” and that the tools being developed are not only useful for life on a distant planet but for our own.
“Most people every day use a handful of space technologies without even knowing it,” said Groemer, listing off satellite imagery, fuel injection for cars and breast cancer screening software.
On Monday the Austrian Space Forum signed a memorandum of understanding with Oman, making the sultanate’s selection as the mission site official.
For the Omani Astronomical Society, which invited the Austrian Space Forum, the mission is a way to inspire the country’s youth.
A series of lectures is taking place at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, geared especially towards hundreds of young students.
Al Khattab Ghalib Al Hinai, deputy head of the steering committee for AMADEE-18 and vice chairman of Oman’s State Council, says a high school team will even participate, conducting a geophysics experiment to find water.
“The whole idea is to ignite imagination within the young society in Oman, female and male, and I hope this journey of discovery will help them to always search for the unknown,” the geologist said.
“I hope to see astrophysicists in Oman, I hope to see geologists. I hope to see astronauts in the future.”

assyrian empire

Middle Assyrian Empire
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Middle Assyrian Empire
1392 BC–934 BC

Map of the Ancient Near East showing the extent of the Middle Assyrian Empire (orange) c. 1392 BC.
Capital Aššur
Languages Akkadian language
Religion Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Government Monarchy
• 1365 BC — 1330 BC Ashur-uballit I (first)
• 967 BC — 934 BC Tiglath-Pileser II (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
• Independence from Mitanni 1392 BC
• Ascension of Ashur-uballit I 1365 BC
• Reign of Ashur-dan II 934 BC
Preceded by Succeeded by
Old Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Today part of Syria
The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria between the fall of the Old Assyrian Empire in the 14th century BC and the establishment of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 10th century BC.
Contents [hide]
1 Assyrian expansion and empire, 1392–1056 BC
2 Assyria during the Bronze Age Collapse, 1055–936 BC
3 Society in the Middle Assyrian period
3.1 Laws
4 See also
5 References
Assyrian expansion and empire, 1392–1056 BC[edit]
See also: Military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
By the reign of Eriba-Adad I (1392–1366 BC) Mitanni influence over Assyria was on the wane. Eriba-Adad I became involved in a dynastic battle between Tushratta and his brother Artatama II and after this his son Shuttarna III, who called himself king of the Hurri while seeking support from the Assyrians. A pro-Assyria faction appeared at the royal Mitanni court. Eriba-Adad I had thus finally broken Mitanni influence over Assyria, and in turn had now made Assyria an influence over Mitanni affairs.
Ashur-uballit I (1365–1330 BC) succeeded the throne of Assyria in 1365 BC, and proved to be a fierce, ambitious and powerful ruler. Assyrian pressure from the southeast and Hittite pressure from the north-west, enabled Ashur-uballit I to break Mitanni power. He met and decisively defeated Shuttarna II, the Mitanni king in battle, making Assyria once more an imperial power at the expense of not only the Mitanni themselves, but also Kassite Babylonia, the Hurrians and the Hittites; and a time came when the Kassite king in Babylon was glad to marry Muballiṭat-Šērūa, the daughter of Ashur-uballit, whose letters to Akhenaten of Egypt form part of the Amarna letters.
This marriage led to disastrous results for Babylonia, as the Kassite faction at court murdered the half Assyrian Babylonian king and placed a pretender on the throne. Assur-uballit I promptly invaded Babylonia to avenge his son-in-law, entering Babylon, deposing the king and installing Kurigalzu II of the royal line king there.
Ashur-uballit I then attacked and defeated Mattiwaza, the Mitanni king, despite attempts by the Hittite king Suppiluliumas, now fearful of growing Assyrian power, to help the Mitanni. The lands of the Mitanni and Hurrians were duly appropriated by Assyria, making it a large and powerful empire.
Enlil-nirari (1329–1308 BC) succeeded Ashur-uballit I. He described himself as a “Great-King” (Sharru rabû) in letters to the Hittite kings. He was immediately attacked by Kurigalzu II of Babylon who had been installed by his father, but succeeded in defeating him, repelling Babylonian attempts to invade Assyria, counterattacking and appropriating Babylonian territory in the process, thus further expanding Assyria.
The successor of Enlil-nirari, Arik-den-ili (c. 1307–1296 BC), consolidated Assyrian power, and successfully campaigned in the Zagros Mountains to the east, subjugating the Lullubi and Gutians. In Syria, he defeated Semitic tribes of the so-called Ahlamu group, who were possibly predecessors of the Arameans or an Aramean tribe.
He was followed by Adad-nirari I (1295–1275 BC) who made Kalhu (Biblical Calah/Nimrud) his capital, and continued expansion to the northwest, mainly at the expense of the Hittites and Hurrians, conquering Hittite territories such as Carchemish and beyond. He then moved into north eastern Asia Minor, conquering Shupria. Adad-nirari I made further gains to the south, annexing Babylonian territory and forcing the Kassite rulers of Babylon into accepting a new frontier agreement in Assyria’s favor.
Adad-nirari’s inscriptions are more detailed than any of his predecessors. He declares that the gods of Mesopotamia called him to war, a statement used by most subsequent Assyrian kings. He referred to himself again as Sharru Rabi (meaning “The Great King” in the Akkadian language) and conducted extensive building projects in Ashur and the provinces.
In 1274 BC, Shalmaneser I (1274–1244 BC) ascended the throne. He proved to be a great warrior king. During his reign he conquered the Hurrian kingdom of Urartu that would have encompassed most of Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus Mountains in the 9th century BC, and the fierce Gutians of the Zagros. He then attacked the Mitanni-Hurrians, defeating both King Shattuara and his Hittite and Aramaean allies, finally completely destroying the Hurri-Mitanni kingdom in the process.
During the campaign against the Hittites, Shattuara cut off the Assyrian army from their supply of food and water, but the Assyrians broke free in a desperate battle, counterattacked, and conquered and annexed what remained of the Mitanni kingdom. Shalmaneser I installed an Assyrian prince, Ilu-ippada as ruler of Mitanni, with Assyrian governors such as Meli-sah, installed to rule individual cities.
The Hittites, having failed to save Mitanni, allied with Babylon in an unsuccessful economic war against Assyria for many years. Assyria was now a large and powerful empire, and a major threat to Egyptian and Hittite interests in the region, and was perhaps the reason that these two powers, fearful of Assyrian might, made peace with one another.[1] Like his father, Shalmaneser was a great builder and he further expanded the city of Kalhu at the juncture of the Tigris and Zab Rivers.
Shalmaneser’s son and successor, Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1207 BC), won a major victory against the Hittites and their king Tudhaliya IV at the Battle of Nihriya and took thousands of prisoners. He then conquered Babylonia, taking Kashtiliash IV as a captive and ruled there himself as king for seven years, taking on the old title “King of Sumer and Akkad” first used by Sargon of Akkad. Tukulti-Ninurta I thus became the first Akkadian speaking native Mesopotamian to rule the state of Babylonia, its founders having been foreign Amorites, succeeded by equally foreign Kassites. Tukulti-Ninurta petitioned the god Shamash before beginning his counter offensive.[2] Kashtiliash IV was captured, single-handed by Tukulti-Ninurta according to his account, who “trod with my feet upon his lordly neck as though it were a footstool”[3] and deported him ignominiously in chains to Assyria. The victorious Assyrians demolished the walls of Babylon, massacred many of the inhabitants, pillaged and plundered his way across the city to the Esagila temple, where he made off with the statue of Marduk.[4] He then proclaimed himself “king of Karduniash, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of Sippar and Babylon, king of Tilmun and Meluhha.”[2] Middle Assyrian texts recovered at ancient Dūr-Katlimmu, include a letter from Tukulti-Ninurta to his sukkal rabi’u, or grand vizier, Ashur-iddin advising him of the approach of his general Shulman-mushabshu escorting the captive Kashtiliash, his wife, and his retinue which incorporated a large number of women,[5] on his way to exile after his defeat. In the process he defeated the Elamites, who had themselves coveted Babylon. He also wrote an epic poem documenting his wars against Babylon and Elam. After a Babylonian revolt, he raided and plundered the temples in Babylon, regarded as an act of sacrilege. As relations with the priesthood in Ashur began deteriorating, Tukulti-Ninurta built a new capital city; Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta.[6]
