ABSTRACT

A. Introduction Armed conflict has never been a rare phenomenon in the Middle East. However, in the post-World War 11 era in particular, the region has experienced burgeoning violence on scale seldom precedented. Virtually every state in this tempestuous area has, at one time or another, been involved in armed hostilities against one or another of its neighbours. Six major military conflagrations (1948-49,1956,1967,1970,1973, and 1982) traditionally focused international attention on Israel as the pivotal regional belligerent. More recent events, however, have established Iraq as an additional 'epicenter of conflict' (chiefly, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait). Moreover, both Egypt and Syria have been involved in several large-scale military actions to which Israel was not at all party. (For example, the 1966 Egyptian military involvement in Yemen; the 1977 Egyptian-Libyan border disputes; Syria's recurring attempts to take control of Lebanon by military means, prior to Damascus' final attainment of dominance over the country in 1990). Likewise, recurring violence, such as the hostilities between the two Yemeni states in the 1970s has flared in the Arabian peninsula from time to time.