Conflict prevails in Middle East

Year of major incidents in Middle East, from wars in Yemen and Syria to Iran’s nuclear deal completion

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jan 1, 2016

In 2015, Syria entered its fourth year since the start of the conflict, which became more complicated with the Russian military intervention, which proved to only bolster the withering authorities of Bashar al Assad's regime.

Yemen officially became an arena of conflict between the Yemeni army and the Saudi-led coalition one one side and the Iranian backed Houthi militias on the other

Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death, while DAESH terrorist attacks struck many countries including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Ramadi fell to DAESH in May, while Sinjar was recaptured from DAESH in December. The annual Hajj pilgrimage brought the world to tears when at least 800 people were crushed to death in a deadly stampede.

Also the news of Iran completing its nuclear deal with the 6 world powers dominated international headlines for many weeks.

Saudi campaign in Yemen

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forged a military coalition and started its first air strikes in war-torn Yemen on March 25th. Yemen’s president And Rabbu Mansour Hadi had called on the kingdom to help “save Yemen” from Iranian backed Houthi aggression.

War in the country triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The UN declared the situation to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale. 

20 million people in Yemen are in dire need of humanitarian aid, which makes up at least 80 percent of the population. 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

Relentless efforts to impose a UN mediated ceasefire failed.

Russian air strikes in Syria

On September 30, Russia began its air campaign in war-torn Syria with the announced goal of battling DAESH,  following a request by Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

The humanitarian crisis that began five years ago with Assad regime crackdowns on civilians worsened with Russian airstrikes that killed at least 526 civilians including 137 children since September 30.

The United States repeatedly said that the air strikes by Russia were targeting civilians and opposition-held areas in Syria instead of DAESH positions.

Russia admitted the US’s claims of dropping bombs on opposition held areas in October.

More than half of 22.4 million Syrians have been displaced since the beginning of the war in 2011.

Iran nuclear deal completed

On July 14, the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers including Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States was finalised.

The deal is aimed at monitoring Iran's most sensitive nuclear work for a time span of over 12 years in exchange for immediate relief for the country from economic sanctions which have long crippled its economy.

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei cast aside his notorious distrust of the United States and its allies and supported the completion of the nuclear deal in order to end the decade long economic isolation of the Iranian nation.

Iran has also accepted a so-called "snapback" plan that will restore the removed sanctions within 65 days if the country violates the nuclear deal.

Morsi sentenced to death

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi received the death penalty on May 16, along with 106 others for breaking out of prison in 2011. All verdicts are currently in appeal.

Death sentence recipients include Islamic scholar Yusuf Qaradawi, who currently resides in Qatar.

Mohamed Morsi was the Egyptian president between June 2012 and July 2013, before he was deposed by a military coup orchestrated by current president and former army general Abdel Fattah el Sisi.

Morsi received a separate life imprisonment sentence on April 21, for allegedly killing protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012.

Tunisia's beach massacre

A DAESH gunman stormed into a beach resort hotel in Tunisia’s eastern city of Sousse, and went on a deadly rampage that killed 38 tourists, most of whom were Britons.

The attack shook Tunisia to the very core, and greatly harmed the tourism industry, as Sousse is one of Tunisia's most popular beach resorts, drawing visitors from Europe and neighbouring North African countries.

Also this year, Tunisia’s national dialogue quartet was awarded 2015’s Nobel peace prize for their efforts in actualising the region’s first pluralistic democracy.

Hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia

A stampede during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia resulted in the death of almost 800 people and more than 800 people being injured on September 24.

The Mina stampede put Saudi Arabia under the spotlight once again after the previous deadliest stampede tragedy in 1990 that killed more than 1,400 pilgrims.

Iran, the country that has lost the largest number of citizens during the stampede, claimed that the death toll reached 4,000.

However, Saudi Arabia rejected the claim, while Turkey urged the Kingdom to start a public investigation on the incident and offered help with the purpose of making Hajj more safe for people gathering for the largest annual pilgrimage of the world.

Al Aqsa conflict

On the eve of the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah on September 13, Israeli soldiers and illegal settlers stormed into Al Aqsa mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem and attacked civilian worshippers.

129 Palestinians have been killed since then by Israeli soldiers and settlers while 19 Israeli have been killed in various stabbing attacks.

Nine days after the Al Aqsa mosque was vandalised in the raid, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that if clashes over the Al-Aqsa mosque continue the third intifada (Palestinian uprising) could begin.

Meanwhile, Israeli mayor of occupied Jerusalem Nir Barkat used the alleged stabbings as an excuse and urged Israeli citizens to carry weapons in public.