Middle Eastern Politics





The first leader of an Arab nation to challenge the western powers. He was always anti-British. At the age of 15 he started partaking in anti-British demonstrations, got wounded in the head by the British in 1935 and graduated from the royal military academy In 1938.

British dominance demonstrated - Nasser changed action


The British persuaded/forced the king of Egypt, King Farouq, to accept a government that was to be headed by Nahas Pasha. This incident is believed to have been the turning point in Nassers activities. From now on he started using his position as an instructor in the Egyptian army staff collage to talk to people about: - the interference was unacceptable and that the British rule/dominance needed to be removed. He also believed that the royal family cooperated with the British and had to go to. The Egyptian army had to initiate the coup that would lead to Egyptian independence.

Arab-Israeli war

1948 - 1949

The first Arab-Israeli war.
Nasser fought in it the war and was devastated by the defeat. He blamed the Royal family who's corruption in certain sectors he believed had hindered any chance of victory. He plotted a coup.



Nasser helped organize a rebellion against the Royal family and King Farouk was overthrown. He fled to Italy and the Head of the coup, General Neguib took charge of the country.

Nasser in charge


Neguib lacked political skill and lost the support of the younger army officers. He resigned in 1954 and Nasser was the natural successor. He took over November 17th.

Nasser nationalised a number of corporations and announced that Egypt would be run on Arab socialist lines. Over 2000 factories were build while he was in office.

Nasser announced the nationalization of banks, insurance companies, and all heavy industry. Nasser also extended his social justice principles. The land limit was reduced from 200 to 100 feddans. Interest rates for farmers were dramatically reduced to the point of elimination in some cases. A ninety percent tax was instituted on all income above £10,000. Workers and employees were allowed representatives on management boards. They were also given the right to a twenty-five percent share in the profit of their firm. The average workday was also cut from eight hours to seven without a reduction in pay

suez channel war


the suez channel was the most obvious source of foreign domination by the British and the French. They controlled 40% of it which meant that even though the channel was on egytian soil the Egyptians did not benefit much from it. In 1956 Nasser nationalised the channel.

The nationalisation prompted an attack from British/France forces but they quickly retreated because the attack was condemned by the international community most notably by the Americans.

The victory made Nasser hugely popular as the first Arab leader to challenge the colonial powers.

Help from USSR


The first pressing issue Nasser had to deal with in power was the yearly flooding of the river Nile. The floods would destroy crops and so Nasser wanted to build a big dam to hold back the water. The dam would also provide for energy to the county.

After the suez channel crisis in 1956 the international bank for reconstruction and development had retracted their help. For financial support Nasser could not look to Europe and Britain or France (who's colonial powers he despised and who he had challenged earlier) and he could not ask the United States because they so openly supported Israel (The main Arab enemy) so he looked to the USSR, the cold war enemy. The Soviet Union supported the building of the dam.

Even thought the two countries were very different (One a Muslim country the other banning all form of religion) they both gained from the alliance. Russia gained access to the Mediterranean sea. Their fleet had been trapped in the black sea where America could easily find out what they were doing, but the relations with Egypt opened up opportunities.

defeated by Israel


The defeat by Israel in the six day war in 1967 was a major blow for Nasser. He even offered his resignation afterwards but people rejected it. They took to the streets to demonstrate their support for him. Since then Nasser put a lot of effort into modernizing the military. He died in September 1970 and his death was followed by a period of national grief in Egypt.


creation of Israel First war.

1947 - 1948

The British handed responsibility over to the Un in 1947. The UN decided to divide Palestine into two countries to please both Zionists and all the Jews who had immigrated.

The fighting started almoust imidiately after the British left. The Jews won the war in 1948 and the country of Israel was made an independent country. -The Arabs had gathered to fight in this war with the Palestinians(Arab nationalism) but were unorganized and lost.

Suez channel


In the suez channel crisis Israel played an important role in attacking Egypt in order to justify a British/French invasion. Sent spy's, false information spread and Israel "tricked" into an attack.

Israel was still supported by France. Egypt signed an arms pact with the Soviet Union.

