The Middle East War was a conflict that occurred primarily in the Middle East. This lasted from September 5, 2014 until June 19, 2016. No one expected this war to occur. The conflict consisted of two main phases. The first phase was a war against Hamas and its allies. The second phase of the war was a war against anti-coalition insurgents. It started primarily from the War on Terror and the Arab Spring with Hamas's actions against Israel and other nations causing a US-led coalition to intervene. The war ended with a Coalition victory against pro-Gazan forces and insurgents.
There were many causes for this war.
War on Terrorism
When the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, the War on Terrorism began. The US fought two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during this time. After Saddam Hussein was captured and executed, the Iraq War became increasingly unpopular. The battle against Al-Qaida continued. Not long after the US pulled out of Iraq, news came that Osama bin-Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, was dead. The US started pulling out of Afghanistan as well. But the War on Terrorism continued and was joined by other causes.
The Arab Spring started with the overthrow of the government of Tunisia on January 14, 2011. Tunisia became a democracy as a result. This was followed by protests throughout the Arab World. In most cases, there was no governmental change. Instead, concessions were made. In Egypt and Yemen, however, it was a different story. Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign. So was Ali Abdullah Salah. In Libya, a civil war broke out. In response, a NATO-led coalition sided with the rebels against Muammar al-Ghadaffi who had historically been an enemy of the United States. Gaddafi was killed in the end. Sporadic violence came afterwards. In Egypt, Muhammad Morsi was elected president. He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood which supported Hamas, its branch organization. However, on July 3, 2013, Morsi was overthrown by the military. Islamists found themselves persecuted in Egypt, and Hamas was declared a terrorist organization by the new Egyptian government. At the same time, Syria was involved in its own civil war.
Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars
In Syria, protests against Bashar al-Assad were violently cracked down upon. This led to an armed rebellion in Syria, supported by the United States and the Arab League. The Syrian government was supported by Russia and Iran. The rise of Islamists in Syria proved worrisome with most supporters of the rebels supporting the Free Syrian Army. Chemical weapons were used during this time but, by 2014, all chemical weapons were disposed of. One rebel organization soon rose above the others. It called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and later the Islamic State. Other Syrian rebels went against the Islamic State. However, the Islamic State proved so successful in Iraq that a civil war broke out there. The Kurds started expanding territory and took control of Kirkuk. Also, relations between the US and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began to decline. Very soon after, the situation in the Middle East took a turn for the worse.
Invasion of Gaza
On July 8, 2014, Israel started attacking Gaza after Hamas kidnapped three Israeli teenagers following the formation of unity government in the Palestinian territories. There had been two conflicts before and you would expect the Arabs to oppose Israel. Not this time. Instead, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other Arab nations sided with Israel because they hated Hamas even more. There was no longer an Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, there was a Middle East conflict. In Europe, protests were going on which went anti-Semitic. At the same time, many attempts to end the conflict failed because Hamas would not accept any cease-fires from Egypt which was now its enemy. On August 1, a cease-fire was destroyed by Hamas. Turkey and Qatar supported Hamas at first but things were changing. On August 4, a cease-fire was put together by Egypt. It did not last long. A few more cease-fires followed but did not succeed. At the same time, the US was conducting its own attacks on Iraq and Syria.
US Intervention in Iraq and Syria
On August 7, the US started sending aid to the Kurds and the Iraqis. These strikes ultimately succeeded in retaking Mosul Dam from the Islamic State. On August 15, Nouri al-Maliki resigned due to lack of support from his own constituents. Haider al-Abadi who had been nominated to replace him four days earlier was asked to form an inclusive government in Iraq. Then, on August 20, journalist James Foley who had been held hostage for a while now was executed. The Defense Department concluded that they would have to intervene in Syria to contain ISIS. On August 24, the US started doing just that. To avoid controversy, the US started attacking Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria as well. Russia and Iran criticized this but did nothing else. Russia was too focused on Ukraine, and Iran was too focused on Iraq. Then, something happened that put the Middle East on the path to war.
Hamas attacks outside of Israel
On August 25, a bombing occurred in Cairo, Egypt. The attack was a government building. The bomber turned out to be a Hamas agent sent to punish Egypt for persecuting the Muslim Brotherhood. This was followed by attacks in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Hamas claimed responsibility claiming it was punishing the Arabs for betraying the Palestinians. The attacks, however, angered Qatar and Turkey who condemned them. Qatar also severed all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and so did Turkey. As a result of the bombings and previous rocket attacks, Israel started attacking Gaza again, this time with help from Egypt. Then, on August 31, Egypt proceeded to expel its Palestinian community in reaction to the bombings. This was controversial. The BDS movement launched protests against Egypt for the expulsion and what Egypt was doing in Gaza. Relations with the Palestinian Authority declined. Support for Hamas and its allies also declined throughout the world as a result of the bombings. Then, it happened. On September 4, Embassy Row in Washington, DC was struck by a bomb. The target was the Israeli embassy. The perpetrators were Hamas terrorists seeking to punish the US for its support of Israel. The bombing did not go as planned, and other buildings were damaged. Some were destroyed. The following day, the United States declared war on Hamas.
