Timeline of the Middle East in the Twenty First Century


January Algeria: Civil war continues as Islamic extremists combat Algerian forces. Over 100,000 people have been killed since 1992.
  Western Sahara: UN Security Council posits options to break the impasse in the Western Sahara between local Polisario Front and Moroccan forces.
February Iran: Reformist politicians edge out conservative and independent candidates in parliamentary elections; reformists reach majority.
  Qatar: Cousin of then emir, Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, and 32 others are jailed for life for failed coup attempt in 1996.
March Morocco: Half a million Muslim ultraconservatives march in Casablanca to oppose government’s extension of women’s rights. 250,000 supporters of women’s rights march in Rabat.
  UAE: Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and UAE sign a contract for 80 F-16 jets.
April Tunisia: 1st president of Republic of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, dies.
May Israel: Israeli military forces retreat from southern Lebanon due to extended conflict with the anti-Israeli faction, Hezbollah, but hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah continue.
  Lebanon: Pro-Israel South Lebanese Army collapses to Hezbollah military advances, prompting Israel to vacate southern Lebanon.
  Turkey: Ahmet Sezer is elected as the 10th president of Turkey.
June Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia and Yemen sign an agreement to end years of border disputes.
  Syria: President Hafez al-Assad dies and is succeeded by his second son, Bashar.
July Afghanistan: Taliban leaders forbid farmers from growing opium poppy plants, citing religious edicts. Afghan farmers are growing 75% of the world’s opium exports.
  Palestine: U.S. President Bill Clinton acts as mediator in peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Peace terms fall through at the Camp David negotiations, reigniting hostilities.
September Bahrain: Bahrain’s Consultative Council appoints non-Muslims and women to its panel for the first time, including a Christian woman and a Jewish businessman.
  Jordan: Military court sentences six suspected terrorists to death for plotting attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets.
  Oman: First-ever direct elections are held and two women are voted to serve on Sultan Qaboos’ advisory council.
October Egypt: Arab leaders convene in Cairo for Arab League Summit, calling for Arab-Israeli peace talks, but remain critical of Israel.
  Libya: Libyan delegation walks out of summit, angry over Egypt’s continued ties with Israel.
  Yemen: Terrorists crash an explosive boat into the USS Cole while the latter was docked outside the port city of Aden, killing 17 American sailors.
November Iraq: Iraq rejects new UN Security Council weapons inspections proposals unless sanctions over its 1990 invasion of Kuwait are abolished.
December Kuwait: Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE sign a regional defense pact.
Sudan Dec: President Bashir, in office since 1993, is re-elected amidst opposition party boycotts.
Other United States: U.S. intelligence agencies begin collecting information about a potential al-Qaeda plot to attack the United States. CIA and FBI fail to share information with other government entities, which later leads to massive changes in American intelligence sharing protocol. Al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S. take aircraft flying lessons.
January Egypt: President Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat meet to discuss U.S. peace proposals prior to Arab League meetings.
  Israel: Talks falter between Israel and Palestine. Israel resumes blockade of Palestinian territories after hostilities resume.
  Turkey: French National Assembly recognizes the Ottoman Empire’s 1915-17 killings of Armenians as genocide sparking heated contention from Turkey.
February Bahrain: A referendum is held concerning political reform, and citizens strongly call for a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and an independent judiciary.
  Iraq: U.S. and Britain conduct bombing raids to try to disable Iraq’s air defenses. The bombings have little international support.
  Yemen: Contested municipal elections and referendum extend presidential term and powers; at least 40 people killed in election-related violence.
March Jordan: King Abdullah inaugurates the connection of electrical grids between Egypt and Syria.
  Qatar: Qatar settles border disputes with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
April Algeria: Security forces violently clash with native Berber protesters, resulting in many deaths. The Algerian government opens negotiations and grants concessions, including official recognition of the Berber language.
May Libya: Troops support Central African Republic against an attempted coup.
  Syria: Pope John Paul II visits Syria, becomes first pontiff to enter a mosque.
June Iran: President Khatami is re-elected.
  Syria: After Lebanese criticism of Syrian troop presence, soldiers vacate Beirut and redeploy in other parts of Lebanon.
Sept. 11, 2001 United States: Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four U.S. commercial airline planes and conduct suicide attacks. Two planes fly into the World Trade Centers in New York, one partially destroys the Pentagon, and the remaining hijacked flight is sabotaged by civilian passengers who crash the plane in rural Pennsylvania. 2,996 people are killed. U.S. and an international coalition respond by invading al-Qaeda strongholds in Afghanistan to topple terrorist regime.
September Tunisia: 14th Mediterranean Games held in Tunis.
October Kuwait: Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti Islamist, emerges in Afghanistan as a spokesman for Osama bin Laden. He was convicted in March 2014 for conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists.
  Oman: Oman and Britain conduct military exercises in Omani desert to prepare strikes against Taliban in Afghanistan.
November Bahrain: The Al-Wefaq opposition movement is founded.
  Morocco: Morocco reaches agreement on climate control to set mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  Sudan: U.S. continues unilateral sanctions against Sudan, citing record of terrorism and human rights violations.
  UAE: Government freezes the accounts of 62 individuals and organizations suspected of funding terrorism.
  Western Sahara: Moroccan King Mohammed VI tours Western Sahara, stirring controversy with Sahrawi opposition groups.
December Lebanon: Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan agree on a $1 billion oil pipeline project.
  Palestine: Israeli troops surround Ramallah after wave of Palestinian attacks inside Israel.
  Saudi Arabia: King Fahd proclaims that terrorism is forbidden according to Islamic Law. Saudi Arabia extends women’s rights by granting female citizens ID cards.
January Iran: U.S. President George W. Bush declares Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an “axis of evil.” The statement incites outrage in Iran and is rebuked by both reformists and conservatives.
  Libya: Libya and U.S. begin discussions to mend years of hostility over suspected local terrorism support.
  Saudi Arabia: Unemployment rate remains around 15%-20%.
  UAE: UAE successfully enrolls 98% of all female students eligible for school resulting in a 60% female student population.
February Algeria: Civil war comes to an end. The decade of war comes to be known as the “Black Decade.”
  Bahrain: Through May, the country is now constitutional monarchy with an elected lower parliament, and also allows women to stand for office. Elections are held and over 50% of the country votes, despite local Islamists’ call for a boycott.
  Yemen: Government cracks down on al-Qaeda by expelling more than 100 foreign Islamic clerics.
March Egypt: U.S. President George Bush and President Mubarak agree on necessity of Middle East peace initiative, although no framework for achieving that goal is announced.
  Israel: After series of Palestinian suicide attacks in Israel, Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank, the largest Israeli military action in the area since 1967.
  Lebanon: The Beirut Declaration, more widely known as the Arab Peace Initiative, is endorsed by the Arab League to bring cooperation between Arab states as well as a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel rejects the resolution plan.
  Palestine: Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield on West Bank. The Arab League proposes to recognize Israel in return for its full withdrawal from occupied territories since 1967.
  Qatar: Preparations begin at the al-Udeid air base for a potential U.S. transfer of Central Command officers to location as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and in anticipation of combat in the Middle East.
April Kuwait: The United Nations raises almost $1 billion for Kuwait in compensation for Iraq’s 1990 invasion.
