list currently covers Middle Eastern wars and conflicts from the
1948 Arab-Israeli War to the Present, along with other conflicts
involving Middle Eastern nations. For the purposes of this list,
the Middle East comprises Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria,
Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United
Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. NOTE:
include participation in the Arab-Israeli Wars and has been in
conflict with Egypt.
This list of
Middle Eastern wars and conflicts is presented in chronological
order from 1948 to the present. Recent updates include the
centered around Iraq.
See also our
page, with information on Turkey's intervention in, and conflict
"Shock and Awe"
airstrikes in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003
War of Independence (1948-1949)--Upon
Israel's declaration of independence, Egypt, Transjordan, Syria,
Iraq, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia join the local Palestinian
militias in attacking Israel. This was in reality a continuation
of years of low-level combat between the Jewish and Arab
communities in British Palestine.
France, and Britain invade Egypt. U.S. and Soviet pressure force a
cease-fire and allied withdrawal from Egyptian
General Abdul Karim el Qassim overthrows the royal government of
King Faisal II. Both the king and Prime Minister Nouri al Said are
killed. Qassim soon withdrew Iraq from the pro-Western Baghdad
Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet
Civil War (1958)-Lebanon's
Christian and Muslim communities engaged in civil conflict. The
United States landed troops in the country to halt the fighting.
communist militia , called the People's Resistance Force,
violently suppressed an anti-Qassim Sunni Army faction made up
mostly of junior officers.
(Iraq) Violence -(1959)--Pro-Qassim
(pro-Communist) Kurds and People's Resistance Force killed ethnic
Turkomen in Kirkuk.
Kurdish Revolt—(1961-1970)–After a period of relative calm, Iraqi government
promises of Kurdish autonomy, or self-rule, went unfulfilled,
sparking discontent and eventual rebellion among the Kurds in
Ba'athist coup in Syria (1963)
Violent coup in which the Ba'ath party took power in Syria. The
Ba'ath party is still in control and is the goverment side in the
modern Syrian Civil War.
Yemen Civil War (1966-1970)-Royalist
rebels fought to overthrow the "Republican" government. Egypt sent
troops to help the government, while Saudi Arabia aided the
Rebellion in Oman (1960's-1970's)-Marxist
rebels, aided by South Yemen, fought against the conservative,
pro-western Omani government. The Shah of Iran sent troops to help
fight the rebels, and Britain supplied officers for the the Omani
army. The rebels were defeated in the early 1970s.\
launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The
Iraqi air force was also attacked by Israel.
War of Attrition (1968-1970)--Border
war between Egypt and Israel. Basically an extension of their
fighting in the Six-Day War.
Civil War (1970)-The
Jordanian government expelled the Palestine Liberation
Orgaination, partly to end Israels's excuse for continual raids
and invasions of Jordan to fight the PLO. Syria sent troops to aid
the PLO. Despite that aid, the PLO was forced to move to
coup d'état--The Turkish
Army overthrew the government of the conservative prime minister,
Kippur [or Ramadan] War (1973)--Egypt
and Syria launch a surprise attack on Israel on the Jewish holiday
of Yom Kippur. The attack is also on the Muslim holiday of
Ramadan. Iraq sent troops to aid the Syrians.
Kurdish Revolt -(March,
1974)-–In March, 1974, Kurdish rebels led by Mullah Mustafa
Barzani (having survived an assassination attempt) rebelled
against the government. The Kurds felt that the government
was not living up to the agreement which ended the previous
Civil War (1975-1990)-When
the PLO moved to Lebanon, it helped upset the balance between the
Christian and Muslim communities in Lebanon. When civil war broke
out, the PLO sided with the several Muslim militias, and Israel
aided the Christians. Syria sent troops as part of an Arab League
force to stop the fighting. Syrian forces finally withdrew from
Lebanon in April of 2005.
Border War (June
conflict between Egypt and Libya.
--In 1975, Jalal
Talabani formed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-urban-based
and leftist) in opposition the Barzani-led Kurdish Democratic
Shia unrest in Karbala -(February,
by the Saddam regime. Under Saddam Hussein, the Shiites (Shia)
were a persecuted religious group, both despite the fact, and
because of, their numerical majority in the country.
Brotherhood Insurgency in Syria
(1979-1982)-Sunni Islamist rebellion against the Ba'ath Party in
Syria, which is dominated by the Alawite religious minority in
Syria. The rebellion ended with the destruction of the city of
Hama in 1982 by government forces.
