1798: French invasion and brief occupation of Egypt begins a resurgence of European influence in the region after more than four centuries of Ottoman rule.

1869: French open the Suez Canal and acquire 99-year concession agreement.

1882: British forces invade Egypt to suppress a movement opposed to the ruling Turkish khedive. Despite formal termination of British rule in 1922, Britain's control continues until 1936.

1918: Ottoman Empire's military intervention on the side of Germany in World War I ends in its dissolution. Britain and France carve up the ex-Ottoman Arab territories in the Fertile Crescent into mandated states.

1939: Colonial empires of the Western European powers start to crumble during and after World War II.

Independence given to present-day states of Iraq (1932), Syria (1946), Jordan (1946), and Lebanon (1943).

1947: United Nations resolves to partition Palestine into an Israeli state and an Arab state. Arab countries reject the plan.

1948: State of Israel is created.

1956: Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal which leads to the Anglo-French invasion of the canal zone. Despite defeat, Nasser emerges as the champion of Arab resistance to Western imperialism.

1967: Six-day Arab-Israeli war. Israel occupies Sinai, Gaza Strip, the Jordanian part of Jerusalem, and Syria's Golan Heights. UN passes resolution 242 calling for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.

1973: Arab-Israeli war. United States resupplies Israel with massive airlift to counterbalance Soviet airlift to Egypt.

1979: Egypt and Israel sign Camp David peace treaty under US auspices.

1980-88: Western nations back Iraq financially and militarily during war with Iran.

1981: Israel bombs Iraqi nuclear facility.

1982: Israel invades Lebanon to rout Palestinian guerrillas, who flee to Tunisia.

Aug. 2, 1990: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.

Aug. 6: US forces sent to the Gulf. United Nations subsequently passes 12 resolutions calling for Iraqi withdrawal.

Jan. 16, 1991: US-led coalition forces start bombing Iraq.

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