What follows is a short history lesson about the peoples and countries of the mid-east.

The present conflict did not start in August of 1990 but rather began about 4000 years ago. In addition to territory claims by the different people in the area this conflict also is spiritual. Three major religious systems are clashing, they are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The mid-east is the center of Islam, or Moslem people, the western people come from a Christian heritage, and of course Israel is a predominately Jewish nation. These differences have lead to mistrust and actual hatred between people in the past that continues to some extent today. During the last 4000 years many different people and nations have called the same lands home. Many of the present boundaries were not drawn up until after World War I, and in some cases after World War II. Some of the problems that now exist are because outside powers imposed borders and created countries without fully understanding the area. This is not just limited to this immediate area, but also includes for instance West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). We tend to think that we can group people together just because they are the same color or religion. The people of the mid-east are just as diverse as we are. We have problems getting along with each other as well. I do not claim to be an expert in this area, but thought that I could share some information from a different perspective than seen on the evening news. The goal of this article is to help us understand the situation in an historical context and help us to pray effectively. I am a Christian. I believe that we need God's wisdom and patience to bring lasting peace to the area. I am not making a judgment on our need to be there, or the actions we need to take. A Middle Eastern Time Line Note: Early dates are approximate

The flood occurs, Noah's Ark runs aground in what is now Turkey. Gen 9:22-27 Ham cursed for shaming his father Noah. Ham's descendants are the Canaanites who later intermarry w Ishmeal's descendants to become the Arab peoples. Genesis 10:10 Nimrod, Noah's son, founds Babylon.

>2700 BC

The tower of Babel built in what is now Iraq. Ruin is between the present cities of

Baghdad and Bazra. 2150 BC Abraham born Abraham leaves Ur which is south east of Babylon by about 150 mi. to go to Caanan 2080 BC Abraham enters Canaan Abraham is promised the land of Canaan by God as his inheritance in Gen 12:7. Famine forces Abraham to flee to Egypt. Has run in with Pharaoh over wife. Diseases sent by the Lord. Gen 12:10-20 Area City states in constant state of war. Alliances change every few years. Abraham rescues his relative, Lot, from the fighting. Abraham in a bid to take matters into his own hands has son Ishmael by Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Sarai Abraham's wife mistreates both. Ishmael receives blessing from God that his descendants will be to numerous to count. Descendants are the Arabs. 1880 BC Jacobs family enters Egypt because of famine. In the beginning Jacob's family enjoys the best of the land because of God's blessing of Egypt through Jacob. In time later rulers forget this. Israel moves out of Egypt to posses their promised land. This of course was not good news to the people living there at the time. Israel almost immediately attacked by the Amalekites who are defeated with God's help.

1450 BC

The Exodus of Israel from Egypt.

1400 BC

The conquest of Canaan by Israel begins.

980 BC

Solomon begins his reign, After several years he starts the temple building

Under Solomon the nation grows in size, power, and wealth. Territory extended to tip of gulf of Agaba, north to beyond Damascus. The area governed is now Israel and Jordan, and part of Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon.

900 BC 825 BC 730 BC 625 BC 600 BC 580 BC 540 BC

Damascus rises to power Hazael of Syria oppresses Israel. The fall of Damascus The rise of Babylon Assyria collapses Kingdom of Judah falls to Nebuchadnezzar Babylon falls to Cyrus Egypt falls under control of Persians. Independent nation of Israel ceases to exist. Nehemmiah allowed to rebuild Jerusalem.

485 BC

The Persians are defeated by the Greeks.

325 BC

Alexander the Great defeats Darius III. The Romans take Palestine Christ is born Christ crucified Roman empire in decline Mohammed is born in Mecca Islam which means "submission to Allah" is based on the revelations of Mohammed. He did not read or write, his ideas were recorded by his followers who had committed them to memory. Baghdad is made the capital in 762.

50 BC 0 33 AD 500s 570

Roman rule of area during this time enabled new ideas, and trade to flourish. Had much to do with enabling rapid spread of Christianity.

600s 1258 1401 1534

Arabs overrun area Mongols devastate country Mongols again conquer area

Ottoman Turks capture Ottoman Turks capture Egypt Baghdad, stayed under Turkish control till WW I. Kuwait founded by Arab nomads Napoleon invades Egypt British protect Kuwait from a


1869 1897 1918

Suez canal completed by French Later purchased by British Kuwait becomes a British protectorate Britain and the sharif of Mecca gain control and Iraq is formed as a country Saudi Arabia invades Kuwait British repel Saudis, who blockade country for 20 yrs. League of Nations made Iraq a territory under British administration League of Nations mandate ends, Iraq gains independence

holy war from another Muslim sect. Egypt revolts, Britain sends forces to protect interests and remains in control till 1922 Country of Trans-Jordan formed by Britain from Biblical lands of Ammon, Bashan, Edom, and Moab.



Islam first brought to US.


Jordan receives independence. 1947 UN creates two nations from Palestine, one Jewish, and one Arabic. On the same day that British withdraw Arab countries attack. Iraq renews ancient claim to Kuwait. Rejected by British. Pro western Iraqi president Nuri es-Said joins Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Britain in opposition of Egypt in "Baghdad Pact". Gen. Kassem overthrows govt. Later withdraws Iraq from pact. Kuwait becomes independent Military coup overthrows Kassem. Arab Baath Party gains control. Abdul Salem Arif as president. Abdul Salem Arif dies in Helicopter crash, succeeded by his brother. Bloodless coup installes former premier Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr as president. Third Arab-Israeli war First Arab Israeli war.

1952 1955

Second Arab-Israeli war

1958 1961 1963




Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agree on a boundary in the disputed area from 1919. Iraq joins war against Israel Iraq invades Kuwait, withdraws after Saudi Arabia sends 15000 Troops to aid Kuwait. Iran agrees to stop providing arms to rebelling Kurdish minority in Iraq. Iraq and Syria at odds over Syria's intervention in Lebanon. UN states that Iraq is systematically destroying Kurdish minority. Iraq plans to spend $36 mil to restore ancient city of Babylon, about 55 mi south of Baghdad. Gen Saddam Hussein becomes president, Bakr resigns due to illness. Iraq and Iran begin open war after skermishing for 10 months. Iraq has early Success. Iraq has been pushed back to pre-war boundary. War expands into gulf area Shipping threatened. USS Stark hit by missile from Iraqi plane. 37 sailors die, Iraq apologises for mistaken. launch of missile. Iran and Iraq begin cease fire. Iraq invades Kuwait in dispute over oil field and shipping access to gulf. An oil field extends across the Kuwait-Iraq border with both countries pumping from it. Iraq has been demanding that Kuwait decrease production Israel moves capitol to Jerusalem which is supposed to be a shared city. Israel bombs Iraqi reactor Forth Arab-Israeli war

1973 1973







1982 1984 1987

1988 1990

to help increase oil price. 1991 UN forces attack Iraq 17 hours after UN deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait expires.

Compiled by Herb Guenther from NIV Holy Bible, 1980 Reader's Digest Almanac, The World Almanac and Book of Facts - 1988, and other sources.