-Iran Hostage Crisis
(1979-1981)-Iranian militants seized the United States Embassy in
Tehran, taking dozens of Americans hostage. This began a long
crisis that nearly brought the U.S. and Iran to war and began the
current long cold/proxy war between the United States and
Mosque Siege in Saudi Arabia(1979)-Islamist militants siezed control of the Grand Mosque
in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, hoping to spark a revolt against the Saudi
Royal family. Saudi troops, aided by Pakistani special forces and
French advisors, eventually re-took the Mosque.
border war between Saudi-allied North Yemen and Soviet-allied
South Yemen turned into a superpower confrontation as Saudi
Arabia's ally, the United States, sought to end a war which
quickly favored the Marxist South Yemenis. Both sides agreed to a
coup d'état--The military
took power in Turkey after months of violence between leftist and
rightist militants nearly brought Turkey to the point of civil
Persian Gulf War (1980-1988)-Iran
vs. Iraq-also involved U.S. and Kuwait.
Tanker War" (1987-1988)-This
is the component of the First Persian Gulf War that involved
the U.S. and Kuwait. In an attempt to halt Kuwaiti aid for
Iraq, as well as Iraqi oil sales and deliveries, Iran attacked
oil tankers in the Gulf. The U.S. stepped in to protect the
Kuwaiti ships and came engaged in combat with Iran's Navy and
Revolutionary Guards. Also known by the U.S. code-name
"Operation Earnest Will."
–Israeli war planes bomb the Osiraq nuclear reactor under
construction in Iraq.
Invasion of Lebanon (1982-1984)-Also
involved Syria and the PLO.
Border War (1984-2000)-Also
involved Syria , the PLO and Lebanese militia's such as
Yemen Civil War (1986)--Civil
War in Marxist South Yemen between different factions in the
ruling Marxist government. More than 10,000 died in a week of
First Intifada (Dec.
uprising by the Palestinians in the territories occupied by Israel
in the 1967 War. This conflict concluded with the Oslo Accords,
which set up a timetable for Palestinian nationhood and called for
the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, with PLO Chairman
Yassir Arafat as President.
Persian Gulf War(1990-1991)
States, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Britain, France, Oman, Qatar,
UAE vs. Iraq
by the sudden defeat of Saddam’s forces in Kuwait and spurred
by appeals by President George H. W. Bush of the U.S., Kurds rose
up against the Iraqi government With the bulk of his elite
forces having escaped from the fighting in Kuwait and southern
Iraq, Saddam was able to smash the revolt, causing hundreds of
thousands of Kurdish refugees to flee into neighboring Turkey and
Iran to escape.
Shiite Revolt—(1991)– Encouraged by the stunning defeat of Saddam’s
forces in Kuwait and spurred by appeals by President George H. W.
Bush of the U.S., the Shiites of southern Iraq rose up against the
Iraqi government, only to be crushed by Saddam’s forces.
Sporadic guerrilla resistance continued, with the bulk of the
Shiite fighting forces seeking refuge in neighboring Shiite
conflict between the United States and irregular forces led by
Osama bin Laden. The violence has also involved Kenya, Tanzania,
Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Second Intifada (Sept.
urban guerrilla/terrorist conflict between the Palestinians and
Israel. Marked by suicide bombings, recurring Israeli invasions of
Palestinian cities and Palestinian guerrilla attacks on Isreaeli
settlements and military targets.
Persian Gulf War(2003-2011)-The
second major war between the United States-led coalition and the
Middle Eastern nation of Iraq. Military members of the initial
invasion coalition also include the United Kingdom, Poland, and
Raid Into Syria
(October, 2008)-Part of the American War in Iraq, the U.S.
launched a cross-border raid into Syria in an attack on an
20, 2007- September 2, 2007)--This conflict
began in May, 2007, when the Lebanese Army began a siege of the
Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in order to drive out a militant
Islamic militia called Fatah Islam.
Conflict-ongoing conflict between Gaza (ruled by the Islamist
group Hamas), and Israel
Gaza War(2008-2009)--Israel invades Hamas-ruled Gaza in an attempt
to stop frequent missile attacks on Israel by Hamas. Also known
as Israeli Operation Cast Lead.
