Middle Eastern Conflicts


Ottoman Middle Eastern territories are given as mandates to Allied powers.

April 25, 1920

Arabs in Iraq rebel against British rule.

July 1920

Turkish forces attack Greece and Armenia.

August 10, 1920

As part of the armistice ending World War I, the sultan signs the Sevres Treaty, promising to give land to Greece and Armenia. Mustafa Kemal, a former Ottoman army officer and president of the recently formed Grand National Assembly, denounces the sultan's decision and leads an army to recapture and hold this territory as a Turkish state. This resistance becomes known as the War of Liberation.

Reza Khan takes control of Persia (Iran).

February 21, 1921

League of Nations issues mandate to Britain

July 24, 1922

to Britain to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine

Britain formally recognizes the independent state of Transjordan.

May 15, 1923

The Republic of Turkey is established.

October 29, 1923

Oil exploration begins in desert of United Arab Emirates (UAE).

1930 - 1950

Abd al-Aziz proclaims the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

September 23, 1932

Iraq is recognized as an independent monarchy.

October 3, 1932

Palestinians protest British support of the Zionist movement in Palestine

1936 - 1939

Egypt's King Faruq begins his reign.

April 1936

Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia


World War II

1939 - 1945

Iraqi prime minister Rashid Ali attempts a coup: unsuccessful

May 1941

Strong anti-British sentiment and an increasingly powerful urban nationalist movement come together to spark Prime Minister Ali's 1941 coup attempt. The coup is ultimately unsuccessful in ousting the monarchy, but the landing of British forces completely divorces Iraq's monarchy from the nationalist group.

Britain forces Egypt's King Faruq to appoint a pro-British prime minister.


France grants Lebanon full independence.

January 1, 1944

Egypt,Iraq,Lebanon,Syria,Saudi Arabia,Transjordan,north Yemen form Arab League.

March 22, 1945

Syria gains hard-fought independence from the French.

April 1946

The State of Israel is established/ Israeli War of Independence

May 14, 1948 - JUly 1949

In support of the Palestinian Arabs, neighboring Arab nations -Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Syria - declare war on Israel the next day. The Israelis repel the Arab attack. The 1948 War, also known as the Israeli War of Independence, ends in July 1949. Israel signs separate cease-fire agreements with Transjordan, Syria, and Egypt and now controls about 70 percent of what had been Mandatory Palestine. Egypt holds the Gaza Strip, Jordan annexes the West Bank, and Syria retains the Golan Heights.

Qatar begins to produce and export oil.


Oil is produced and exported for the first time, 10 years after its initial discovery. Offshore oil production begins in 1964. The country has rebounded and began a trepidatious rise back to its former state, before the collapse of the only major industry: pearls

Iranian prime minister Ali Razmara is shot to death.

March 7, 1951

Prime Minister Ali Razmara advises against nationalizing the oil industry on technical grounds, he is assassinated by Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the terrorist group of the Fadayan-e Islam. Ultranationalist Mohammed Mossadeq becomes Iranian prime minister following death of Ali Razmara. Mossadeq nationalizes the oil industry, as his first act in office

Libya declares its independence under King Idris.

December 24,1951

Already a founding member of the UN, Turkey becomes a member of NATO.

February 18, 1952

military coup removes Egypt's King Faruq from power.

July 23, 1952

Sudan gains independence from Egypt and Britain.

1953 - 1956

Elections are held in 1953, and the nation's first republican government takes office in 1954

U.S.-backed coup removes Iranian prime minister Mossadeq from power.

August 15,1953 - August 19, 1953

After the first day it appears the coup has failed, and the Shah flees to Baghdad. Widespread rioting ensues, flamed by the CIA and British intelligence services, and Mossadeq is defeated. Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi returns to power, and Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, the leader of military coup, becomes prime minister.

Britain agrees to leave the Suez Canal and its occupation of Egypt.

October 19, 1954

Algeria fights its War of Independence against the French.

November 1954 - July 1962

Sultan Mohammed becomes King of Morocco,ending the French protectorate

March 1956

Tunisia gains independence from France.

March 20, 1956

Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal.

July 26, 1956

Most likely in response to the U.S. decision to revoke its foreign aid pledge to help build the Aswan High Dam project, Nasser decides to nationalize the Suez Canal. Its toll revenues provide a significant source of needed income. This angers Britain and France, the former owners of the canal.

Suez Crisis

October 31,1956 - November 7, 1956

Jordan revokes the Anglo-Jordanian treaty.


Iraq's British-backed monarch is overthrown in a military coup.

July 14, 1958

Lebanon engages in civil war between Muslims and Christians

July 15, 1958

Oil is discovered in Libya.