  Western Sahara: UN inspectors record that local Polisario Front has been holding 916 Moroccan prisoners for more than 20 years, the longest-held POWs in the world.
May Sudan: Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the government end 19-year civil war, and south of Sudan can now seek separate statehood after six years. African agriculturalists in the Darfur region protest unfair treatment from the Arab government and launch attacks; state responds with aerial bombings.
  Syria: U.S. Under Secretary for State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, states that Syria is acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Read his presentation to the Heritage Foundation about the threats of Axis of Evil states and beyond.
  Tunisia: President Ben Ali wins referendum on constitutional changes, ending term limits and raising age requirement.
June Afghanistan: With U.S. toppling of the Taliban, the Grand Council elects Hamid Karzai as interim head of state.
  Algeria: Elections are marred by violence and low turnout. Four different political parties, two of which are Berber, boycott them as a sham.
  Israel: Starts construction of barrier wall in and around the West Bank, ostensibly to stop armed Palestinians from entering Israel, breaking pre-1967 ceasefire agreements.
July Morocco: Morocco and Spain agree to U.S.-led negotiations concerning a dispute over the island of Perejil in the Mediterranean Sea. Previously, Moroccan troops planted a flag on the uninhabited island, and Spain responded by sending soldiers to take the island back.
September Iran: Russian technicians start construction of Iran’s first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from the U.S.
  Iraq: U.S. President Bush tells world leaders at UN General Assembly to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq or to stand aside as the U.S. acts.
October Jordan: Senior U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley is fatally shot in the capital city of Amman; Al-Qaeda claims responsibility but denies Foley was the target.
November Oman: Extends voting rights from tribal leaders, intellectuals and businessmen to every citizen over the age of 21.
  Turkey: Islamist Justice and Development Party (AK) secures majority in Turkish elections.
February Morocco: Through May, Casablanca jails three al-Qaeda members, eliciting a wave of terrorist bombings that kill more than 40 people.
  Qatar: Qatar-based U.S. Central Command takes the lead in the U.S.-led Iraq War. Qatari voters also approve of a new constitution in which two-thirds of the parliament is elected, and the remaining one-third is appointed by the emir.
  Sudan: Two Darfur rebel factions rally jointly to destroy a Sudanese air base. Government responds by enlisting the Janjaweed militia (Arab), who target civilians and proceed with ethnic cleansing. This marks the beginning of what becomes internationally recognized as genocide.
March Egypt: Leaders of the League of Arab States, led by Bahrain, convene in Sharm el-Sheikh to strongly oppose a potential Iraq war and call for Saddam Hussein to comply with UN WMD inspectors.
  Iraq: U.S. invades Iraq under premise of capturing weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein and toppling his Ba’athist Party, one of the tools by which he maintained tight control of the country.
  Kuwait: Tens of thousands of soldiers mass at northern border to aid in U.S. invasion of Iraq.
  Libya: President Gaddafi blames Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for U.S. intervention in the Middle East.
  Palestine: Mahmoud Abbas, an advocate for Israeli-Palestine peace, is elected as prime minister of Palestine.
  UAE: At Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, UAE calls for Saddam Hussein’s resignation and exile as a possible resolution to the crisis; response from Arab leaders is divided.
April Syria: U.S. threatens sanctions, alleging that regime is developing chemical weapons and aiding Iraqi fugitives.
  Yemen: 10 suspects in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2001 escape from prison. Two are recaptured by 2004.
May Algeria: The capital city, Algiers, and the surrounding countryside are hit by a powerful earthquake, resulting in 2,000 casualties.
  Bahrain: Thousands of citizens who claim to have been tortured petition the king for the right to sue previous torturers.
June Iran: Thousands of students protest in Tehran against restrictive clerical rule.
  Turkey: Through July, in ongoing appeal to gain EU membership, parliament eases restrictions on freedom of speech and Kurdish language rights; AKP moves to reduce military influence on politics.
July Kuwait: Islamist and pro-government candidates gain traction over liberal party in parliamentary elections.
August Afghanistan: NATO conducts security operations in Kabul in its first non-European operational deployment.
  Jordan: Jordanian embassy in Iraq is attacked, killing 11. Jordan’s Central Bank releases frozen accounts of Hamas leaders. First parliamentary elections under King Abdullah II take place.
September Israel/Lebanon: Hezbollah and Israel exchange artillery attacks, bombings, and gunfire, 3 years after Israel retreated from southern Lebanon.
October Oman: First elections to the Consultative Council with little change to political make-up of the house.
  Western Sahara: UN proposes referendum plan between Western Sahara and Morocco, fails.
November Iran: Government allows tougher UN inspections of its nuclear reactors. IAEA concludes there is no evidence of weapons program.
  Saudi Arabia: King Fahd grants the national Consultative Council the ability to propose legislation without his permission.
December Libya: Government states that it will no longer pursue weapons of mass destruction.
  Iraq: After a nine-month manhunt, Saddam Hussein is found hiding in his hometown of Tikrit and is captured.
January Syria: Assad visits Turkey, the first Syrian president to do so.
  Turkey: Turkey bans death penalty in all circumstances, in further attempt to curry favor with EU.
February Iran: Conservatives win majority in parliamentary elections. The Council of Guardians disqualifies thousands of reformist candidates prior to voting.
  Israel: Israeli civil rights groups take legal action against West Bank “security barrier,” claiming that it infringes on Palestinian civil rights.
  Qatar: Former Chechen president, Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev, is assassinated in capital city of Doha. Qatar’s courts sentences two Russian agents with life imprisonment, resulting in deterioration in relations with Russia. Prisoners later extradited back to Russia.
  Saudi Arabia: A stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca leaves 251 dead.
March Libya: British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits Libya, the first time a British prime minister has done so since 1943.
Oman: Sultan appoints first female minister with significant responsibilities in any GCC country.
Other – Spain: Al-Qaeda in Europe detonates ten backpack bombs on Madrid trains during rush-hour, killing 191 people and wounding 1,800. Police begin arresting suspects and Spanish Prime Minister withdraws military soldiers from Iraq.
April Algeria: Incumbent Bouteflika re-elected with a strong percentage of the votes.
  Bahrain: First female cabinet member is appointed in position of health minister.
Iraq: 4 American military contractors are ambushed, killed, and paraded through the streets in Fallujah. American forces begin a siege on Fallujah, fighting street-to-street to root out insurgents.
  Jordan: Officials arrest al-Qaeda suspects while seizing several explosive-laden cars. Eight Islamic terrorists are sentenced to death for the killing of senior U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in 2002. Arrested militants allege confession was coerced.
  Lebanon/Syria: UN Security Council demands that Syria remove its troops from Lebanese borders. Syria refuses.
  Saudi Arabia: Waves of terrorist attacks are launched by Saudi-based affiliates of Al Qaeda against Riyadh police, foreign journalists, and a U.S. consulate.
  Western Sahara: UN Security Council urges Polisario Front and Morocco to accept autonomy plan. Polisario accepts, Morocco rejects. The conflict continues.
June Iraq: U.S. transfers sovereignty to interim Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
  Saudi Arabia: Security forces kill leader of Al-Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin; make attempts to curb Al Qaeda recruitment.
