2010s in political history

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2010s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events of the 2010s, presented as a historical overview in narrative format.

List of years in politics and government

History by region[edit]

Africa[edit]

Armed conflicts[edit]

Burundi[edit]

On April 25, 2015, the incumbent President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced he would run for a third term in the 2015 presidential election. The announcement sparked protests by those opposed to Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office.[1] Widespread demonstrations in the then-capital, Bujumbura, lasted for over three weeks. As a result of the protests, the government also shut down the country's Internet and telephone network, closed all of the country's universities, and publicly referred to the protesters as "terrorists". Tens of thousands of people fled the country, hundreds of people were arrested, and several protesters and police were killed. On May 13, 2015, a coup d'etat was announced, led by Major General Godefroid Niyombare, while President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania attending an emergency conference about the situation in the country. By the next day the coup collapsed and government forces reasserted control. At least 240 people were killed over the next few months, and on December 11, 87 people were killed in attacks on state targets. The violence has raised fears of a return to worsening ethnic tension between Hutus and Tutsis. Nkurunziza had led a Hutu rebel group against the then Tutsi-dominated army during the civil war that followed the killing of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.[2] Violence continued through 2017.[3]

Cameroon[edit]

The Anglophone Crisis (French: Crise anglophone), is a conflict in the Southern Cameroons region of Cameroon, part of the long-standing Anglophone problem pitting English-speakers against French-speakers; English-speakers make up about one-fifth of the population.[4] In September 2017, separatists in the Anglophone territories of Northwest Region and Southwest Region declared the independence of Ambazonia and began fighting against the Government of Cameroon. Starting as a low-scale insurgency, the conflict spread to most parts of the Anglophone regions within a year. As of the summer of 2019, the government controls the major cities and parts of the countryside, while the separatists hold parts of the countryside and regularly appear in the major cities.

The war has killed approximately 2,000 people and forced more than half a million people to flee their homes.[4] Although 2019 has seen the first known instance of dialogue between Cameroon and the separatists, as well as a major national dialogue, the war continues to escalate.[5]

Central African Republic[edit]
Côte d'Ivoire[edit]
Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

The Batwa–Luba clashes is a series of ongoing clashes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between the Batwa people and the Luba people starting in 2013.[6]

The Kamwina Nsapu rebellion, is an ethnic conflict in the DRC. It is an ongoing rebellion instigated by the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the provinces of Kasaï-Central, Kasaï, Kasai-Oriental, Lomami, and Sankuru. The fighting began in August 2016.

Egypt[edit]

The Egyptian revolution of 2011 started on 25 January 25, 2011 and spread across Egypt. Millions of protesters from a range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured. Protesters retaliated by burning over 90 police stations across the country. The protesters' grievances focused on legal and political issues, including police brutality, state-of-emergency laws, lack of political freedom, civil liberty, freedom of speech, corruption, high unemployment, food-price inflation, and low wages. The protesters' primary demands were the end of the Mubarak regime and emergency law. Strikes by labour unions added to the pressure on government officials. In February 2011 Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that had Mubarak resigned as president, turning power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).[7] The military junta, headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, announced on February 13 that the constitution was suspended, both houses of parliament dissolved, and the military would govern until elections could be held. The Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt through a series of popular elections, with Egyptians electing Islamist Mohamed Morsi to the presidency in June 2012. However, the Morsi government encountered fierce opposition after his attempt to pass an Islamic-leaning constitution, and mass protests broke out against his rule in late June 2013, and on July 3, 2013, Morsi was deposed by a coup d'état led by the minister of defense, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.[8] El-Sisi went on to become Egypt's president by popular election in 2014.[9]

Eritrean border conflicts[edit]
Guinea[edit]
Libya[edit]
Lord's Resistance Army[edit]
Mali[edit]

The Mali War, refers to armed conflicts that started from January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali. On January 16, 2012, several insurgent groups began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, an area of northern Mali they called Azawad. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an organization fighting to make this area of Mali an independent homeland for the Tuareg people, had taken control of the region by April 2012. The MNLA were initially backed by the Islamist group Ansar Dine. After the Malian military was driven from northern Mali, Ansar Dine and a number of smaller Islamist groups began imposing strict Sharia law, and the Tuareg group broke away from them. French Armed Forces and members of the African Union helped the government regain control of the area, and a peace agreement was signed in February 2015.[10]

Mozambique[edit]

The RENAMO insurgency was a guerrilla campaign by militants of the RENAMO party in Mozambique. The insurgency is widely considered to be an aftershock of the Mozambican Civil War; it resulted in renewed tensions between RENAMO and Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO coalition over charges of state corruption and the disputed results of 2014 general elections. A ceasefire was announced between the government and the rebels in September 2014. However, renewed tensions sparked violence in mid-2015. A peace agreement was signed on August 6, 2019.

