Middle East history: 1950s - 2000s

30 June 2007

From Osama bin Laden’s birth in 1957 to the execution of Saddam Hussein in 2007, MEED charts 30 years of news in the region.

Israel forces withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula
Osama bin Laden born in Riyadh
King Saud visits the US and adopts the Eisenhower doctrine
Habib Bourguiba elected as the first president of an independent Tunisia
Riyadh University opens
The Suez Canal reopens under Egyptian administration

Egypt and Syria form the United Arab Republic, with Gamal Abdel Nasser as its president
Abdul-Karim Qasim becomes ruler of Iraq after overthrowing the pro-Western monarch and prime minister
AOC awarded Kuwait offshore Neutral Zone concession
Oil discovered in Abu Dhabi’s offshore Umm Shaif field

British and Omani forces end the Imamate rebellion in the Jebel Akhdar
Construction of the Aswan High Dam begins in Egypt
Oil is discovered in Libya
Dredging of Dubai Creek completed

Qatar’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani deposed
Dubai International Airport opens
First bank opens in Abu Dhabi

The UAR is dissolved
Kuwait becomes independent
Hassan II becomes king of Morocco after the death of his father, Mohammed V
Kuwait introduces a new currency, the dinar, to replace the Indian rupee

Algeria wins independence from France
Yemeni civil war begins
Syria’s Baath party seizes power in a coup
Saudi Arabia announces the abolition of Slavery, and other reforms Abu Dhabi loads its first shipment of oil
Oil discovered in Oman

Elections held for the Kuwait National Assembly
The Shah of Iran launches the White Revolution, a programme of land reforms and economic modernisation
Egypt launches a major nationalisation programme

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is created by the Arab League
BOAC starts weekly return flights to Dubai

Colonel Houari Boumediene takes power in Algeria in a bloodless coup
Sheikh Abdullah al- Salem of Kuwait dies

UK government announces its intention to withdraw from south Arabia by early 1968
Sheikh Shakhbut replaced as Abu Dhabi ruler by Sheikh Zayed
Oil discovered in Dubai

Iraq’s nuclear reactor begins operation

Yasser Arafat elected chairman of the PLO
UK announces withdrawal from east of Suez
Arab states set up the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC)
Construction begins on a causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi overthrows Libyan King Idris in a military coup
General Jafar Numayri leads a military coup in Sudan that overthrows the Mahdi government
Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed and international airport open
Neutral Zone partitioned

Black September. Jordanian forces expel PLO fighters
Egyptian President Nasser dies
Syrian air force commander Hafez Asad seizes power in a coup
Sultan Qaboos takes power in Oman
Work is completed on the Aswan High Dam
Bahrain increases Bapco profit share to 55 per cent

Britain completes its withdrawal from the principalities of the Gulf
The United Arab Emirates is declared an independent state
Bahrain becomes independent
Qatar declares independence
Shell discovers major gas reserves offshore Qatar

Munich hostage crisis
Qatar’s Sheikh Ahmad bin Ahmad al-Thani deposed
Baghdad nationalises the Iraq Petroleum Company
Riyadh gains control of 20 per cent of Aramco
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) starts operating

Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on Israeli forces on Yom Kippur
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi proclaims his Third Universal Theory
Arab states impose an oil embargo on countries supporting Israel
Iran completes the nationalisation of its oil industry
UAE dirham launched

The UN recognises the Palestinians’ right to sovereignty and grants the PLO observer status
Shell discovers the offshore North Field non-associated gas reservoir in Qatar

Saudi King Faisal is assassinated
First clashes between Maronite and Palestinian militias in what will become the Lebanese civil war
Dubai becomes the first Gulf government to nationalise its oil industry
Bahrain grants its first offshore banking licences to 15 foreign banks
Kuwait takes 100 per cent of KOC concession

The UAE opens its first refinery
Start of Concorde flights to Bahrain
Bechtel wins the management contract for a new industrial city complex at Jubail
Dubai unveils plans for a 74-berth port at Jebel Ali
Aramco and Saudi Arabia agree the terms of full nationalisation
Qatar completes nationalisation of its oil industry

Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David peace accord
Civil war breaks out in Yemen
Ayatollah Khomeini expelled from Iran
Cairo negotiates a US aid package to offset Arab sanctions against Egypt
US President Carter approves F-15 fighter sales to Saudi Arabia
Strikes cripple Iranian oil production

Saddam Hussein declares himself president of Iraq
The Iranian revolution: the Shah of Iran is ousted by a popular rebellion led by Ayatollah Khomeini
Soviet forces enter Afghanistan
Siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
Tehran nationalises all foreign banks and cancels plans to build a nuclear power plant at Bushehr