  Turkey: State TV broadcasts first Kurdish-language program. Four Kurdish activists are freed from jail.
  Yemen: The Houthi clan begins years-long fight with federal government, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment to gain support in the country.
July Israel: The Israeli supreme court and the International Court of Justice determine the West Bank security barrier is illegal and order for it to be torn down.
  Morocco: Morocco is designated by the U.S. as a major non-NATO ally, with a free trade agreement following.
  Palestine: Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat falls ill and dies in Paris. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas names his successor.
September Bahrain: The government signs a free trade pact with U.S., while Saudi Arabia expresses discontent that this move could hinder regional integration.
  Egypt: 500 intellectuals and political activists form the Kefaya (“Enough” in Arabic) movement call for end to government corruption and the resignation of President Mubarak.
  Sudan: UN states that Sudan has not achieved disarmament of pro-government Darfur militias and must accept outside help to protect civilians.
  Syria: UN Security Council calls for all foreign troops to leave Lebanon.
  Yemen: Hussein al-Houthi, founder of the Shia separatist group, is killed by government troops.
October Afghanistan: Through November, Afghanistan holds first democratic presidential elections; Hamid Karzai is declared the winner.
  Egypt: Al-Qaeda carries out three bombings in the Sinai Peninsula, targeting tourists and resulting in 34 deaths.
  Tunisia: President Ben Ali wins 4th term. Since Ali’s successful 1987 coup, he has never received less than 94% vote.
November UAE:  UAE President Sheikh Zayed Bin-Sultan Al Nahyan dies and is succeeded by his son, Sheikh Khalifa.
December Kuwait: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas apologizes to Kuwait for the Palestinian support of Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
January Kuwait: Islamist militants and police fight in lethal gun battles.
  Libya: The return of U.S.-Libyan economic relations after 20 years begins with first auction of oil and gas licenses.
  Oman: 100 Islamists are arrested for trying to overthrow the government but some are pardoned.
  Palestine: Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is elected as president of Palestine. He and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announce suspension of hostilities, with Israel withdrawing its troops from Palestinian lands.
  Other—England: Four terrorist suicide bombers target London trains, killing 39 and wounding 700. Al-Qaeda claims responsibility, but the terrorists were likely radicalized natives.
  Sudan: Government and southern rebels agree to a peace deal. The contract includes a permanent ceasefire and accords on wealth and power sharing.
February Iraq: 114 people are killed by car bomb near Baghdad in the worst single bombing incident since the U.S.-led invasion.
  Lebanon: Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is killed in Beirut. Washington points to Syrian influence. Lebanese activists kick-start the Cedar Revolution, a mass protest for Syria to vacate its soldiers from Lebanon.
  Saudi Arabia: First-time municipal elections are held, but women are barred from voting.
March Algeria: A government-commissioned report indicates that security forces were responsible for 6,000 civilian disappearances during the Algerian Civil War.
  Bahrain: Protesters begin marching for an elected parliament, instead of absolute control by the king.
April Jordan: King Abdullah pressures the parliament to instill new reforms, which prompts the cabinet to resign and a new cabinet is sworn in.
  Lebanon/Syria: Damascus withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon.
May Kuwait: New law allows women to vote and the first woman is appointed to the cabinet.
June Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran’s ultra-conservative mayor, wins presidential election. Government announces it has resumed uranium conversion for peaceful purposes. IAEA finds Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  Qatar: Qatar’s first written constitution is put fully into effect, extending democratic reform.
July Egypt: Islamist terrorists launch bomb attacks at a Red Sea resort.
  Tunisia: Parliament inducts a new upper house that is run by the ruling party, the Chamber of Councilors.
  Yemen: Demonstrators and police clash over cuts in fuel subsidies, resulting in 36 deaths.
August Jordan: Insurgents in southern Jordan launch a rocket attack against the USS Ashland, missing the vessel but killing one Jordanian soldier.
  Saudi Arabia: King Fahd passes away, succeeded by Crown Prince Abdullah, his half-brother, who had been the de facto ruler for the previous ten years, after Fahd suffered incapacitating stroke in 1996.
September Afghanistan: Through December, first parliamentary elections are held in more than 30 years, with warlords and strongmen winning majority.
  Algeria: Referendum passes to extend amnesty to many who fought in the Civil War.
  Israel: Israel withdraws Jewish settlers and military from Gaza, but maintains control of airspace, coast, and borders.
Morocco: The government deports hundreds of African migrants who attempt to cross illegally into Spanish enclaves.
  Western Sahara: World Food Programme delivers $40 million in relief in recovery for Western Sahara refugees.
October Sudan: A separate government is created in the south. It is dominated by former rebels.
  Turkey: Turkey and the European Union formally begin talks about potential Turkish membership in the EU.
November Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia joins the World Trade Organization after 12 years of deliberations.
December Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood wins record 20% of seats by running as independents.
  Iraq: Iraqis vote for first, full-term government and parliament since the fall of Saddam.
  UAE:  President Sheikh Khalifa announces the first UAE elections. Half of the consultative Federal National Council is elected by a limited number of citizens.
  Iraq: Saddam Hussein’s trial begins. He is charged with a variety of crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait and using gas on his Kurdish citizens.
January Morocco: Spanish Premier visits Spanish enclaves in Morocco, the first time a Spanish leader to do so.
  Oman: Oman and the United States sign a free-trade deal.
  Saudi Arabia: 363 Hajj pilgrims are killed in a stampede.
February Iraq: An important Shia shrine in Samarra is bombed and sparks sectarian violence, hundreds of people are killed.
  Tunisia: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Tunisian leaders pledge stronger military ties against extremism.
March Algeria: Six month window of Civil War amnesty begins. Some Islamic militants are freed from prison.
  Palestine: The Palestinian militant movement Hamas wins the majority of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Hamas is openly antagonistic towards Israel and is willing to fight for the creation of an Islamic state of Palestine.
  UAE: Announces economic changes including the reduction of dependency on foreign labor and legalization of trade unions.
  Yemen: More than 600 al-Houthi supporters are released under amnesty negotiations.
April Egypt: Bomb attacks in another Red Sea resort kill more than 20 people.
May Libya: The United States begins restoring full diplomatic ties with Libya.
  Turkey: A gunman assaults Turkey’s highest court, killing a prominent judge and wounding four others.
June Kuwait: Islamists, reformists, and liberals form a temporary alliance to win 2/3 of parliamentary seats. No women are elected.
  Turkey: Parliament legislates new anti-terror initiatives. This move worries EU as an opportunity for torture.
July Israel: Israel responds to Hezbollah assaults with 34-day war. 1,100 Lebanese and 160 Israelis are killed, and 1 million Lebanese are displaced. Hezbollah’s fighters became heroes to anti-Israeli sympathizers throughout Middle East.
  Lebanon: Hezbollah attacks Israel from southern Lebanon, killing Israeli soldiers and abducting two prisoners of war.
August Iran: UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt its work on nuclear fuel passes. UN Council votes to impose sanctions on Iran. Iran condemns the resolution and declares that it will speed up uranium enrichment.
  Jordan: King Abdullah II criticizes the U.S. and Israel for conflict in Lebanon.
  Sudan: Sudan rejects a UN resolution for a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, claiming it would violate sovereignty.
