Islam and the Middle East; key historical events
See Israel for events relating to the Palestinian State
Page last modified 20/9/2020
See also Iraq
See also Iran
See also Lebanon
See also Saudi Arabia
See also Syria
See also Ottoman Turkey
See also Yemen
ISIS (not Syria) from 2013
Syrian Civil War 2011-now
Iraq Kuwait War I 1990-91
Lebanese conflict, hostages 1975-91
World War Two
Formation of Saudi Arabia
Anglo-French division of Middle East
Arab – Byzantine conflict
Bahrain – see Appendix 0
Jordan – see Appendix 1
Kuwait – see Appendix 2
Oman – see Appendix 3
Qatar - see Appendix 4
United Arab Emirates – See Appendix 6
20/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Morocco and Iraq. Meanwhile over 200 people were killed during protests in Benghazi, Libya.
14/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Jordan, also Benghazi in Libya.
12/2/2011, Clashes between demonstrators and police in Algiers.
See also Egypt for protests against Preisdent Mubarak
25/1/2011, Arab Spring protests in Egypt and Lebanon,
14/1/2011, In the turmoil of the Arab Spring, the Tunisian Government fell after a month of protests.
4/1/2011, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi died after setting fire to himself on 17/12/2010. This sparked anti-government protests in Tunisia and other Arab nations, which became known as the Arab Spring.
1712/2010, The Arab Spring began when a Tunisian graduate set fire to himself in protest at police who stopped him trading without a permit, after he had failed to secure paid employment.
11/11/2004, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (born 1929) died of a brain haemorrhage and was buried in Cairo, aged 74. Mahmoud Abbas took over as head of the PLO.
7/8/2003, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, who played a key role in the Bali nightclub bombing in 2002, was sentenced to death by firing squad.
12/10/2002. A large bomb hit the Sari nightclub in Bali, a popular holiday destination for Australians and other Westerners, and the only Hindu island in the otherwise Muslim republic of Indonesia. 202 died and over 300 were injured, mostly Australian tourists. Al Quaeda, the organisation which hit the USA on '9-11', 2002, was blamed. Australia had been instrumental in helping East Timor to achieve independence from Indonesia, and the decadence of Bali did not fit with Islamic ideals.
20/8/1998, The USA launched attacks against the Al Shifa pharmaceuticals and chemical plant in Sudan and cruise missile attacks against Al Quaeda bases in Afghanistan in retaliation for the 7/8/1998 embassy bombs.
7/8/1998. Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terrorists bombed the USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people, and wounding over 4,000.
23/8/1996, Osama bin Laden issued a 30-page Fatwa declaring war on the USA.
14/12/1993. Yasser Arafat, PLO leader, made his first official visit to Britain.
30/10/1992, A Middle East peace conference began in Madrid, Spain.
1/1992, The self-proclaimed Muslim Parliament of Great Britain met for the first time. This meeting was prompted by the Salman Rushdie affair.
1989, The Arab Maghreb Union was formed, comprising Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
4/1/1989, British Muslims in Bradford ritually burnt a copy of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
20/4/1987, In Algiers, the Palestinian National Council re-elected Arafat as leader, but with reduced power.
27/12/1985, At Rome and Vienna airports, Abu Nidal terrorists opened fire, killing 18 and injuring 120.
7/10/1985. Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean, killing a US passenger. The terrorists surrendered two days later.
1/6/1985, A TWA airliner flying from Athens to Rome was hijacked by Islamist terrorists and forced to fly to Beirut, where the hostages were held for 17 days.
1/12/1984, King Hussein of Jordan held talks with President Mubarak of Egypt on peace initiatives for the West Bank.
See also Israel for Israeli attacks in Lebanon
1981, The Gulf Co-operation Council was set up, by countries bordering the Persian Gulf
25/11/1981, An Arab Summit Conference in Fez quickly reached deadlock over peace plans for the Middle East.
22/6/1981, Hamas attacked a travel agent in Greece, killing two people.
1978, The Regents Park Mosque opened in London.
14/12/1978. Newsweek looked at the growing influence of Islam in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
1976, The Arab Monetary Fund was established.
