Europe 1982: Islamic Resurgence
To defuse tensions in the Middle East, the US encouraged a permanent peace settlement between Egypt and Israel. However, while Egypt and the Arab nationalists were largely coming to terms with the West, a fundamentalist Islam was on the rise that opposed both Cold War alliances. In 1979, an Islamist revolution in Iran overthrew the pro-Western Shah. Later that year, Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan to support its Communist government against a similar uprising.
21–24 Jul 1977 Libyan–Egyptian War▲
Relations between Egypt and Libya began souring in the mid-1970s as Egypt began peace talks with Israel, and by 1976 the Egyptians were accusing Libya of sponsoring terrorist activities in their country. In July 1977 the Libyan 9th Tank Battalion crossed the border but was ambushed by Egyptian forces as it attempted to raid Sallum, beginning a three-day border war. Egypt quickly gained the upper hand but was persuaded against a full scale invasion by other Arab states, leading to an armistice between the two nations and a gradual relaxation of tensions.
7 Jan 1978–11 Feb 1979 Iranian Revolution▲
In 1978 riots broke out across Iran, sparked by government denouncement of the exiled Shia cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini—a popular critic of monarch Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Fueled by the Shah’s indecisiveness and Khomeini’s use of the media, anti-government protests peaked between August and December, pushing the Shah to leave for exile on 16 January 1979. On 1 February Khomeini returned, assuming official power when the royal reign collapsed ten days later.
5–17 Sep 1978 Camp David Accords▲
The high cost of the Yom Kippur War convinced President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel to enter into negotiations. In September 1978 President Jimmy Carter of the United States mediated secret talks between Sadat and Rabin’s successor Menachem Begin at Camp David in the US, resulting in frameworks for “Peace in the Middle East”—whereby Israel granted autonomy to the West Bank and Gaza—and “a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel”—in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai in return for Egyptian guarantees.
25–28 Dec 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan▲
In 1978 the pro-Soviet Nur Muhammad Taraki had seized power in Afghanistan and established the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, but was overthrown by Hafizullah Amin in September 1979 and murdered the following month. Amin maintained Soviet military support but Afghan–Soviet relations began to quickly deteriorate nonetheless. On Christmas Day the Soviet Union landed troops in Kabul and began securing key points in the country, killing Amin on 27 December and installing a more pliant Babrak Karmal as leader.
31 Aug 1980–15 Dec 1981 Solidarity movement in Poland▲
Solidarity movement in Poland
22 Sep–5 Dec 1980 Iraqi invasion of Iran▲
Hoping to take advantage of Iran’s post-revolutionary chaos and concerned that its Shi’ite radicalism would destabilize his own country, President Saddam Hussein of Iraq launched a full-scale invasion of Iran in September 1980. Despite the element of surprise, Iraqi Air Force attacks on Iranian airfields failed to significantly damage the Iranian Air Force. The next day Iraqi troops crossed the border on a 644 km front, eventually capturing the city of Khorramshahr but failing to achieve a decisive breakthrough.