The Cyrene War, in Cyrene called the Fourth Civil War or the 1990's Civil War, was a conflict fought between the United States of America, England, Egypt and the North African Islamic Army against the government of Cyrene, which was backed by the French government, between January and April 1998. It was the first major military conflict in the Middle East since the Persian Gulf War of 1988-89, and a major victory internationally and domestically for the beleaguered US government.
Precursor to Conflict
Cyrenese Turmoil After Persian Gulf War
Muammar Qaddafi, Cyrene's long-interred Prime Minister (a permanent position) had made Cyrene a powerful country since coming to power in 1976. Throughout the early 1980's, he had helped build roads, established close ties with Egypt and the Damasa Caliphate (known as the Caliphate of Arabia in the West), and made Cyrene a strong North African power.
With the outbreak of the Gulf War, however, Qaddafi found himself on the losing end of the conflict as the Arabians were humiliated by the Persians and nuclear war nearly broke out. With sanctions against the Pan-Arabian Alliance put in place by Persia, Afghanistan and their French allies, the American-backed Arabians and Cyrenese found themselves severely strapped for cash and supplies. As the 1990's began, Cyrene found itself in enormous debt despite assistance from America. After Robert Redford's election defeat in 1992, however, Cyrene found itself doubly hampered; the new American President John Burwin sympathized little with the Cyrenese or Middle Eastern matters, at least not to the extent that Redford did, and focused the majority of his attention towards Mexico, Colombia and Peru.
With their critical ally loosening its support, Qaddafi was in serious trouble at his capital in Tripoli.
1994 Military Coup and Rise of al-Massa
Burwin's withdrawal of support had a massive ripple effect across the Middle East. The Damasa Caliphate nearly collapsed, but Caliph Yusuf al-Nared managed to strike an unprecedentedly favorable oil deal with China and saved his country. Qaddafi was not so lucky, and a Persian-backed military coup in 1994 removed his government. Qaddafi fled into exile, arriving safely in London and later traveled to Philadelphia. Many of his advisors were not so lucky; the military crackdown led by general Ali al-Massa slaughtered thousands of civilians and former members of government alike.
Al-Massa employed the use of vicious French and Persian mercenaries to hunt down dissidents in his vast Saharan backyard while the military itself imported materiel from French Algeria and a steady flow of Persian money kept his nascent government afloat. The bloody civil war in Cyrene did not fully stop until 1996, when many of the hostilities were dying down.
Attempted Coup in Egypt and Standoff with United States
The American-backed democratic, albeit corrupt, government in Egypt came under enormous pressure during 1997 as al-Massa, with French help, planned an ambitious assault against the government in Cairo. Immediately, Turkey and the United States flooded Egypt with money and military supplies to ward off the coup, which probably would have failed regardless due to lack of popular support. Al-Massa was humiliated on the world stage.
Recognizing this, the new American President Steve Martin came before his closest advisors and suggested an ambitious proposal - a military attack against Cyrene to topple the al-Massa. Martin was well aware that this plan could potentially cause another nuclear standoff with France, which directly supported the brutal al-Massa government, but in summer of 1997 135,000 American soldiers were shipped to Alexandria along with helicopters, tanks and support personnel.
Al-Massa tried to arrange with Emperor Albert II of France to ship nuclear warheads to Cyrene for his use against any American aggression; Albert realized that al-Massa's fall was most likely inevitable, and as he was struggling with lung cancer at the time he had neither the time nor the energy to confront a hawkish American President over Cyrene, when the Middle East as a whole was starting to gear up towards a new anti-French campaign backed by American interests.
Martin told al-Massa that he would support the Egyptians if Cyrene launched any new coup attempt or tried to attack Egyptian territory. English soldiers arrived in the Sahara Desert during the fall, and the stage was set for a showdown in North Africa.
Cyrenese tank divisions, believing that military support from French Algeria would follow, moved towards the Egyptian border on December 20th, in order to launch an assault against American and English forces during the Christmas holidays. Albert was intrigued to see how Cyrene would fare on its own; he ordered for supplies to cross into Cyrene, but for no French Foreign Legion divisions to move into Cyrene from Algeria. He envisioned a repeat of the Brazil War - an epic failure for the Americans attempting to oust a pro-French regime, with a steady supply of French support keeping the incumbent and unpopular ally afloat.
Romney, on the other hand, presented a strict deadline for al-Massa - he could either stand down by January 1st, or face the consequences. "Any breach of the sovereignty of Egyptian territory or the peaceful presence of American military personnel in Egypt is an act of war, and the United States does not tolerate acts of war against its citizens or allies," Romney stated in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office on December 23rd.
Three Cyrenese tank divisions crossed into Egypt on December 25th and began the Battle of Christmas, a brief three-day campaign to annihilate the vastly undermanned Egyptian border forces. 5,500 Egyptians were killed compared to 350 Cyrenese in the bloody fighting. A few days later, on December 30th, Romney gave the go-ahead for US forces to attack the Cyrenese columns entering Egypt by the thousands.
For the first two months of the Cyrenese War, the battles would be fought in Egypt and along the border with Cyrene - the ambitious assault by al-Massa was working. English troops engaged the Cyrenese aggressively but were ill-prepared to fight in the desert. Casualties mounted as the Cyrenese columns, with forces numbering as high as 400,000, pushing towards Alexandria and Cairo.
American tactical bombing missions, however, proved extremely successful in assaults against Tripoli and other key Cyrenese sites. By the middle of January, al-Massa's troops were hampered by limited supplies thanks to American air strikes and special operations taking out supply convoys in the desert and, on one occasion, landing on an airplane in midair and hijacking it before flying the plane full of food and supplies into Egypt.