12/1/1976, The UN Security Council voted 12-1 to admit the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
7/1/1975, OPEC agreed to raise crude oil prices by 10%.
14/10/1974, The United Nations recognised the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
23/12/1973. OPEC quadrupled the price of crude oil.
For Yom Kippur war see Israeli history.
1/6/1972. Iraq nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company.
1/9/1967, At a meeting in Khartoum, the Arabs decided to lift the oil embargo that had been imposed on the West since the Six Day War.
1965, The Arab Common Market was formed, comprising Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.
1962, Oil production began in Abu Dhabi.
12/1962, Libya centralised its government. The previous federal system, of four provincial governments and one central authority, produced too much inter-provincial rivalry.
7/1959, After two years of unsuccessful exploration by oil companies in Libya, the large Zelten Field was discovered in the Sirte Basin. In 1963, Libyan crude oil exports exceeded 20 million tons, and reached 125 million tons in 1968.
1/8/1958, King Hussein dissolved the federation of Jordan with Iraq.
5/3/1958, Syria accused King Saud of organising a plot to overthrow the Syrian regime and destroy the union of Syria and Egypt.
14/2/1958, The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was proclaimed.
1957, The Eisenhower Doctrine was declared by the USA. President Eisenhower stated that the Middle East was vital to its interests and it would give military aid to any country on the region that requested it. This Doctrine was aimed at curbing the influence of the USSR in the region.
11/7/1957. The Aga Khan died in Versoix, Switzerland. He was born in Karachi on 2/11/1877, and during World War One, when Turkey was drawn in on the German side, the Aga Khan was instrumental in reassuring the Moslems of the British Empire that the Allies had no plans against Islam and to stay loyal to Britain. In 1937 he was appointed President of the League of Nations. He spent World war Two in Switzerland and withdrew from further political activity. In 1946, the year of his 60-year jubilee celebration, he was twice weighed by his subjects and paid a sum of diamonds of equivalent weight. The sum of US$3,600,000 which resulted was used by the Khan for building schools and other community projects in Pakistan. He was also famous as a breeder and trainer of racehorses, winning the Epsom races five times.
21/11/1955, The first meeting of the Permanent Council of the Baghdad Pact, later called CENTO, was held.
24/2/1955, Turkey and Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact. This was an alliance of mutual support against Communist activity within their borders or as an external threat. Iran joined later in 1955.
2/5/1953, King Hussein II became King of Jordan, succeeding his father King Talal, who was deposed in August 1952.
23/4/1952, The oil pipeline between Kirkuk and Banias was completed.
1948, The huge Al-Ghawar oilfield in Saudi Arabia was discovered.
24/8/1946, Elijah Muhammad was released from prison in Milan, Michigan after four years, and became the Nation of Islam's undisputed leader.
2/12/1945, The Arab world began a general boycott of Israel, to geographically isolate the country. The boycott was to cover not just companies trading with Israel or with Israeli companies but also companies doing business with these companies. In 1977 the US, under President Carter, declared it illegal for US companies to participate in this boycott. In the 1990s Israel insisted upon the dismantling of the boycott, which was estimated to have cost the country some US$ 40 billion, as part of the Peace Process. In 2001, however, the Arab League’s Boycott Office resumed activities as part of its support for the Palestinians during the Intifada.
22/3/1945, The Arab League was formed. The treaty was signed in Cairo this day, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen as members. The League was intended to promote inter-Arab cultural, technical, and economic links, and to minimise conflict between Arab states, but it remained a loose association with no central authority. In 1979 the headquarters of the Arab league was moved from Cairo to Tunis, after Egypt was suspended for signing a peace treaty with Israel. It returned to Cairo in 1992.
24/2/1945, Egypt declared war on Germany, largely to secure a place in the post-War United Nations. The announcement of war was made to the Egyptian Parliament by Ahmed Maher; as Maher left the Parliament he was assassinated, probably by the Muslim Brotherhood.
2/4/1942, The British under Sir Miles Lampson forced their way into the Abdin Palace, Cairo, and demanded that King Farouk either abdicate or invite Nahas to form a Wafd Party government. King Farouk was friendly with the Italians, and like many Egyptians had pro-Axis sympathies, simply because they believed an Axis victory would rid Egypt of the British. Meanwhile Rommel was advancing from Libya into western Egypt. Success for Rommel would cut the Suez Canal and sever naval communications with India. Lampson hoped that Farouk would abdicate but instead he chose to appoint Nahas, whose Wafd Party were pro-British.