  Iraq: Saddam Hussein’s second trial begins, this time for gassing Kurds in 1982.
September Syria: Four gunmen attack the U.S. embassy in Damascus, but are thwarted. Three are killed, one is captured.
  Yemen: After pressure from the public to seek another term, incumbent President Saleh enters race and wins the election.
October Afghanistan: NATO assumes control of security across Afghanistan, replacing American leadership of coalition forces.
  Saudi Arabia: Monarchy sets sturdier guidelines to royal succession to prevent possible rivalries amongst next generation of princes.
  Western Sahara: Morocco calls UN report critical of human rights record in Western Sahara biased in favor of Polisario Front.
November Bahrain: Shia party wins 40% of the country’s election, with Jawad bin Salem al-Oraied named Deputy Prime Minister.
  Egypt: IAEA reports Egypt is one of at six Arab countries developing domestic nuclear programs to diversify energy.
  Sudan: Northern Sudanese forces and southern rebels re-engage in conflict.
  Syria: Syria and Iraq reestablish diplomatic relations after nearly 25 years.
December Iran: Iran hosts a controversial Holocaust conference, which includes prominent Holocaust deniers.
  Iraq: Saddam Hussein is executed after he is convicted in his second trial for massacring Kurds in 1982 in Jubail.
  Qatar: Becomes first Arab country to host the Olympic Asian Games.
  UAE: Very first national election is held, but voters are a small group of handpicked citizens.
January Iraq: U.S. President G.W. Bush announces new Iraq strategy, the “Surge,” in which 30,000 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to help sectarian violence.
  Libya: Prime minister announces plans to increase government jobs by a third (400,000 more), to promote the private sector and relax spending.
  Western Sahara: Morocco extends option Sahrawis for vote to either integrate into Morocco, or become an autonomous region under the kingdom. Polisario Front counters that option with demand for full independence; Morocco rejects idea.
March Egypt: Government amends the constitution to ban political parties based upon religion and also dilutes judicial oversight of elections.
Morocco: Multiple waves of suicide bombers attack Casablanca through March and April.
  UAE: UAE reveals strategy of national development in order to become world leader and diversify economy.
May Lebanon: Through September, intense infighting between Islamist movement Fatah al-Islam and government forces at the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared.
  Sudan: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for a government minister and a Janjaweed militia officer suspected of war crimes in Darfur.
June Oman: Cyclone Gonu disrupts oil production and kills more than 50 people.
  Yemen: Houthi rebels accept a ceasefire after months of clashes with security forces.
  Palestine: President Mahmoud Abbas declares a state of emergency as infighting between Hamas and Fatah intensifies. PM Abbas withdraws Fatah forces from Gaza Strip, Hamas claims territory for itself.
July Kuwait: Kuwait experiences record oil exports and economic growth. However, power generators are unable to keep up with new electricity demands, and citizens have to conserve power.
  Saudi Arabia: Religious police are banned from detaining suspects due to compounding criticism for overzealous behavior after recent deaths in custody.
  Turkey: Islamist AK Party wins parliamentary elections.
August Afghanistan: Opium production soars to record high, UN reports.
September Bahrain: Bahrain extends amnesty to thousands of illegal foreign workers.
  Israel: Launches airstrike and destroys suspected Syrian nuclear site.
  Morocco: Parliamentary elections favor conservative Istiqlal Party.
  Qatar: Qatar and Dubai manage to become the two biggest shareholders of the London Stock Exchange, the world’s third largest.
  Syria: Israel launches airstrike against northern Syria site said to be a nuclear facility.
October Iraq: Number of violent civilian and military deaths decreases, as does the frequency of rocket attacks.
  Turkey: U.S. congressional committee recognizes killings of Armenians under Ottoman Empire as genocide, causing diplomatic row with Turkey.
November Jordan: Parliamentary elections strengthen role of tribal leaders as well as government advocates. The Islamic Action Front opposition party begins to lose electoral power, and moderate Nader Dahabi is appointed prime minister. IAF claims that the government rigged the election.
  Tunisia: Government blocks popular video-sharing sites, including YouTube, to censor material by and about opposition activists.
December Western Sahara: A Human Rights Watch employee is arrested and beaten by Moroccan security forces, then released.
January Sudan: UN replaces Darfur peacekeeping forces. Government aircraft bomb rebel positions in West Darfur, creating no-go zones for aid workers.
  UAE: Government signs a deal allowing France to set up a permanent military base in the country.
  Yemen: Houthi rebels and government forces clash again.
March Iran: President Ahmadinejad makes official visit to Iraq, where he calls upon U.S. coalition troops to withdraw. Ahmadinejad says Iran wants to help rebuild Iraq and he signs cooperation agreements.
  Qatar: Christians are now allowed to worship openly following the inauguration of the first official Christian church, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.
April Egypt: Military courts jail 25 leading Muslim Brotherhood members in crackdown on organization’s funding.
  Morocco: Two Moroccan terrorists involved with the Casablanca bombings are arrested in Spain.
  Oman: The Olympic torch passes through country without issue amidst high security in its worldwide travel.
  Western Sahara: Polisario Front and Morocco fail to reach referendum agreement.
  Yemen: Southern Yemenis protest and fight against government troops for suspected bias in job allocations towards citizens in northern Yemen.
May Bahrain: The government appoints a Jewish woman, Houda Nonoo, as its ambassador to the United States. She is the first Jewish, female ambassador from the Arab world.
  Kuwait: Radical Islamists win more than half of parliamentary seats. No women are elected.
  Western: Sahara: Polasario Front publicly commemorates 35th anniversary resisting Moroccan occupation.
July Iran: Government test-fires new long-range Shahab-3, a missile claimed to be capable of hitting Israel.
  Israel: Israel and Hezbollah agree to exchange Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners, along with the remains of deceased fighters, for the remains of fallen Israeli soldiers.
  Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia and Qatar agree to a formal delineation between their borders.
  Sudan: The International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor calls for the arrest of President Bashir on charges of genocide.
  Tunisia: Government passes constitutional amendments that put severe restrictions on political candidacy, disqualifying several upcoming candidates.
  Turkey: A petition filed by the Chief Prosecutor to have governing Islamist AK Party ousted for supposedly undermining secular constitution fails by narrow margin in the Constitutional Court of Turkey.
UAE: UAE cancels the debt owed by Iraq, totaling nearly $7 billion.
August Algeria: Al-Qaeda ends suicide bombing campaign and changes tactics, ambushing security forces and kidnapping for ransom, which net the group millions.
  Jordan: Jordan’s King Abdullah II visits Iraq, the first time an Arab leader had done so since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
September Afghanistan: President George W. Bush deploys 4,500 more U.S. troops, coined as a “quiet surge.”
  Libya: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit signifies the highest-level U.S. visit to Libya since 1953.
  Syria: Hosts a summit between Syria, France, Turkey and Qatar, in an effort to boost Middle East peace. An explosion kills 17 near Damascus; government blames Islamist militants.
October Lebanon: Lebanon and Syria formally establish diplomatic relations for first time since the 1940s.
November Algeria: Parliament allows presidents to run for third term.
