The Syrian National Congress, also called the Pan-Syrian Congress, was convened in July 1919 in Damascus, Syria, after the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire from the area. The mission of the Congress was to consider the future of "Syria", by which was meant Greater Syria: present-day Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. The Congress also intended to present Arab views to the American King-Crane Commission of inquiry. The Congress was considered the first national parliament in the history of Syria.
The Congress was attended by representatives from all parts of Syria, and was headed by Hashim al-Atassi. Some participants showed support for King Faisal's demands, while others were beginning to question his willingness to make concessions to pro-Zionist groups. In its final report it pleaded that "there be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone, which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country." In response, the King-Crane Commission recommended that "the unity of Syria be preserved." 
The King-Crane Commission, officially called the 1919 Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey, was an official investigation by the United States government concerning the disposition of non-Turkish areas within the former Ottoman Empire. It was conducted to inform American policy about the region's people and their desired future in regard to the previously decided partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the League of Nations Mandate System. The Commission visited areas of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Anatolia, surveyed local public opinion, and assessed its view on the best course of action for the region. The Commission was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson and comprised Henry Churchill King and Charles R. Crane. It began work in June 1919 and produced its report on 28 August 1919, though the report was not published until 1922.
The Commission's work was undercut from the beginning by continuing and competing colonialist designs on the part of the United Kingdom and France, as indicated by their previous secret deals, their lack of a similar belief in public opinion, as well as the commission's late start, and encountered delays; the 1919 Paris Peace Conference had largely concluded the area's future by the time the report was finished.
The King-Crane commission was "the first-ever survey of Arab public opinion" and the fact its results went largely unheeded was bemoaned by pollster James Zogby.
The 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs in Mandatory Palestine against British colonial rule, as a demand for independence and opposition to mass Jewish immigration.
The revolt consisted of two distinct phases. The first phase was directed primarily by the urban and elitist Higher Arab Committee (HAC) and was focused mainly on strikes and other forms of political protest. By October 1936, this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy (involving the rulers of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Yemen) and the threat of martial law. The second phase, which began late in 1937, was a violent and peasant-led resistance movement that increasingly targeted British forces. During this phase, the rebellion was brutally suppressed by the British Army and the Palestine Police Force using repressive measures that were intended to intimidate the Arab population and undermine popular support for the revolt.
According to official British figures covering the whole revolt, the army and police killed more than 2,000 Arabs in combat, 108 were hanged, and 961 died because of what they described as "gang and terrorist activities". In an analysis of the British statistics, Walid Khalidi estimates 19,792 casualties for the Arabs, with 5,032 dead: 3,832 killed by the British and 1,200 dead because of "terrorism", and 14,760 wounded. Over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population between 20 and 60 was killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. Estimates of the number of Palestinian Jews killed range from 91 to several hundred.
The revolt in Palestine was unsuccessful, and its consequences affected the outcome of the 1948 Palestine war. It caused the British Mandate to give crucial support to pre-state Zionist militias like the Haganah whereas on the Palestinian Arab side, the revolt forced the fleeing into exile of the main Palestinian Arab leader of the period, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (pronounced [mustäˈfä ceˈmäl äˈtäˌtyɾc]; 19 May 1881 (conventional) - 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament.
Atatürk was a military officer during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish National Movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns led to victory in the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern and secular nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, and women were given equal civil and political rights, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. His government also carried out an extensive policy of Turkification. The principles of Atatürk's reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.
was a Palestinian leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group, which he founded in 1959. Originally opposed to Israel's existence, he modified his position in 1988 when he accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242. Arafat and his movement operated from several Arab countries. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fatah faced off with Jordan in a brief civil war. Forced out of Jordan and into Lebanon, Arafat and Fatah were major targets of Israel's 1978 and 1982 invasions of that country.
Later in his career, Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the government of Israel to end the decades-long conflict between it and the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit. His political rivals, including Islamists and several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government. In 1994 Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. During this time, Hamas and other militant organizations rose to power and shook the foundations of the authority that Fatah under Arafat had established in the Palestinian territories. In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat became ill, fell into a coma and died on 11 November 2004 at the age of 75. The cause of his illness and subsequent death became a matter of dispute[according to whom?]. Separate independent investigations by Russian and French teams, determined no foul play was involved.
