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List of Chronological Events in the Middle East and North Africa Since the End of the Second World War

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1945

Formation of the League of Arab States (Arab League)

1946

Jordan becomes independent from Britain; rise and fall of Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iran

1947

United States issues “Truman Doctrine”; Britain announces intention to abandon the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and turn over future of the country to the United Nations (UN); U.N. General Assembly adopts Resolution 181 (II) to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and an international zone; first Arab-Israeli war breaks out as a result

1948

Israel declares its independence; Arab-Israeli war escalates as troops from six Arab states enter the fighting; 750,000 Palestinian refugees flee or are expelled by Israeli forces; thousands of Jews emigrate from several Arab countries; Imam Yahya assassinated in Yemen

1949

First Arab-Israeli war ends when Israel signs armistice agreements with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan; Jordan annexes West Bank; three military coups d’état take place in Syria; U.N. General Assembly passes resolution calling for independence of Libya

1950

Turkish government sends troops as part of UN military coalition in Korean war; Turkey holds first multi-party elections since becoming a republic; thou sands of Iraqi Jews begin immigrating to Israel

1951

Libya achieves independence under UN supervision; Oman obtains independence from Britain; Jordan’s King Abdullah I assassinated; Iran nationalizes Anglo-Iranian Oil Company

1952

Turkey joins North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); military coup d’état overthrows Egyptian monarchy, Jamal Abd al-Nasir (Gamal Abdel Nasser) emerges as strongman

1953

Military coup d’état in Iran overthrows Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh; King Hussein bin Talal assumes the throne in Jordan; King Abd al-Aziz Al Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia dies

1954

Algerian war of independence against France begins; Britain signs treaty with Egypt to withdraw its troops from the zone around the Suez Canal

1955

Iraq, Turkey, and Iran join British-led Baghdad Pact; Egypt signs major arms deal with Soviet Union; Israel signs arms deal with France; civil war breaks out in Sudan

1956

Morocco and Tunisia become independent from France; Sudan becomes independent from Britain and Egypt; Egypt nationalizes Suez Canal Company; Suez War begins with Britain, France, and Israel at war with Egypt; Suez Canal blocked because of the Suez War, disrupting global shipping; Egypt begins expelling thousands of Jews as a result of the Suez War

1957

United States issues “Eisenhower Doctrine”; Israel withdraws from occupied Sinai, Gaza Strip; Suez Canal reopens

1958

Egypt and Syria are united as the United Arab Republic (UAR); civil war breaks out in Lebanon, the United States lends Marines to bolster Lebanese government; military coup d’état overthrows Iraqi monarchy, General Abd al-Karim Qasim becomes Iraqi prime minister

1959

Oil discovered in Libya

1960

Turkish military stages coup d’état against the civilian government; Cyprus obtains independence from Britain; Mauritania obtains independence from France; creation of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

1961

Syria secedes from UAR; Kurdish insurgency against Iraqi government occurs; King Mohammed V of Morocco dies, is succeeded by King Hassan II; Kuwait obtains independence from Britain

1962

Algeria obtains independence from France, more than 100,000 French citizens flee for France; Egyptian actor Omar Sharif stars in Lawrence of Arabia ; military coup d’état against King Muhammad al-Badr leads to civil war in Yemen, with Egyptian troops eventually supporting republican side

1963

Ba’th Party comes to power in Syria via coup d’état; Ba’th Party briefly comes to power in Iraq via coup d’état; Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi declares start of “White Revolution” in Iran

1964

Formation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); King Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia deposed, replaced by King Faysal; Turkey becomes an associate member of the European Economic Community

1965

Houari Boumédienne overthrows government of Ahmed Ben Bella in Algeria

1967

Arab-Israeli war breaks out; Israel defeats armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and occupies the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights; hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians are displaced as a result of Arab-Israeli fighting, thousands of Jews emigrate from several Arab countries as well; Israel annexes East Jerusalem; Suez Canal closed because of Arab-Israeli fighting, forcing ships bound from Asia to Europe to travel around the Horn of Africa; shipping companies begin building supertankers as a result (to be able to carry more cargo, especially oil, on each journey); U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 242 regarding Arab-Israeli peace; Egyptian troops leave Yemen; South Yemen becomes independent from Britain

1968

Coup d’état returns Ba’th Party to power in Iraq

1969

Egyptian-Israeli War of Attrition begins; military coup d’état overthrows Libyan monarchy, Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi becomes new strongman; Ja’far Numayri becomes president of Sudan after military coup d’état; Yasir Arafat becomes chair of PLO

