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
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
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
War of 1956--The
second major war between Israel and the Arabs. Britain
and France joined Israel in invading Egypt.
(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
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
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
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. SeeThe
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. SeeThe
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)
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.
Gaza War (2008)--War
between the Palestinian Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip
and Israel. Began in December, 2008.
Involving the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, and Persia/Iran
(non-Arabic Muslim nations)
(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
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.
Involving Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq
(excluding their wars with Israel)