Examples of neighboring countries' involvement in domestic conflicts
March 13, 2014 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for historical cases in which a neighboring country has intervened militarily in a domestic conflict to support one side, ostensibly at its invitation.

Examples include the Soviet war in Afghanistan, South African and Zimbabwean involvement in the Mozambican Civil War and the Turkish Intervention in Cyprus.

I know that there is a multitude of similar cases, but with my limited expertise I'm having difficulties picking them out from the sea of knowledge that is the history of armed conflits, not to mention selecting the most notable and representative ones.

[Posting this to Grab Bag as there is no History category in AskMe, how peculiar!]
posted by hat_eater to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
The Norman invasion of Ireland. A couple of local Irish kings were fighting for power in 1169, and one of them got his ass kicked and fled to Normandy to enlist help. English King Henry II followed a couple years later, and...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 AM on March 13, 2014

In the civil war between rival claimants to the throne of Judea in 63 BCE, both sides invited the Roman general Pompey to intervene in their own favor. Pompey, with his legion, decided to support Hyrcanus rather than Aristobulus.

Royal succession resolved, Rome didn't leave, and within a few years Judea was the purview of the Roman Governor of Syria.
posted by General Tonic at 6:50 AM on March 13, 2014

The Vietnamese Invasion of Cambodia was ostensibly in support of Hun Sen and his army who led the Eastern Region of Democratic Kampuchea (the "Eastern Zone"), which had become increasingly anti-Pol Pot.
posted by deanc at 6:50 AM on March 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Various countries are, or are believed to be, involved in the several internal conflicts going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including Rwanda, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:54 AM on March 13, 2014

I think you probably need to distinguish between proxy wars - where countries provide funding, materiel, training etc and where a country has actually put its own military into the arena.

The Mozambican Civil War was fundamentally a proxy war, although there was Rhodesian and Zimbabwean intervention in the early stages (in the first instance because Frelimo hosted Zimbabwean rebels; later, because Zimbabwe needed access to the port at Beira). In fact it was worse than that, because for some time Renamo was supported by South Africa, which was being supported by the US and others. Similarly, Frelimo was supported by the Soviet Union both directly and indirectly through other countries.

Furthermore, military intervention comes in various flavours. For example, special forces troops provide all manner of support, often unpublicised, in far more countries than one might think. For a historical example that ended in real conflict, Oman is a good example. But there are countless other examples (e.g. the uprisings in Syria and Libya) where special forces troops have been on the ground and may or may not have joined in the fighting.

The biggies are the obvious ones - WW1, WW2, Gulf War 1.

A good place to start, I'd suggest, is Africa and specifically French involvement. In Chad, Mali, Cote D'Ivoire, Mauritania, CAR among others.

But you could also look at Bahrain, Sierra Leone in modern times as well as Lebanon.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:58 AM on March 13, 2014

Indian involvement in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971

See also Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
posted by Ziggy500 at 7:06 AM on March 13, 2014

Thank you! To clarify: I'm looking for cases where a neighboring country has sent its troops across the border to take part in the fighting.
posted by hat_eater at 7:22 AM on March 13, 2014

Portugal sent troops to support Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War.

India intervened on behalf of the Nepalese government in the Nepalese Civil War.

And there's a lot of action from neighboring countries on both sides of the Syrian Civil War.
posted by divined by radio at 7:30 AM on March 13, 2014

Korean War

On 20 August 1950, Premier Zhou Enlai informed the UN that "Korea is China's neighbor... The Chinese people cannot but be concerned about a solution of the Korean question". Thus, through neutral-country diplomats, China warned that in safeguarding Chinese national security, they would intervene against the UN Command in Korea ... After secretly crossing the Yalu River on 19 October, the PVA 13th Army Group launched the First Phase Offensive on 25 October, attacking the advancing U.N. forces near the Sino-Korean border. This military decision made solely by China changed the attitude of the Soviet Union. Twelve days after Chinese troops entered the war, Stalin allowed the Soviet Air Force to provide air cover, and supported more aid to China
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:36 AM on March 13, 2014

Ludovico Sforza invited the French into Italy in 1494 to attack his enemy, Alfonso of Naples, and came to regret it (to put it very mildly.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:02 AM on March 13, 2014

Tanzanian invasion of Uganda, which deposed Idi Amin.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:21 AM on March 13, 2014

The Six Day War was planned to be what you're asking about, but Israel detected the preparations and preempted the attack (with air strikes that knocked out most of the Egyptian air force).
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:23 AM on March 13, 2014

The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2014

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
posted by three blind mice at 8:32 AM on March 13, 2014

Official or unofficial or nod and wink? Does water count as a border?

Off hand, I'm thinking Lafayette here; also, Louisiana volunteers hoping to help a new Texas kick out Santa Ana. US mid-wiving of the Cuban war for independence.

Arguably, the Athenian invasion of Sicily (415 BC - 413 BC).
posted by IndigoJones at 8:47 AM on March 13, 2014

Christian IV of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden assisted protestants in German areas at different times of the 30 Years' War.

Also, some tribes requested aid from Julius Caesar which was the start of the Gallic War.
posted by bdc34 at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2014

India sided with East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during that nation's war of independence.
posted by unmake at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2014

I'd like to thank everyone who responded - I promise I'll do my best tomake a good use of your knowledge.
The answers I have marked as best I consider the most fitting the description, others are mostly fringe cases where either the intervention wasn't by the neighbor's armed forces or the excuse was too thin to seriously consider, like in case of Soviet interventions in Hungary and Czech Republic, where the local Communist governments were loudly protesting and the 'help' was sent to support the ousted dignitaries of the ruling party.
posted by hat_eater at 2:59 AM on March 14, 2014

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