The Ayatollah Khomeini

==Jan.16 > [X] The Shah flees Iran. The country continues to be wracked by massive unrest.

==Feb.01 > [X] The Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Tehran and gains control of the government by Feb.11-12, proclaiming “We will export our revolution to the four corners of the world…” He soon begins an extreme program of Islamization of Iranian society. On Apr.01, an Islamic Republic is proclaimed. The first great triumph of Muslim fundamentalism.      [hiro2 / wall]

==late.Mar > [] Angered by the Khalq regime’s policy of educating women and inspired by the Iranian revolution, conservative Afghan villagers and garrison troops seize the city of Herat, murdering teachers and hundreds of Soviet advisers. The government uses tanks and airstrikes to suppress the rising - 5,000 die in the revolt. Mutinies spread through Afghanistan in the coming months, and the army crumbles.      [hiro1 / rubin]

==Mar.26 > [] An Egyptian-Israeli peace accord is signed, to the horror of many Muslims. The agreement largely ignores the Palestinians' grievances. Anti-Sadat Islamist demonstrations erupt in Egyptian universities.      [wall / hiro1]

==May.--- > [] In a pact directed against Iran, America secretly pledges to provide military support for the Saudis in the event of a direct threat to the regime.      [hiro1]

==Jul.03 > [] President Carter orders that aid be sent to the insurgent groups emerging in Afghanistan, beginning US support for the mujahadeen six months before the Soviet invasion. Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski later says that the US aid was expressly intended to provoke the Soviets into intervening.       [berg / hiro1 / naftali]

==early.Jul > [] Chaos in Iran triggers the second oil crisis in America, with soaring oil prices, sharp inflation, and severe gasoline shortages. On July 15, Carter delivers his ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech and pledges to put the United States on a “war footing” to deal with the emergency. The economy slumps into a prolonged, severe recession into the early 1980s.      [pbs]

==Jul.16 > [] After dominating the country for years, Saddam Hussein installs himself as president and consolidates his control of Iraq in response to the growing threat from Iran. Saddam soon initiates a series of bloody purges of potential opponents.     [hiro2]

==Oct.06 > [] On the orders of Afghan Premier Amin, President Taraki is suffocated by a pillow while in prison for a failed coup attempt. In the face of growing revolt, the Marxist Khalq government in Afghanistan is disintegrating, despite growing Soviet military support. The frantic Amin reportedly makes overtures to the US and Pakistan for assistance. About this time, Soviet leaders decide to invade Afghanistan, depose Amin, and install a new regime.      [hiro1 / newl / rubin]

==Nov.04 > [X] Iranian students seize the US embassy in Tehran and take about 90 hostages - the start of the Hostage Crisis, which drags on into 1981.

==Nov.20 > [XX] 400 armed Islamic extremists seize the Grand Mosque in Mecca, taking hundreds of pilgrims hostage and calling for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy and for severance of all ties with the west. They are crushed only after two weeks of tough fighting in which 250 people are killed. The Saudi government later publicly beheads 67 captured militants. The young Osama bin Laden is deeply impressed by the revolt and tells his friends that the insurgents are “true Muslims.” The bloody episode badly undermines the prestige of the House of Saud. To counteract pressure from fundamentalists, the royal family allows the religious police to expand their powers over education and the press over the next several years, bringing about an Islamist resurgence in Saudi Arabia during the 1980s.      [usdos / hiro1 / obs.Oct.28.2001 / nykr.Oct.16.2001]

==Nov.21 > [X] An Islamist mob sacks and burns the US embassy in Pakistan. On Nov.26, all non-essential US diplomatic personnel are evacuated from ten Muslim countries.       [ferr]

==Nov.29 > [X] Rioting by pro-Iranian Shiites in Hasa, Saudi Arabia, leaves 156 dead.      [hiro1]