Nigeria and Boku Haram[edit]
Republic of the Congo[edit]
Somalia civil war[edit]
South Sudan[edit]

The South Sudanese Civil War broke out in 2013 after a disputed elected and an alleged coup d’etat attempt.[11] An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in the fighting, and over 4 million have been displaced.[12] One hundred thousand people face starvation, and nearly 5 million face severe food shortages; the government declared a famine in 2017.[13] Several fruitless efforts to agree to a settlement were made in 2014. Fighting continued until a compromise peace agreement was signed in 2015,[14] but fighting broke out again in 2016.[15] The African Union deployed a 12,000 member peace force including soldiers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda, over the objections of President Salva Kiir.[16] However, fighting continued through 2017.[17]

Sudan[edit]

The War in Darfur, (Sudan) began in 2003, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, genocide,[18] and ethnic cleansing. An International Criminal Court investigation resulted in two warrants against President Omar al-Bashir and his eventual arrest.[19] The Doha Agreement was signed in 2011,[20] but little real progress was made a year later.[21] The war continued through 2016, including with allegations that the government had used mustard gas.[22]

Piracy[edit]

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa, including Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the wider international community. By 2011, it had become an issue of global concern. Pirates are often part of heavily armed criminal enterprises, who employ violent methods to steal oil cargo. In 2012, the International Maritime Bureau and other agencies reported that the number of vessels attacks by West African pirates had reached a world high, with 966 seafarers attacked and five killed during the year.[23]

Piracy off the coast of Somalia occurs in the Gulf of Aden, Guardafui Channel, Somali Sea, in Somali territorial waters and other areas. It was initially a threat to international fishing vessels, expanding to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War, around 2000. By December 2013, the US Office of Naval Intelligence reported that only nine vessels had been attacked during the year by the pirates, with no successful hijackings.[24] In March 2017, it was reported that pirates had seized an oil tanker that had set sail from Djibouti and was headed to Mogadishu. The ship and its crew were released with no ransom given after the pirate crew learned that the ship had been hired by Somali businessmen.[25]

War on Terror[edit]

The most prominent terrorist groups that are creating a terror impact in Africa include Boko Haram of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and Al-Shabaab of Somalia.[26]

Boko Haram has carried out more than 3,416 terror events since 2009, leading to more than 36,000 fatalities. One of the better-known examples of Boko Haram’s terror tactics was the 2014 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Borno State, Nigeria.[26] Boko Haram is believed to have links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb dating back to at least 2010. In 2015 the group expressed its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which ISIL accepted.[27]

Somalia’s al-Shabaab and its Islamic extremism can be traced back to the mid-1970s when the group began as an underground movement opposing the repressive and corrupt regime of Siad Barre. Armed conflict between al-Shabaab and the Somali army — including associated human rights violations — has resulted in slightly over 68 million human displacements.[26] Al-Shabaab is hostile to Sufi traditions and has often clashed with the militant Sufi group Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a. The group has also been suspected of having links with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram. Among their best-known attacks are the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013 (resulting in 71 deaths and 200 injured) and the 14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings that killed 587 and injured 316.[28] On September 1, 2014, a U.S. drone strike carried out as part of the broader mission killed al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.[29]

The Insurgency in the Maghreb refers to Islamist militant and terrorist activity in northern Africa since 2002, including Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Libya, Western Sahara, and Burkina Faso, as well as having ties to Boko Haram in Nigeria. The conflict followed the conclusion of the Algerian Civil War as a militant group became al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their tactics have included bombings; shootings; and kidnappings, particularly of foreign tourists. In addition to African units, the fight against the insurgency has been led primarily by the French Foreign Legion, although the U.S. also has over 1,300 troops in the region. Four American soldiers were killed in the October 4, 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger.[30]

Arab Spring[edit]

Health crisis[edit]

About 1.6 million Africans died of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-related illnesses in 2015.[31] Poor health care, malnutrition, and Ebola are also serious problems.[12]