  Iraq: Parliament approves security pact with U.S. stating all U.S. troops are to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
  Palestine: Israel launches attacks in Gaza. Hamas declares a ceasefire violation and launches its own rockets. The Gaza War begins.
December Israel: Launches a full-scale invasion of Gaza to halt rocket attacks, while also targeting political actors, beginning the 3-week Gaza War, named Operation Cast Lead by Israel.
  Morocco: Two additional suspects are jailed in Morocco for their involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
January Palestine: The Gaza War comes to an end between Hamas and Israel with a unilateral ceasefire.
  Qatar: The government cuts ties with Israel over the Gaza offensive.
  Western Sahara: Polisario Front declares exclusive economic zone, extending 200 nautical miles west of the country.
February Israel: The right wing Likud party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, wins majority of parliamentary elections.
  Libya: President Gaddafi is elected as chairman of the African Union, with ambitions to unify the organization as the United States of Africa.
  Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah fires head of religious police, the highest senior judge, and the central bank head and replaces with newly selected officials. First woman minister appointed.
March Kuwait: Emir dissolves parliament after corruption allegations against his nephew and the Prime Minister.
  UAE: Sulim Yamadayev, rival to the Chechen President, is assassinated in Dubai.
April Algeria: President Bouteflika wins third term with 90.24% of the vote. Five other candidates participated in the race.
  Bahrain: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pardons more than 170 prisoners, most of whom were accused of endangering national security, including 35 Shiites.
June Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai re-elected as president.
  Iran: President Ahmadinejad is re-elected president. Rival candidates allege the vote is rigged. Protesters clash with security forces, and at least 30 people are killed and more than 1,000 arrested.
  Iraq: U.S. withdraws soldiers from towns and cities in Iraq, formally handing over security duties to new Iraqi forces.
  Lebanon: Cedar Revolution-inspired, pro-Western politicians win parliamentary elections and form a coalition government.
  Oman: Suspected Somali pirates off Oman seize a cargo ship.
  Syria: The IAEA claims traces of undeclared uranium have been found at a reactor in Damascus.
July Algeria: Algeria, Nigeria and Niger formally agree to build a $13 billion pipeline for Nigerian gas to cross the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean.
  Morocco: Alleged al-Qaeda leader in Morocco, Abdelkader Belliraj, is imprisoned for life for committing six murders in Belgium.
August Egypt: 26 members of Hezbollah go on trial in Cairo for plotting attacks in Egypt and sending weapons to Hamas in Gaza.
  Yemen: Army launches new attacks against Houthi rebels, displacing tens of thousands of people.
October Iran: Five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany make proposal to Iran to enrich its uranium abroad. Iran rejects the proposal.
  Tunisia: President Ben Ali wins fifth five-year term amid criticisms of unfair election process.
November Jordan: Jordan’s King Abdullah II dissolves parliament and appoints a new premier to push economic reform.
  UAE: UAE begins to experience economic slowdown and withdraws from the planning table for the Gulf Monetary Union, hampering economic integration in the region.
December Afghanistan: U.S .President Obama announces decision to deploy 30,000 soldiers, stating that U.S. will begin to withdraw by 2011.
  Sudan: North and South leaders agree to terms of referendum on independence due by 2011.
  Turkey: Turkey’s government introduces the “Kurdish Initiative”, which expands the linguistic and cultural rights of the Kurdish minority, while also curtailing Turkish military presence in the Kurdish southeast.
January Libya: Russia agrees to an arms deal worth $1.8 billion, which includes fighter jets, tanks, and air defense systems.
  UAE: Burj Khalifa tower, the world’s tallest building, completed. In Dubai, Palestinian military leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, is assassinated and Israeli involvement is alleged.
February Palestine: Fatah and Hamas resume talks on reconciliation. Direct talks resume between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but are hampered by disagreement over settlements.
  Turkey: Nearly 70 members of the military are arrested over alleged “Sledgehammer” coup plot.
  Yemen: The government and Houthis negotiate a ceasefire which fails by December.
April Algeria: Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger set up joint command to combat against area terrorism.
May Israel: 9 Turkish pro-Palestinians are killed when several civilian ships attempt to break Gaza blockade as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Israel apologizes to Turkey in 2013.
  Syria: U.S. continues sanctions, claiming that Syria aids terrorist groups, seeks weapons of mass destruction, and provides Hezbollah with Scud missiles in violation of UN resolutions.
June Iran: UN Security Council implements fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear enrichment program, which includes tougher financial restrictions and an expanded arms embargo.
  Libya: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a UN refugee agency, is kicked out of Libya.
July Sudan: International Criminal Court issues second arrest warrant for President al-Bashir. Bashir ignores warrant by visiting Kenya, an ICC signatory. The Kenyan government does not enforce the warrant.
August Iraq: The last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq.
September Israel: Talks resume between Israel and Palestine, but talks cease over discussion of settlements.
  Yemen: Army fights against southern separatists, displacing thousands of civilians.
October Bahrain: Elections favor Shia opposition group, the Islamic National Accord Association, allowing it to retain previous gains.
  Lebanon: Hezbollah calls for Lebanon to boycott UN Hariri tribunal, claiming the procedure is “in league with Israel.”
  Western Sahara: Ethnic Sahrawi youths protest Moroccan occupation and human rights abuses. Moroccan police attack, killing dozens in what becomes known as the Gdim Izik incident.
November Afghanistan: NATO agrees to pass control of security to Afghani forces by end of 2014.
  Egypt:  Muslim Brotherhood fails to win a single seat in parliamentary election, alleges vote rigging.
  Jordan:  Government introduces a new electoral law, but critics say that it does not make elections more representative. Parliamentary elections are boycotted by IAF, and riots ensue after elections heavily favor pro-government candidates.
  Morocco:  Security forces assault a protest camp in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, triggering violent demonstrations.
  Saudi Arabia:  In an 8 month sting, 149 suspected al-Qaeda members are arrested. Also, the first metro system in Mecca opens.
December Kuwait: Parliament members injured as protesters fight police over alleged government conspiracy to change constitution.
  Oman: The 2nd Asian Beach Games are held in Muscat.
  Qatar: Wins bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
  Tunisia:  Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, lights himself on fire to protest government mistreatment. His death sparks protest movement, the Jasmine Revolution, and Tunisian government reacts aggressively. The Arab Spring begins.
  Other—Islamic State of Iraq: Islamic State of Iraq’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, recruits ousted high-ranking Ba’athist officials from Saddam Hussein’s toppled regime. ISI restructures into being cohesive, adaptable, and capable of prolonged combat. ISI begins oil-smuggling, blackmailing Mosul traders, and fostering sympathy from the Iraqi Army.
January Algeria: Through April, Arab Spring protesters clash with security forces. In response, President Bouteflika cuts food prices, ends 19 year state-of-emergency, and ends state monopoly over the radio. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda continues terrorist attacks.
  Egypt: Arab Spring protesters clash against security forces, and Egyptian Army refuses to fight civilians. President Mubarak steps down and senior military council replaces his rule. Protesters are wary of military council motivations and intentions.
  Lebanon: Government collapses after Hezbollah and sympathetic ministers resign.
  South Sudan: People of southern Sudan vote for full independence from the north. South Sudan gains independence.