==Dec.25-26 > [X] Soviet forces invade Afghanistan, gaining control of all major cities within four days. A special KGB unit assaults the presidential palace and kills Premier Amin, after which the Soviets install the more conciliatory Babrak Karmal as president. The ferocious Afghan war of national resistance begins in earnest, as the country falls apart.      [newl / rubin / hiro1]
=US President Carter reportedly says "The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is the greatest threat to peace since the Second World War" - there is fear that the invasion is the start of a Soviet drive to gain control of the Persian Gulf region. At the instigation of Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a US-Pakistani-Saudi network is organized to aid the insurgent mujahadeen, with the Saudis providing a large part of the funds, the US procuring the weapons and providing overall coordination through the CIA, and Pakistani intelligence (the ISI) handling training and indoctrination. Brzezinski blocks a plan to assist moderate resistance groups, and instead channels aid to Muslim extremist factions who he hopes will be effective at undermining Soviet control of Central Asia, saying “It is time to finally sow shit in (the Soviets’) backyard.” From 1981, Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey pursues this scheme with even greater enthusiasm. The Pakistani ISI - rather than the CIA - handles nearly all direct contact with the Afghan resistance, and the ISI makes most of the decisions on how to prosecute the war and on which Afghan resistance groups to assist. The ISI funnels the largest share of aid to the ambitious, ruthless Islamic extremist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is more interested in fighting rival mujahadeen factions than taking on the Russians. Hekmatyar will later actively support Osama bin Laden. Moderate-secular groups are marginalized, and some of their leaders are killed by the ISI and its Islamist allies. Richard Murphy, Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, later admits "We did spawn a monster in Afghanistan." In the mid-1990’s, a State Department report concludes that this war was the birthplace of the ‘transnational terrorist.’      [hiro1 / hiro4 / berg / lat.Sep.21.2001]
=In 1983, a mujahadeen leader near the Afghan-Pakistan border comments to columnist Richard Reeves “It's all very far away from you in America, isn't it?… But it is not as far as you think.”      [up.Sep.21.2001]

Mujahadeen atop a captured
Soviet armored vehicle, 1980

== ------- > [X] The State Department draws up the first roster of states involved in sponsoring terrorism. Iraq, Syria, Libya, and South Yemen make the list.      [wap.Dec.30.2002]

==Jan.23 > [] During his State of the Union Address, Carter announces that keeping the Persian Gulf open is vital to US national security, a principle later known as the Carter Doctrine. On Mar.01, a standing American rapid deployment force is formed for use in the Persian Gulf area. First the British and then the Shah of Iran had earlier provided security in the region, but now the United States permanently guarantees the uninterrupted flow of Persian Gulf oil, and is clearly prepared to back the guarantee with force. The US military begins to rapidly expand its presence in the Middle East.      [aspc / clarke]

==Apr.24-25 > [] US forces botch an attempted hostage rescue raid on Tehran.

==spring > [X] 23-year-old Osama bin Laden, still a student, makes his first trip to Pakistan and meets with Afghan leaders in Peshawar. Over the next several years, he donates large amounts of money to the mujahadeen.      [hiro1 / berg / obs.Oct.28.2001]

==Sep.22 > [] After months of growing tensions and border clashes, the prolonged Iran-Iraq War breaks out. Expecting to quickly seize disputed territories, the overconfident Saddam launches full-scale offensives into Iran which meet tough resistance and bog down within a couple months. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan support Iraq; Syria and Libya back Iran. Although officially neutral in the war’s early stages, America allows valuable intelligence to be indirectly passed to Iraq via the Saudis, especially from the advanced AWACS planes the US allows the Saudis to operate beginning in October. Over the next few years, Khomeini uses the war to suppress Iranian internal dissent and to consolidate his power. For Iraq, the outbreak of war is the beginning of its long slide from the relative prosperity of the 1970s into the ruination that followed the 2003 war.      [hiro1 / hiro2]

==Oct.20 > [] The ‘October Surprise:’ it has been alleged, but never proven, that candidate Ronald Reagan’s campaign office cut a deal with Iran in a secret meeting in Paris, agreeing to supply weapons and spare parts in return for a delayed release of the American hostages. See Jan.20.1981      [hiro2]

==Jan.20 > [] Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as President of the United States. Within minutes, Iran releases the 52 American hostages that it’s held for over a year.

