The Middle East Theatre of World War II is defined largely by reference to the British Middle East Command, which controlled Allied forces in both Southwest Asia and eastern North Africa. From 1943, most of the action and forces concerned were in the adjoining Mediterranean Theatre.
The region was quiet for the first few months of the war, until Fascist Italy declared war against France and Britain on June 10, 1940. It remained a major active theatre for two and a half years until the British Commonwealth Eighth Army crossed the border from Libya into Tunisia. In February 1943, command of the Eighth Army passed from Middle East Command to the Allied Joint command for the Mediterranean, Allied Forces Headquarters. Saudi Arabia, posturing as neutral though somewhat favoring the Allies, officially declared war on Germany and Japan in February 1945, though, in reality, the entire Middle East Theatre was quiet from 1943 until the end of the war.