  Tunisia: Security forces are overwhelmed by Arab Spring protesters, prompting President Ben Ali to cede his office and go into exile. Democratic elections are held and a new president and prime minister are elected.
  Yemen: Through June, Yemeni Arab Spring protesters clash with loyalists of President Salih. After being injured in a bombing attack, Salih agrees to transfer power to the vice-president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and democratic elections are scheduled.
February Bahrain: Security forces are aided by Saudi Arabian soldiers to successfully suppress Arab Spring protesters. Shia Muslims blamed for the protests and many are detained; reports of torture surface.
  Iran: Protests against authoritarian rule spread here and are met with heavy resistance by regime forces.
  Jordan: Arab Spring protests compel King Abdullah II to replace the prime minister, who he selected without consulting parliament, a sticking point with protesters who were opposed to monarchical power.
Libya: Arab Spring protesters clash against country’s leader, Colonel Gaddafi. At first non-violent, the protests turn bloody as the regime counters with a crackdown.
  Morocco: Through July, thousands of protesters call for parliamentary reforms. King Mohammed VI updates constitution, but demonstrations continue to press for deeper reforms.
  Oman: Arab Spring protesters clash with police, and Sultan Qaboos responds by promising jobs and economic benefits. The Sultan also promises greater powers to elected Consultative Council.
  Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah announces increased welfare spending to quell calls for reform from citizens.
March Kuwait: Protesters call for reform. Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah dissolves parliament and replaces prime minister over corruption allegations.
  Syria: Arab Spring demonstrators are assaulted by government, resulting in increased allegations of human rights violations. Russia and China veto UN Security Council resolutions to force President Assad to cease inhumane actions.
  UAE: Joins international military operations in Libya.
April Qatar: Joins international military operations in Libya, calling on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to resign. Qatar is suspected of supplying arms to Libyan rebel groups.
May Other-Pakistan: On May 2nd, Al-Qaeda leader and engineer of 9/11 Osama bin Laden is killed by U.S. Special Forces. Bin Laden’s remains are captured by Spec Ops and he is buried at sea according to Islamic law and to prevent his burial site from becoming a jihadist rallying point.
June Lebanon: Prime Minister Najib Mikati forms cabinet dominated by Hezbollah.
  Turkey: Ruling AK party wins general election, and Prime Minister Erdogan begins third term.
July Western Sahara: UN peace talks fail on 20th anniversary of failed referendum initiative for country’s independence from Morocco.
August Iraq: Violence escalates. Estimated 40 nation-wide attacks are coordinated in one day.
September Saudi Arabia: Women granted the right to vote in municipal elections and are now eligible for the consultative Shura Council.
October Israel: Israel and Hamas exchange prisoners, one Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinians, brokered by Egypt and Germany.
  Palestine: Palestinian National Authority campaigns for UN membership for Palestine and new talks with Israel. The bid fails, but Palestine is upgraded to being a “non-member observer state.”
November Morocco: New parliamentary elections are won by the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD).
  Sudan: A Kenyan judge issues arrest warrant for President Bashir to be detained if he returns to the country.
December Iraq: An arrest warrant is issued for Vice-President al-Hashemi, a renowned Sunni politician. Sunni parties boycott parliament.
January Afghanistan: Taliban opens an office in Qatar to begin launching peace talks with U.S. and Afghan government.
  Egypt: Egyptian military council agrees to democratic elections, and Egyptians vote in new People’s Assembly.
  Iran: EU announces further sanctions, focusing on banks, trade and vital gas imports.
  Morocco: New coalition led by the Justice and Development Party begins office. Months later tens of thousands of protesters rally and accuse the PJD of not delivering on their platforms.
February Bahrain: Bahraini police break up an attempt by protesters to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Arab Spring demonstrations. Renewed protests spark again and activists are jailed.
  South Sudan: The government signs a non-aggression pact with Sudan, but then Sudan closes oil pipelines into South Sudan, forcing the government to cut public spending by half.
  Western Sahara: Members of the local protest group, Gdeim Izik, are assaulted in their jail cells by Moroccan officers.
  Yemen: Yemen democratically holds elections, with interim-president Had? as the only candidate on the ballot. Mr. Had? is elected.
April UAE: UAE ambassador to Iran is recalled after a dispute over an island that both countries claim.
May Afghanistan: NATO plans to withdraw foreign troops by the end of 2014.
  Palestine: Rival factions Hamas and Fatah’s interim government both sign agreement to pave the way for new elections. The government agrees to a non-violent settlement with Israel.
June Saudi Arabia: The government agrees to allow women to compete in Olympics for first time, as gender discrimination issues can potentially bar the country from participating.
  Tunisia: Hardline conservatives attack an art show deemed offensive to Islam. Government blames Salafists, but also criticizes artists on content.
Former President Ben Ali is sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of 23 protesters.
July Turkey: Syria shoots down a Turkish plane and Turkey respond by stating that Syrian troops will be seen as a military threat if they approach Turkish borders.
August Libya: Libyan Transitional Government hands power to newly elected General National Congress.
  Syria: Prime Minister Riad Hijab defects. U.S. President Obama warns that Syrian use of chemical weapons could lead to U.S. intervention, his so-called “red line”.
September Libya: On September 11th, terrorists attack a CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, and kill four American citizens, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
  Oman: Activists are tried in court for criticizing the government online during protests over unemployment and lack of democracy.
  Sudan: Sudan and South Sudan agree on a demilitarized buffer zone and resume oil sales after days of talks in Ethiopia, but fail to resolve border issues.
October Algeria: Army kills Algerian al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, Boualem Bekai.
  Iran: The currency drops to a record low, losing about 80% of its value since 2011 due to international sanctions.
  Jordan: Jordan’s parliamentary elections are boycotted by the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and a new prime minister is appointed. Demonstrations erupt against the lifting of fuel subsidies, and there are calls by activists for the end of the monarchy.
  Kuwait: 5,000 protesters fight security forces outside parliament over fears that government will redraw constituencies.
November Egypt: Elected President Morsi reduces judiciary’s ability to challenge his decisions, but backtracks after protests escalate.
  Israel: After months of escalating rocket attacks, Israel launches military attacks into Gaza.
  UAE: In the wake of the Arab Spring, the UAE bans online mockery of the government or organization of protests against the government.
December Algeria: French President François Hollande acknowledges France’s role in Algerian suffering during period of colonization, but does not directly apologize.
  Egypt: Islamist-led parliament approves a new constitution, which emphasizes Islamism and restricts freedoms of speech and assembly.
  Iraq: Sunni Muslims stage mass protests against claims of marginalization by Shia-led government.
Summer Lebanon: Syrian civil war violence arrives in Lebanon as Sunni Muslims and Alawites clash.
January Algeria: Dozens of foreign hostages are killed by Islamist al-Murabitoun group prior to raid by Algerian special forces.
  Iran: Iran tells IAEA that it can enrich uranium at a faster rate than ever before.
  Jordan: Pro-government candidates win parliamentary elections and opposition Islamic Action Front boycott elections.
February Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah appoints 30 women into the Shura Council, the first time women hold any political office. Amnesty International accuses Saudi Arabia of failing to meet human rights standards and of increasing repression.
March Oman: Sultan Qaboos pardons around 30 people, including online activists and protesters.
April Iraq: Insurgency intensifies violence and is described as being in a new sectarian war.