Arafat remains a highly controversial figure whose legacy has been widely disputed. The majority of the Palestinian people—regardless of political ideology or faction—viewed him as a heroic freedom fighter and martyr who symbolized the national aspirations of his people, while many Israelis have described him as an unrepentant terrorist. Critics have accused Arafat of mass corruption, secretly amassing a personal wealth estimated to be US$1.3 billion by 2002 despite the degrading economic conditions of the Palestinians.
is a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt by Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928. The organisation gained supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its "model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work", and in 2012 sponsored the first democratically elected political party in Egypt. However, it suffered from periodic government crackdowns for alleged terrorist activities, and as of 2015 is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and Sunnah as the "sole reference point for ... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state." Its mottos include "Believers are but Brothers", "Islam is the Solution", and "Allah is our objective; the Qur'an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish." It is financed by members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement, and was for many years financed by Saudi Arabia, with whom it shared some enemies and some points of doctrine.
As a Pan-Islamic, religious, and social movement, it preached Islam, taught the illiterate, set up hospitals and business enterprises. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965, and 2013 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Over the years it also developed branches in other Muslim countries.
The Arab Spring brought it legalisation and substantial political power at first, but as of 2013 it has suffered severe reversals. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was legalized in 2011 and won several elections, including the 2012 presidential election when its candidate Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president. One year later, however, following massive demonstrations, Morsi was overthrown by the military and arrested. As of 2014, the organization has been declared a terrorist group both in Egypt and by its erstwhile ally Saudi Arabia, and is once again suffering a severe crackdown in Egypt as well as pressure in other Arab countries. The Brotherhood itself insists it is a peaceful, democratic organization, and its leader "condemns violence and violent acts".
was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 he was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and was executed by hanging.
Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books Social Justice and Ma'alim fi al-Tariq (Milestones). His magnum opus, Fi Zilal al-Quran (In the Shade of the Qur'an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Quran.
During most of his life, Qutb's inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians, intellectuals, poets and literary figures, both of his age and of the preceding generation. By the mid-1940s, many of his writings were officially among the curricula of schools, colleges and universities.
Even though most of his observations and criticism were leveled at the Muslim world, Qutb is also known for his intense disapproval of the society and culture of the United States, which he saw as obsessed with materialism, violence, and sexual pleasures. Views on Qutb vary widely. He has been described by followers as a great thinker and martyr for Islam, while many Western observers see him as a key originator of Islamist ideology. Others in the West believe Qutb is an inspiration for violent groups such as al-Qaeda. Today, his supporters are identified as Qutbists or "Qutbi" (by their opponents, not by themselves).
was an Iranian Mujtahid, revolutionary, politician, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran who was supported by the United States. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei.
Khomeini was a Mujtahid or faqih (an expert in Islamic law) and author of more than 40 books, but he is primarily known for his political activities. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the last Shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)", to include theocratic political rule by Islamic jurists. This principle  was appended to the new Iranian constitution after being put to a referendum.
In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini created the Basij Mostazafan, a voluntary mass movement of mainly young people. When the Iran-Iraq war started in 1980, Khomeini issued a Jihad fatwa and these were incorporated into the Iranian military. He was named Man of the Year in 1979 by American news magazine TIME for his international influence, and has been described as the "virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture" where he remains a controversial figure. He was known for his support of the hostage-takers during the Iran hostage crisis and for calling the US Government the "Great Satan". Khomeini called the USSR the "Lesser Satan" and said that Iran should support neither.
Khomeini held the title of Grand Ayatollah and is officially known as Imam Khomeini inside Iran and by his supporters internationally; he is generally referred to as Ayatollah Khomeini by others. Since the beginning of his rule, Khomeini attempted to establish good relations between Sunnis and Shias.
Iran's course of economic development floundered under Khomeini's rule, and his pursuit of victory in the Iran-Iraq war ultimately proved futile. In 1982, there was an attempted military coup against Khomeini. Khomeini for a long time suffered from several kinds of cancer and had several heart attacks. He died of intestinal cancer and a heart attack in June 1989. Khomeini's gold-domed tomb in Tehrān's Behesht-e Zahrāʾ cemetery has since become a shrine for his supporters. In 2009, a suicide bomber attacked the Mausoleum of Khomeini. After the death of Ruhollah Khomeini, Ali Khamenei became the Supreme Leader of Iran in 1989. There have been rifts between Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini's family.