For main European events of World War Two see France-Germany
14/7/1941, A crisis caused by a pro-Axis coup in Syria in May 1941 came to a conclusion. The Vichy French administration in Syria had allowed Germans the use of Syrian airfields to support Iraqi Nationalist rebels fighting British administration in Iraq. Britain declared that Marshal Petain had breached an undertaking not to act against the former allies of France, and invaded Syria with a mixed army of British and Free French troops. Heavy fighting occurred around Beirut between 8/7 and 14/7, although Damascus was spared. An armistice signed on 14/7 gave French troops and civilians in Syria and Lebanon the choice of repatriation to France or joining Free French forces.
1/7/1940. Britain was concerned that the French colonial administration in Lebanon and Syria had submitted to Vichy rule. Britain was determined that Axis forces should not occupy this region and mounted a naval blockade of Syria and Lebanon, causing severe shortages in both countries. Meanwhile Arab Nationalists were demanding independence from French control.
13/12/1936. Aga Khan born.
19/1/1936, The Aga Khan III, leader of the Ismaili community, was given his weight in gold, 16 stone, worth about £25,000 to mark his Golden Jubilee (£3.5 million in 2016) to use on social projects.
19/5/1935. T.E. (Thomas Edward) Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, died six days after a motorcycle accident in a country lane in Moreton, Dorset; he swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles, and crashed. Colonel Lawrence was sent to Saudi Arabia to gain information about an Arab revolt in the Arabian desert. Lawrence realised this revolt could be used to disrupt the Turkish war effort. He persuaded the British Army in Egypt to supply guns, armoured cars, and even aircraft. With these, Lawrence led the Arabs on strategic attacks on railways and captured the town of Aqaba. The Arabs then supported the British advance in Palestine. Lawrence was furious when after the War, the Arabs were not given independence.
14/1/1935, The Iraq – Mediterranean (Kirkuk to Haifa) oil pipeline was inaugurated.
14/7/1934, The oil pipeline from Mosul, Iraq, to Tripoli, Lebanon, opened.
1930, In the USA, the Nation of Islam was founded by Wali Farad (originally Wallace D Fard), who proclaimed that Black Americans were descendants of an ancient Muslim tribe.
1929, Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, was born (died 2004).
7/12/1929, Agha Khan III was married at a private ceremony in Aix les Bains, France, to a former candy store clerk and dressmaker. He was founder and first President of the all-India Muslim League.
20/2/1928. Britain recognised the independence of the Kingdom of Transjordan (now Jordan).
18/10/1925. The French fleet bombarded Damascus following a Druze insurrection that began on 18/7/1925.
18/7/1925, Insurrection by the Druze in Syria, against French rule.
4/2/1925, Robert Koldeway, the archaeologist who excavated Babylon, died.
21/7/1921, The Spanish army was defeated by Moroccan nationalists at Annual. The Spanish sustained over 12,000 casualties. Adb-E-Krim, nationalist leader, was eventually defeated by a Franco-Spanish force in 1926. Abd E Krim was held on the island of Reunion till 1947 but was then given permission to live in France. However he succeeded in escaping to Egypt where he became an inspiration to Arab nationalism generally.
18/12/1920. Britain and France agreed on the borders of Syria and Palestine.
24/7/1920. A French expeditionary force occupied Damascus and the port of Aleppo. The Emir Faisal, installed by the British in March, fled.
5/5/1920, Britain and France rejected a declaration of Syrian independence and, hastily convening a meeting of the Supreme Council of the League of Nations, they declared the intention of dividing Lebanon from Syria (both under French control) and Iraq (undivided) under British control.