1967 six-day war


Israel was a foreign threat and the war stemmed as much from Arab nationalist debates as from direct Arab Israeli hostilities.
Egypt and Nasser supported the Palestinian liberation organisation (PLO) while Syria supported a group called Fatah instead. Fatah was an organisation founded by young Palestinians in Kuwait in 1959 destermined to destroy Israel.

Israel threatened Syria and the Soviet reacted by falsely informing Nasser about Israeli forces on the Syrian borders. --> Nasser saw an opportunity to boost his anti-Israeli image and sent Egyptian troops. By doing this he recreated the circumstances that had been in place previous to the Suez war.
Israel attacked Egypt in 1967 (After being informed by the US that an Egyptian envoy would arrive in the US two days later to seek terms of resolving the crisis peacefully) --> Israel still attacked and conquered allot of land, much of the West bank and the Gaza strip now fell under Israel rule. Israel bombed targets inside Egypt and not just the channel, this was designed to humiliate Nasser and cause his downfall. instead it got the Soviet Union into the fight. Nearly 15000 soviet troops were sent to Egypt to bolster their defence. This altered the Cold war equation in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead of going along with the UN plans of cease fire the US viewed the conflict in light of global rivalry.

The defeat humiliating and a big blow for Nasser. Arabs had failed in their first attempt at collective security.

UN resolution 242 in 1967 (agreed upon by Nasser) called for: Occupied land in return for peace.

jorndanian civil war


The Palestinians were alarmed by the rumors of cease fire because it could have led to negotiations where they would be excluded. The Palestinians attempted to overthrow Jordan's King Hussein as the first step in creating a more radical Arab front that could challenge Israel (Jordan was seen as a conservative state) --> The Jordanian army crushed the Palestinian forces which led to the PLO having to move headcuarter which again played a major part in instigating the Lebanese civil war in the 70's.

Nasser died shortly after negotiating cease fire with Jordan in 1971

US inaction


SADAT succeeded Nasser and attempted a better relationship with the US. He expelled the Soviet Union but still failed to gain American backing to get Israel to withdraw from the occupied territory from the 1967 war.
This partly because Henry Kissinger was diverted by scandals pertaining Nixon's re-election campaign. American inaction contributed to the 1973 war.

1973 war


Egypt and Syria invaded Israel again.

Camp david


Jimmy Carted tried to negotiate peace, but failed


1987 - 1991

Intifada (popular resistance to oppression)
Palestinians rebelled against Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip and the West bank (that they occupied in the 1967 war) The brutality of Israels response focused international attention on the nature of Israel's role as occupier of these lands and called into question the future of the territories.
America called Israel to compromise.. they said NO

changes in the region

1990 - 1993

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 which led to Bush invading Iraq in 1991. The soviet union collapsed in 1991. The number of countries receiving American backing increased, America wanted hegemonic control in the region, prove their single superpower status gained after the cold war.
America opened up peace talks: Madrid 1991 and in Oslo 1993

decleration of principles


Peace negotiations started in Oslo 1993 in secret and alongside American negotiations. In Oslo they reached an agreement --> DOP = a joint Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles (DOP), (based on the agreement worked out in Oslo, was signed by the two parties in Washington.) There would be an interim period of 5 years before the agreement would be binding.

DOP's principles:

  • to transfer power to the Palestinians (transfer of power and responsibilities to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, so they may have control over their own affairs) - Israel retain the responsibility for security along the international borders and the crossing point to Egypt and Jordan during the interim period.

Self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, including a withdrawal of Israeli forces from those areas, is to serve as a first step in the implementation of the DOP. Then governmental responsibilities will gradually be transferred over to Palestinians and there will be an election. Palestine will be a state on its own.

After five years when the above agreement have been carried out the final settlements will be agreed upon and this will determine the issues the declaration of principals have been silent on: the including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbours

In short: the declaration promised to set in motion a process that would end Israeli rule over the two million Palestinians living in the west bank and Gaza. "It is easy to understand why the Oslo accord was silent on the issues mentioned above, because if they weren't there would have been no accord."

Robin and Arafat were the two main representatives who signed the accord. An agreement was reached between Israeli foreign minister Peres and Arafat (PLO chairman) and then sent to the Israeli Prime minister Rabin who signed it with Arafat.