While Khomeini has often been described as a traditional cleric, he was a major innovator in Iran due to both his political theory and his religious-oriented populist strategy. Ayatollah Khomeini said, "Those intellectuals who say that the clergy should leave politics and go back to the mosque speak on behalf of Satan." Ruhollah Khomeini is legally considered "inviolable" in Iran, and people are regularly punished for insulting him.
was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter. The resolution was sponsored by British ambassador Lord Caradon and was one of five drafts under consideration.
The preamble refers to the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security."
Operative Paragraph One "Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." 
Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon entered into consultations with the UN Special representative over the implementation of 242. After denouncing it in 1967, Syria "conditionally" accepted the resolution in March 1972. Syria formally accepted UN Security Council Resolution 338, the cease-fire at the end of the Yom Kippur War (in 1973), which embraced resolution 242.
On 1 May 1968, the Israeli ambassador to the UN expressed Israel's position to the Security Council: "My government has indicated its acceptance of the Security Council resolution for the promotion of agreement on the establishment of a just and lasting peace. I am also authorized to reaffirm that we are willing to seek agreement with each Arab State on all matters included in that resolution."
In a statement to the General Assembly on 15 October 1968, the PLO rejected Resolution 242, saying "the implementation of said resolution will lead to the loss of every hope for the establishment of peace and security in Palestine and the Middle East region." In September 1993, the PLO agreed that Resolutions 242 and 338 should be the basis for negotiations with Israel when it signed the Declaration of Principles.
Resolution 242 is one of the most widely affirmed resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict and formed the basis for later negotiations between the parties. These led to Peace Treaties between Israel and Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994), as well as the 1993 and 1995 agreements with the Palestinians.
The Oslo Accords are a set of agreements between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): the Oslo I Accord, signed in Washington, D.C., in 1993 and the Oslo II Accord, signed in Taba in 1995. The Oslo Accords marked the start of the Oslo process, a peace process that is aimed at achieving a peace-treaty based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, and to fulfill the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination". The Oslo process started after secret negotiations in Oslo, resulting in the recognition by the PLO of the State of Israel and the recognition by Israel of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and as a partner in negotiations.
The Oslo Accords created the Palestinian Authority, whose functions are the limited self-governance over parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and, it acknowledged that the PLO is now Israel's partner in permanent status negotiations about the remaining issues. The most important issues are the borders of Israel and Palestine, the Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, the question of Israel's military presence in and control over the remaining territories after the recognition of the Palestinian autonomy by Israel, and the Palestinian right of return. The Oslo Accords, however, did not create a Palestinian state.
was the king of Iran (Shah of Iran) from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. He took the title Shāhanshāh ("Emperor" or "King of Kings") on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Āryāmehr (Light of the Aryans) and Bozorg Arteshtārān (Head of the Warriors).
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to power during World War II after an Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father, Reza Shah. During Mohammad Reza's reign, the Iranian oil industry was briefly nationalized, under the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, until a US and UK-backed coup d'état deposed Mosaddegh and brought back foreign oil firms. Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great during his reign, at which time he also changed the benchmark of the Iranian calendar from the hegira to the beginning of the Persian Empire, measured from Cyrus the Great's coronation. As ruler, he introduced the White Revolution, a series of economic, social and political reforms with the proclaimed intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing certain industries and granting women suffrage.
A secular Muslim, Mohammad Reza gradually lost support from the Shi'a clergy of Iran as well as the working class, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization, secularization, conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, recognition of Israel, and corruption issues surrounding himself, his family, and the ruling elite. Various additional controversial policies were enacted, including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party, and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran's intelligence agency, SAVAK. According to official statistics, Iran had as many as 2,200 political prisoners in 1978, a number which multiplied rapidly as a result of the revolution.
Several other factors contributed to strong opposition to the Shah among certain groups within Iran, the most notable of which were United States and UK support for his regime, clashes with Islamists and increased communist activity. By 1979, political unrest had transformed into a revolution which, on 17 January, forced him to leave Iran. Soon thereafter, the Iranian monarchy was formally abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini. Facing likely execution should he return to Iran, he died in exile in Egypt, whose President, Anwar Sadat, had granted him asylum. Due to his last status as the last de facto Shah of Iran, he is known even outside Iran as simply "the Shah".
was an Iranian politician. He was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the British Secret Intelligence Service.