Over 25.5 million individuals infected with HIV/AIDS in 2015 were Africans. Most of these victims are middle-income or lower, and they depend on public health sources for treatment, but many medicines are unavailable due to cost, availability, and/or other factors such as transportation.[31] South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have made progress in local pharmaceutical productions; Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania are currently developing production capacity.[31]

85% to 90% of malaria victims worldwide occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.[31]

Asia[edit]

China[edit]

Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and became the paramount leader of China in November 2012. He immediately began an anti-corruption campaign, in which more than 100,000 individuals were indicted.[32] There have been claims of political motives behind the campaign.[33] In 2018, he was effectively made a president for life.[34]

In foreign policy, China became more aggressive with its actions in the South China Sea dispute, by building artificial islands and militarizing existing reefs, beginning in 2012.[35] Another key part of its foreign policy has been the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a strategy adopted by China involving infrastructure development and investments in countries and organizations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.[36][37][38][39] China has signed cooperational documents on the belt and road initiative with 126 countries and 29 international organisations,[40] where various efforts then went ahead on infrastructure.[41]

In the end of the decade, concerns started to grow about the future of the Chinese economy.[42] These concerns included whether the United States and China could positively resolve their disputes over trade.[43][44]

Hong Kong[edit]

The 2019 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) movement, is an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.[45] If enacted, the bill would have empowered local authorities to detain and extradite criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. This led to concerns that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the jursidiction and legal system of mainland China, which would undermine the region's autonomy and Hong Kong people's civil liberties.As the protests progressed, the protesters laid out five key demands, which were the withdrawal of the bill, investigation into alleged police brutality and misconduct, the release of arrested protesters, a complete retraction of the official characterisation of the protests as "riots", and Chief Executive Carrie Lam's resignation along with the introduction of universal suffrage for election of the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive.[46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55]

India[edit]

The decade started off with the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in power. UPA had won a majority in 2009 for a second term which was marred by corruption allegations. Taking advantage of the UPA's growing unpopularity, The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led by former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi swept the polls in the 2014 general elections.

Riding high on the wave of nationalism in the wake of attacks claimed by Indian authorities to have been orchestrated by Pakistan the Modi government relied heavily on anti-Pakistan rhetoric in successive elections. In 2016, a hard line Hindu monk associated with the BJP was elected chief minister of India's largest state who in turn pursued a policy of changing names of places with Muslim names to Hindu ones.

The Indian government, during this time also massively increased its defense budget and enhanced defense ties with the United States and Israel. The relationship with Israel continued to bloom as Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state.

Critics of the Modi government continued to level criticism at him for polarizing minorities, especially Muslims and changing the fabric of the Indian state by relentlessly pursuing the Hindutva ideology. In its second term in power, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) became even more ideological in its pursuit of the Hindutva agenda. On August 5, 2019, the newly elected Indian government under a presidential order revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, thereby terminating the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and placed it under curfew. This move triggered widespread international condemnation and further aggravated relations with neighboring Pakistan. Later that year, the Supreme Court also delivered a verdict on the controversial Ram janam bhoomi case which called for a temple to be built on the disputed site while granting land to the Sunni Waqf Board for the establishment of a mosque elsewhere.

Middle East[edit]

Iran[edit]

The 2019 Iranian protests are a series of civil protests occurring in multiple cities across Iran, initially from the 200% increase in fuel prices but later extended to an outcry against the current government in Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[56][57][58] The protests commenced in the evening of 15 November and within hours spread to 21 cities as videos of the protest began to circulate online.[59][60][61] Images of the violent protests were shared on the internet with protests reaching international levels.[62]

Although the protests began as peaceful gatherings, government crackdowns prompted a revolt against the entire Iranian government.[63] The Iranian government employed lethal tactics in order to shut down the protests including a nationwide internet shutdown, shooting protesters dead from rooftops, helicopters, and at close range with machine gun fire.[64][65] Although there is currently no conclusive casualty count current estimates suspect the government killed well over 1,000 Iranian citizens.[66][67]

The government crack down prompted a violent reaction from protesters who destroyed 731 government banks including Iran's central bank, nine Islamic religious centers, tore down anti-American billboards, and posters and statues of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. 50 government military bases were also attacked by protesters. This series of protests have been categorized as the most violent and severe since the rise of Iran's Islamic Republic in 1979.[68][69][64]