1970

U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers announces “Rogers Plan” for Arab-Israeli peace; Israeli-Egyptian War of Attrition ends; fighting breaks out in Jordan between PLO and Jordanian army; Egypt’s Jamal Abd al-Nasir (Gamal Abdel Nasser) dies; Hafiz al-Asad takes power in Syria via a coup d’état; Qaboos Al Bu Sa’id deposes his father, becomes sultan of Oman; High Dam in Aswan, Egypt completed; Yemeni civil war ends

1971

Devaluation of U.S. dollar leads to decrease in revenue of oil-producing states; Bahrain and Qatar obtain independence from Britain; creation of the United Arab Emirates leads to evacuation of last British military forces in Arabian/Persian Gulf; Turkish military forces the resignation of Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel

1972

Civil war ends in Sudan; Palestinians kill eleven Israeli athletes at Olympic Summer Games in Munich

1973

Frente Popular de Liberación de Sagía el Hamra y Río de Oro (POLISARIO) established; Arab-Israeli war breaks out; U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 338 regarding Arab-Israeli peace; Arab oil-producing states reduce exports of oil in response to Western support of Israel, global oil prices increase 380 percent; Arab-Israeli peace conference in Geneva; coup d’état overthrows government of Zahir Shah in Afghanistan

1974

Israel signs armistice agreements with Egypt and Syria thanks to mediation efforts of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Cypriot military coup d’état in favor of union with Greece prompts military invasion by Turkish forces; Arab League recognizes PLO as “sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”; PLO Chair Yasir Arafat addresses UN General Assembly; Kurdish insurgency breaks out in Iraq

1975

Civil war breaks out in Lebanon; United Arab Emirates become independent from Britain; Algiers Agreement between Iran and Iraq leads to end of Kurdish insurgency in Iraq; Spain relinquishes control of Western Sahara, Morocco and Mauritania lay claim to the area; Saudi King Faysal assassinated; Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum dies; Egypt and Israel sign Sinai Interim Agreement; U.N. General Assembly passes Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism

1976

Syrian forces invade Lebanon to end civil war; POLISARIO declares independence of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

1977

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat flies to Israel, addresses the Knesset

1978

Iranian revolution begins; Israeli forces invade southern Lebanon following Palestinian terrorist raid on Israel; Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign Camp David Accord in Maryland thanks to mediation efforts of U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Begin and Sadat awarded Nobel Peace Prize; communist coup d’état overthrows government of Afghanistan

1979

Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi flees Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns from exile, Islamic Republic of Iran declared; Egypt and Israel sign peace treaty in Washington; Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq; U.S. hostages taken in Iran; Islamic militants take over Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; coup d’état in Afghanistan leads to invasion by Soviet forces; United States announces “Carter Doctrine”; Mauritania gives up claims to Western Sahara

1980

Military coup d’état overthrows civilian government in Turkey; Iran-Iraq War begins

1981

American hostages released from Iran; Egyptian President Anwar Sadat assassinated; Israeli air force planes destroy Iraq’s nuclear reactor; creation of the Gulf Cooperation Council; Israel annexes Golan Heights

1982

Israel withdraws from last of occupied Sinai Peninsula; Israel invades Lebanon, besieges Beirut, and forces PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat and his fighters to leave Beirut; American, French, and Italian troops enter Beirut to supervise PLO withdrawal; Lebanese President elect Bashir Gemayel assassinated, Christian forces kill hundreds of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut

1983

Islamic militants blow up American embassy, Marine barracks, and barracks of French forces in Beirut; civil war breaks out in Sudan, Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) formed; Turkish Cypriots declare independence of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

1984

United States and other Western forces withdraw from Lebanon; Kurdish insurgency begins in Turkey

1985

Sultan bin Salman Al Sa’ud becomes first Middle Easterner in space; major decline in global oil prices; Hizbullah movement emerges publicly in Lebanon

1986

U.S. planes bomb Tripoli, Libya, in response to terrorist attack against American military personnel in Germany; secret U.S.-Iranian arms deal exposed, leading to “Iran-Contra” scandal in United States

1987

Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba deposed, replaced by Zein al-Abidin Ben Ali; United States agrees to protect Kuwaiti ships in Arabian/Persian Gulf; first Palestinian Intifada breaks out

1988

Iran-Iraq War ends; Naguib Mahfouz receives Nobel Prize for literature; Anfal campaign against Kurds in Iraq; Lebanon ruled by two rival governments; Jordan renounces claim to West Bank; PLO’s Palestine National Council declares independence of Palestine; PLO Chair Yasir Arafat renounces terrorism, U.S.-PLO dialogue ensues; formation of Hamas movement in West Bank and Gaza Strip

1989

Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dies; Ta’if Accord signed by Lebanese politicians; Soviet forces with draw from Afghanistan; military coup d’état led by General Umar Hasan al-Bashir overthrows Sudanese government