An author, administrator, lawyer, and prominent parliamentarian, his administration introduced a range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security, rent control, and land reforms. His government's most notable policy, however, was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC / AIOC) (later British Petroleum and BP).
Many Iranians regard Mosaddegh as the leading champion of secular democracy and resistance to foreign domination in Iran's modern history. Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the CIA at the request of MI6, which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh.
While the coup is commonly referred to in the West as Operation Ajax after its CIA cryptonym, in Iran it is referred to as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup, after its date on the Iranian calendar. Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death and was buried in his own home so as to prevent a political furor.
was a Syrian philosopher, sociologist and Arab nationalist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of Ba'athism and its political movement; he is considered by several Ba'athists to be the principal founder of Ba'athist thought. He published various books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Battle for One Destiny (1958) and The Struggle Against Distorting the Movement of Arab Revolution (1975).
Born into a middle-class family in Damascus, Syria, Aflaq studied at the Sorbonne, where he met his future political companion Salah al-Din al-Bitar. He returned to Syria in 1932, and began his political career in communist politics. Aflaq became a communist activist, but broke his ties with the communist movement when the Syrian-Lebanese Communist Party supported France's colonial policies. Later in 1940 Aflaq and al-Bitar established the Arab Ihya Movement (later renaming itself the Arab Ba'ath Movement, taking the name from Zaki al-Arsuzi's group by the same name). The movement proved successful, and in 1947 the Arab Ba'ath Movement merged with al-Arsuzi's Arab Ba'ath organisation to establish the Arab Ba'ath Party. Aflaq was elected to the party's executive committee and was elected "'Amid" (meaning the party's leader).
The Arab Ba'ath Party merged with Akram al-Hawrani's Arab Socialist Party to establish the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in 1952; Aflaq was elected the party's leader in 1954. During the mid-to-late 1950s the party began developing relations with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, which eventually led to the establishment of the United Arab Republic (UAR). Nasser forced Aflaq to dissolve the party, which he did, but without consulting with party members. Shortly after the UAR's dissolution, Aflaq was reelected as Secretary General of the National Command of the Ba'ath Party. Following the 8th of March Revolution, Aflaq's position within the party was weakened to such an extent that he was forced to resign as the party's leader in 1965. Aflaq was ousted during the 1966 Syrian coup d'état, which led to a schism within the Ba'ath Party. He escaped to Lebanon, but later went to Iraq. In 1968 Aflaq was elected Secretary General of the Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party; during his tenure he held no de facto power. He held the post until his death on 23 June 1989.
Aflaq's theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Ba'athism, hold that the Arab world needs to be unified into one Arab Nation in order to achieve an advanced state of development. He was critical of both capitalism and communism, and critical of Karl Marx's view of dialectical materialism as the only truth. Ba'athist thought placed much emphasis on liberty and Arab socialism - a socialism with Arab characteristics, which was not part of the international socialist movement as defined by the West. Aflaq believed in the separation of state and religion, and was a strong believer in secularisation, but was against atheism. Although a Christian, he believed Islam to be proof of "Arab genius". In the aftermath of the 1966 Ba'ath Party split, the Syrian-led Ba'ath Party accused Aflaq of stealing al-Arsuzi's ideas, and called him a "thief". The Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party rejects this, and does not believe that al-Arsuzi contributed to Ba'athist thought.
was a political party founded in Syria by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar and associates of Zaki al-Arsuzi. The party espoused Ba'athism (from Arabic: البعث Al-Ba'ath or Ba'ath meaning "renaissance" or "resurrection"), which is an ideology mixing Arab nationalist, pan-Arabism, Arab socialist and anti-imperialist interests. Ba'athism calls for unification of the Arab world into a single state. Its motto, "Unity, Liberty, Socialism", refers to Arab unity, and freedom from non-Arab control and interference.