Israel retreat from Gaza


After massive pressure Israel withdrew from Gaza but set up trade blockades and a massive wall to isolate them.
Fatah was helpless dealing with the Palestinian anger that followed. --> Hamas won the election in 2006 because of Palestinian desperation and increased sense of belonging to the Arab world that was now divided by religion.
Even though the US had initially supported the Hamas participation in the election because it would demonstrate Palestinian commitment to democracy they immediately condemned the result and joined Israel in furthering the military and economic blockade of Gaza.

Situation still bad and still going on.


oil established


Turkish petroleum company formed and the concession was given to the British

Under British rule


Palestine and Iraq mandates were given to the British (the updated sykes-picot agreement)



Iraq becomes in independent state. British only a military presence.

Ghazi rule

1933 - 1939

King Ghazi rules as a figure head after Faisal's death

Military coup


Led by General Sidqy.

UK invades

1941 - 1947

UK worried about the nature of the new government and of them cutting oil supply to the British. They invaded and established a new Hashemite monarchy.

War with Israel

1947 - 1948

Iraq partakes in the Arab League war defending the Palestinians in Israel.

Arab union Federation


Iraq and Jordan join into an Arab union federation.



There is a second coup of the government led by Qasim. The monarchy is overthrown and a republic established with Qasim as prime minister.
Friendly relations with the Soviet Union begins

period of coups

1961 - 1968

In 1961 Qasim declares Kuwait an integral part of Iraq and the Kurds revolt.
1963 Qasim was killed in a military coup by the Arab socialist Bath party. (Their first attempt !) Abdul Arif becomes president. Later the same year he and a group of rebels takes over and throws the bath's out.
1966 Arif dies in a helicopter crash and his brother Abdul Arif succeeds him.
1966- cease fire with the Kurds.
1968 - domestic relationship is broken with the Us when Iraq enters Jordan. no military action.
1968 - fourth military coup. The Arab socialist Bath party again takes over and Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becomes president. The 1968 coup brought to power a group of people who established a stable regime that endured for thirty five years.

oil nationalized


Iraq petroleum company established with the help of Soviet.

soviet friendship


a 15 year long treaty of friendship is signed between Iraq and Soviet Union.

Saddam Hussein


al-Bakr resigns and is succeeded by Saddam Hussein.

Iran-Iraq war


Iraq officially renounces the 1975 Baghdad Treaty and the Iraq-Iran war begins. Lasts 8 years.

US relationship restored


The relationship with the US Is restored (Broken again in 1991)

cease fire Iran-Iraq


Un gets involved and there is a cease fire between Iran and Iraq.
Saddam Hussein also renounces the ownership of Kuwait again.

Invades Kuwait


Saddam Hussein decide to invade Kuwait. this is condemned by the international community (UN) and leads to US invasion. "All necessary means" Kuwait is liberated. UN also approves a "UN heaven" in Iraq, an area safe for the Kurds (Who was offered limited autonomy in 1974 but rejected)where their would be no Iraqi military action.

Sanctions are placed upon Iraq.

kurds elect parliament


Kurdish people opposed to Baghdad elects their own parliament.

Buch attemted murdered in Kuwait


US launches an attack on the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in retaliation of the attempted murder of George Bush in Kuwait.

Operation dessert fox


A bombing operation to destroy all of Iraq's nuclear weapons. (Reason why Saddam fought this so hard was also that he had not only the US to worry about but enemies on his doorstep he needed to protect his people from- Iran)

Protesting agains Israel


Iraq suspends oil export in protest of Israel's incursion into Palestine but no other country did the same (economically difficult and scary to challenge the US) so it ended after 30 days.



the US and UK goes to war against Iraq after suspicion of nuclear weapons and a breach with the UN sanctions. Baghdad is taken in a couple of days(forces over-exaggerated)

Later the UN backs US administration in Iraq (To restore some of their pride!) and the abolition of the Bath party and the institution of the former regime.



After the war Iraq in in chaos. There are three main ethnicity groups- shia- sunni and Kurds. several elections are attempted and failed... country still chaotic and still internal conflicts between the ethnic groups and the role of the US is also difficult.