Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

2016…a Year of Balances and Maps Confusion | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

London – Asharq Al-Awsat has dedicated a week to review 2016’s most important incidences and developments before anticipating the major incidents of 2017. The newspapers’ reporters and writers have contributed in gathering the remarkable events that took place over the 12 past months on national, regional, and international levels; they also highlighted the backgrounds and makers and sometimes tackled their repercussions and exceptional importance.

Many incidents have dominated the Arab region and the world – these incidents covered security crises like war against terrorism and extremism, projects of expansion and hegemony aiming to spread and exploit factional discord, and the development of international relations with major players and partners in both private and public sectors.

The political issues in the Arab world mainly Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have witnessed important developments; Al-Assad regime supported by Iran and Russia has maintained its efforts to bury the popular uprising through systematic displacement and demographic change. Tehran in cooperation with many local parties has manipulated the local scene aiming to change regional equations; it also benefited from Barak Obama’s Administration, which worked on achieving a nuclear deal with Iran and avoided a serious intervention to stop the Iranian interference.

2016 also witnessed many major events like the 100th anniversary of The Sykes–Picot Agreement, which drew the Middle East’s maps. Over the past 12 months, maps’ changes represented a serious concern, which was highly discussed and negotiated among Arabs, Kurds, Turks, and Iranians. ISIS-led terrorism was also another major dilemma; the organization has taken advantage of people’s burdens and sufferance to justify its draconian acts against civilians.

Last but not least, practices of the Israeli right-winged Likud-led administration and its insistence on continuing settlement and Judaism projects have contributed in maximizing depression among the Arabic and Muslim youth and pushed them toward extremism. We also have to shed lights on the phenomenon of another kind of extremism practiced against Muslims and Arabs all across Europe and the United States.

In fact, the asylum and displacement and even the economic migration, which have grown after the drop of national barriers in Europe have agitated concerns and rivalry against others, and helped racist powers to reach the heart of the battle over the authority. Phenomena which have emphasized this new trend included the British voting for Brexit, the fall of the Italian government, election of the Republican Donald Trump in U.S.A. and the ascension of the right-wing’s influence in France.

On another hand, by the time the West was in confusion with economic obstacles, Russia and China have marked more presence. Russia led by Vladimir Putin has showed more influence in the Middle East and Eastern Europe – taking advantage of Obama’s administration’s weakness – Beijing has sought to play a similar leading role in the Middle East, which has raised concerns among neighboring countries.

Most important incidences:

• January: Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic ties with Iran after the attack on its embassy in Tehran.
• February: Physicians announce their detection for the first clear gravity phenomenon expected by Einstein in 1915.
• February: A historic meeting between Pope Francis and Moscow’s Patriarch in Havana after more than 1000 years of separation among Christians of the East and the West.
• March: The EU inked suspicious agreement with Turkey to stop refugees flow to Europe.
• March: Barack Obama visits Cuba for the first time since Fidel Castro reached the rule in 1959.
• March: ISIS hit Brussels through coordinated attacks and killed 32 people.
• April: Journalists discover Panama Documents revealing scandals of fiscal evasion.
• May: Murder of Taliban’s leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour through an air strike launched by a U.S. drone.
• Mat: Obama calls to clear the world from nuclear weapon of Hiroshima.
• June: Mohammad Ali Clay left this world.
• June: 52% of the British people voted for separation from the EU.
• July: A suicide member carried on an attack in Nice and killed 82 people with a bus hit.
• July: A failed coup attempt took place in Turkey.
• August: Rio Olympics kicked off.
• September: North Koran regime announced success of its fifth nuclear test.
• September: Shimon Peres died.
• November: Republican candidate Donald Trump won U.S. presidential elections.
• November: Syrian army launched violent assault over Aleppo.
• November: Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution passed away.
• December: Twin terrorist attack in Istanbul killed 44 policemen.
• December: Attack against the Coptic church in Cairo
• December: António Guterres sworn in as next U.N. Secretary-General