For main European events of World War One see France-Germany
29/9/1911. Italy declared war on Turkey, having been assured of the neutrality of other European countries. The Italian Navy bombarded Preveza, and Italian forces landed at Tripoli and in Cyrenicia. This was in retaliation for the alleged mistreatment of Italians in Libya. The Italians expected the Arabs to welcome them as liberators from Turkish rule, but instead the Arabs sided with the Turks in resisting Italian rule. In May 1912 Italy invaded some islands off Turkey, including Rhodes, to put further pressure on Turkey. Then Italy had some unexpected good fortune when in 1912 Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece started the Balkan War against Turkey, forcing the Ottomans to surrender Libya to Italy. However Arab resistance continued and despite a permanent Italian garrison of 50,000 troops Italian rule only covered Tripoli and other major towns. At least, though, Italy could now claim to have its own African colony.
3/8/1910. Muslim Druzes killed 100 Jews in Palestine.
14/4/1903, Bulgarians massacred 165 Muslims in Macedonia.
1890, Britain’s first mosque opened, at Woking, Surrey.
23/3/1889, The Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India.
15/8/1888, T E (Thomas Edward) Lawrence, British soldier and writer known as Lawrence of Arabia, was born at Tremadoc, Wales.
1867, The Deoband, or House of Learning, was established as a centre of Islamic theology in India by Muhammad Abid Husain in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
1734, The Koran was first translated into English.
See also Turkey for more on Ottoman Empire
27/5/1529, Ad-Din Barbarossa completed his conquest of Algeria (Algiers fell, 1518), bringing the Ottoman Empire to its peak.
1500, Islam reached Brunei.
1440, Islam reached Ternate, the Spice Islands.
1414, Islam, having reached Sumatra in the late 1300s, came to Malacca in 1414.
24/2/1304, Ibn Battutah, Arab explorer, was born in Tangier Morocco.
1471, The Portuguese captired the Moroccan port of Tangier.
1400, The Mongols under Tamerlane destroyed Damascus and in 1401 went on to sack Baghdad. However Christian Europeans were disappointed when Tamerlane decided he had been insulted by the Chinese Emperor and took his forces back eastwards.
26/4/1280, Battle of Jazurah.
1260, A Mongol Army was defeated by Egyptian forces under Mameluke Kotuz on the shores of Lake Galilee.
8/5/1238, Al Kamil died in Damascus.
10/12/1198, Abu al Walid, also known as Averroes, Arab philosopher, was born in Marrakesh, Morocco.
2/12/1187. Jerusalem surrendered to Saladdin (see 2/11/1192). Saladdin was born in 1138, in Tikrit (Saddam Hussein’s native town) of Kurdish parents and was educated in Syria. In 1164 he accompanies his uncle on a military campaign in Egypt. The aim was to substitute Sunni for Shia Islam there, and also to drive the Crusader Franks out of the Levant. The local Syrian leader died in 1174 and Saladdin defeated his 11 year old successor and seized power. The Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad gave Saladdin power over all the lands from Morocco to Syria; Saladdin later extended his rule into Mesopotamia. Saladdin also subdued the Assassins, a Muslim sect that had twice tried to kill him. He now attacked the Crusaders, and on 1 July 1187 captured Tiberias after a six day siege.
After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladdin, the Franks were almost evicted from the region, holding on only at Antioch, Tripoli, and Tyre. European states set aside their differences in panic and three rulers; Richard I of England, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and Philip Augustus of France, set out on a third Crusade. The Crusaders marched on Muslim-held Acre, Saladdin arrived, and there ensued a long battle, control swinging back and forth. After two years, Acre fell to the Crusaders. Peace negotiations began, (see 2/11/1192), the end result being a marriage of his daughter with Saladdin’s brother, Al-Malik, who was knighted by Richard. The peace gave the coast to the Europeans and the interior to the Muslims. In February 1188 Saladdin fell ill with a fever and died 12 days later aged 55.
4/7/1187, The Battle of the Horns of Hattin (an extinct volcano crowned with two rocky outcrops). Saladin’s 20,000 strong army defeated Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem. Guy de Lusignan had made a tactical error in attempting to relieve Saladin’s siege of Tiberias. Thirst drove Lusignan’s troops to drink at a nearby lake, where Saladin then attacked them.
1017, Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmed declared that the Fatimid Caliph Al Hakimbi-Amr Allah was God, thereby starting the Druze religion.