==Jun.07 > [] An Israeli air strike destroys a nearly completed Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad, which the Israelis fear would be used to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons.      [ferr]

==Sep.03 > [X] Facing mounting opposition from Egyptian Islamists, Sadat clamps down on Muslim dissidents and establishes direct government control of religious institutions.      [hiro1]

The assassination of Sadat, Oct.06.1981

==Oct.06 > [X] Anwar Sadat is assassinated by Al Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) during a troop review - the army officer who kills him proclaims “I have killed Pharaoh, and I do not fear death.” Small scale Islamist risings occur in Upper Egypt in the next few weeks. Hosni Mubarak becomes president of Egypt and begins a tough crackdown that temporarily suppresses Muslim extremist groups.      [berg / lmd / hiro1]

== ------- > [] Saudi oil revenues reach $110 billion, having skyrocketed by about 20,000% in a couple of decades. But 1981 proves to be the crest, and hereafter revenues dwindle due to a world-wide oil glut. By 1983 the Saudi budget and balance of payments begin running a deficit, and Saudi international influence begins to decline.      [hiro1]

== ------- >  [X] Osama bin Laden graduates from college with a degree in economics and public administration.      [berg]

== ------- > [X] Due to communications problems, an Argentine airliner comes within 90 seconds of hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center.      [dwyer]

==Feb.--- > [] Washington removes Iraq from its terrorism list - the first hint of improving US relations with Saddam. See Jun.1983.      [wap.Dec.30.2002]

==Feb.--- > [X] Syrian Islamists revolt in the city of Hama. President Assad responds with extreme brutality, subjecting fundamentalist neighborhoods to artillery barrages, literally leveling much of the city, and killing 10,000 to 25,000 residents. There is no further trouble from Islamist extremists in Syria.      [gdn.Sep.22.2001]

==Mar.08 > [] A US State Department official testifies to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Soviets are using torture, summary executions, and chemical weapons in Afghanistan, and that 3 million Afghans have fled the Russian invasion.      [ferr]

==Mar.19-Jun. > [] Powerful Iranian offensives drive the Iraqi invaders back to the border with heavy losses. The downfall of Saddam is widely believed to be imminent; on Jul.11, he narrowly survives a bloody assassination attempt. In response, Saddam tightens his political control and ramps up his cult of personality.      [hiro2]

==May.03 > [] Prime Minister Begin announces that Israel will assert sovereignty over the West Bank.      [wall]

==Jun.03 > [X] The Palestinian PFLP shoots the Israeli ambassador to Britain.     [wall]

==Jun.05-06 > [] ‘Operation Peace for Galilee’: Israel launches an ill-fated full-scale invasion of Lebanon - Prime Minister Begin and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon plan to destroy the PLO and probably to crush Syria as well. By Jun.14, the Israelis cut off PLO forces in West Beirut, but are soon bogged down, engaged in futile shellings of Palestinian enclaves and refugee camps.      [wall / vanc]

==Jul.13 > [] Iran counter-invades Iraq. The prospect of an Iranian defeat of Iraq causes international alarm. Through 1983, repeated Iranian offensives are generally checked by the Iraqis, with heavy losses on both sides.      [hiro2]

==Aug.21-Sep.01 > [] An international agreement allows the trapped PLO to evacuate Beirut.      [ferr]

==Sep.16-18 > [X] Lebanese Christian militiamen kill hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in West Beirut. The militiamen were allowed to enter the camps by Israeli troops, who ignore the ongoing massacre.      [vanc]

==Sep.25 > [] In Tel Aviv, 400,000 Israelis demonstrate against the initially popular Lebanese war.      [vanc]

==Sep.26 > [] Israeli forces evacuate West Beirut. To provide security, American, French, and Italian troops soon replace them.      [wall]