In order to block the sharing of information regarding the protests and the deaths of hundreds of protesters on social media platforms, the government blocked the Internet nationwide, resulting in a near-total internet blackout of around six days.[70][71][72][73]

Iraq[edit]

The 2019 Iraqi protests, also nicknamed the Tishreen Revolution[74] and 2019 Iraqi Intifada, are an ongoing series of protests that consisted of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and civil disobedience. They started on 1 October 2019, a date which was set by civil activists on social media, spreading over the central and southern provinces of Iraq, to protest 16 years of corruption, unemployment and inefficient public services, before they escalated into calls to overthrow the administration and to stop Iranian intervention in Iraq. The Iraqi government has been accused of using bullets, snipers, hot water and tear gas against protesters.[75] Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced on 29 November that he would resign.[76] According to the BBC, they call for the end of the political system which has existed since the US-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein and has been marked by sectarian divides.[77][78][79] It is the largest unrest since the Saddam Hussein government concluded.[80]

The UN Envoy for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, called for renewed efforts to restore civil balance and protections for free speech.[81][82]

Israel[edit]

Benjamin Netanyahu remained in the office of the Prime Minister throughout the decade, becoming the longest holder of the office. Under his watch, the Jewish settlement movement has grown and gained influence, with atleast 2,000 new homes built on the Palestinian territories each year, leading to a declining possibility for a two-state solution in the Arab–Israeli conflict.[83] In 2014, there was a war in Gaza over Hamas rocket firings into Israeli cities, with a final death toll of 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israeli citizens.[84] The 2018–19 Gaza border protests demanded a right of return for those displaced from their homes during Israel's founding.[85] Israeli security forces responded by firing at the protesters, killing 60 in a single day.[86]

In foreign policy, Israel continued the proxy conflict against Iran, with Israeli involvement in the Syrian Civil War and 2019 Israeli airstrikes in Iraq.

In 2019, the country entered a political crisis following two hung parliaments and corruption charges against Netanyehu.[87] Both the April and September 2019 elections failed to produce a majority in the Knesset for either Netanyehu, or his challenger, Benny Gantz, a former general. In November, Netanyehu became the first sitting Israeli leader to be criminally prosecuted, with charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust spanning several cases.[88]

Syria[edit]

The 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria is a cross-border military operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Syrian National Army (SNA) against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and later the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northeastern Syria.

On 6 October 2019, the Trump administration ordered American troops to withdraw from northeastern Syria, where the United States had been supporting its Kurdish allies.[89] The military operation began on 9 October 2019 when the Turkish Air Force launched airstrikes on border towns.[90] The conflict resulted in the displacement of over 300,000 people and has caused the death of more than 70 civilians in Syria and 20 civilians in Turkey.[91][92]

According to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the operation is intended to expel the SDF—viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey due to its ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but considered an ally against ISIL by the United States and its allies—from the border region as well as to create a 30 km-deep (20 mi) "safe zone" in Northern Syria where some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle.[93] As the proposed settlement zone is heavily Kurdish demographically, this intention has been criticized as an attempt to force drastic demographic change,[94][95][96] a criticism denied by Turkey by saying that it only intended to "correct" the demographics that Turkish officials stated were changed by the SDF.[96][97][98]

The Syrian government initially criticized the Kurdish forces for the Turkish offensive, for their separatism and not reconciling with the government, while at the same time also condemning the foreign invasion in Syrian territory.[99] However, a few days later, the SDF reached an agreement with the Syrian government, in which it would allow the Syrian Army to enter the SDF-held towns of Manbij and Kobanî in an attempt to defend the towns from the Turkish offensive.[100][101][102] Shortly thereafter, Syrian state broadcaster SANA announced that Syrian Army troops had started to deploy to the country's north.[103] Turkey and the SNA launched an offensive to capture Manbij on the same day.[104]

On 22 October 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reached a deal to extend the ceasefire by 150 additional hours for SDF to move 30 kilometers away from the border area as well as from Tal Rifaat and Manbij. The terms of the deal also included joint Russian–Turkish patrols 10 kilometers into Syria from the border except in the city of Qamishli. The new ceasefire started at 12pm local time on 23 October.[105][106]

Although the main combat phase did end, post ceasefire operations are still ongoing.[107][108] As announced by Russia's Ministry of Defense on 15 October, Russian forces have started to patrol the region along the line of contact between Turkish and Syrian forces,[109][110] indicating that Russia is filling the security vacuum from the sudden US withdrawal.[110][111][110][112] Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia's special envoy on Syria, warned that the Turkish offensive into Syria is unacceptable and stated that Russia is seeking to prevent conflict between Turkish and Syrian troops.[113]

