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Middle Eastern

Military History

Middle Eastern Military History
 Israel has been a combatant in many wars since 1948  

 Israel has been a combatant in many wars since 1948

The Middle East is often referred to as a crossroads of empires and civilizations. It is located at the juncture where Asia, Africa, and Europe meet, and has been the battleground for empires and peoples from all three continents and beyond. While since the middle of the 20th century, the Arab-Israeli Conflict has dominated world attention, many other significant Middle Eastern wars and conflicts have occurred from the dawn of the 20th century to the present day. Below are lists of Middle Eastern wars from the late 1800s to the 21st Century.

Arab-Israeli Wars and Conflicts (Since 1948, Israel has engaged in multiple wars with its Arab neighbors; fighting wars against Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and various Palestinian militias and armies, as well as the Iran-supplied and trained Hezbollah Army in Lebanon)

Israeli War of Independence/ "al-Nakba" (The Disaster) (1948-1949)--Upon independence, Israel was invaded by the armies of six Arab nations: Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In addition, local Arab Palestinian forces also fought the Jewish Israelis. The war ended with Israel surviving, having gained more Arab land. The Palestinian refugee issue began with this war, which would be a continual source of conflict into the 21st century.

Suez War of 1956--The second major war between Israel and the Arabs. Britain and France joined Israel in invading Egypt.

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (1960-Present)--Israel faced guerrilla and terrorist warfare from several Palestinian armies, most of whom united under the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), led by Yassir Arafat. Recent fighting involves Israel against more religiously militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as against Arafat's Palestinian Authority. (This includes the Palestinian guerrilla warfare against Israel from the 1960's, original Intifada (1988-1992) and the current "Al-Aqsa" Intifada (2000-Present), and the West Bank (2004) and Gaza Invasions (2006) by Israel and the Palestinian suicide and rocket attacks which prompted those invasions.

The Six-Day War (1967)--In a rapid pre-emptive attack, Israel crushed the military forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria and seized large amounts of land from each. Iraq also participated in the fighting on the Arab side.

The War of Attrition (1968-1970)--The War of Attrition was a limited border war fought between Egypt and Israel in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. It was initiated by Egypt as a way to recapture the Sinai Peninsula after losing it to Israel in 1967. A cease-fire in 1970 ended the fighting, but left the borders unchanged.

The Yom Kippur (Ramadan) War (1973)--In a surprise attack launched on the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday (the dates also fell on the Muslim Ramadan holiday), Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. Despite aid from Iraq, the Arab forces failed to defeat Israel.

Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (1978)--Operation Litani was the official name of Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon up to the Litani river. The invasion was a military success, as the Israeli military expelled the PLO from Southern Lebanon, where they had created a de facto state within a state. An international outcry over the invasion forced a partial Israeli retreat and the creation of a United Nations patrolled buffer zone between the Arab guerrillas and the Israeli military.

The Israeli Invasion of Lebanon (1982-1984)--In response to repeated guerrilla attacks by the PLO, which were launched from South Lebanon, Israel invaded with the intent of destroying Arafat's forces. Syria, which maintained a large army in Lebanon, fought Israel and suffered an embarrassing defeat. See The Israeli-Lebanon Conflict (1978-Present).

The Israeli Occupation of South Lebanon (1984-2000)--As they withdrew from most of Lebanon seized in the 1982 invasion, Israel held onto a large part of Southern Lebanon with the aid of the "South Lebanon Army (SLA)," a militia set up and supported by Israel. This occupation was opposed by the PLO and other Palestinian groups as an extension of their long-running conflict with Israel. Also, other militia armies (mostly Lebanese Muslim groups), such as Hezbollah (supported by Iran and Syria), stepped up attacks on the Israeli-occupied region as well as on settlements and military targets in northern Israel. In 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanon and the SLA disbanded. See The Israeli-Lebanon Conflict (1978-Present).

The First Intifada (1987-1993)--Urban uprising against Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza. The Oslo Peace Accords end the Intifada and lead to the formation of the Palestinian Authority with PLO Chief Yasser Arafat as the official leader of the Palestininans.

The "Al-Aqsa" Intifada--Urban guerrilla/commando war waged between Israel and various Palestinian groups, including Hamas. Between September, 2000 and, September, 2007: 4,453 Palestinians and 1,114 Israelis have been killed due to the escalating violence. (Source on casualties: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/text/2003911771_intifada29.html)

The Israeli-Hezbollah War (also known in Israel as "The Second Lebanon War (2006)--In response to repeated guerrilla attacks by the the Shiite Lebanese militia Hezbollah, Israel invaded southern Lebanon, set up a naval blockade, and launched a powerful bombing campaign in order to win the release of two captured Israeli soldiers. The Israeli-Lebanon Conflict (1978-Present).

Israeli Air Strike on Syria (Sept. 6, 2007)—Israeli warplanes overflew northern Syria, dropping ordnance on a (publicly) unknown target. According to both the New York Times and ABC News, the target was a nuclear facility being built with North Korean aid and assistance. See War and Conflict Journal's article on this attack.

The Gaza War (2008)--War between the Palestinian Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip and Israel. Began in December, 2008.

Gaza War 2012: Operation Pillar of Defense--Israel's latest Gaza War against Hamas

Wars Involving the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, and Persia/Iran (non-Arabic Muslim nations)

Italo-Ottoman War (1911-1912)--(also known as the Turco-Italian War and the Tripolitanian War)--Italy decided to add to its growing African empire by attacking Ottoman-ruled Tripolitinia (Libya). The Italian victory began the very swift fall of the Ottoman Empire which would end with the Empire's disintegration at the end of World War One in 1918. The day after Ottoman Turkey made peace with Italy, the Balkan League attacked in the First Balkan War . Though not a "middle eastern" war as such, it did involve the Ottoman Empire, which at the time, controlled most of the Mid-East.

First Balkan War (1912-1913)--The Balkan nations of Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece defeated the Ottoman Empire, and seized nearly all of the Ottoman Empire's remaining European territories. Though not a "middle eastern" war as such, it did involve the Ottoman Empire, which at the time, controlled most of the Mid-East.

Second Balkan War (1913)--The victors in the First Balkan War fell out among themselves, with Bulgaria attacking Serbia and Greece in an attempt to gain more of the spoils from the first war. Rumania, Montenegro, and the Ottomans also joined the war against Bulgaria. Though not a "middle eastern" war as such, it did involve the Ottoman Empire, which at the time, controlled most of the Mid-East.

Wars Involving Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq (excluding their wars with Israel)

Egypt-Libya War of 1977

Egyptian Unrest of 2011

Wars Involving the North African Nations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya

Egypt-Libya War of 1977

Libyan War of 2011

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