==Nov.07 > [X] New York City officials carry out a disaster drill at the World Trade Center based on the scenario of a plane striking one of the twin towers.      [dwyer]

==late.1982 > [X] Hezbollah begins to form among Shiites in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley.  The group has close ties to Iran.      [ict]

== ------- > [X] By about this time, Osama bin Laden has become openly anti-American and speaks of future conflict with the US.      [berg]

==Feb.08 > [] An Israeli investigation in the Sep.17 massacres finds Defense Minister Sharon guilty of neglect of duty. He resigns Feb.11.     [wall]

==Feb.08 > [] The United States creates the Central Command (CENTCOM), a regional military command that encompasses the area from the Horn of Africa though the Persian Gulf to Central Asia.      [globsec]

==Apr.18 > [X] The US Embassy in Beirut is wrecked by a car bomb set off by a pro-Iranian group, in one of the first major suicide bombings in the Middle East. Among the 63 dead are the CIA’s Middle East director and six other intelligence officials. Muslim terrorists are beginning to target US facilities abroad. The second great wave of international terrorism is underway, lasting into the late 1980s -  America's main adversary is Hezbollah, backed by Iran.     [hiro1 / cacnp]

==Jun.--- > [] America begins abandoning its neutrality in the Iran-Iraq War and starts providing material aid to Saddam. Iraq is also receiving increasing aid from France and the Soviet Union.     [hiro2]

==Sep.19 > [] Khomeini threatens to block the shipment of oil from the Persian Gulf if the major powers continue to aid Iraq. America responds with a military buildup in the Gulf. In early Oct, the French supply Iraq with advanced warplanes.     [hiro2]

==Oct.23 > [X] The US Marine barracks near Beirut are truck-bombed, killing 242 servicemen. Minutes later, a second bomb kills 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut. The terrorists are believed to be linked with Hezbollah and Iran. For the first time, the US considers launching a military attack in retaliation for a terrorist attack, but the planned airstrike is evidently blocked by Defense Secretary Weinberger.     [usdos / ferr / naftali]

==Nov.26 > [] The National Security Council makes propping up Saddam’s regime a high priority after a NSC study concludes that an Iranian victory would be catastrophic for American interests in the Persian Gulf. Washington is well aware that the Iraqis are regularly using chemical weapons on the battlefield.     [wap.Dec.30.2002 / hiro2]

Rumsfeld meets Saddam, Dec.1983

==Dec.20 > [] Special presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld conducts a cordial meeting with Saddam, as the US and Iraq begin the process of normalizing their relations.     [wap.Dec.30.2002 / hiro2]

== ------- > [] The US and Israel form the Joint Politico-Military Group (JPMG) to implement strategic cooperation. After years of increasing aid, the US begins to form strong, direct links with the Israeli military.      [clarke]

==Jan.23 > [] The US declares Iran to be a supporter of international terrorism and sharply restricts trade. America vigorously tries to prevent other nations from selling arms to Iran.     [hiro2]

==Feb.26 > [] The last US Marines evacuate Beirut.     [wall]

==Feb-Mar > [] The Majnoon offensive: determined Iranian attacks across the swamps of southern Iraq are repulsed with heavy loss. The desperate Iraqis repeatedly use mustard gas, and possibly nerve agents. Reporting to Saddam, an Iraqi corps commander describes the defeat of an Iranian attack: “Great Sir, we gladly inform you of the annihilation of thousands of harmful magian insects that carried out an abortive offensive late last night. We… will turn what is left of these harmful insects into food for birds of the wilderness and the fishes of the marshes.” Another massive Iranian offensive in the area is repelled a year later - the Iraqis again use gas warfare.     [hiro2]

==Mar.16 > [X] CIA terrorism expert William Buckley is abducted in Beirut by Iranian-linked Islamic Jihad and is eventually tortured to death. The information he was evidently forced to divulge badly damages American intelligence networks in the Middle East. Other Americans are abducted in Lebanon over the next couple of years. See May.17.1985     [abc / hiro2]