908, The province of Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia, name equivalent to ‘Africa), declared independence from Baghdad. From Ifriqiya came the Fatimids, radical Shiites who claimed descent from Muhammed’s daughter, Fatima. The fatimids belonged to the radical Isma’ili Shiite sect, which supported violent overthrow of ‘illegitimate’ Sunni regimes; they were at odds with the Twelver Shiites, who supported peacefully awaiting the ‘hidden twelfth Imam’. In 969 the Fatimids invaded Egypt.
860, The Caliphs had made the mistake of bringing in Turkic horsemen as part of a ‘slave army’. By this year the Turkic soldiers virtually ran things leaving the caliphs powerless. The caliphs resorted to selling off entire provinces to emirs (=military governors) who paid a lump sum and then kept all taxes from the province for themselves. See 945.
827, The Arabs began to conquer Sicily, from the east, ultimately reaching as far north as the Garigliano River, one third of the way north from Naples towards Rome; here however in 916 they were reversed. The Christian centre of Rome was then safe from Islamic cinquests. See History of Italy
800, The Islamic world began to split between a faction (=Shia) who belived that caliphs flowing and owing their position to, the murder of Ali were in position illegally; and the other side, the Sunnis, who followed custom (=Sunna) who wanted to carry on as usual with the chain of existing caliphs.
22/3/765, The Sixth Imam was killed, poisoned by Caliph al-Mansur.
7/751, Battle of Talas, on the Talas River in modern-day Kazakhstan. Chinese expansion westwards had met Islamic Arab expansion estwards. Local Uighurs asked the Arabs for protection. The Arab army under Ziadh Ibn Salih was bosletered by Uighurs and Tibetans, giving it numerical superiority over the Chinese forcres led by Korean-born General Gao Xianzhi. The Chinese were attacked in the rear by Turkic nomadic horsemen, the Karluks, and defeated. Many Chinese were taken prisoner, including two experts in papermaking. From the Arab world, papermaking technology then reached the West. Maenwhile China plunged ointo civil war and abandoned iyts expansion intio central Asia, leaving the region to be Islamicised.
17/4/744, Walid II, Islamic leader, was killed. He was succeeded by Yazid III.
26/1/724, (-) Yazid II, Islamic leader, died. He was succeeded by Hisham.
9/2/720, Omar II, Islamic leader, died. He was succeeded by Yazid II.
682, Arab Islamic armies seized what is now Morocco from the Vandals. The Vandals had taken the region, thern known as Mauretania, from the Roman Empire in 429 AD.
10/10/680. Al-Husayn, son of Ali, was killed in battle at Kerbala. He was fighting a rival caliph (successor), Yazid, a Sunni Moslem of the Ummayad dynasty. His death gave birth to Shi’ism; a dissident group of Moslems who claimed that only the descendants of Mohammed could rightfully interpret the Koran. They saw Al-Husayn as a martyr.
656, Uthman, the third caliph (khalifa, meaning both ‘successor’ and ‘deputy to God) was assassinated. Ali, Muhammed’s younger cousin and son-in-law, became caliph.
655, Battle of the Masts. A large scale close sea battle between the Byzantione and Arab fleets, off Phoenix (modern-day Finike, southwestAnatolia). The Arabs won.
652, Death of Abbas, uncle of the Prophet Mohammed, who gave his name to the Abbasid Dynasty.
651,A standardised version of the Quran was issued by Caliph Uthman.
642, Caliph Umar was assassinated. Uthman promoted the formal writing down of the Quran.
17/9/642. Alexandria, Egypt, surrendered to the Arabs led by Amr Ibn Al-As. Amr invaded Syria in 633 and attacked Egypt in 639, taking Pelusium in January 640 and Heliopolis in June 640. In 646 Amr defeated a Greek attempt to retake Alexandria. Amr died, as governor of Egypt, on 6/1/664. The Arabs moved on south to conquer Nubia, also conquering Cyrenicia and Tripolitania in 643.
6/7/640, The Battle of Heliopolis was fought between Arab Muslim armies and the Byzantine Empire.
1/6/637, Battle of Qadissiya. Islamic forces had to attack again to quell a Persian resurgence. After Islamic reinforcements arrived, the Sassanid Persians were finally defeated and the Persian capital Ctesiphon fell to the Arabs after a two-month siege.