A number of historians, including Julian Jaynes, identify Tukulti-Ninurta I and his deeds as the historical origin for the fictional biblical character Nimrod in the Old Testament.
However, Tukulti-Ninurta’s sons rebelled and besieged the ageing king in his capital. He was murdered and then succeeded by Ashur-nadin-apli (1206–1203 BC) who left the running of his empire to Assyrian regional governors such as Adad-bēl-gabbe. Another unstable period for Assyria followed, it was riven by periods of internal strife and the new king only made token and unsuccessful attempts to recapture Babylon, whose Kassite kings had taken advantage of the upheavals in Assyria and freed themselves from Assyrian rule. However, Assyria itself was not threatened by foreign powers during the reigns of Ashur-nirari III (1202–1197 BC), Enlil-kudurri-usur (1196–1193 BC) and Ninurta-apal-Ekur (1192–1180 BC), although Ninurta-apal-Ekur usurped the throne from Enlil-kudurri-usur.
Ashur-Dan I (1179–1133 BC) stabilised the internal unrest in Assyria during his unusually long reign, quelling instability. During the twilight years of the Kassite dynasty in Babylonia, he[7] records that he seized northern Babylonia, including the cities of Zaban, Irriya and Ugar-sallu during the reigns of Marduk-apla-iddina I and Zababa-shuma-iddin, plundering them and “taking their vast booty to Assyria.” However, the conquest of northern Babylonia brought Assyria into direct conflict with Elam which had taken the remainder of Babylonia. The powerful Elamites, under king Shutruk-Nahhunte, fresh from sacking Babylon, entered into a protracted war with Assyria, they briefly took the Assyrian city of Arrapkha, which Ashur-Dan I then retook, eventually defeating the Elamites and forcing a treaty upon them in the process.
Another very brief period of internal upheaval followed the death of Ashur-Dan I when his son and successor Ninurta-tukulti-Ashur (1133 BC) was deposed in his first year of rule by his own brother Mutakkil-Nusku and forced to flee to Babylonia. Mutakkil-Nusku himself died in the same year (1133 BC).
A third brother, Ashur-resh-ishi I (1133–1116 BC) took the throne. This was to lead to a renewed period of Assyrian expansion and empire. As the Hittite empire collapsed from the onslaught of the Indo-European Phrygians (called Mushki in Assyrian annals), Babylon and Assyria began to vie for Aramaean regions (in modern Syria), formerly under firm Hittite control. When their forces encountered one another in this region, the Assyrian king Ashur-resh-ishi I met and defeated Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylon on a number of occasions. Assyria then invaded and annexed Hittite-controlled lands in Asia Minor, Aram (Syria), and Gutians and Kassite regions in the Zagros, marking an upsurge in imperian expansion.
Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BC), vies with Shamshi-Adad I and Ashur-uballit I among historians as being regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. The son of Ashur-resh-ishi I, he ascended to the throne upon his father’s death, and became one of the greatest of Assyrian conquerors during his 38-year reign.[8]
His first campaign in 1112 BC was against the Phrygians who had attempted to occupy certain Assyrian districts in the Upper Euphrates region of Asia Minor; after defeating and driving out the Phrygians he then overran the Luwian kingdoms of Commagene, Cilicia and Cappadocia in western Asia Minor, and drove the Neo-Hittites from the Assyrian province of Subartu, northeast of Malatia.
In a subsequent campaign, the Assyrian forces penetrated Urartu, into the mountains south of Lake Van and then turned westward to receive the submission of Malatia. In his fifth year, Tiglath-Pileser again attacked Commagene, Cilicia and Cappadocia, and placed a record of his victories engraved on copper plates in a fortress he built to secure his Anatolian conquests.
The Aramaeans of northern and central Syria were the next targets of the Assyrian king, who made his way as far as the sources of the Tigris.[8] The control of the high road to the Mediterranean was secured by the possession of the Hittite town of Pitru[9] at the junction between the Euphrates and Sajur; thence he proceeded to conquer the Canaanite/Phoenician city-states of Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, Simyra, Berytus (Beirut), Aradus and finally Arvad where he embarked onto a ship to sail the Mediterranean, on which he killed a nahiru or “sea-horse” (which A. Leo Oppenheim translates as a narwhal) in the sea.[8] He was passionately fond of hunting and was also a great builder. The general view is that the restoration of the temple of the gods Ashur and Hadad at the Assyrian capital of Assur (Ashur) was one of his initiatives.[8] He also invaded and defeated Babylon twice, assuming the old title “King of Sumer and Akkad”, forcing tribute from Babylon, although he did not actually depose the actual king in Babylonia, where the old Kassite Dynasty had now succumbed to an Elamite one.
He was succeeded by Asharid-apal-Ekur (1076–1074 BC) who reigned for just two years. His reign marked the elevation of the office of ummânu (royal scribe) in importance.
Ashur-bel-kala (1073–1056 BC) kept the vast empire together, campaigning successfully against Urartu and Phrygia to the north and the Arameans to the west. He maintained friendly relations with Marduk-shapik-zeri of Babylon, however upon the death of that king, he invaded Babylonia and deposed the new ruler Kadašman-Buriaš, appointing Adad-apla-iddina as his vassal in Babylon. He built some of the earliest examples of both Zoological Gardens and Botanical Gardens in Ashur, collecting all manner of animals and plants from his empire, and receiving a collection of exotic animals as tributes from Egypt.
He was also a great hunter, describing his exploits “at the city of Araziqu which is before the land of Hatti and at the foot of Mount Lebanon.” These locations show that well into his reign Assyria still controlled a vast empire.
Late in his reign, the Middle Assyrian Empire erupted into civil war, when a rebellion was orchestrated by Tukulti-Mer, a pretender to the throne of Assyria. Ashur-bel-kala eventually crushed Tukulti-Mer and his allies, however the civil war in Assyria had allowed hordes of Arameans to take advantage of the situation, and press in on Assyrian controlled territory from the west. Ashur-bel-kala counterattacked them, and conquered as far as Carchemish and the source of the Khabur river, but by the end of his reign many of the areas of Syria and Phoenicia-Canaan to the west of these regions as far as the Mediterranean, previously under firm Assyrian control, were eventually lost by the Assyrian Empire.
Assyria during the Bronze Age Collapse, 1055–936 BC[edit]
The Bronze Age Collapse from 1200 BC to 900 BC was a dark age for the entire Near East, North Africa, Asia Minor, Caucasus, Mediterranean, and Balkan regions, with great upheavals and mass movements of people.
Assyria and its empire were not unduly affected by these tumultuous events for 150 years, perhaps the only ancient power that was not. However, upon the death of Ashur-bel-kala in 1056 BC, Assyria went into a comparative decline for the next 100 or so years. The empire shrank significantly, and by 1020 BC Assyria appears to have controlled only areas close to Assyria itself, essential to keeping trade routes open in eastern Aramea, south eastern Asia Minor, central Mesopotamia and north western Iran.
New West Semitic peoples such as the Arameans, Chaldeans, and Suteans moved into areas to the west and south of Assyria, including overrunning much of Babylonia to the south. Indo-European speaking Iranic peoples such as the Medes, Persians, and Parthians moved into the lands to the east of Assyria, displacing the native Gutians and pressuring Elam and Mannea (which were all ancient non Indo-European civilizations of Iran). To the north, the Phrygians overran the Hittites, and a new Hurrian state named Urartu arose in eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus. Cimmerians, Colchians (Georgians), and Scythians were around the Black Sea and Caucasus. Egypt was divided and in disarray. Israelites were battling with other fellow Semitic Canaanite peoples such as the Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites, and the non-Semitic Peleset/Philistines (who were probably one of the so-called Sea Peoples) for the control of southern Canaan.