Britain ends protectorate in Kuwait, Iraq threatens to claim its neighbor


Civil war erupts when the Yemen Arab Republic is established in the north.

1962 - 1970

President Qasim of Iraq ousted in a coup led by Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party

February 8, 1963

Conflict over access to Jordan River pits Israel against Arab neighbors


The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded.

May 1964

A banking crisis hits Beirut and temporarily slows Lebanon's vibrant economy.


The Six-Day War is fought between Israel and the Arab states.

June 5, 1967 - June 10, 1967

Southern Yemen gains independence from Britain.

November 28, 1967

Southern Yemen accepts Soviet economic aid, becoming the first and only Marxist Arab state.

Cairo Agreement signed by Arafat and Lebanese army commander Gen. Emil Bustani.

November 2, 1969

The PLO launches a failed attempt to overthrow Jordan's King Hussein.

September 1, 1970 - September 30, 1970

The coup by memorandum: Turkey undergoes its second military coup.

March 12, 1971

Saudi Arabia negotiates for 25 percent of the Arabian American Oil Company


Over the next 16 years, Aramco will be converted to a totally Saudi-owned company called Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco).

Iraq becomes the first Arab country to nationalize a Western oil corporation.

June 1972

Egypt and Syria attack Israeli forces in Sinai and Golan Heights on Yom Kippur

October 6, 1973

Saudi Arabia leads an oil boycott against the U.S. and other Western countries.

November 1973

Iraq and Iran sign the Algiers Agreement, ending their border disputes.

March 6, 1975

90 people,63 Americans,taken hostage in US Embassy/Tehran by Iranian students

November 4, 1979

Soviet military invades/occupies Afghanistan, beginning a decade-long conflict.

December 24, 1979

The Iraqi National Assembly is formed.

March 1980

A scholar and proponent of Islamic government, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr is executed by Saddam Hussein's government. He had advocated the establishment of Iraq as an Islamic state. His sister, fellow activist and novelist Amina Sadr, is also killed. All political opponents of Saddam Hussein's regime risk a similar fate.

Iraq invades Iran.

September 22, 1980

reasons behind the war are complex, border skirmishes and a dispute over rights to the Shatt al-Arab waterway contribute to the warfare. Iraq seizes thousands of square miles and several important oil fields. Over an eight-year period, more than 500,000 Iraqis and Iranians die, with neither side able to claim victory.

Muslim Brotherhood uprising in Hama, kills 10,000-30,000 people

February 1982

Israel invades Lebanon, cutting off food and water in Beirut

June 6, 1982

Christian militiamen massacre hundreds at Sabra&Shatila Palestinian camps

September 16, 1982

Lebanese Christian Maronite president-elect Bashir Gemayel is assassinated. Two days later, Christian militias allied with Israel against the PLO enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut and massacre some 800 unarmed Palestinians. The Kahan Commission (an Israeli commission of inquiry) finds that Defense Minister Ariel Sharon bears personal responsibility because he did not order 'appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the chances of a massacre.' As a result, Sharon gave up his defense portfolio but remained in the cabinet.

U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon is attacked by a suicide bomber.

October 23, 1983

Civil war breaks out in Southern Yemen.

January 1986

The Iran-Contra Affair comes to light.

November 1986

Palestinian intifada: uprising against Israeli occupation: West Bank & Gaza

December 9, 1987

The PLO recognizes the State of Israel and calls for negotiations.

December 14, 1988

Osama bin Laden founds the al-Qaeda network.


Northern and Southern Yemen unite in a democratic republic.

May 22, 1990

Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invades neighboring Kuwait.

August 2, 1990

Taif Accord balances Lebanon's exec branch between Christians and Muslims

September 21, 1990

Kuwait is liberated from Iraq by coalition forces led by the U.S.

February 28, 1991

Yemen ratifies its constitution.

May 1991

Israel/Syrian/Jordanian/Lebanese/Palestinian attend the Madrid Peace Con.

October 30, 1991 - November 1, 1991

Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt becomes secretary general of U.N.

January 1, 1992

The Lebanese economy rebounds four years after the end of the civil war.


Jordan signs a peace treaty with Israel, ending a 46-year official state of war.

October 26, 1994

The United Arab Emirates joins the World Trade Organization.


Islamic Osama bin Laden welcomed by ruling Taliban in Afghanistan

May 1996

Hailed as a hero for his involvement against the Soviets in the 1980s, the Islamic militia in power offers Osama bin Laden support and safety within Afghan borders. From 1991 to 1996, prior to accepting the Taliban's invitation, bin Laden had been in Sudan, from which he was expelled in 1996 under pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

A coup attempt against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein fails.

December 12, 1996