First phase: Coalition vs. Pro-Gazan forces
Attack on Gaza
On September 5, the US launched an attack on Gaza. This was totally unexpected by anyone worldwide. It was compared to the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States dropped bombs all over the Gaza Strip and conducted air strikes. Because Hamas had hidden weapons in civilian buildings and UN refuges, these weapons exploded, too, and caused even more damage. The number of civilian deaths skyrocketed to 45,000. Even more were injured. Many would later die from their injuries. News came out of Gaza that the United States had used cluster bombs. Because the US had not signed and ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions Treaty, they could use them. In the end, the Gaza Strip was severely damaged from the attack. Many people realized that the United States had just started a war that would change the Middle East forever.
Reaction to attack on Gaza
In the days that followed, news of the attack on Gaza spread around the world. The fact that the United States could do this was unheard of. It reminded many Japanese of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The BDS movement launched a series of protests worldwide, calling for America to be punished for the attack. Anti-Semites in Europe referred to the US as a "second Jewish state that is also black". President Obama took insult from the racism in the comment and signed an executive order banning the BDS movement from the United States. Many Americans were shocked at the devastation of Gaza by their own military. Protests occurred in the streets. There was anger in Israel, too. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was angry that the United States would involve itself in a conflict that Israel had been fighting for decades. Netanyahu warned that this would destroy the Middle East peace process. Sure enough, it did.
Palestine declares war on the US
At first, the Palestinian Authority would not declare war on the US. Mahmoud Abbas wanted to negotiate with the Americans. Therefore, he sent a diplomatic team to Washington, DC on September 10. While there, the Palestinian negotiators mocked the President over the fact that he was half-White, half-Black. An angry President had them arrested and thrown off the side of the recently completed One World Trade Center. News of this event spread. Many Palestinians felt betrayed by this event. Before the attack on Gaza, it seemed that the Palestinians would divide. Instead, the attack and subsequent murder of Palestinian diplomats united the Palestinians. On September 11, Palestine declared war on the US, Israel, and Egypt.
Jordan enters the war
News of the Palestinian declaration of war shocked the world. No one expected this to happen, especially Jordan who had given up its claim to the West Bank in 1991 hoping that the Palestinians would get their own nation despite being anti-Palestinian themselves. The US attack on Gaza shattered any hope for peace because now the US itself was involved. Jordan, however, saw Palestine as a threat to its own sovereignty and declared war to protect itself on September 12. An invasion of the West Bank followed. A small town near the border was wiped out. The survivors escaped to Jericho. Hamas vowed revenge on the US and its allies for their attacks on the Palestinians.
On September 16, a Hamas supporter placed a bomb in the fuel tank of a Boeing 787 owned by United Airlines. As it flew over London, the plane exploded and debris fell on London. St. Paul's Cathedral was damaged by fire and was soon repaired, but because of that the bombing had a dramatic impact. At the same time, another plane exploded over Paris, destroying the Eiffel Tower. A third plane exploded over Berlin and damaged the Autobahn. Opposition to the war in the UK, France, and Germany which was strong before the war had fallen. Many were wanting revenge on Hamas. The following day, the three nations declared war on Palestine.
Syria and Lebanon get involved
On September 23, Bashar al-Assad wanting to retaliate against the US proceeded to invade Golan Heights. The US and Lebanon which were already at war with Syria realized that the war that the US started in Gaza had spread beyond the Holy Land. Not only that, but Hezbollah started shooting down American passenger planes. France intervened by dropping an atomic bomb on an Alawite town. Iran condemned the use of atomic bombs, and the US, the UK, and France vowed never to use them in this war again. On September 27, Israel and Lebanon announced that they had signed a peace treaty negotiated by Egypt, something that no one would ever expect given their past history. They would be working together against Hezbollah and Syria. Allied forces drove Syrian forces out of Golan Heights. America's allies in Syria, the Free Syrian Army and the Kurds also joined the war effort on the side of the US. Canada and Australia did the same despite oppostion at home.
NATO discussion of events
On September 30, NATO had a meeting to discuss the Middle East and Russia which was also a major priority. Talks went on for a few days while fighting in the Levant continued. On October 4, a plan was drawn up. Spain and Portugal would focus on combating terrorists in North Africa with some French and Italian support. The Eastern European countries would focus on Russia and its allies with Turkey's help. The rest of NATO, including France, Italy, and Greece (Note: Greece requested to fight in the Middle East not wanting to work with Turkey.) would focus on the Middle East. The plan was meant to show Russia that NATO was not distracted by the Middle East War. However, events started turning that plan upside down.
Alienation and Civil War in Iraq
Overstepping the Bounds of Accomodation and Coup d'etat in Iran
The Coalition is formed
Second phase: Coalition vs. Insurgents