The party was founded by the merger of the Arab Ba'ath Movement, led by Aflaq and al-Bitar, and the Arab Ba'ath, led by al-Arsuzi, on 7 April 1947 as the Arab Ba'ath Party. The party quickly established branches in other Arab countries, although it would only hold power in Iraq and Syria. The Arab Ba'ath Party merged with the Arab Socialist Party, led by Akram al-Hawrani, in 1952 to form the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The newly formed party was a relative success, and became the second-largest party in the Syrian parliament in the 1954 election. This, coupled with the increasing strength of the Syrian Communist Party, led to the establishment of the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union of Egypt and Syria. The union would prove unsuccessful, and a Syrian coup in 1961 dissolved the union.
Following the break-up of the UAR, the Ba'ath Party was reconstituted. However, during the UAR, military activists had established the Military Committee to take control of the Ba'ath Party from civilian hands. In the meantime, in Iraq, the local Ba'ath Party branch had taken power by orchestrating and leading the Ramadan Revolution, only to lose power a couple of months later. The Military Committee, with Aflaq's consent, took power in Syria in the 8th of March Revolution of 1963.
A power struggle quickly developed between the civilian faction led by Aflaq, al-Bitar and Munif al-Razzaz and the Military Committee led by Salah Jadid and Hafez al-Assad. As relations between the two factions deteriorated, the Military Committee initiated the 1966 Syrian coup d'état which ousted the National Command led by al-Razzaz, Aflaq and their supporters. The 1966 coup split the Ba'ath Party between the Iraqi-dominated Ba'ath movement and the Syrian-dominated Ba'ath movement.
was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1956 until his death. A leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 against the monarchy, he introduced neutralist foreign policies during the Cold War, co-founding the international Non-Aligned Movement. His nationalization of the Suez Canal Company and the brief union he presided over with Syria were acclaimed throughout the Arab world. However, his intervention in the North Yemen Civil War was largely unsuccessful and his prestige took a blow with Egypt's defeat in the Six-Day War.
Nasser led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 Muslim Brotherhood-led attempt on his life, he cracked down on the organization, put President Muhammad Naguib under house arrest, and assumed executive office, officially becoming president in June 1956. Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal and his emergence as the political victor from the subsequent Suez Crisis substantially elevated his popularity in Egypt and the Arab world. Calls for pan-Arab unity under his leadership increased, culminating with the formation of the United Arab Republic with Syria (1958-1961). In 1962, Nasser began a series of major socialist measures and modernization reforms in Egypt. Despite setbacks to his pan-Arabist cause, by 1963 Nasser's supporters gained power in several Arab countries and he became embroiled in the North Yemen Civil War.
He began his second presidential term in March 1965 after his political opponents were banned from running. Following Egypt's concessions to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, Nasser resigned, but he returned to office after popular demonstrations called for his reinstatement. By 1968, Nasser had appointed himself prime minister, launched the War of Attrition to regain lost territory, began a process of depoliticizing the military, and issued a set of political liberalization reforms. After the conclusion of the 1970 Arab League summit, Nasser suffered a heart attack and died. His funeral in Cairo drew five million mourners and an outpouring of grief across the Arab world.
Nasser remains an iconic figure in the Arab world, particularly for his strides towards social justice and Arab unity, modernization policies, and anti-imperialist efforts. His presidency also encouraged and coincided with an Egyptian cultural boom, and launched large industrial projects, including the Aswan Dam and Helwan City. Nasser's detractors criticize his authoritarianism, his government's human rights violations, his populist relationship with the citizenry, and his failure to establish civil institutions, blaming his legacy for future dictatorial governance in Egypt. Historians describe Nasser as a towering political figure of the Middle East in the 20th century.
also known as the 23 July Revolution, began on 23 July 1952, by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The revolution was initially aimed at overthrowing King Faruq. However, the movement had more political ambitions, and soon moved to abolish the constitutional monarchy and aristocracy of Egypt and Sudan, establish a republic, end the British occupation of the country, and secure the independence of Sudan (previously governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium). The revolutionary government adopted a staunchly nationalist, anti-imperialist agenda, which came to be expressed chiefly through Arab nationalism, and international non-alignment.
The revolution was faced with immediate threats from Western imperial powers, particularly the United Kingdom, which had occupied Egypt since 1882, and France, both of whom were wary of rising nationalist sentiment in territories under their control throughout the Arab world, and Africa. The ongoing state of war with Israel also posed a serious challenge, as the Free Officers increased Egypt's already strong support of the Palestinians. These two issues conflated four years after the revolution when Egypt was invaded by Britain, France, and Israel in the Suez Crisis of 1956. Despite enormous military losses, the war was seen as a political victory for Egypt, especially as it left the Suez Canal in uncontested Egyptian control for the first time since 1875, erasing what was seen as a mark of national humiliation. This strengthened the appeal of the revolution in other Arab and African countries.
Wholesale agrarian reform, and huge industrialisation programmes were initiated in the first decade and half of the revolution, leading to an unprecedented period of infrastructure building, and urbanisation. By the 1960s, Arab socialism had become a dominant theme, transforming Egypt into a centrally planned economy. Official fear of a Western-sponsored counter-revolution, domestic religious extremism, potential communist infiltration, and the conflict with Israel were all cited as reasons compelling severe and longstanding restrictions on political opposition, and the prohibition of a multi-party system. These restrictions on political activity would remain in place until the presidency of Anwar Sadat from 1970 onwards, during which many of the policies of the revolution were scaled back or reversed.
The early successes of the revolution encouraged numerous other nationalist movements in other Arab, and African countries, such as Algeria, and Kenya, where there were anti-colonial rebellions against European empires. It also inspired the toppling of existing pro-Western monarchies and governments in the region and the continent.
The Revolution is commemorated each year on Egypt's national day, Revolution Day, on 23 July.
The Suez Crisis, also named the Tripartite Aggression, and the Kadesh Operation was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by Britain and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. After the fighting had started, the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations forced the three invaders to withdraw. The episode humiliated Great Britain and strengthened Nasser.
On October 29, Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai. Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to cease fire, which was ignored. On November 5, Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. The Egyptian forces were defeated, but they did block the canal to all shipping. It became clear that the Israeli invasion and the subsequent Anglo-French attack had been planned beforehand by the three countries.
The three allies had attained a number of their military objectives, but the Canal was now useless and heavy pressure from the United States and the USSR forced them to withdraw. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had strongly warned Britain not to invade; he now threatened serious damage to the British financial system. Historians conclude the crisis "signified the end of Great Britain's role as one of the world's major powers". Peden in 2012 states, "The Suez crisis is widely believed to have contributed significantly to Britain's decline as a world power." The Suez Canal was closed from October 1956 until March 1957. Israel fulfilled some of its objectives, such as attaining freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran.
As a result of the conflict, the United Nations created the UNEF Peacekeepers to police the Egyptian-Israeli border, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden resigned, Canadian Minister of External Affairs Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the USSR may have been emboldened to invade Hungary.
also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known at the time as the United Arab Republic), Jordan, and Syria.
Relations between Israel and its neighbours had never fully normalized following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and in the period leading up to June 1967 tensions became dangerously heightened. As a result, following the mobilisation of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel launched a series of preemptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields on June 5. The Egyptians, whose defensive infrastructure was in a poor state, were caught by surprise and virtually the entire Egyptian air force was destroyed with few Israeli losses, giving the Israelis air superiority. Simultaneously, the Israelis launched a ground offensive into the Gaza strip and through the northern and central routes of the Sinai, which again caught the Egyptians by surprise. After some initial resistance, the Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, ordered the evacuation of the Sinai. On June 6 and 7, Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians whose retreat was disorganized and chaotic. The Israelis inflicted heavy losses on the retreating Egyptian forces. By June 7 the Israelis had reached the Suez Canal and had taken Sharm el Sheikh in the south of the peninsula. Conquest of the Sinai was completed on June 8 when Israeli forces reached the peninsula's western coast.
On June 5, Nasser had induced Syria and Jordan to begin attacks on Israel by using the initially confused situation to claim that Egypt had defeated the Israeli air strike. In the afternoon of June 5, Israel retaliated against Jordan by launching an offensive to encircle East Jerusalem. Initially, Israeli forces held back from moving into the Old City for a number of reasons including potentially negative international reaction. However, on June 7 the Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan, gave the order to attack. After heavy fighting, the Israelis completed the conquest of the city later that day. Also on June 7, Israeli forces seized the West Bank cities of Nablus and Bethlehem from the Jordanians. When King Hussein ordered the Jordanian forces to retreat across the River Jordan, the Israeli forces occupied the rest of the West Bank unopposed. Israel's retaliation against Syria on June 5 took the form of an air strike in the evening which destroyed two-thirds of the Syrian air force, giving the Israelis air superiority over the Syrians. On June 9, Dayan ordered a ground invasion of the Golan Heights. Despite an extensive fortifications system and heavy fighting, the Israelis broke through the Syrian first line of defense. By June 10, Israeli forces had taken the Golan plateau and the Syrians had retreated eastward behind the ceasefire "purple line".