  Morocco: Cancels joint military exercises with the U.S. as latter supports UN monitoring of human rights in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
May Israel:  Israeli and Syrian troops exchange fire as Syrian civil war reaches Golan Heights.
  Libya: New law bans Gaddafi-era officials from holding public office.
  Turkey: Through June, plans to construct on one of Istanbul’s few green spaces stirs mass anti-government protests, known as the Gezi Park or Taqsim Square protests. Police respond with violence, and two protesters die. PM Erdogan remains stubborn over issue. At Germany’s direction, the EU puts membership talks with Turkey on hold.
June Afghanistan: Afghan army takes command from NATO of all military and security operations.
  Iran: Reformist Hassan Rouhani wins presidential election. He states that Iran has no nuclear weapon ambitions.
  Kuwait: Constitutional court dissolves new parliament, negating results of latest parliamentary polls.
July Egypt: Army ousts President Morsi as mass protests escalate demanding him to quit.
  Lebanon: EU designates the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Palestine: Fall of Morsi’s government in Egypt ends Palestinian hopes for lifting Egyptian blockade of border with Gaza, and interrupts Egyptian mediation in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process.
  UAE: Government detains 68 members of Al-Islah (affiliates with Muslim Brotherhood) on charges of attempting a coup.
September Bahrain: Shia activists withdraw from negotiations with the government after party leader is arrested.
  Lebanon: UN refugee agency reports that there are 700,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
  Sudan: Demonstrations across the country begin over government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies. Many people die in clashes with police.
  Syria: UN weapons inspectors establish the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
  Western Sahara: A dozen Sahrawi protesters camp in a field of Moroccan land mines, protesting the 1,677 mile barrier wall.
October Morocco: King Mohammed VI appoints a new government after discovery of internal failings of the JDP.
  Qatar: Court jails poet Mohammed al-Ajami for attempting to incite people to overthrow the government.
  Syria: President Assad allows international inspectors to destroy chemical weapons, per terms of U.S.-Russian agreement.
December Egypt: Government declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after a bombing attack kills 12.
  South Sudan: Civil war erupts as President Salva Kiir accuses ex-Vice-President, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.
  Tunisia: After months of quarreling, Ennahda and secular opposition agree on appointment of independent Mehdi Jomaa as head of interim government.
  Yemen: Parliament calls for end to drone strikes after a U.S. missile mistakenly hits a wedding convoy, killing more than a dozen people.
  Other—Islamic State of Iraq:  Enters Syrian civil war and becomes known as Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS. Al-Qaeda’s Syrian front calls for ISIS to return to Iraq, and ISIS responds by attacking al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups.
January Bahrain: The government and Shia groups resume talks. The main Shia opposition group, Wefaq, is banned from upcoming parliamentary elections. Shia citizens boycott the election, claiming the governmental procedure is a sham. The government arrests leader of the Wefaq movement, inciting protesters to clash with security forces.
  Egypt: New constitution bars parties based on religion.
  Iraq: ISIS takes control of Fallujah, prompting aggressive Anbar Campaign after government forces attempts to retake city.
  Syria: Through February, UN-backed peace talks fail, primarily because Syrian officials reject terms of a transitional government that would lead to the end of Assad presidency.
  Tunisia: Parliament formalizes the country’s first constitution since President Ali was expelled in 2011.
February Libya: Libyan protesters criticize General National Congress for refusing to disband. Libyan Army General attacks Islamist groups in Benghazi. New elections are held, Islamists defeated, and violence erupts between GNC advocates and loyalists to the newly elected parliament. As civil war erupts, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [see June: Other below] captures port city of Derna.
  Morocco: Halts French judicial cooperation after Paris accuses Morocco’s intelligence chief of complicity in torture.
March Israel: Mass protests by Orthodox Jews against legislation ending exemptions for religious students from military service.
  Qatar: Qatar is temporarily isolated from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE after allegations that Qatar had been tampering with their internal affairs, primarily through Qatari support of Islamist political, the Muslim Brotherhood.
  Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia bans funding for known terrorist groups and conducts airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria.
  Western Sahara: EU grants Morocco authority over Western Saharan fishing rights. Local human rights campaigners lobby the UK ahead of UN security council debate.
April Algeria: President Bouteflika wins fourth term as president, earning 82% of the vote in race with 6 contenders.
  Lebanon: UN reports that there are over 1 million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, making one in every four people living in Lebanon a refugee.
May Egypt: Former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi wins presidential election.
  Oman: Former Omani commerce minister is sentenced to three years in prison for corruption.
  South Sudan: UN envoy states that conflict has resulted in thousands dead, more than a million displaced, and five million needing humanitarian aid.
June Iran: President Rouhani states that Iran is ready to help Iraq fight Sunni extremists, specifically the Islamic State.
  Iraq: ISIS launches surprise attacks against the Iraqi Army and succeeds in capturing several northwestern key cities, including Mosul; repelled outside the capital city of Baghdad.
  Kuwait: A number of TV channels are banned from airing news about alleged plot against the ruling elites.
  Other—ISIS: On first day of Ramadan, ISIS declares itself as the world caliphate, “Islamic State.” It calls all Muslims to integrate, but millions of Muslims denounce the terrorist group and respond by referring to IS as “Da’esh”, an Arabic acronym that happens to be a pun on the Arabic word “to trample down and crush.” Roughly 25,000 jihadists join.
July Iran: P5+1 begin talks with Iran in Geneva and Vienna concerning scaling back the latter’s enrichment program and granting inspector access.
  Palestine: Fall of Morsi’s government in Egypt ends Palestinian hopes for lifting Egyptian blockade of border with Gaza, and interrupts Egyptian mediation in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process.
August Turkey: Prime Minister Erdogan wins first direct popular election for president.
  UAE: Intervenes in Libya, targeting Islamist militants with airstrikes.
September Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani wins presidential election, after sharing power with Abdullah Abdullah.
  Jordan: Jordan launches airstrikes against the IS in Syria [see June: Other].
  Qatar: The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain resume diplomatic relations with Qatar when the four countries work together to launch airstrikes against IS.
  UAE: joins the airstrikes against the IS.
  Yemen: Yemen’s Houthi ethnic rebels launch assaults against the state and invade the capital city of Sana’a, successfully taking control of government facilities.
December Sudan: Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court halts investigations into Darfur war crimes for lack of support from UN Security Council.
  Afghanistan: NATO officially withdraws from combat missions. Violence reignites across the country.
January Lebanon: Israel launches air strikes on Syrian side of Golan Heights, killing Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. Clashes ensue along Israeli-Lebanese border.
  Libya: UN-sponsored negotiations in Geneva compel Libyan Army and Tripoli militia to agree to a ceasefire.
  Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah passes away and his half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, ascends the throne.
  Syria: IS is publicly routed at the city of Kobani.
  Yemen: Yemen’s president, Mr. Hadi, relocates national operations to the city of Aden, while Saudi-led coalition of the GCC, launches airstrikes against Houthi fighters.
  Other—France: Jihadists gun down 12 cartoonists at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, in Paris.
February Egypt: Egyptian aircraft bomb IS in eastern Libya after the Islamic State kills 21 Coptic Christians.