Assyrian horsemen pursue defeated Arabs.
Despite the apparent weakness of Assyria in comparison to its former might, at heart it in fact remained a solid, well defended nation whose warriors were the best in the world.[10] Assyria, with its stable monarchy, powerful army and secure borders was in a stronger position during this time than potential rivals such as Egypt, Babylonia, Elam, Phrygia, Urartu, Persia, and Media.[11] Kings such as Ashur-bel-kala, Eriba-Adad II, Ashur-rabi II, Ashurnasirpal I, Tiglath-Pileser II, and Ashur-Dan II successfully defended Assyria’s borders and upheld stability during this tumultuous time.
Assyrian kings during this period appear to have adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact, secure nation and satellite colonies immediately surrounding it, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive raids and invasions of neighboring territories when the need arose.
Eriba-Adad II ruled for only two years, and in that time continued to campaign against the Arameans and neo-Hittites before he was deposed by his elderly uncle Shamshi-Adad IV (1053–1050 BC) who appears to have had an uneventful reign. Ashurnasirpal I (1049–1031 BC) succeeded him, and during his reign he continued to campaign endlessly against the Arameans to the west. Assyria was also afflicted by famine during this period. Shalmaneser II (1030–1019 BC) appears to have lost territory in the Levant to the Arameans, who also appear to have also occupied Nairi in southeast Asia Minor, hitherto an Assyrian colony.
Ashur-nirari IV took the throne in 1018 BC, and captured the Babylonian city of Atlila from Simbar-Shipak and continued Assyrian campaigns against the Arameans. He was eventually deposed by his uncle Ashur-rabi II in 1013 BC.
During the reign of Ashur-rabi II (1013–972 BC) Aramaean tribes took the cities of Pitru and Mutkinu (which had been taken and colonized by Tiglath Pileser I). This event showed how far Assyria could assert itself militarily when the need arose. The Assyrian king attacked the Arameans, forced his way to the far off Mediterranean and constructed a stele in the area of Mount Atalur.[12]
Ashur-resh-ishi II (971–968 BC) in all likelihood a fairly elderly man due to the length of his father’s reign, had a largely uneventful period of rule, concerning himself with defending Assyria’s borders and conducting various rebuilding projects within Assyria.
Tiglath-Pileser II (967–936 BC) succeeded him, and reigned for 28 years. He maintained the policies of his recent predecessors, but appears to have had an uneventful reign.
Society in the Middle Assyrian period[edit]

Assyrian troops return after victory.
Assyria had difficulties with keeping the trade routes open. Unlike the situation in the Old Assyrian period, the Anatolian metal trade was effectively dominated by the Hittites and the Hurrians. These people now controlled the Mediterranean ports, while the Kassites controlled the river route south to the Persian Gulf.
The Middle Assyrian kingdom was well organized, and in the firm control of the king, who also functioned as the high priest of Ashur, the state god. He had certain obligations to fulfill in the cult, and had to provide resources for the temples. The priesthood became a major power in Assyrian society. Conflicts with the priesthood are thought to have been behind the murder of king Tukulti-Ninurta I.
The main Assyrian cities of the middle period were Ashur, Kalhu (Nimrud) and Nineveh, all situated in the Tigris River valley. At the end of the Bronze Age, Nineveh was much smaller than Babylon, but still one of the world’s major cities (population c. 33,000). By the end of the Neo-Assyrian period, it had grown to a population of 120,000, and was possibly the largest city in the world at that time.[13]