==Apr.03 > [X] Drawn up in response to Buckley’s kidnapping, National Security Decision Directive 138 supposedly shifts counterterrorism strategy “from passive to active defense measures," and allows the CIA and the FBI to engage in covert pre-emptive actions against state sponsors of terrorism. But despite this seemingly bold directive, little is done to strengthen the US counterterrorism effort.      [cdi / 911cm / naftali]

==Apr.18 > [] Iraqi warplanes begin attacking tankers trading with Iran, and Iran retaliates by attacking ships carrying Saudi or Kuwaiti oil. In the next four years, hundreds of ships are hit in the Persian Gulf ‘Tanker War.’     [hiro2]

==Sep.20 > [X] The US embassy annex in Beirut is hit by a Hezbollah suicide truck-bomber; 23 people are killed. The Reagan administration considers striking back with Lebanese hit-squads, but decides that they are unreliable. Ultimately, there is no retaliation for the embassy bombing.     [naftali]

==Oct.--- > [] The Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq intensifies after Saddam signs an anti-Kurdish accord with Turkey. By May 1985, the rebels control about a third of Kurdistan.     [hiro2]

==Nov.26 > [] The United States restores full diplomatic relations with Iraq, and begins regularly sending intelligence on Iranian military activity to Baghdad.     [wall / hiro2]

==Dec.--- > [X] Osama bin Laden is becoming an important figure in the Afghan jihad. Working closely with the Saudi government, he often travels to Peshawar, where he disburses funds, covers living expenses for foreign Muslim volunteers (jihadis), and establishes a guest house for them. By 1985, he brings in heavy construction equipment from his family's business and begins building training camps, roads, and airfields over the border inside Afghanistan. But he is not yet an imposing presence: “I thought he couldn't lead eight ducks across the street,” recalled Saudi Prince Bandar, who met him about this time.     [berg / nykr.Nov.12.2001 / mcder]
=Bin Laden also provides funds for his former professor, the charismatic Palestinian Islamist scholar Abdullah Azzam, who forms a forerunner of al-Qaeda - the ‘Makhtab al Khadimat’ (MAK, or Services Office) for recruitment of foreign volunteers. Azzam seems to embrace the idea of a global jihad: “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogues.” Tens of thousands of jihadis from dozens of countries will make their way to the Pakistani-Afghan frontier region to join in the conflict; many of them will be active in Islamist extremist groups in the 1990s. But they have scant effect on the war in Afghanistan. Afghan commanders make little use of the inexperienced foreigners, and few jihadis see extensive combat. The brother of the famed resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud later said "I don't know if the Arab fighters were good or bad fighters, no one saw them. There were so few." The generally better-educated Arabs are often arrogant in their dealings with the Afghans, but the tough mujahadeen are not impressed - one Afghan rebel remembered “Whenever we had a problem with one of them we just shot them.” See 1986     [berg / nyt.Jan.14.2001 / lat.Dec.22.2002 / hiro1 / mcder]

==Mar.05-Jun.14 > [] ‘The War of the Cities:’ Iraq and Iran repeatedly attack each others’ population centers. Tehran is bombed 43 times, and Baghdad is hit by 12 scud missiles. There are periodic bombings and missile attacks by both sides for the next three years.     [hiro2]

==Mar.11 > [] Gorbachev becomes First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Cold War begins to ease.

