2011 – a tumultuous year: from the sublime to the tragic

By Harem Karem:

2011 was an eventful year – from the sublime to the tragic. A year that has influenced global history and will most certainly be remembered for decades to come.

Arab Spring:

The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia inadvertently started a revolution that has already led to the ousting of several dictators, convulsing Middle Eastern and North African countries in mass demonstrations, civil war and an energy crisis – costing thousands of lives and yet it is still on-going. The question is how much further will it spread in 2012? Will the wheel of fortune turn against more oppressive and despotic regimes in 2012?

Natural disasters:

A 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck the North Pacific Ocean, not only causing thousands of deaths, with several thousands still missing, but subsequently triggering the meltdown of four nuclear power plants and creating the world’s worst radiation leak in decades. The volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Chile created travel chaos on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  There was flooding and mudslides in Brazil, historic floods in Thailand, Tanzania and Australia and devastating earthquakes in north Kurdistan and New Zealand.

Terrorist war:

The assassination of the world’s most wanted man, long-time enemy of the West, founder and leader of Al-Qaeda, was announced by the US president following an American military operation. This has not only cut the head off the snake, but also unveiled the true face of Pakistan in its commitment to the war on terror. There was also the bombing of Moscow’s International Airport and Christian fundamentalist Anders Breivik’s massacre in Norway.

Western debt crisis:

While natural disasters and overthrowing dictators have kept some nations busy, the European nations are caught up in a man-made financial crisis that threatens the existence of their single currency. Confidence was desperately low in 2011, unemployment climbed and services were diminished – while  the sovereign states of Ireland, Portugal and Greece reluctantly agreed to impose draconian austerity measures and spending cuts in exchange for billions of Euros in bailout packages. Other debt-stricken countries, such as Spain and Italy, might affect the Eurozone even further in 2012.

Other significant events:

The independence of South Sudan, Wikileaks’ exposure of governments, the resignation of IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Khan and the sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

What a tumultuous year 2011 has been…

Twelve months ago, nobody could have predicted any of these events; nor can anybody predict any plate tectonics or flooding in 2012.

But what can be predicted is that there will be elections in more than 50 countries around the world, which might require us to learn a fair few new names. No doubt there will be a lot of twists and turns, starting with Russia, China, France and the United States.

As Iran appear to be on the fast track to achieving its nuclear ambitions despite internal, regional and/or international pressure, little can be done to prevent this, at least until after the US elections.

While Syria is teetering on the brink of civil war, with the civilian death toll constantly rising and signs of sectarian violence mounting, Bashar Al Assad’s desperate bid to cling to power is likely to come to an end.

Iraq will be the battlefield of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US: it’s guaranteed to make the headlines more often in 2012, in the wake the US troops withdrawal. The gap between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds is ever-widening and there are strong indications that Iraq is unlikely to survive in one piece. If we cast the net a little further, South Kurdistan might declare its independence too.

Copyright © 2011 Kurdistantribune.com

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