Assyrians skinning or flaying their prisoners alive
The Middle Assyrian Period is marked by the long wars fought during this period that helped build Assyria into a warrior society. The king depended on both the citizen class and priests in his capital, and the landed nobility who supplied the horses needed by Assyria’s military. Documents and letters illustrate the importance of the latter to Assyrian society. Assyria needed less artificial irrigation than Babylon, and horse-breeding was extensive. Portions of elaborate texts about the care and training of them have been found. Trade was carried out in all directions. The mountain country to the north and west of Assyria was a major source of metal ore, as well as lumber. Economic factors were a common casus belli.
Assyrian architecture, like that of Babylonia, was influenced by Sumero-Akkadian styles (and to some degree Mitanni), but early on developed its own distinctive style. Palaces sported colorful wall decorations, and seal-cutting (an art learned from Mittani) developed apace. Schools for scribes taught both the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects of Akkadian, and Sumerian and Akkadian literary works were often copied with an Assyrian flavor. The Assyrian dialect of Akkadian was used in legal, official, religious, and practical texts such as medicine or instructions on manufacturing items. During the 13th to 10th centuries, picture tales appeared as a new art form: a continuous series of images carved on square stone steles. Somewhat reminiscent of a comic book, these show events such as warfare or hunting, placed in order from the upper left to the lower right corner of the stele with captions written underneath them. These and the excellent cut seals show that Assyrian art was beginning to surpass that of Babylon. Architecture saw the introduction of a new style of ziggurat, with two towers and colorful enameled tiles.
All free male citizens were obliged to serve in the army for a time, a system which was called the ilku-service. A legal code was produced during the 14th and 13th centuries which, among other things, clearly shows that the social position of women in Assyria was lower than that of neighboring societies. Men were permitted to divorce their wives with no compensation paid to the latter. If a woman committed adultery, she could be beaten or put to death. It’s not certain if these laws were seriously enforced, but they appear to be a backlash against some older documents that granted things like equal compensation to both partners in divorce. The women of the king’s harem and their servants were also subject to harsh punishments, such as beatings, mutilation, and death.
Assyria, in general, had much harsher laws than most of the region. Executions were not uncommon, nor were whippings followed by forced labor. Some offenses allowed the accused a trial under torture/duress. One tablet that covers property rights has brutal penalties for violators. A creditor could force debtors to work for him, but not sell them.
Despite the harsh laws, Assyria was open to homosexual relationships between men.[14] In the Middle Assyrian Laws, sex crimes were punished identically whether they were homosexual or heterosexual.[14][15] An individual faced no punishment for penetrating someone of equal social class, a cult prostitute or someone whose gender roles were not considered solidly masculine. However, homosexual relationships between fellow soldiers, with slaves or royal attendants, and with those where a social better was submissive or penetrated, were treated as rape and were seen as bad omens. Omen texts referred to male homosexual acts without moral judgement or affirmation.[15] One historian notes that the laws would not be so detailed “if homosexual behavior were not a familiar aspect of daily life of early Mesopotamia.”[16]
See also[edit]
flag Assyrians portal
Timeline of the Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire — successor of Middle Assyrian Empire.
Assyrian law
Assyrian People
Ancient Near East
Jump up ^ Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, p. 263.
^ Jump up to: a b J. M. Munn-Rankin (1975). “Assyrian Military Power, 1300–1200 B.C.”. In I. E. S. Edwards. Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 2, Part 2, History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1380–1000 BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 287–288, 298.
Jump up ^ Albert Kirk Grayson (1972). Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: Volume I. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. p. 108. §716.
Jump up ^ Christopher Morgan (2006). Mark William Chavalas, ed. The ancient Near East: historical sources in translation. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 145–152.
Jump up ^ Frederick Mario Fales (2010). “Production and Consumption at Dūr-Katlimmu: A Survey of the Evidence”. In Hartmut Kühne. Dūr-Katlimmu 2008 and beyond. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 82.
Jump up ^ Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, pp. 26–34.
Jump up ^ Synchronistic History, ii 9–12.
^ Jump up to: a b c d The encyclopædia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 26, Edited by Hugh Chrisholm, 1911, p. 968
Jump up ^ Bryce, Trevor. The Routledge Handbook of The People and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the fall of the Persians Empire, p.563
Jump up ^ Georges Roux – Ancient Iraq
Jump up ^ According to Georges Roux (1964), Ancient Iraq, pp. 282–283.
Jump up ^ Olmstead, A.T. (1918). The Calculated Frightfulness of Ashur Nasir Pal. Journal of the American Oriental Society. 38. pp. 209–263.
Jump up ^ see historical urban community sizes. Estimates are those of Chandler (1987).
^ Jump up to: a b Homosexuality in the Ancient World, by Wayne R. Dynes, Taylor & Francis, 1992, p. 8 and 460
^ Jump up to: a b Homoeroticism in the Biblical World: A Historical Perspective, by Martti Nissinen, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 24–28
Jump up ^ The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies, by James Neill, McFarland, 27 Oct 2008, p.83

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Fatimi Ismaili khilafat

Fatimid Caliphate
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fatimid Islamic Caliphate
الدولة الفاطمية
ad-Dawlah al-Fāṭimiyya

Raqqada (909–921)
Mahdia (921–948)
al-Mansuriya (948–973)
Cairo (973–1171)
Arabic (dominant and spoken language)
Judeo-Arabic (Arabic language with Hebrew characters)
African Latin
Religion Ismaili Shia Islam
Government Caliphate
• 909–934 (first) al-Mahdi Billah
• 1160–1171 (last) al-‘Āḍid
Historical era Early Middle Ages
• Established 5 January 909
• Foundation of Cairo 8 August 969
• Disestablished 1171
• 969[1][2] 4,100,000 km2 (1,600,000 sq mi)
Currency Dinar
Preceded by Succeeded by
Abbasid Caliphate
Aghlabid Emirate
Ikhshidid Wilayah
Emirate of Tahert
Ayyubid Sultanate
Emirate of Sicily
Zirid Emirate
Hammadid Emirate
Main caliphates[show]
Parallel caliphates[show]
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Historical Arab states and dynasties
Arab Caliphate[show]
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Maghrib dynasties[show]
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The Fatimid Caliphate (Arabic: الفاطميون‎‎, al-Fāṭimīyūn) was an Ismaili Shia Islamic caliphate that spanned a large area of North Africa, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The dynasty of Arab origin[3][4] ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and ultimately made Egypt the centre of the caliphate. At its height the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz.