==spring > [X] There is widespread agitation in Egypt for the complete adoption of Islamic law. About this time, Al Jihad, Al Gamaat (also known as Gamaa Islamiya), and other extreme Islamist groups are beginning to revive.     [hiro1]

==May.17 > [] In the first step on the path to the Iran-Contra scandal, a memo by a senior CIA analyst recommends that the US use weapons sales to gain influence in Tehran so as to prevent Iran from aligning with the Soviets after Khomeini’s death. National Security Adviser McFarlane sees the proposal as a way to achieve a major breakthrough in the Middle East, and vigorously promotes it. Not everyone shares McFarlane's enthusiasm - Defense Secretary Weinberger calls the scheme "too absurd to comment on" - but McFarlane perseveres and sends private consultant Michael Ledeen to sound out Israeli leaders on the prospects of an arms deal with Iran. See Jul.13     [persico]

A hijacker threatens Captain John Testrake
as he leans from the cockpit of TWA Flight 847,
Beirut airport, Jun.1985

==Jun.14-30 > [X] On Jun.14, Hezbollah gunmen hijack TWA Flight 847. The plane is eventually forced to land in Beirut, where the terrorists murder one of the passengers - US Navy diver Robert Stethem - and toss his body out on the tarmac. Behind the scenes, the Reagan administration pressures Israel into agreeing to release Lebanese prisoners and gets Iran to convince Hezbollah to accept the agreement. The airline hostages are released on Jun.30. Syria allows the hijackers to escape into Beirut. The US makes no attempt to retaliate against Hezbollah, which is still holding seven Americans it abducted in Lebanon.      [naftali]
=There are several other major airline hijackings this year.     [wall]

==Jul.08 > [X] Reagan delivers a forceful speech to the American Bar Association, naming Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, and Nicaragua as "a confederation of terrorist states… a new international version of Murder, Inc," saying that state sponsorship of terrorist attacks on the US is "an act of war," and vowing to track down terrorists wherever they hide. Despite the tough rhetoric, the Reagan administration is frustrated by its inability to effectively deal with terrorism in the Middle East.     [naftali]

==Jul.13 > [] McFarlane reports that the Israelis are eager to broker a US arms deal with high-level 'moderates' in Tehran who will ensure the release of the American hostages in Lebanon. After some hesitation Reagan agrees to the scheme in early August, and the first American arms shipment is flown from Israel to Tehran on Aug.22. Actually, there are no moderates. The arrangement is a scam by shady Middle Eastern businessmen and the Khomeini regime, which Israel endorses in an attempt to gain leverage in Iran. The Iranians and Hezbollah renege on their agreements to release hostages. See Dec.10     [naftali / persico]

==Oct.07-10 > [X] On Oct.07, Palestinians hijack the Mediterranean cruise ship Achille Lauro. The next day one of the passengers - an elderly, disabled American Jew named Leon Klinghoffer - is shot and thrown overboard. The hijacking is soon ended by negotiation; the hijackers are captured on Oct.10 and imprisoned in Italy.     [naftali]

==Dec.10 > [] Robert McFarlane (who has already resigned as National Security Adviser) tells a meeting of top-level administration officials that his arms-for-hostages deal has failed, and the venture is apparently shut down. But in January the new National Security Adviser John Poindexter and his deputy Oliver North quietly resurrect the scheme. North has come up with the idea of using profits from the Iranian arms sales to fund the Contra insurgency in Central America, a detail that is concealed from nearly everyone in the administration. See May.25.1986     [persico]

== ------- > [] Improved Soviet tactics in Afghanistan are proving effective. Fearing  that the tide is turning against the mujahadeen Washington greatly increases aid to the insurgents. By 1987 the US provides $600 million to the mujahadeen, up from $35 million in 1982   See Sep.1986.      [clarke]

==Feb.09-11 > [] Iran captures the Fao peninsula, virtually cutting Iraq off from the Persian Gulf and threatening Kuwait. Iranian forces hold off weeks of fierce Iraqi counterattacks that included the use of nerve gas. Other powerful Iranian offensives to early 1988, mostly in southern Iraq, are partially successful but fail to achieve decisive victories.     [hiro2 / wap.Dec.30.2002]

== Feb.--- > [X] The CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) begins operations with a staff of about 250. Created by veteran intelligence official 'Dewey' Clarridge, the organization is able to both analyze intelligence and run operations against terrorist groups.     [naftali]