Egyptian President Sadat visits Jerusalem and later addresses the Knesset; Egypt is expelled from the Arab League
Saudi Arabia awards Bell Canada the world’s biggest telephone management contract

Iraq attacks Iran over a border dispute, beginning a nine-year war between the two countries
Kuwait reintroduces parliamentary elections
Nationalisation of Aramco completed
Full nationalisation of Bahrain oil industry completed

Egyptian president Sadat is assassinated. Vice-president Hosni Mubarak takes power and introduces martial law
Foundation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Sultan Qaboos of Oman forms the State Consultative Council

Syrian forces brutally repress an uprising by local Islamists, reducing the town of Hama to rubble
Fahd plan calling implicitly for the recognition of Israel adopted by the Fez Arab League summit
Israel invades Lebanon and siege of Beirut. Hezbollah becomes a major political force for the first time
Souq al-Manakh stock market crash in Kuwait

Bombing of the US embassy and marine barracks in Lebanon
Jebel Ali port completed

Construction of Libya’s great man-made river begins

The Israeli air force bombs the PLO headquarters in Tunis
Emirates airline founded

US jets bomb the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi
Iran captures Fao peninsula
The first details of the Iran-Contra affair begin to emerge in public
Oil prices drop by more than 40 per cent, triggering a regional recession
Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani is dismissed

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is founded in Gaza
End of the Iran-Iraq war
Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz wins the Nobel Prize for Literature
USS Vincennes shoots down Iranian airliner over the Gulf
Saudi Arabia and the UK sign the Al-Yamamah defence agreement
Saudi Aramco created

Death of Ayatollah Khomeini
Soviet troops leave Afghanistan

The beginning of the first Palestinian intifada
President Ben Ali seizes power in Tunisia
North Yemen opens its first export pipeline

North and South Yemen are reunified as a republic
Iraq invades Kuwait

Operation Desert Storm, a coalition of 32 countries led by the US, liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces
The collapse of the USSR Bahrain signs defence co-operation agreement with the US and becomes the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet
The Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI) collapses amid fraud investigations in the UK and US

The Algerian government cancels parliamentary elections, fearing an Islamist landslide. Civil war breaks out
The UN imposes sanctions on Libya for its alleged role in the bombing of two airliners
Al-Qaeda issues its first fatwa calling for Holy War against the West. Bombs are detonated at two Aden hotels used by US troops

The PLO and Israel sign the Oslo I agreement

Jordan and Israel sign a peace treaty. Yasser Arafat returns to Jericho
Qatar Airways founded

The Oslo II accords are signed in Washington
Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated at a peace rally in Israel
Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid named Dubai crown prince
Sheikh Khalifa al-Thani deposed by his son Crown Prince Hamad
Saudi Aramco begins development of the giant Shaybah oil field

Failed counter coup in Qatar
Launch of Al-Jazeera satellite channel in Qatar

Abdelaziz Bouteflika is elected president of Algeria
King Hussain of Jordan dies, to be succeeded by his son, Abdullah
King Hassan II of Morocco dies, to be succeeded by his son, Mohammed V

Liberal cleric Mohammed Khatami is elected president of Iran

President Asad of Syria dies, to be succeeded by his son, Bashar
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visits Temple Mount in Jerusalem, sparking second intifada
Bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbour

Saudi terrorists hijack US domestic airlines and fly them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a field in Pennsylvania
First Bahraini elections in 30 years; Manama unveils its first constitution
Construction of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai begins
First agreements signed for Dolphin gas project

A US-led coalition invades Iraq, ousting the government of Saddam Hussein
Etihad Airways founded
Shell revises down estimates of Omani reserves

Death of Sheikh Zayed al-Nahyan, ruler of the UAE
Saudis and foreigners killed in terrorist attacks in Yanbu, Riyadh and Al-Khobar
State funeral of Yasser Arafat in Cairo
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) opens

Iraqis vote for a new government and parliament
Assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Syrian troops withdraw from Lebanon
Saudi Arabia holds municipal elections
Kuwait approves votes for women
King Fahd dies
Doha announces plans to build the world’s largest LNG plant

The UAE holds its first elections
Conflict escalates between Israeli troops and Hezbollah; Israeli offensive in Southern Lebanon
Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah of Kuwait dies
Dubai Ports World takes over P&O
Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar
Riyadh announces plans for six economic cities

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is executed
Hamas and Fatah agree to form a unity government in Mecca
The first properties open on the Palm Jumeirah

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current MEED.com package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications