List of conflicts in the Middle East: Wikis


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A political and geographical map showing countries commonly considered part of the Middle East.

There have been many conflicts in the Middle East since the time of the ancient Near East up until modern times.


Ancient conflicts


Battle of Kadesh

Persian conquests

Greco-Persian Wars

Macedonian conquests

Roman-Persian Wars

Medieval conflicts

Arab conquests


Byzantine-Seljuk Wars

Byzantine-Ottoman Wars

Mongol invasions

Timur’s conquests

Ottoman-Habsburg Wars

Ottoman–Persian Wars

Modern conflicts

During the 20th and 21st centuries, there have been a number of conflicts in the Middle East.

World War I

World War II

Arab-Israeli conflict

Jordan-Syria tensions

As part of the broader tensions between monarchical, pro-Western governments and Nasserite, socialist governments, the Syrian governments of the sixties were opposed to the Jordanian monarchy; in 1960, the assassination of the Jordanian prime minister Hazza al-Majali was blamed on Syria (at the time, the United Arab Republic.) Tensions increased further after King Hussein ended official support for the PLO in 1966; in September 1970, a Syrian military unit crossed into Jordan to aid the PLO against the Jordanian army (see Black September in Jordan). The Syrian force was repulsed, but relations remained tense and were severed in July 1971. In 1975, Jordan and Syria attempted to put aside past hostilities between them and create a new alliance. In 1979, King Hussein of Jordan proposed an alternative to the Camp David accords to which Hafez al-Assad of Syria strongly objected; this marked the beginning of a rapid deterioration in Jordanian-Syrian relations. In 1979 Syria accused the Kingdom of Jordan of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood's attacks against Assad's government. Since then the tensions have dissipated and now relations between the two countries are normal.

Black September

  • PLO-Jordanian government war in September 1970.
  • PLO militia attempt to overthrow current Hashemite government through armed force.
  • Conflict results in heavy Palestinian casualties and ban on Palestinians joining Jordanian army.

North Yemen Civil War

(1962–1970) The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen received support from Saudi Arabia, while the Yemen Arab Republic was supported by Egypt. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved. The Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported the republicans with as many as 70,000 troops.

The Cyprus dispute

The Cyprus dispute is a territorial conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and also Republic of Cyprus and Turkey over Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Since the arrival of the British on the island of Cyprus, the "Cyprus Dispute" was identified as the conflict between the peoples of Cyprus and Great Britain as a colonial ruler. The core of the dispute was Cypriots demand for self determination. Britain shifted the "Cyprus Dispute" from a colonial dispute to a dispute between Turks and Greeks[1] although Britain had denounced the agreement between herself and Turkey over Cyprus, and declared Cyprus as a British colony. Today, the problem has involved Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom, the USA, the United Nations and recently the European Union. Since 1974 the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has been divided. The dividing line which cuts across the country has created a physical and social barrier between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities. The Turkish Cypriot community declared itself Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, condemned by UN Security Council Resolutions as legally invalid. Currently it is only recognised by Turkey.

Lebanese civil war

(1975–1990) Because of religious and ethnic tensions, the country became socially unstable. Interference from the outside, mainly Western, exacerbated the situation and caused a civil war. The civil war spanned over two decades and grabbed the attention of the world through abductions of Westerners. Ultimately the United Nations decided to intervene. By trial and error the situation ultimately got under control, but tensions still rest in the Lebanese society, and although the war ended, the risk of civil war is still present.

Libya-Egypt conflict

Following Egypt's first negotiations with Israel in 1973, Libya became hostile to Egypt. In 1977, not long after demonstrators in the two countries attacked each other's consulates, the two countries fought a four-day war (July 21-July 24) during which several Libyan aircraft were destroyed on the ground. As a counter attack, Libyan combat aircraft attacked, hitting the Egyptian base Marsa Matruh and other targets near the border. The war ended with a peace treaty signed with Egypt and Libya to unite in a war effort against Arab Extremists.

Iraq-Kuwait clashes

Kuwait and Iraq had a serious territorial dispute that led to armed warfare in 1973 and again in 1976. Iraq wanted Kuwait's oil and ports, and argued that Kuwait was rightfully theirs due to pre-British imperial boundaries. In 1990 Iraq occupied Kuwait, but was expelled in 1991.

  • April 1967 Iraq-Kuwait conflict in Al-Ratqa, Kuwait
  • March 1973 Iraq-Kuwait conflict in Al-Sameta, Kuwait
  • 1976 Iraq-Kuwait conflict in Al-Sameta, Kuwait
  • 1990-1991 The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq (Gulf War)

The Iran–Iraq War

Sometimes called the First Persian Gulf War. In this war Syria entered on the side of Iran, against Iraq, with aid and supplies. All other Arab countries except for Libya, the United States and Western World, as well as the USSR and Warsaw pact supported Iraq, imposing embargoes on Iran. The war ended after 8 years, when after Iraq, Iran accepted a resolution of the UN asking for the halt of military activities. The frontiers were re-established to those before the war.

Gulf War and aftermath

During the Gulf War, a United Nations force led by the United States restored Kuwaiti sovereignty after the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Between the 1991 and 2003 wars, the US, UK, and (until 1996) France continued to enforce no-fly zones over large areas of Iraq, to protect Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis from air attacks by the Iraqi government. Many people of Iraq and other countries considered this to be a continuous invasion of Iraqi airspace, and thus, one war from 1991-2003. The United Nations ran a maritime blockade Iraq's Persian Gulf oil ports between the two wars, to enforce sanctions in response to Iraq's refusal to comply fully with UN inspections, to verify that it no longer had weapons of mass destruction. Some of the engagements included:

Iraq War

In 2003, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded and occupied Iraq after a dispute over the status of the Iraqi Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical weapons programs. This war is sometimes known as the Second Gulf War.

Fatah al-Islam and Nahr al-Bared

In May 2007, a skirmish between Fatah al-Islam, an Islamist group, and the Lebanese Army evolved into a three-month siege of the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared in which more than 400 people died.


  1. ^ Anthony Eden, “Memoirs, Full Circle, Cassell, London 1960

See also


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