Euronews reflects on the events that marked 2012, starting with look at the conflict in Syria.
2011 ended with a violent crackdown. The bloodshed continued. Houla was the scene of a massacre where at least 50 people were killed. The international community condemned the killings and warned President Bashar al-Assad to stop the conflict. Even his closest allies talked about the end of the regime. There were many refugees, while radical Islamists integrated the ranks of the well armed opposition.
Mursi wins presidential election in Egypt
After Tunisia, the Islamists came to power in Egypt. Mohamed Mursi was elected president, 16 months after the revolution and 20 days after Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mursi had to deal with the factions of his support, but his critics and challenges are economic, social, religious and political. As if with the with the wave of a hand politic was swept away, he dismissed the military council, and he assumed sweeping new powers which triggered fresh clashes. Tahrir Square was boiling and protests moved to the presidential palace, it all gave the impression of deja vu.
Americans killed in Libya
Let’s continue with the theme of the Arab Spring and look at Libya where the disarmament of militias undermined peace in spite of the first elections for sixty-years. The Liberals victory brought hope.
But on September 11, four U.S. officials, including Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. An assault that bore the hallmark of al-Qaeda and discredited Libyan power.
Close to Libya is Mali, where a coup deposed the president. The country was split. In the North Touareg rebels claimed control, they were hunted by government troops. In the north radical Islamists destroyed the tombs of Timbuktu a UNESCO World Heritage site. African countries are planning a military intervention in 2013.
In many countries, elections have brought the Islamists to power. But some fear the Arab Spring has brought religious fundamentalism to succeed the authoritarian dictatorships which preceded it.
The tension is real, like the violence that inflamed the Arab world after the release of an anti-Islamic film.
Israel – Gaza fighting
The assassination of Ahmed Jaabari, military leader of Hamas, marked the beginning of an eight day Israeli offensive. The objective of the operation “Pillar of defence” was to weaken the Islamist movement ruling Gaza. But it emerged stronger, including on the diplomatic front.
A vote at the General Assembly of the United Nations gave Palestine a real, “birth certificate” 65 years after its partition. It was a decision welcomed by a round of applause and general euphoria in Ramallah.
Costa Concordia on the rocks
On the other side of the Mediterranean, at the start of the year there was a dramatic event. A huge cruise ship sailed too close to shore and struck rocks on the island of Giglio in Italy. Water flooded in, the evacuation was chaotic. The cost was terrible: 32 dead, including two missing. Today, the Costa Concordia is a sore on the landscape. There is a long investigation as to why it happened with the captain the main suspect.
Putin wins presidential election
In Russia, a new president was elected. Incumbent, Dmitry Medvedev did not stand. Vladimir Putin, who was president from 2000 to 2008, was the United Russia candidate and was re-elected with over 60% of the votes in a ballot that was disputed before polling and after the votes were counted.
Switzerland’s worst accident
Drama in Switzerland. On March 13, a bus carrying 46 children home from a skiing holiday crashed into the concrete wall of a motorway tunnel. The crash claimed the lives of 22 children and six adults in the country’s worst accident.
In France, Mohamed Merah killed seven people in just a few days: three soldiers, three children and a teacher in a Jewish school in Toulouse. The siege of his apartment ended with the death of the terrorist and raised the question: how a petty criminal could thwart police surveillance and carry out this terror in the name of Jihad?
San Suu Kyi receives Nobel Peace Prize
In April in Burma, a woman took her seat in parliament. Elected MP a month earlier, Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in. It was the symbol of a new step in the long march towards democracy. At the end of June, the “Lady of Rangoon” received the Nobel Peace Prize which she could not collect 21 years earlier.
Also read: A key element found in 2012