15/8/636. The Byzantine army was crushed by the Moslem Arabs at the Battle of Yarmuk, on the River Yarmuk, east of the Sea of Galilee. The Arabs, who took Damascus in 635, now controlled all of Syria. In 637 the Arabs destroyed the Persian army at the Battle of Qadisiyya. Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs in 638 under Caliph Umar.
635, Dmascus was taken from Byzantium by Islamic Arabs.
30/7/634, The Byzantine army of Emperor Heraclius, defending Damascus against an alliance of Arab raiders, was
defeated by Khalid at the Battle of Ajnadayn in southern Palestine.
1/634, Battle of Firaz, Meccan forces under Khalid Ibn al-Walid, of the Quraish tribe (originally an enemy of Muhammed, but later he converted to Islam) defeated a Persian-Byzantine force at the Persian border city of Firaz.
For pre-Islamic events in North Africa see Roman Empire
For early history of Israel and the Jews, also Babylon, Assyria, see Judaism
For Persian Empire see Iran
Appendix 0 – Bahrain
15/3/2011, Arab Spring: state of emergency in Bahrain.
18/2/2011, Police opened fire on protestors in Bahrain.
14/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Bahrain.
2006, The Shia Opposition won 40% of votes in elections. Jawad bin Salem al Oraied, a Shia, became Prime Minister.
2001, Bahrain reformed, becoming a constitutional monarchy with an elected lower chamber and an independent judiciary.
1999, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al Khailfa became king in Bahrain.
1994, Shia unrest in Bahrain, lasting until 1996.
1981, Bahrain became a founder-member of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
14/8/1971. Bahrain became independent from Britain.
1967, Britain relocated its naval base from Aden to Bahrain, but also announced its intention to close all bases ‘east of Suez’ by 1971.
1939, Britain dsecreed that the Hawar Islands belonged to Bahrain, and not Qatar.
1931, First major oilfield found in Bahrain. Oil extraction began in 1932.
1880, Britain gained control of Bahraini foreign policy.
1861, The Sheikh of Bahrain agreed to abstain from piracy, war and slavery, in return for British military support.
1783, The Iranians were expelled from Bahrain by the Arabic Utub tribe, whose ruling family the al-Khalifas, still govern Kuwait today.
1602, Persia conquered Bahrain.
1521, The Portuguese took control of Bahrain.
Appendix 1 – Jordan
25/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Jordan.
7/2/1999, King Hussein of Jordan (born 1935) died of cancer. His son became King Adbullah II of Jordan.
1994, Peace Treaty with Israel ended a 46-year state of war.
1988, Jordan ceded its claim to the West Bank to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
9/10/1984, Jordan mended relations with Egypt when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited Amman. Egypt had been despised by the Arab world since the late President Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with |Israel at Camp David in 1979. Now King Hussein of Jordan met with Arab hostility for mending relation with Egypt, a move sparked by problems in the Jordanian economy arising from a downturn in trade resulting form the Iran-Iraq war.
7/7/1972, Talal bin Abdullah, King of Jordan, died.
1/12/1971, King Hussein of Jordan ruled out any further talks with Palestinian guerrillas after the assassination of Wasfi Tell on 28/11/1971.
28/11/1971, Palestinian terrorists assassinated Wasfi Tell, Prime Minister of Jordan.
27/9/1970, PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a truce with King Hussein of Jordan after the PLO had been ejected from Jordan in a 10-day fight known to the PLO as Black September.
10/2/1970, Jordan imposed greater controls on guerrilla activity.
4/8/1968, Israeli aircraft bombed Palestinian bases in Jordan.
2/11/1958. Last British troops left Jordan.
17/7/1958, British troops landed at Mafrak, 50 miles north of the Jordanian capital Amman, in order to protect the monarchy in that country. King Abdullah of Jordan was, like the assassinated King Faisal of Iraq (14/7/1958) a Hashemite, and there was resistance also in Jordan, like Iraq, from Bedouins who saw the Hashemite rulers as colonial impositions. Further British troops arrived by sea at Aqaba. China and the USSR protested. King Abdullah attempted to appease his Arab neighbours by removing the British troops. Nevertheless King Abdullah’s plane was attacked by Syrian fighters whilst he was on route to a holiday in Europe, and he was ordered to land at Damascus. King Abdullah ignored this order and returned to Amman. Bad relations between Syria and Jordan continued.