The Fatimids claimed descent from Fatimah, the daughter of Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Fatimid state took shape among the Kutama Berbers, in the West of the North African littoral, in Algeria, in 909 conquering Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 921 the Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia as their new capital. In 948 they shifted their capital to Al-Mansuriya, near Kairouan in Tunisia. In 969 they conquered Egypt and established Cairo as the capital of their caliphate; Egypt became the political, cultural, and religious centre of their empire. The Fatimid caliphate was distinguished by the central role of Berbers in its initial establishment and in helping its development, especially on the military and political levels.[citation needed]

The ruling class belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi’ism, as did the leaders of the dynasty. The existence of the caliphate marked the only time the descendants of Ali and Fatimah were united to any degree (except for the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate under Ali himself from 656 to 661) and the name “Fatimid” refers to Fatimah. The different term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the caliphate’s subjects.

After the initial conquests, the caliphate often allowed a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam, as well as to Jews, Maltese Christians, and Egyptian Coptic Christians.[5] However, its leaders made little headway in persuading the Egyptian population to adopt its religious beliefs.[6]

During the late eleventh and twelfth centuries the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171 Saladin invaded its territory. He founded the Ayyubid dynasty and incorporated the Fatimid state into the Abbasid Caliphate.[7]

Contents [hide]
1 Rise of the Fatimids
1.1 Origins
1.2 Expansion
1.3 Capitals
1.4 Administration and culture
2 Military system
3 Civil war and decline
4 Fatimid caliphs / imams
4.1 Burial places
5 Decay and fall
6 Fatimid heritage
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 Notes
11 External links
Rise of the Fatimids[edit]
[hide]Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim Part of a series on Shīa Islam
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Shuʿayb Nabi Shu’ayb Seveners Qarmatians Abū Saʿīd al-Jannābī Abū Tāhir al-Jannābī Fatimid Caliphate Nizari Ismaili state Baghdad Manifesto Qāżi Noʿmān Nasir Khusraw al-Sulayhi Zoeb bin Moosa Nizari Mustā‘lī Hafizi Batiniyya Hassan-i Sabbah Assassins Alamut Lambsar Castle Alamut Castle Masyaf Castle Rashid ad-Din Sinan Satpanth Pir Sadardin Böszörmény Aga Khan Jama’at Khana Du’a
Early Imāms[show]
Nizari Ismaili & Taiyabi Da’is [show]
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The Fatimid Caliphate’s religious ideology originated in an Ismaili Shia movement launched in the 9th century in Salamiyah, Syria by the eighth Ismaili Imam, Abd Allah al-Akbar[8] (766-828). He claimed descent through Ismail, the seventh Ismaili Imam, from Fatimah and her husband ʻAlī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shīʻa Imām, whence his name al-Fātimī “the Fatimid”.[9] The eighth to tenth Ismaili Imams, (Abadullah, Ahmed (c. 813-c. 840) and Husain (died 881)), remained hidden and worked for the movement against the rulers of the period.

Together with his son, the 11th Imam Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah (lived 873-934), in the guise of a merchant, made his way to Sijilmasa,[8] in present-day Morocco, fleeing persecution by the Abbasids, who found their Isma’ili Shi’ite beliefs not only unorthodox, but also threatening to the status quo of their caliphate. According to legend, ‘Abdullah and his son were fulfilling a prophecy that the mahdi would come from Mesopotamia to Sijilmasa. They hid among the population of Sijilmasa, then an independent emirate, ruled by Prince Yasa’ ibn Midrar (r. 884-909).[8]

The dedicated Shi’ite Abu Abdallah al-Shi’i supported Al-Mahdi. Al-Shi’i started his preaching after he encountered a group of Muslim North African during his hajj. These men bragged about the country of the Kutama in western Ifriqiya (today part of Algeria), and the hostility of the Kutama towards, and their complete independence from, the Aghlabid rulers. This triggered al-Shi’i to travel to the region, where he started to preach the Ismaili doctrine. The Berber peasants, oppressed for decades under the corrupt Aghlabid rule, would prove themselves to be a perfect basis for sedition. Rapidly, al-Shi’i began conquering cities in the region: first Mila, then Sétif, Kairouan, and eventually Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 909 Al-Shi’i sent a large expedition force to rescue the Mahdi, conquering the Khariji state of Tahert on its way there. After gaining his freedom, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah became the leader of the growing state and assumed the position of imam and caliph.[clarification needed]

Abdullāh al-Mahdi’s control soon extended over all of the Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya,[10] which he ruled from Mahdia. The newly built city of Al-Mansuriya,[a] or Mansuriyya (Arabic: المنصوريه‎‎), near Kairouan, Tunisia, was the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate during the rule of the Imams Al-Mansur Billah (r. 946–953) and Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah (r. 953–975).

The Fatimid general Jawhar conquered Egypt in 969, where he built a new palace city, near Fusṭāt, which he also called al-Manṣūriyya. Under Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah, the Fatimids conquered the Ikhshidid Wilayah (see Fatimid Egypt), founding a new capital at al-Qāhira (Cairo) in 969.[12] The name was a reference to the planet Mars, “The Subduer”,[9] which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, as well as Sicily.

Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the centre of an empire that included at its peak parts of North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz, and Yemen.[citation needed] Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages. The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system.[9]

Al-Mahdiyya, the first capital of the Fatimid dynasty, was established by the first caliph of the Fatimid dynasty, ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī (297–322/909–934) in 300/912–913. The caliph had been residing in nearby Raqqada but chose a new and more strategic location to establish his dynasty. The city of al-Mahdiyya is located on a narrow peninsula along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, east of Ḳayrawān and just south of the Gulf of Hammamet in modern-day Tunisia. The primary concern in the city’s construction and locale was defense. With its peninsular topography and the construction of a wall 8.3 m thick, the city became impenetrable by land. This strategic location together with a navy that the Fatimids had inherited from the conquered Aghlabids, the city of Al-Mahdiyya became a strong military base where ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī consolidated power and established the roots of the Fatimid caliphate for two generations. The city included two royal palaces — one for the caliph ‘Ubayd Allāh al-Mahdī and one for his son and successor the caliph al-Ḳāʾim — a mosque, many administrative buildings, and an arsenal.[13]

Al-Manṣūriyya was established between 334 and 336/945-8 by the third Fatimid caliph al-Manṣūr (334-41/946-53) in a settlement known as Ṣabra, located on the outskirts of Ḳayrawān in modern-day Tunisia. The new capital was established in commemoration of the victory of al-Manṣūr over the Ḵh̲ārid̲j̲ite rebel Abū Yazīd at Ṣabra. Like Baghdad, the plan of the city of Al-Manṣūriyya is round, with the caliphal palace at its center. Due to a plentiful water source, the city grew and expanded a great deal under al-Manṣūr. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that there were more than 300 ḥammāms built during this period in the city as well as numerous palaces. When al-Manṣūr’s successor, al-Muʿizz moved the caliphate to al-Ḳāhira, his deputy stayed behind as regent of al-Manṣūriyya and usurped power for himself, marking the end of the Fatimid reign in al-Manṣūriyya and the beginning of the city’s ruin (spurred on by a violent revolt). The city remained downtrodden and more or less uninhabited for centuries afterward.[14]

Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) was established by the fourth Fatimid caliph al-Muʿizz in 359/970 and remained the capital of the Fatimid caliphate for the duration of the dynasty. Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) can thus be considered the capital of Fatimid cultural production. Though the original Fatimid palace complex, including administrative buildings and royal residents no longer exist, modern scholars can glean a good idea of the original structure based on the Mamluk-era account of al-Maḳrīzī. Perhaps the most important of Fatimid monuments outside the palace complex is the mosque of al-Azhar (359-61/970-2) which still stands today, though little of the building is original to its first Fatimid construction. Likewise the important Fatimid mosque of al-Ḥākim, built from 380-403/990-1012 under two Fatimid caliphs, has been rebuilt under subsequent dynasties. Al-Ḳāhira (Cairo) remained the capital for, including al-Muʿizz, eleven generations of caliphs, after which the Fatimid Caliphate finally fell to Ayyubid forces in 567/1171.[15]

Administration and culture[edit]

The Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth caliph, as renovated by Dawoodi Bohra

Fragment of a bowl depicting a mounted warrior, 11th century. Fatimid dynasty, found in Fustat, Egypt. Brooklyn Museum
Unlike western European governments in the era, advancement in Fatimid state offices was more meritocratic than based on heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, like the Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews,[9] who occupied high levels in government based on ability, and tolerance was set into place to ensure the flow of money from all those who were non-Muslims in order to finance the Caliphs’ large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants.[citation needed] There were exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, however, most notably by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, though this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim’s reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze faith.[9]

The Fatimids were also known for their exquisite arts. A type of ceramic, lustreware, was prevalent during the Fatimid period. Glassware and metalworking was also popular. Many traces of Fatimid architecture exist in Cairo today; the most defining examples include the Al-Azhar University and the Al-Hakim Mosque. The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid dynasty era of Egypt, descended from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. Fatimah was called Az-Zahra (the brilliant), and the madrasa was named in her honour.[16] It was founded as a mosque by the Fatimid commander Jawhar at the orders of the Caliph Al-Muizz when he founded the city of Cairo. It was (probably on Saturday) in Jamadi al-Awwal in the year 359 A.H. Its building was completed on the 9th of Ramadan in the year 361 A.H. Both Al-‘Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah added to its premises. It was further repaired, renovated, and extended by Al-Mustansir Billah and Al-Hafiz Li-Din-illah. Fatimid Caliphs always encouraged scholars and jurists to have their study-circles and gatherings in this mosque, and thus it was turned into a university that has the claim to be considered as the oldest still-functioning University.[17]

Intellectual life in Egypt during the Fatimid period achieved great progress and activity, due to many scholars who lived in or came to Egypt, as well as the number of books available. Fatimid Caliphs gave prominent positions to scholars in their courts, encouraged students, and established libraries in their palaces, so that scholars might expand their knowledge and reap benefits from the work of their predecessors.[17]

Perhaps the most significant feature of Fatimid rule, was the freedom of thought and reason extended to the people, who could believe in whatever they liked, provided they did not infringe on the rights of others. Fatimids reserved separate pulpits for different Islamic sects, where the scholars expressed their ideas in whatever manner they liked. Fatimids gave patronage to scholars and invited them from every place, spending money on them even when their beliefs conflicted with those of the Fatimids.[17][tone]

The Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bayn El-Qasryn street.[18]

Military system[edit]
Further information: Fatimid navy
The Fatimid military was based largely on the Kutama Berber tribesmen brought along on the march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the military even after Tunisia began to break away.[19] After their successful establishment in Egypt, local Egyptian forces were also incorporated into the army, so the Fatimid Army were reinforced by North African soldiers from Algeria to Egypt in the Eastern North. (and of succeeding dynasties as well).[citation needed]

A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliph attempted to push into Syria in the later half of the 10th century. The Fatimids were faced with the now Turkish-dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliph and began to realize the limits of their current military. Thus during the reign of Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turks and later black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used).[20] The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines, thus the Berbers were usually the light cavalry and foot skirmishers, while the Turks were the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks). The black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers. This ethnic-based army system, along with the partial slave status of many of the imported ethnic fighters, would remain fundamentally unchanged in Egypt for many centuries after the fall of the Fatimid Caliph.[citation needed]

The Fatimids put all their military power toward the defence of the empire whenever it was menaced by dangers and threats, which they were able to repel, especially during the rule of Al-Muizz Lideenillah. During his reign, the Byzantine Empire was ruled by Nikephoros II Phokas, who had destroyed the Muslim Emirate of Chandax in 961 and conquered Tartus, Al-Masaisah, ‘Ain Zarbah, and other places, gaining complete control of Iraq and the Syrian borders as well as earning the sobriquet, the “Pale Death of the Saracens”. With the Fatimids, however, he proved less successful. After renouncing his payments of tribute to the Fatimid caliphs, he sent an expedition to Sicily, but was forced by defeats on land and sea to evacuate the island completely. In 967, he made peace with the Fatimids and turned to defend himself against their common enemy, Otto I, who had proclaimed himself Roman Emperor and had attacked Byzantine possessions in Italy.[citation needed]

Civil war and decline[edit]

The Al-Azhar Mosque, of medieval Islamic Cairo.