(2012)-Also known as Israeli Operation Pillar of
(2014)- Also known as Israeli Operation Protective
NOTE on Gaza Wars:
While the major Israeli military operations against Hamas and
other Islamic forces in Gaza are defined here as distinct wars,
be aware that the periods of time between each "Gaza War" also
contain a lot of ongoing border violence, with rocket and
missile attacks from Gaza at Israel, and frequent Israeli air
strikes and other attacks back into Gaza.
War of 2011-Libyan
rebels allied with NATO, overthew the dictatorship of Colonel
(2011-Present)-Chaotic conflict that began as an uprising against
the Assad regime, but has evolved into a conflict with multiple
sides and multiple acts and actors of foreign intervention. Other
nations, and outside groups involved in the Syrian Civil War
include: al-Qaida, ISIS/Islamic State, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia,
the United States (and various other Western nations), Iraq, and
State War (2014-Present)-Includes
conflict and war involving ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State in Iraq,
Syria, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere.
Libyan Civil War(2014-Present)-Chaotic conflict between various Libyan
factions, as well as the Islamic State, the United States, Egypt,
Qatar, and others. This confusing and complex conflict the now
pits, among others, the United Nations-supported government in
Tripoli, against a rival regime based in eastern Libya, which is
supported by Egypt, France, the UAE, and, to a certain extent, by
Russia. See also: List
of Libyan Wars.
coup d'état attempt--On July
15, 2016 "factions
of the military" launched a coup attempt against the government of
Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Casualties included 265
dead, and 1,440 wounded. The coup failed, and the Erdogan
government arrested thousands of suspected coup
Strike on Syria (April 6, 2017)-In response to the Assad
regime's apparent use of chemical weapons on a civilian target in
the Syrian Civil War, the April 4 chemical attack in Khan
Sheikhoun, United States President Donald Trump ordered a
retaliatory strike against the Syrian air base at Al Shayrat. See
(2018-Present)-In the midst of the Syrian Civil War and the
related Islamic State War, Turkey launched attacks on the Syrian
Kurdish forces in the area of Afrin, in northeast Syria. Turkey
claims that the Kurdish group there, the Kurdish YPG (Syrian
Kurdish People's Protection Units) , are in alliance with the
Kurdish People's Party (PKK), which is a Turkish Kurd force that
has been battling the Turkish government since 1978. Turkey
considers the PKK and, by extension the YPG, as terrorists.
In late 2019, the United States withdrew some of the American
military forces near the Turkish-Syrian border, which allowed
Turkey to launch an anti-Kurdish invasion of northern
include the fact that the United States supports the YPG, as these
Syrian Kurds have been a significant force in the war against the
Islamic State (and also against the regime of Syrian President
Assad). Also, Russian military forces, which are allied with
Assad, are also in the general area of northern Syria.
(2019-2020)-Tensions between the United States and Iran
increased following sabotage attacks on several oil tankers in and
near the Persian Gulf. Then, on June 20, 2019, Iran shot down a
U.S. Global Hawk unmanned drone, nearly sparking a retaliatory
strike by the United States.
Fears of an all-out war
between the United States and Iran became very real with the
events of late December, 2019 and January, 2020, following attacks
by Iraqi Shiite militias (acting as proxies for Iran), attacked an
American base near Kirkuk, killing one American and wounding
several others. The U.S. launched counter-strikes at several of
the militia's bases, which led to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in
Baghdad by the Shiite militia forces. On January 2, 2020, the
United States killed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who, as
leader of Iran's Quds Force, was the coordinator of the attacks on
the United States and her allies. Iran promised revenge as the
U.S. reinforced American military forces in the Middle East. Iran
backed their threats of revenge up with missile strikes at two
American bases in Iraq. U.S. forces suffered no fatalities, but
109 U.S. troops suffered various types of brain trauma from the
Conflict in Syria and Iraq (2019-2020)-Israel and Iran have
engaged in a long-distance proxy and cold war conflict for many
years, but in late 2019, the conflict began to grow significantly,
as Israel openly launched multiple air and cruise missile strikes
on Iranian targets in both Syria and Iraq. Iranian military
interventions in both Syria and Iraq in their local civil wars and
their conflict with the Islamic State led to growing Iranian troop
presence in both countries. Israel fears growing Iranian influence
and presence in Syria and Lebanon (which is dominated by the
Iranian-allied Hezbollah organization. While Israel was known
(though they rarely admitted to it) to launch occasional air and
missile strikes on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria
throughout the long Syrian Civil War (2011-Present), in 2019, the
scope and intensity of those strikes grew. Also in 2019, Israel
was more open and public in providing details on those strikes.