Based on The Atlantic report
As the year 2015 is coming to an end, people around the globe will be wishing for a prosperous and peaceful new year 2016 but it is also a time to recount the events that threatened the world peace in a larger picture. In the beginning of this year, United Nations declared 2015 as International Year of Light but the looming darkness caused by tragic world events forced us to think – was it really a year of light? Let’s find out the top 5 significant events that caused instability in the world:
- Syrian Refugee Crisis
It is now four years of Syrian conflict and there is no end in sight, perhaps becoming a power-muscle flexing game among world powers. Nearly half a million people killed, more than 5 million people became refugees and nearly 2 million people left their country for Europe in search for a better living condition.
The influx of Syrian refugees was resisted in the beginning but after the announcement of Germany taking 1 million refugees, many European countries followed the path. Soon the economically weaker countries Such as Greece, Hungary and Poland saw a rise of right wing parties demanding ban on refugees. And soon the division appeared in other parts of Europe too. Almost dying hardliner parties got a new lease of life due to refugee crisis. As per experts, the European Union’s unity may be under threat due to its open border policy. Next year will be no different for Europe and more and more refuges will risk their lives to reach Europe as major self-assumed responsibility stakeholders in defeating ISIS seems more focused on serving their interest rather than saving Syria.
- Paris Attack and The global reach of Islamic State
According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press (US), Islamic State (IS) was voted as top news story in America. The global efforts to crush IS have made news for almost a year and after Russia’s entry, other countries too such as France and Turkey took the same responsibility to defend the world from this evil terrorist organization.
IS recruited fighters not only from fanaticism supporting countries but also from countries such as US and European countries.
The Paris attack shook the world and all of West pledged its support to crush this terrorist organization. However, there is no coordinated effort against IS as some of the US allies such as Saudi Arabia make it a complicated game. So, 2016 will be a year of united strategy to defeat IS or will it remain a region of power politics, remains unfolded.
- Iran’s Nuclear Deal
The forgotten art of foreign policy – diplomacy bounced back with the deal between Iran and P5+1 countries. The nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers ended the decade old negotiation process. Earlier, Iran had to compromise (agreed for negotiation) on nuclear building capabilities program due to sanctions imposed by world powers. The US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel remain skeptical of this deal even today as they fear that the rising ancient Persian country may become hegemony in the Middle East. However, if there was something cheerful about this deal was a diplomatic victory. It is expected that sanctions on Iran will be lifted in the starting of 2016.
- Greece Debt Crisis
In an interdependent international economic environment, supranational institutions such as European Union and IMF are in no position to let a country go bankrupt. After several months of negotiations between the Greece and its creditors, Greece finally received its third bailout package in five years. There is a growing fear in EU decision makers about the prospect of Greece leaving the union. And if this happens then it will have a catastrophic financial effect in international financial markets. Other European countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal have also more or less same amounts of debt, can also turn for EXIT mode. And further declining Euro in the world currency market will undermine the very foundation of the European Union. So it will be interesting in 2016 to see how effectively Greece implements the austerity measures in already troubled economy.
- Russia’s intervention in Syria
The Russian military intervention came after the Syrian President Assad made a formal request to help him to fight against the IS and opposition forces. Syrian conflict is fueled by vested interests of many countries – Russia wants to save its sole Mediterranean base for its Black Sea Fleet; US is under pressure from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries to bring down the Assad regime; and Iran wants to sustain Assad government. Even attacks are not targeted solely on ISIS instead each country targets what seems fit for them. For example, Russia targets ISIS and anti-government forces, US targets ISIS but helps anti-government forces, and Turkey targets Kurdish region more often than ISIS. They all are present on the name of defeating ISIS but their actions speak something else.
The Saudi Arabia’s declaration of war on Yemen is another concern for the stability of the Middle East region. China is now becoming a regional power in Asia and building artificial islands in South China Sea in disputed sea water, can be seen as growing Chinese domination in one of the major sea trade routes. It has potential to escalate into a proxy war between China and the US. In these times of conflict world over, the good news is that finally the world leaders have reached a common agreement on climate change at Paris Summit.
|Nachiket Nishant loves to write on issues related to politics and international affairs. He has done his masters in international relations. Currently, he is a lead policy researcher at The Indian Iris.|
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of The Indian Iris and The Indian Iris does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.