Let’s take a look back on some noteworthy events that took place in the Greater Middle East and North Africa part of the world this past year. Although there were many affairs that occurred in 2021, this is a list of a few of the most major ones within countries such as Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Algeria.
The occupation in Palestine continues with more illegal home demolitions & brutal violence. Earlier this year in May, Israel launched fatal attacks on Gaza killing over 250 Palestinians, injuring hundreds and making thousands homeless. Tensions grew all over the country and especially in Jerusalem where occupation forces attacked and gassed worshippers in Al Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah & Silwan also continue to resist the ethnic cleansing to this day and risk losing their homes to zionists.
Lebanon's economic crisis has been ongoing for years but worsened following the Beirut explosion and COVID-19 pandemic. This year was filled with serious inflation, electricity outages, and a lack of basic necessities throughout the country. Numerous protests and roadblocks have been taking place and many blame corruption & chaos within the government as the primary cause.
Iraq’s capital Baghdad faced two suicide bombings that took place in January and July which left more than 60 people dead. Tensions between Iraq and Iran remain and protests & clashes happened in November following election results. Shortly after, it was reported that Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi had survived a drone assassination attempt.
The violent war in Syria persists with ongoing airstrikes & attacks leaving over a thousand Syrian civilians dead this year alone. More than 6.6 million people have fled Syria and 13.4 million people have been displaced since 2011 (UNHCR).
Deemed the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, Yemen continues to battle with food insecurity which has been worsened by COVID-19. The ongoing civil war has caused thousands of deaths and serious political instability. A new UNDP report projects that the number of those killed as a result of Yemen’s war will reach more than 375,000 people by the end of the year and a total of 1.3 million by 2030.
Turkey has suffered from many natural disasters in the past year starting with a 4.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Ankara in January. In July & August, the worst ever wildfire season in the country's history took place which burnt 1,700 square kilometres of forest in Turkey's Mediterranean Region. This was followed by catastrophic flash floods in the Black Sea Region which killed at least 38 people (Reuters).
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August resulted in serious political instability in the region and allowed the Taliban to take over the capital of Kabul and the rest of the country. The past history of violence and injustice caused by the Taliban caused multiple protests and mass migration, leaving many Afghans fleeing the country in fear and a serious refugee crisis.
In October, the Sudanese military took control of the government in a military coup. This resulted in severe political instability and mass protests against the military take over. Many protests turned violent leaving dozens of people killed and more injured. Protests continue to happen across the country to this day demanding the power to be handed over to civilians.
Massive wildfires hit Algeria in August earlier this year, spreading through 18 different provinces. At least 90 people died while attempting to fight the flames leading the Algerian president to announce 3 days of national mourning for those who lost their lives.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all struggling nations and individuals and wish for better days ahead. We truly hope that 2022 will be a safer and more peaceful year for the MENA region as well as the international community as a whole.