28/4/1957, King Hussein of Jordan visited King Saud of Saudi Arabia. The two rulers agreed that the crisis in Jordan is a purely internal affair; Saudi Arabia paid the first instalment of financial aid to Jordan.
25/4/1957, King Hussein proclaimed martial law in Jordan; the USA despatched the 6th fleet to the Mediterranean. On 29/4/1957 the USSR protested at this move.
24/4/1957. In Jordan, Ibrahim Hashem formed a conservative, pro-Western, government following demonstrations.
11/8/1952. Hussein became King of Jordan. He was pro-Western, like the Saudi ruler, King Saud, and supported Arab Nationalism against a growing movement for Arab Socialism. His father, King Talal, had been deposed by the Jordanian Parliament due to mental illness.
20/7/1951. King Abdullah of Jordan was shot dead in Jerusalem by an Arab Nationalist. Other Arab leaders were jealous of his leadership of the Palestinians, and his grandson Hussein, aged 15 in 1951, became King of Jordan a year later.
2/3/1950, Tawfik Abu al-Huda resigned as Prime Minister of Jordan for reasons of health, but also because he did not want to ‘be party to a settlement with Israel’.
2/6/1949. Transjordan was renamed Jordan.
25/5/1946. Transjordan (Jordan) proclaimed its independence, with Emir Abdullah ibn Husayn as King. Husayn (born 1882) was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1951.
14/11/1935, King Hussein of Jordan was born in Aman, son of King Talal.
25/5/1923, The State of Transjordan, now Jordan, became independent.
1921, Hashemite King Abdullah was proclaimed ruler of Transjordan.
Appendix 2 – Kuwait
2003, Islamists made gains in general elections.
1994, Iraq formally recognised Kuwaiti sovereignty.
14/3/1992, The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al Ahmed al Sabah, returned home.
6/11/1991. The last of the oil wells set alight in Kuwait by retreating Iraqis was extinguished.
4/3/1991, The Kuwaiti Crown prince returned to Kuwait. There was massive destruction in Kuwait and much had been looted. Almost all of Kuwait’s 950 oil wells had been set on fire, creating a vast pall of black smoke and an oil slick covering hundreds of square kilometres in the Gulf. The Kuwaiti authorities began to impose martial law but there were determined calls for democratic reform in Kuwait.
27/2/1991, Saudi forces entered Kuwait City, evacuated by Iraqi invaders. US forces had moved in behind the Iraqi army and cut off its retreat. The US lost 184 men; the Allies took 80,000 Iraqi prisoners and an estimated 80-100,000 Iraqi soldiers died. Kuwait would take an estimated US$ 50 billion to rebuild, and Iraq would cost US$ 200 billion.
1966, A ‘neutral zone’ between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was divided between the two countries.
14/5/1963, Kuwait was admitted to the United Nations.
20/7/1961, In a move to thwart Iraqi claims on Kuwait, the Arab League admitted Kuwait as a member.
1/7/1961. British troops were stationed in Kuwait in case of an attack by Iraq. In June 1961 Kuwait gained independence from Britain and a week later Iraq called for ‘a return of Kuwait to the Iraqi homeland’. On 30/6/1961 Kuwait requested assistance from the UK, and Royal Marines were sent out. The British troops remained for two years.
25/6/1961, Iraq claimed newly-independent Kuwait as Iraqi, on the grounds that both had been part of the Ottoman Empire and arbitrarily divided by Britain.
19/6/1961, Kuwait became independent.
1946, Kuwait’s oil revenue in its first year of commercial production was just US$ 500,000. This rapidly became hundreds of millions of dollars a year by the early 1950s.
23/2/1938, Oil was discovered in Kuwait. This was the large Burgan oilfield.
1918, At the end of World War One, the Ottoman Empire was dismantled and Kuwait became a British Protectorate.
1899, Sheikh Mubarak of Kuwait granted Britain control of Kuwaiti foreign relations.