On June 11, a ceasefire was signed. Arab casualties were far heavier than that of Israel: less than a thousand Israelis had been killed compared to over 20,000 from the Arab forces. Israel's military success was attributable to the element of surprise, an innovative and well executed battle plan and the poor quality and leadership of the Arab forces. Israel seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula (from Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan) and the Golan Heights (from Syria). The area under Israeli control tripled, significantly contributing to the country's defensibility, as would be shown in the subsequent Yom Kippur War. Although Israeli morale and international prestige was greatly increased by the outcome of the war, the resulting displacement of civilian populations would have long-term consequences. 300,000 Palestinians fled the West Bank and about 100,000 Syrians left the Golan to become refugees. Across the Arab world, Jewish minority communities were expelled.
also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel from October 6 to 25, 1973. With the exception of isolated attacks on Israeli territory on 6 and 9 October, the military combat actions during the war took place on Arab territory, mostly in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Egypt and Syria wanted to regain the Sinai and the Golan Heights respectively. Sadat wanted also to reopen the Suez Canal. Both did not plan to destroy Israel, although the Israeli leaders could not be sure of it.
The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which also occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.
The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. After crossing the cease-fire lines, Egyptian forces advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. After three days, Israel had mobilized most of its forces and managed to halt the Egyptian offensive, settling into a stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains into Israeli-held territory. Within three days, however, Israeli forces had managed to push the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. They then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Syria. Within a week, Israeli artillery began to shell the outskirts of Damascus. As Egyptian president Anwar Sadat began to worry about the integrity of his major ally, he believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations. He therefore ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but the attack was quickly repulsed. The Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards Suez  in over a week of heavy fighting that inflicted heavy casualties on both sides.
On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war.
The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World, which had been humiliated by the lopsided rout of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war led to recognition that there was no guarantee it would always dominate the Arab states militarily. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The 1978 Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.
The Iran-Iraq War was an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the 20th century's longest conventional war. It was initially referred to in English as the Gulf War prior to the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990s.
The Iran-Iraq War began when Iraq invaded Iran via air and land on 22 September 1980. It followed a long history of border disputes, and was motivated by fears that the Iranian Revolution in 1979 would inspire insurgency among Iraq's long-suppressed Shia majority, as well as Iraq's desire to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf state. Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of Iran's revolutionary chaos and attacked without formal warning, it made only limited progress into Iran and was quickly repelled; Iran regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years, Iran was on the offensive. A number of proxy forces participated in the war, most notably the Iranian Mujahedin-e-Khalq siding with Ba'athist Iraq and Iraqi Kurdish militias of Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan siding with Iran—all suffering a major blow by the end of the conflict.
Despite calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988. The war finally ended with Resolution 598, a U.N.-brokered ceasefire which was accepted by both sides. At the war's conclusion, it took several weeks for Iranian armed forces to evacuate Iraqi territory to honour pre-war international borders set by the 1975 Algiers Agreement. The last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003.
The war cost both sides in lives and economic damage: half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, are believed to have died, with many more injured; however, the war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders. The conflict has been compared to World War I:171 in terms of the tactics used, including large-scale trench warfare with barbed wire stretched across trenches, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, human wave attacks across a no-man's land, and extensive use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas by the Iraqi government against Iranian troops, civilians, and Iraqi Kurds. The United States, alongside regional and international powers, supported Iraq with loans, military equipment and satellite imagery during Iraqi attacks against Iranian targets. At the time of the conflict, the U.N. Security Council issued statements that "chemical weapons had been used in the war." U.N. statements never clarified that only Iraq was using chemical weapons, and according to retrospective authors "the international community remained silent as Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Iranian[s] as well as Iraqi Kurds."
