There has been a great deal of conflict in the Middle East since World War II ended in 1945. Wars have been fought over religion, territory, and oil. The Middle East has been one of the most unstable regions of the world since 1945.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been the most sustained of all the armed strife. Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors as soon as it was created in 1948. The 1948–49 war was the first of at least half a dozen. Israel won almost all of the wars and remains the most powerful nation in the Middle East. However, Hezbollah and Iran remain dangerous enemies of Israel. The United States has strongly supported Israel for many decades.
Iraq has destabilized the region. Iraq started two major wars under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) was responsible for at least one million deaths. The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait led to the First Persian Gulf War the following year.
There were a number of other factors causing instability. The Cold War between the US and the USSR involved competition over influence in the Middle East. The oil reserves of the Middle East enhanced the region's importance in world affairs. Al-Qaida and ISIS have killed thousands of innocent people. Finally, America's invasion of Iraq in 2003 made the region even more unstable.