1756, The Al-Sabah ruling dynasty of Kuwait was founded.
1546, Ottoman rule over Kuwait began, enduring until 1918.
1258, Mongol rule of Kuwait began, enduring until 1546.
750, Kuwait came under the control of the Abbasid Caliphate, enduring until 1258.
Appendix 3 – Oman
2003, All Omani citizens aged over 21 were allowed to vote. Previously the franchise had been restricted to tribal leaders, and some chosen businessmen and intellectuals.
1999, Oman and the UAE settled a longstanding border dispute.
1997, Women were allowed to stand for the first timeto stand and vote in elections. Two women were elected.
1975, The Dhofar Revolt was suppressed with the help of tropps from Iran and Jordan.
1970, Until this year Oman was virtually a mediaeval feudal state, with internal travel banned; Omanis were expected to remain near the village they were born in. TV’s radios, even books and glasses, were banned until then. This year Sultan Qaboos bin Said seized power from his father in a bloodless coup, and began a programme of modernisation.
1965, A Leftist revolt in Dhofar began.
1964, Oil reserves were discovered in Oman; extraction began in 1967.
1959, Sultan bin Taimur regained control of the inland areas of Oman, which had been in a state of rebellion against the government since 1913.
19/7/1957, The Imam of Oman rebelled against the Sultan of Oman, who requested British aid.
1932, Sultan bin Taimur came to power, and adopted an isolationist, anti-Western, stance.
1920, The Sultan of Oman recognised the semi-autonomy of the inland areas, in a peace deal brokered by the British.
1913, Oman became unstable, with the inland areas ruled by the Ibadite Imams whulst the Sultan controlled the coast.
1853, The ‘pirate coast’along the south of the Persian Gulf was notorious for pirates originating frim here, and venturing as far as the the Arabian and Red Seas. In 1853 Britain forced the sheikhs of this coast to sign a Treaty of Perpetual Peace, still in force today, protecting the East India Company’s ships from India. This gave the region the name of Trucial Oman.
1749, Ahmad bin Said was elected Imam; the Persians were expelled. He founded the Al-Said dynasty.
1743, Persia captured Muscat.
1650, Imam Nasir Ibn Murshid, of the Yariba Dynasty, expelled the Portuguese from Oman.
1507, The Portuguese took control of Oman.
750, An independent Ibadi Sultanate was established in Oman.
Appendix 4 – Qatar
2001, Qatar settled long-standing border disputes with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
1999, Qatar held elections to appoint municipal councils; a step towards democratisation.
1995, Sheikh Hamad overthrew his father, Shaikh Halifa, in a bloodless coup.
1972, Accesson of Shaikh Halifa, who had deposed his father.
1/9/1971, Qatar became independent from Britain.
1939, Oil was discovered in Kuwait.However exploitation was dfelayed until after World War Two. Then, oil rapidly displaced pearling and fishing as Kuwait’s main source of income.
1867, Doha was devastated in a conflict with neighbiourign Bahrain.
1700s, The pearling industry was established in Kuwait.
Appendix 6 – United Arab Emirates
13/8/2020, Israel and the United Arab Emirates created diplomatic links; Israel undertook not to ‘annex more’ of the West Bank. Palestinians were disappointed. Israel and the Sunni Arab world have been united by a mutual fear of Shia Iran.
2004, Sheikh Zayed died, and was succeeded by his son, Sheikh Khalifa.
2000, Sharia Law was introduced in Fujairah, and an Indonesian woman was sentenced to detah by stoning.
1996, Iran occupied the Gulf islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, which are also claimed by the UAE.
1993, Official UAE census figures show that three quarters of the UAE population comprises immigrants from Africa and Asia.
1991, The UAE offered bases to Western forces after Kuwait had been liberated.
1987, Failed coup in Sharjah.
1972, Ras al Khaymah joined the UAE Federation.
2/12/1971. United Arab Emirates established. The UK withdrew as protecting power.
1959, Major oil discoveries in the UAE.
1952, Seven Emirates joined to form the Trucial Council.
1820, The UAE area became known as the Trucial Coast after the Uk sogned a treaty with local rulers to curb piracy.