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 1973–17 Mar 1974 1973 Oil Crisis▲
In October 1973 the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC)—who’s component nations produced about 75% of the world’s oil at the time—decided to cut oil production to force the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands to end their support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Beginning with a 5% cut on 17 October, oil production was dropped to 25% of pre-embargo levels by December, contributing to a global recession and causing tensions between the US and its European allies. The embargo was lifted in March 1974 after negotiations following the end of the Yom Kippur War.
20 Jul–18 Aug 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus▲
In response to the Greek-backed coup in Cyprus in July 1974, the Republic of Turkey launched Operation Atilla, landing troops at Kyrenia in the island’s north. Invoking its rights under the London-Zürich Agreements to protect the Turkish population, Turkey proceeded to capture 3% of Cyprus before the UN Security Council was able to impose a ceasefire on 22 July. After further clashes, a second Turkish offensive in mid-August fanned out to occupy 36% of the island before a final ceasefire that month left the Republic of Cyprus divided, with a de facto Northern Cyprus under Turkish occupation and separated from the south by a UN Buffer Zone.
13 Apr 1975 Lebanese Civil War begins▲
The movement of Palestinian refugees and militants to Lebanon—especially after the Six-Day War (1967) and Black September (1970)—further destabilized a republic which was already precariously balanced between a Christian and Muslim population under the authority of a mandatorily majority-Christian government. In April 1975 fighting broke out in Beirut between the Kateeb Christian militia (Phalangists) and the leftist-aligned Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), leading to the division of the city (the Green Line). The Muslim and leftist Lebanese National Movement (LNM) soon threw its weight behind the PLO and by early 1976 had seized much of the country, prompting Christian forces to reorganize as the Lebanese Front. Suspicious of the LNM, Syria invaded Lebanon in June in support of the government.
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.