1990

Major earthquake in Iran; Iraq invades Kuwait, U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Iraq; Yemen and South Yemen unite; Lebanese politician General Michel Aoun forced into exile by Syrian troops, ending Lebanese civil war

1991

U.S.-led military coalition attacks Iraqi forces in Kuwait and Iraq; Iraq signs armistice agreement; Iraqi forces crush anti-regime Shi’ite and Kurdish uprisings; establishment of Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq; UN creates United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Arab-Israeli peace conference held in Madrid; UN General Assembly Resolution 46/86 revokes 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism; Algerian runner Hassiba Boulmerka becomes first African woman ever to win a world title when she wins the 1,500-meter dash at the World Championship games in Tokyo

1992

Algerian military cancels parliamentary elections and deposes President Chadli Bendjedid, prompting start of civil war between government and Islamic militants; communist government of Najibullah collapses in Afghanistan; UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Libya; Boutros Boutros-Ghali elected UN Secretary-General; Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington

1993

Israel and the PLO agree to recognize one another, sign the Declaration of Principles (also known as the Oslo Accord) in Washington

1994

Palestinian Authority (PA) established in part of the West Bank and Gaza Strip following signing of PLO-Israeli Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area (also known as the Cairo Accords); Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and PLO Chair Yasir Arafat share Nobel Peace Prize; Israel and Jordan sign peace treaty; civil war in Yemen

1995

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated; Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (also known as Oslo II) signed; Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seizes power in Qatar, deposing his father

1996

PLO Chair Yasir Arafat elected president of the PA; Syrian Ghada Shouaa wins heptathlon at Olympic summer games in Atlanta, earning the title “world’s greatest female athlete”; Taliban takes power in most of Afghanistan; establishment of Al Jazeera television network in Qatar; International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles names Turkish wrestler Hamza Yerlikaya “Wrestler of the Century”

1997

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami wins Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival; Turkish military forces the resignation of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan; Mohammad Khatami elected president of Iran

1998

Iraq expels UNSCOM inspectors, major U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq ensues

1999

Major earthquake in Turkey; King Hussein of Jordan dies, replaced by King Abdullah II bin Hussein; King Hassan II of Morocco dies, replaced by King Muhammad VI; Turkey recognized as a candidate for membership in the European Union; UN replaces UNSCOM with United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC); Turkish special forces capture Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in Kenya

2000

U.S. President Bill Clinton hosts Israeli-Syrian peace talks at Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Israeli forces withdraw from southern Lebanon; Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad dies; President Clinton brings together Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chair Yasir Arafat at Camp David II summit in Maryland; Second Palestinian Intifada breaks out; Kurdish insurgency in Turkey ends

2001

Israeli-PLO peace talks in Taba, Egypt; 9/11 attacks in United States carried out by Islamic militants associated with al-Qa’ida; United States invades Afghanistan, overthrows Taliban government

2002

Hamid Karzai elected president of Afghanistan; Israeli forces reoccupy West Bank cities under PA control; Israel begins construction of security barrier/separation wall; “Road Map” for Israeli-Palestinian peace announced; UNMOVIC begins arms inspections in Iraq; Turkish runner Süreyya Ayhan named 2002 European Female Athlete of the Year

2003

UNMOVIC withdraws from Iraq; United States and Britain invade Iraq and overthrow government of President Saddam Hussein; Iranian Shirin Ebadi awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon dies when his spacecraft disintegrates upon reentry into earth’s atmosphere; UN Security Council lifts sanctions on Libya and Iraq

2004

United States returns sovereignty to provisional Iraqi government; trial of Saddam Hussein begins in Iraq; Israelis Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover awarded Nobel Prizes for chemistry; Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid awarded Pritzker Prize in architecture; Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat dies; referendum in Cyprus fails to approve the “Annan Plan” for resolving the Cyprus problem

2005

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri assassinated; Syria bows to international pressure, withdraws its forces from Lebanon; Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani elected president of Iraq; Mas’ud Barzani elected president of Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq; Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd dies, replaced by King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Sa’ud; Israel evacuates Jewish settlements in Gaza and a portion of the West Bank; Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by Sudan and SPLA/M ends Sudanese civil war; SPLA/M leader John Garang killed in plane crash; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected president of Iran

2006

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers a massive stroke, is replaced by Ehud Olmert; Israel-Hizbullah war occurs in Lebanon and northern Israel; Orhan Pamuk receives Nobel Prize for literature; Saddam Hussein executed in Iraq

2007

U.N. dissolves UNMOVIC; first fully democratic elections in Mauritania occur; Hamas movement seizes power in Gaza Strip, PA President Mahmud Abbas dissolves government and appoints a new prime minister

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