Europe 1977: Cold War Rivalry in the Middle East
In 1967, Israel conquered large swathes of Arab territory, which Soviet-supported Egypt and Syria attempted to retake in 1973. When they failed, the Arab world retaliated against US support of Israel with an oil embargo against the West. Further instability in the region occurred when ethnic tensions between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus prompted a Turkish invasion of that island and Palestinian refugees helped set off a civil war in Lebanon.
1 Jan 1973 Britain, Denmark, and Ireland become members of the EEC▲
Britain, Denmark, and Ireland become members of the EEC
6-25 Oct 1973 Yom Kippur War▲
Following their defeat in the Six Day War, Egypt and Syria launched a sneak attack on Israel during the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur (hampering mobilization). Initially, the Egyptians and Syrians had the upper hand, but after 19 days of fighting, the Israeli Army had crossed into Africa and were nearing Damascus. The Soviet Union began mobilizing against Israel, but backed down after the United States began mobilizing in turn, ending the war.
17 Oct 1973 OAPEC oil embargo begins▲
The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) decided to cut oil production to force the United States to end its support of Israel.
20 Jul 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus▲
Believing Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III to be a Communist sympathizer and opponent of eventual union with Greece, Greece’s ruling military junta sponsored a coup against him by Nikos Sampson. Citing Sampson’s hostility toward the island’s Turkish minority, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, occupying 36% of the island.
13 Apr 1975 Lebanese Civil War▲
By 1975, demographic trends and a large influx of Palestinian refugees led Muslims to become the majority population in Lebanon, undermining the authority of the mandatorily majority-Christian government. On April 13 of that year, fighting broke out between government-aligned Phalangists and the leftist-aligned Palestinian Liberation Organization, triggering civil war. The following year, Syria invaded Lebanon in support of the government, and though unable to effect any major advantage, continued occupying much of the country.
15 Dec 1976 Portuguese and Spanish transitions to democracy▲
In 1974, the Portuguese military, coupled with civil protesters, overthrew the Estado Novo regime of António de Olveira Salazar, establishing a pathway to democracy. Soon after, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco restored the monarchy, appointing Prince Juan Carlos as his successor after his death. Instead, Juan Carlos restored civil authority to Parliament, holding a referendum for a new constitution to take effect in 1978.