The First Intifada or First Palestinian Intifada (also known as simply as "the intifada" or "intifadah"[note A]) was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords. The uprising began on 9 December, in the Jabalia refugee camp after a traffic incident when an Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) truck collided with a civilian car, killing four Palestinians. In the wake of the incident, a protest movement arose, involving a two-fold strategy of unarmed resistance and civil disobedience, consisting of general strikes, boycotts of Israeli Civil Administration institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, an economic boycott consisting of refusal to work in Israeli settlements on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, refusal to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses, graffiti, barricading, and widespread throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at the IDF and its infrastructure within the Palestinian territories. Israel, deploying some 80,000 soldiers and initially firing live rounds, killed a large numbers of Palestinians. In the first 13 months, 332 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed. Given the high proportion of children, youths and civilians killed, it then adopted a policy of 'might, power, and beatings,' namely "breaking Palestinians' bones". The global diffusion of images of soldiers beating adolescents with clubs then led to the adoption of firing semi-lethal plastic bullets. In the intifada's first year, Israeli security forces killed 311 Palestinians, of which 53 were under the age of 17. Over the first two years, according to Save the Children, an estimated 7% of all Palestinians under 18 years of age suffered injuries from shootings, beatings, or tear gas. Over six years the IDF killed an estimated 1,162-1,204 Palestinians. Between 23,600-29,900 Palestinian children required medical treatment from IDF beatings in the first 2 years. 100 Israeli civilians and 60 IDF personnel were killed often by militants outside the control of the Intifada's UNLU, and more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 soldiers were injured. Intra-Palestinian violence was also a prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of an estimated 822 Palestinians killed as alleged collaborators,(1988-April 1994). At the time Israel reportedly obtained information from some 18,000 Palestinians who had been compromised, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities.
The ensuing Second Intifada took place from September 2000 to 2005.
a permanent, international organization headquartered in Vienna, Austria, was established in Baghdad, Iraq on 10-14 September 1960. OPEC was formed when the international oil market was largely dominated by a group of multinational companies known as the 'seven sisters'.:503 The formation of OPEC represented a collective act of sovereignty by oil exporting nations, and marked a turning point in state control over natural resources.:505 In the 1960s OPEC ensured that oil companies could not unilaterally cut prices.:505 In December 2014, OPEC and the oil men were named in the top 10 most influential people in the shipping industry by Lloyds.
OPEC's mandate is to "coordinate and unify the petroleum policies" of its members and to "ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry." In 2014 OPEC comprised twelve members: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), OPEC crude oil production is an important factor affecting global oil prices. OPEC sets production targets for its member nations and generally, when OPEC production targets are reduced, oil prices increase. Projections of changes in Saudi production result in changes in the price of benchmark crude oils.
was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981. Sadat was a senior member of the Free Officers who overthrew King Farouk in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and a close confidant of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, under whom he served as Vice President twice and whom he succeeded as President in 1970.
In his eleven years as president, he changed Egypt's trajectory, departing from many of the political, and economic tenets of Nasserism, re-instituting a multi-party system, and launching the Infitah economic policy. As President, he led Egypt in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to regain Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967, making him a hero in Egypt and, for a time, the wider Arab World. Afterwards, he engaged in negotiations with Israel, culminating in the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty; this won him and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin the Nobel Peace Prize, making Sadat the first Muslim Nobel laureate. Though reaction to the treaty—which resulted in the return of Sinai to Egypt—was generally favorable among Egyptians, it was rejected by the country's Muslim Brotherhood and leftists in particular, who felt Sadat had abandoned efforts to ensure a Palestinian state. With the exception of Sudan, the Arab world and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strongly opposed Sadat's efforts to make a separate peace with Israel without prior consultations with the Arab states. His refusal to reconcile with them over the Palestinian issue resulted in Egypt being suspended from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. The peace treaty was also one of the primary factors that led to his assassination.
was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization Ba'ath Party - Iraq Region—which espoused ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and other industries. The state-owned banks were put under his control, leaving the system eventually insolvent mostly due to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and UN sanctions. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy to grow at a rapid pace. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.
Saddam formally rose to power in 1979, although he had been the de facto head of Iraq for several years prior. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements, seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some venerated Saddam for his opposition to Israel—which included the use of military force—he was widely condemned in the west for the brutality of his dictatorship.
In 2003, a coalition led by the U.S. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Following his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi interim government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites and was sentenced to death by hanging. His execution was carried out on 30 December 2006.