Eastern Mediterranean 2009: Operation Cast Lead
Tensions between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip erupted into war in late 2008, culminating in a full-scale Israeli invasion of northern Gaza in January in an effort to suppress Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel. The conflict drew swift international condemnation of the actions of both sides and on the 18th Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire.
6 Sep 2007 Operation Outside the Box▲
In 2004–2007 US and Israeli intelligence gathered reports implying that Syria and North Korea were cooperating to build a nuclear reactor at the desert location of al-Kibar in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. After being informed by US President George W Bush that the United States was unwilling to launch an attack into Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered a secret unilateral strike to prevent Syria developing a nuclear weapons capability in September 2007. Supported by electronic warfare against Syria’s air defense systems, at least four Israeli Air Force aircraft then crossed into Syria, bombing and effectively destroying the site shortly after midnight on the 6th.
17 Feb 2008 Kosovo independence declaration▲
Having spent nearly a decade of quasi-independence under UN administration, and having an EU-sponsored independence plan rejected by both Serbia and Russia, the Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. Serbia immediately denounced the declaration as illegal while the United States and most of its allies quickly recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state. However many nations would continue to refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence, including Russia, China, India, Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
7–21 May 2008 2008 Lebanon conflict▲
In 2008 the Lebanese government attempted to limit the power of Hezbollah—a Shiite political party and militant group—by shutting down Hezbollah’s telecommunication network and removing Beirut Airport’s allegedly pro-Hezbollah head of security. As a result fighting erupted between pro-government and pro-Hezbollah militias in May, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah condemning the government’s actions against it as a declaration of war. Hezbollah-led forces swiftly took control of a number of neighborhoods, but full-scale war was averted when the Arab League stepped in and brokered a peace deal between the two sides.
27 Dec 2008–18 Jan 2009 Operation Cast Lead▲
In November 2008 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) broke a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip by destroying a tunnel it claimed Hamas was intending to use for a raid, prompting Hamas to start firing rockets into southern Israel in retaliation. To suppress the rocket fire, Israel made airstrikes into Gaza in late December before launching a full-scale invasion on 3 January 2009 with the focus on isolating and surrounding Gaza City in the north. The war—which cost 1,166–1,417 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives—brought about international condemnation of the actions of both sides and on the 18th Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, bringing the conflict to an end.