Renovated Juyushi Mosque,Cairo
While the ethnic-based army was generally successful on the battlefield, it began to have negative effects on Fatimid internal politics. Traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful, it began to challenge this, and by 1020 serious riots had begun to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber-Turk Alliance.

By the 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt suffered an extended period of drought and famine. Declining resources accelerated the problems among the different ethnic factions, and outright civil war began, primarily between the Turks under Nasir al-Dawla ibn Hamdan and Black African troops, while the Berbers shifted alliance between the two sides.[21] The Turkish forces of the Fatimid army seized most of Cairo and held the city and Caliph at ransom, while the Berber troops and remaining Sudanese forces roamed the other parts of Egypt.

By 1072, in a desperate attempt to save Egypt, the Fatimid Caliph Abū Tamīm Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah recalled general Badr al-Jamali, who was at the time the governor of Acre, Palestine. Badr al-Jamali led his troops into Egypt and was able to successfully suppress the different groups of the rebelling armies, largely purging the Turks in the process. Although the Caliphate was saved from immediate destruction, the decade long rebellion devastated Egypt and it was never able to regain much power. As a result, Badr al-Jamali was also made the vizier of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers (“Amir al Juyush”, Arabic: امير الجيوش‎‎, Commander of Forces of the Fatimids) who would dominate late Fatimid politics. Al-Jam`e Al-Juyushi (Arabic: الجامع الجيوشي‎‎, The Mosque of the Armies), or Juyushi Mosque, was built by Badr al-Jamali. The mosque was completed in 478 H/1085 AD under the patronage of then Caliph and Imam Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah. It was built on an end of the Mokattam Hills, ensuring a view of the Cairo city.[22] This Mosque/mashhad was also known as a victory monument commemorating vizier Badr’s restoration of order for the Imam Mustansir.[23] As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figurehead. Badr al-Jamali’s son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, succeeded him in power as vizier.

After the eighteenth Imam, al-Mustansir Billah, the Nizari sect believed that his son Nizar was his successor, while another Ismāʿīlī branch known as the Mustaali (from whom the Dawoodi Bohra would eventually descend), supported his other son, al-Musta’li. The Fatimid dynasty continued with al-Musta’li as both Imam and Caliph, and those positions were held jointly until the 20th Imam, al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah (1132 CE). At the death of Imam Amir, one branch of the Mustaali faith claimed that he had transferred the imamate to his son at-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim, who was then two years old. Another faction claimed Amir died without producing an heir, and supported Amir’s cousin al-Hafiz as both the rightful Caliph and Imam. The al-Hafiz faction became the Hafizi Ismailis, who later converted during the rule of Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūbi. The supporters of Tayyeb became the Tayyibi Ismāʿīlī. Tayyeb’s claim to the imamate was endorsed by the Hurratu l-Malika (“the Noble Queen”) Arwa al-Sulayhi, the Queen of Yemen. Arwa was designated a hujjah (a holy, pious lady), the highest rank in the Yemeni Dawat, by al-Mustansir in 1084 CE. Under Queen Arwa, the Dai al-Balagh (intermediary between the Imam in Cairo and local headquarters) Lamak ibn Malik and then Yahya ibn Lamak worked for the cause of the Fatimids. After seclusion of Imam Taiyab Dai given independent charge by Queen Arwa, and were called Dai al Mutlaq. First Dai Mutlaq was Syedna Zoib, common Dai of all Taiybians.

Burial place of Fatimid, Mukhallafāt al-Rasul, Cairo, Egypt.
Fatimid caliphs / imams[edit]

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Main article: List of caliphs of the Fatimid Caliphate
Abū Muḥammad ‘Abdul-Lāh al-Mahdī bi’llāh (909–934) founder Fatimid dynasty
Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Qā’im bi-Amr Allāh (934–946)
Abū Ṭāhir Ismā’il al-Manṣūr bi-llāh (946–953)
Abū Tamīm Ma’add al-Mu’izz li-Dīn Allāh (953–975) Egypt is conquered during his reign
Abū Manṣūr Nizār al-‘Azīz bi-llāh (975–996)
Abū ‘Alī al-Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh (996–1021) The Druze religion is founded during the lifetime of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī al-Ẓāhir li-I’zāz Dīn Allāh (1021–1036)
Abū Tamīm Ma’add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (1036–1094)
al-Musta’lī bi-llāh (1094–1101) Quarrels over his succession led to the Nizari split.
Abū ‘Alī Mansur al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām Allāh (1101–1130) The Fatimid rulers of Egypt after him are not recognized as Imams by Mustaali/Taiyabi Ismailis.
‘Abd al-Majīd al-Ḥāfiẓ (1130–1149) The Hafizi sect is founded with Al-Hafiz as Imam.
al-Ẓāfir (1149–1154)
al-Fā’iz (1154–1160)
al-‘Āḍid (1160–1171)
Burial places[edit]
There is the place known as “Al-Mashhad al-Hussaini” (Masjid Imam Husain, Cairo), wherein lie buried underground Twelve Fatimid Imams from 9th Taqi Muhammad to 20th Mansur al-Āmir. This place is also known as “Bāb Mukhallafāt al-Rasul” (door of remaining part of Rasul), where Sacred Hair [24][25] of Muhammad is preserved.

Decay and fall[edit]
In the 1040s, the Berber Zirids (governors of North Africa under the Fatimids) declared their independence from the Fatimids and their recognition of the Sunni Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch the devastating Banū Hilal invasions of North Africa. After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the Levant coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic invasions, then the Crusades, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt. The Fatimids gradually lost the Emirate of Sicily over thirty years to the Italo-Norman Roger I who was in total control of the entire island by 1091.

The reliance on the Iqta system also ate into Fatimid central authority, as more and more the military officers at the further ends of the empire became semi-independent.

After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nūr ad-Dīn had his general, Shirkuh, seize Egypt from the vizier Shawar in 1169. Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and rule passed to his nephew, Saladin.[26] This began the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.

Fatimid heritage[edit]
After caliph al-‘Āḍid, the Fatimids were deposed from rule over Egypt by the Ayyubids. Many “Tayyibi groups” (Alavi, Hebtiahs, Atbai Malak, Dawoodi) lay claim to the Fatimid legacy. The Taiyabi (the Dawoodi Bohra being a majority constituent) claim that their Da`is (see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra) are successors in authority to 21st Imam Taiyab abi al-Qasim, the son of 20th Imam Mansur al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām Allāh (10th Fatimid calipha) (the office of Da`i being instituted by Sulayhid queen of Yemen Arwa al-Sulayhi). Arwa al-Sulayhi was the Hujjah in Yemen from the time of Imam al Mustansir. She appointed the Dai in Yemen to run religious affairs. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abadullah (in about 1067 AD(460AH))[27][28] were also sent to India in that time. They sent Syedi Nuruddin to Dongaon to look after southern part and Syedi Fakhruddin to East Rajasthan, India.[29][30] The current Dai of Dawoodi Bohra community is His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.

Nizari claims that Imam Nizar continued Imamat as a next Imam after Imam Mustansir Billah and started imamat series of Nizari ismailies now as an Imam is Shah karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV as 49th Hazir Imam. The current claimant to be genealogical heir of the Nizari line is the Aga Khan.

See also[edit]
Badr al-Jamali
Al-Afdal Shahanshah
Al-Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi
Emirate of Sicily
List of Shi’a Muslims dynasties
List of Ismaili Imams
List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
Ali al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
North Africa Arabization
Constantine the African
Fatimid architecture
Hafizi-Isma’ili family tree
Jump up ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). “East-West Orientation of Historical Empires”. Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 222. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
Jump up ^ Rein Taagepera (September 1997). “Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia”. International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 495. doi:10.1111/0020-8833.00053. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
Jump up ^ Katsoni, Vicky; Stratigea, Anastasia (2016-03-03). Tourism and Culture in the Age of Innovation: Second International Conference IACuDiT, Athens 2015. Springer. ISBN 9783319275284.
Jump up ^ Ilahiane, Hsain (2004). Ethnicities, Community Making, and Agrarian Change: The Political Ecology of a Moroccan Oasis. University Press of America. p. 43. ISBN 9780761828761.
Jump up ^ Wintle, Justin (May 2003). History of Islam. London: Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 136–7. ISBN 1-84353-018-X.
Jump up ^ Pollard;Rosenberg;Tignor, Elizabeth;Clifford;Robert (2011). Worlds together Worlds Apart. New York, New York: Norton. p. 313. ISBN 9780393918472.
Jump up ^ Baer, Eva (1983). Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art. SUNY Press. p. xxiii. ISBN 9780791495575. In the course of the later eleventh and twelfth century, however, the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171 the country was invaded by Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. He restored Egypt as a political power, reincorporated it in the Abbasid caliphate and established Ayyubid suzerainty not only over Egypt and Syria but, as mentioned above, temporarily over northern Mesopotamia as well.
^ Jump up to: a b c Yeomans 2006, p. 43.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Goldschmidt 84-86
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Jump up ^ Talbi, M., “Ṣabra or al-Manṣūriyya”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 24 April 2017
Jump up ^ Rogers, J.M., J. M. Rogers and J. Jomier, “al-Ḳāhira”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 24 April 2017
Jump up ^ Halm, Heinz. The Fatimids and their Traditions of Learning. London: The Institute of Ismaili Studies and I.B. Tauris. 1997.
^ Jump up to: a b c Shorter Shi’ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin,
Jump up ^ “Cairo of the Mind”. 21 June 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007.
Jump up ^ Cambridge History of Egypt, vol. 1, pg. 154.
Jump up ^ Cambridge History of Egypt, Vol. 1, pg. 155.
Jump up ^ Cambridge history of Egypt vol 1 page 155
Jump up ^ al Juyushi: A Vision of the Fatemiyeen. Graphico Printing Ltd. 2002. ISBN 978-0953927012.
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Jump up ^ Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Hussain ibn Ali, From Damascus to Ashkelon to Qahera
Jump up ^ Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Husain ibn Ali, From Damascus to Ashkelon to Qahera By: Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A’alamiyyah (Najaf, Iraq), M.A., LLM (Shariah) Member, Ulama Council of Pakistan, Published in Daily News, Karachi, Pakistan on 03-1-2009.
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Jump up ^ The Bohras, By: Asgharali Engineer, Vikas Pub. House, p.109,101
Jump up ^ [1], Mullahs on the Mainframe.., By Jonah Blank, p.139
Jump up ^ The Isma’ilis: Their History and Doctrines By Farhad Daftary; p.299
Further reading[edit]
Brett, Michael (2001). The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra, Tenth Century CE. The Medieval Mediterranean. 30. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9004117415.
Cortese, Delia, “Fatimids”, in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 187–191.
Daftary, Farhad (1992). The Isma’ilis: Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42974-0.
Halm, Heinz (1996). The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids. Handbook of Oriental Studies. 26. transl. by Michael Bonner. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9004100563.
Kennedy, Hugh N. (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (Second Edition). Harlow: Longman. ISBN 978-0-58-240525-7.
Lev, Yaacov (1987). “Army, Regime, and Society in Fatimid Egypt, 358–487/968–1094”. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 19: 337–365. JSTOR 163658.
Walker, Paul E. (2002). Exploring an Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781860646928.
Jump up ^ The name Mansuriyya means “the victorious”, after its founder Ismāʿīl Abu Tahir Ismail Billah, called al-Mansur, “the victor.”[11]
External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fatimid Caliphate.
Fatimids entry in the Encyclopaedia of the Orient.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
The Shia Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt
— Imperial house —
Fatimid dynasty
Preceded by
Abbasid dynasty Ruling house of Egypt
909–1171 Succeeded by
Ayyubid dynasty
as Abbasid autonomy
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Abbasid dynasty Caliphate dynasty
909–1171 Succeeded by
Abbasid dynasty
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al-Mahdi al-Qa’im al-Mansur al-Mu’izz al-Aziz al-Hakim az-Zahir al-Mustansir al-Musta’li al-Amir al-Hafiz az-Zafir al-Fa’iz al-Adid
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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 37715239 GND: 118920979
Categories: Former countries in AfricaStates and territories established in 909States and territories disestablished in 1171Fatimid CaliphateFormer countries in AsiaFormer countries in EuropeHistory of North AfricaHistory of the MediterraneanMedieval EgyptMedieval AlgeriaHistory of MaltaHistory of Saudi ArabiaMedieval SicilyIsmailismShia IslamFormer countries in the Middle EastFormer monarchies of AfricaFormer monarchies of AsiaFormer monarchies of EuropeShia Islam in Algeria
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