==Feb.--- > [X] Under the influence of Muslim extremists, thousands of Egyptian security police recruits riot. As the Egyptian economy moves into crisis, Islamic extremism is spreading. Islamists have gained control of all university student unions and are trying to restructure the schools along religious lines. Extremists dominate many Egyptian professional organizations, some of the opposition press, and several large firms.     [hiro1]

==Apr.15 > [] The US launches air strikes against Libya in retaliation for the bombing ten days earlier of a Berlin disco frequented by US troops. This is the first overt American military attack launched in response to an act of terrorism, and the only time the Reagan administration responded in this way. Qadaffi narrowly survives the air attacks, but more than 100 Libyans are killed when a residential area is mistakenly hit.      [persico / naftali]

==May.25 > [] Robert McFarlane and Oliver North lead a secret mission to Tehran in the hopes of opening up relations with Iran. They are snubbed by the Khomeini regime. Nonetheless, the arms-for-hostages transactions fitfully continue for several more months. See Nov.05     [persico]

==May.--- > [] In Afghanistan, the Soviets replace President Karmal with the tough Muhammad Najibullah.     [hiro1]

==Sep.--- > [] The Mujahadeen begin using US-supplied Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, eventually robbing the Soviets of complete air superiority and bringing down over 270 Soviet aircraft.  Some of these Stingers are probably later passed along to al-Qaeda.      [clarke / hiro1 / berg]

==Nov.05 > [] News of the Iran-Contra scandal breaks in Washington a few days after it was reported in a Lebanese magazine. Revelations that the US has been secretly shipping weapons to its arch-enemy Iran shock America and strike a severe blow to US credibility in the Middle East. On Nov.25, Reagan discloses that profits from the arms sales were used to fund the covert war in Central America.     [persico / hiro-2 / naftali]

==end.1986 > [] Gorbachev secretly decides to pull the Soviet military out of Afghanistan.     [mcder]

== ------- > [X] Some of the more fervent Arab volunteers in the Afghan war are growing disenchanted with Abdullah Azzam. Despite Azzam's fierce rhetoric, he concentrates his efforts solely on Afghanistan and is reluctant to unleash Islamist jihads against Muslim governments. Bin Laden moves to Peshawar full-time, begins to break with Azzam and the MAK, and forms an extremist group called the ‘Lions’ Den’ (al Masadah) for training Persian Gulf volunteers - a forerunner of al Qaeda. He will eventually establish over a dozen training camps in Pakistan. Many Muslim extremist groups are active in Peshawar by this time, and Islamists dominate the area. In Apr.1993, Egyptian President Mubarak is told by Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif “We cannot control Peshawar.” Mubarak scornfully asks if Sharif needs help from the Egyptian Army.     [berg / nyt.Jan.14&Sep.14.2001 / atl.May.1996]

== ------- > [] Regional American military commanders are authorized to report directly to the President. Over the next dozen years, the commanders become increasingly powerful, eventually overshadowing the US ambassadors in their regions. American foreign policy becomes increasingly militarized.     [nykr.Jan.19.2004]

Text Symbols
[] = The Levant: Israel, Palestine,
         Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey
[X]  = Non-Islamist Terrorism
[] = Egypt and North Africa
[X] = Islamist Extremists
[] = The Persian Gulf Region and Arabia
[X] = Islamist Terrorism (not al-Qaeda)
[] = Central and Southern Asia
[X] = al-Qaeda and bin Laden
[] = Africa
[X] = The 9/11 Operation
[] = Europe and the Soviet Union
[X] = Counterterrorism
[] = The United States

This chronology is intended as an outline of developments related to 9/11 and its aftermath, and tends to focus on unrest, war, and terrorism. It is not meant to be a comprehensive timeline of Middle East history.

9/11 Intro          Source Abbreviations

1948-1978      1987-1992      1993-1995      1996-1998      1999-2000

2001, Jan-Jun
     2001, Jul-Sep.10

September 11, 2001, Part I      September 11, 2001, Part II