  Jordan:  Continues airstrikes against Da’esh, and receives $113 million in EU loans to help Syrian refugee crisis. Jordan also joins the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
  Morocco: Government officials destroy migrant camps near Spanish enclave of Melilla as migrants attempt to enter Europe.
March Afghanistan: President Obama announces that U.S. will delay troop withdrawal, requested by President Ghani.
  Bahrain: joined the GCC states in launching airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
  Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu is elected as Israel’s prime minister and forms new coalition government.
  Morocco: The government reports its involvement in the breaking up of Islamic State support networks that have spread to Morocco.
  Tunisia: Local Islamic State members gun down dozens of foreigners over several months at tourist destination sites.
  Other-GCC: Coalition of UAE, Qatar, KSA, Kuwait, and Bahrain begin airstrike campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
April Sudan: President Bashir is re-elected, winning nearly 95 percent of the vote in an election with low turnout and boycotts.
May Egypt: Imprisoned ex-president Morsi sentenced to death over 2011 mass breakout of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners.
  Palestine: The Vatican announces that it will formally recognize Palestine as a state.
  Qatar: Amnesty International criticizes Qatar for gross workers’ rights violations in preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
June Algeria: U.S. airstrike reportedly kills Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of al-Murabitoun, a militant African jihadist organization responsible for killing foreign hostages in 2013.
  Western Sahara: Leaked reports reveal that Moroccan government may have made significant donations to the UN to ignore human rights abuses Morocco committed against Western Sahara.
July Iran: P5+1 and Iranian officials negotiate a deal to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy capacity and give IAEA investigators access in exchange for relaxations on some sanctions.
  Turkey: Breaks neutrality concerning Islamic State by opening Turkish military airports for U.S. aircraft and conducts airstrikes itself. However, Turkish military also begin targeting Kurdish forces.
  Lebanon: Government officials close the Naameh landfill, where all of Lebanon’s waste has been dumped since 1991. The Trash Crisis begins as garbage begins to pile up in the streets and the government fails to find a solution.
August Iraq: Parliament unanimously approves reforms to curtail corruption and sectarian government job quotas after riots against frequent power cuts.
  South Sudan: President Kiir signs internationally-mediated peace deal, with rebel leader Riek Machar to return as vice-president.
September Syria: Russia militarily outfits Syrian government, launches airstrikes against Islamic State and Syrian rebel groups, and begins stationing ground personnel at Russian bases in Syria.
October Egypt: Islamic State claims credit for bombing a Russian airliner while in mid-flight, killing 224.
  Oman: New Majlis al-Shura (consultative council) is elected, with a woman becoming a member.
  Tunisia: National Dialogue Quartet, a coalition of Tunisia civil society groups, receives the Nobel Peace Prize for helping country transition to democracy.
November Iraq: Kurdish Peshmerga fighters reclaim city of Sinjar from IS; Sinjar is a border connecting Iraq and Syria.
  Lebanon:  IS launches two suicide bombings that kill 41 people in deadliest bomb attack since the end of the civil war.
  Turkey: Turkey shoots down a Russian warplane, with both countries claiming that the other acted aggressively.
  Yemen: Cyclone Chapala, the first known hurricane-strength storm from the Arabian Sea, hits Yemen.
  Other-France: Islamic State launches waves of terrorist attacks on Paris, killing 129.
December Iraq: Iraqi forces retake city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, from Islamic State.
January Egypt: Islamic State carries out attack at Giza, killing nine, and is suspected of being behind another attack in Hurghada.
  Iran: International sanctions are lifted as UN reports satisfaction with nuclear agreement progress. Crowds set the Saudi embassy in Tehran alight after the Saudis execute leading Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr; Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia and several allies break off diplomatic relations with Iran.
  Libya: UN announces new interim government, based in Tunisia; neither Tobruk nor Tripoli recognizes its authority.
  Saudi Arabia: The government breaks off diplomatic relations with Iran after its embassy in Tehran is set on fire to protest the execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Al-Nimr was a supporter of Shia protests in primarily Sunni Saudi Arabia.
  Turkey: Bombs in Istanbul and Cinar kill nearly 20 people; the government blames Kurdish groups.
February Afghanistan: The Afghan government, with U.S. support, carries out its Nangarhar Offensive, a 21-day push that reportedly expels Islamic State fighters from eastern provinces.
  Algeria: Under Pres. Bouteflika, the constitution was amended to further separate powers, limiting presidential and military powers.
  Iraq: Islamic State launches two chemical attacks in norther Iraq, killing one and wounding nearly 600 people.
  Syria: Partial ceasefire between government and rebel groups come into effect while peace talks begin.
  Other—Russia: Russia takes on main arbitration role in peace talks between Syrian rebels and regime.
March Egypt: The Central Bank devalues the pound by nearly 13 percent in response to stagnating economic growth.
  Jordan: Following country’s most significant terrorism-related incident in ten years, Jordanians worry that Islamic State has penetrated their country.
  Kuwait: Three Kuwaitis are found dead in Lebanon, just after it joined several other Gulf states in calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization and issued a travel advisory.
  Lebanon: After eight months of trash crisis and protests, the government reopens one landfill and sets up two new ones, predicting that it will solve the problem for four years while a more permanent solution is found.
  Morocco: As many as one million Moroccans protest after UN Secretary-General refers to Moroccan involvement in the Western Sahara as “occupation.”
  Palestine: becomes a full member of the International Court of Arbitration, making its first entry into the Hague.
  Saudi Arabia: The government introduces austerity measures in response to falling oil prices and its military expenditures in Syria and Yemen.
  South Sudan: New civil rights concerns emerge after the UN releases a report documenting systemic rape, looting and other war crimes during the country’s ongoing civil war.
  Tunisia: Islamic State attacks increase in Tunisia as Libya’s instability continues.
  Western Sahara: UN Secretary-General refers to Moroccan involvement in the Western Sahara as “occupation.”
  Yemen: Fighter jets from the Saudi-led military coalition kill at least 41 civilians; Houthi rebels agree to a prisoner exchange and report they are open to negotiation.
  Other—Belgium: The Brussels Airport and a metro station are bombed in coordinated attacks. 32 people and three attackers are killed and over 300 are wounded. The Islamic State claims responsibility.
  Other-Russia: Russian government vows to pull its military out of Syria; Putin says they will continue air strikes in the region.
April Iran: The U.S. Navy seizes ships that carry arms from Iran bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen.
  Jordan: Police shut down the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been the largest opposition party.
  Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman announces a new plan, entitled Vision 2030, to reformat the country’s economy to be less oil-dependent in the midst of plummeting oil prices.
  Turkey: Thousands of refugees are forcibly deported back to Syria.
  Other—United States: President Obama announces an increase in military personnel, including special forces, operating in Syria to combat the Islamic State.
May Iraq: Military forces begin offensive to retake Fallujah from the Islamic State.
  Israel: Hardliner Avigdor Lieberman is named Defense Minister. He is known for calling for the beheading of Palestinians.
  Pakistan: Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar is killed in an American airstrike.
June Syria: Bashar al-Assad declares that the Syrian government will reclaim “every inch” of the territory it has lost in the Civil War. This is in direct contradiction with international plans for humanitarian relief effort and peaceful transition of power.

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