The Turkish operation received mixed responses by the international community. Including condemnations[114] as well as support for the operation for the settlement of refugees in Northern Syria.[115][116][117] While originally acknowledging Turkey's "right to defend itself", on 15 October, Russia hardened its position against the operation and deployed troops.[118][119] Ten European nations and Canada imposed an arms embargo on Turkey, while the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkish ministries and senior government officials in response to the offensive in Syria. Likewise, Trump's sudden pullout of US forces in Syria was also criticized by journalists as a "serious betrayal to the Kurds" as well as a "catastrophic blow to US credibility as an ally and Washington's standing on the world stage".[120][121][122][123] On November 19, the Defense Department inspector general released a report finding that the American withdrawal and subsequent Turkish incursion allowed ISIL to "reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad".[124]

Changes in Syria diplomatic situation[edit]

As a result of the Turkish incursion, multiple Kurdish groups that were once rivals have begun to seek greater unity. Additionally, Syrian Kurdish officials have had some positive discussions with the Assad government, and with local countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan.[125]

On the ground, Turkish areas of operations have been delineated by Russian mediators. Russian military officials forged agreements between Syria, Turkey and Kurds for areas to be patrolled by each side.[126] Russia handles security through its own forces deployed in some key towns.

The Assad government has forged agreements with some opposition groups to return to various local border areas.[125] The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reached agreement with the Assad regime for the Syrian Army to patrol several border areas. They also agreed on areas of deployment for Russian forces.[127] The first agreement between SDF and the Assad regime occurred in October 2019, directly as a result of the Turkish incursion.[128][129][130]

In general positive negotiations have increased between Syria and Turkey, and between Syria and Kurdish groups.[131]

On December 9, Russian troops entered Raqqa and began distributing humanitarian aid.[132][133][134]

Turkey[edit]

Turkey spent the decade under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Under his leadership, Turkey engaged in a more active foreign policy, including military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.

In 2016, a coup attempt was launched against Erdogan, which failed. This led to extensive purges within the Turkish state in an effort to remove anti-Erdogan elements, claimed by the government to be connected to the preacher Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement.[135] Over 150,000 civil servants have lost their jobs as a result.[136]

Erdogan has been criticized for undermining Turkish democracy,[137] and for neo-Ottomanism.[138]

Yemen[edit]

The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, is an intervention launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and Africa, in response to calls from the internationally recognized pro-Saudi[139] president of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support after he was ousted by the Houthi movement due to economic and political grievances, and fled to Saudi Arabia.[140]

Code-named Operation Decisive Storm, the intervention is said to be in compliance with Article 2(4) of the UN Charter by the international community;[141] but this has been contested by some academics.[142][143] The intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign on Houthi rebels and later saw a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.[144] The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia, and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, allegedly supported by Iran (see Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict).[145][140]

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Academi (formerly Blackwater) took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters, and military bases available to the coalition.[146] The United States provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots.[147][148] It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states[149] and continued strikes against AQAP. The US and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets.[150][151][152]

The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on Yemen's humanitarian situation, that reached the level of a "humanitarian disaster"[153] or "humanitarian catastrophe".[154][155][156]

In 2019, the conflict's status was described as a "military stalemate for years".[157]

In April 2019, Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill which would have ended US support for the Saudi-led military intervention.[158] With 53 votes instead of the 67 needed, the United States Senate failed to override the veto.[159] The legal arguments and policies of the Obama administration were cited as justification for the veto.[160] The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy stated that US support was limited to side-by-side coaching to mitigate civilian casualties and if the measure had passed it would do nothing to help the people of Yemen and may only increase civilian deaths.[161] Mulroy supported the United Nation's peace talks and he pushed the international community to come together and chart a comprehensive way ahead for Yemen.[162][163][164] Writing in The Nation, Mohamad Bazzi argued that Mulroy's defence of US support as necessary to limit civilian casualties was false, and that "Saudi leaders and their allies have ignored American entreaties to minimize civilian casualties since the war’s early days".[165]

Europe[edit]

European Union[edit]

In December 2019, the EU announced that banking ministers from EU member nations had failed to reach agreement over proposed banking reforms and systemic change.[166][167] The EU was concerned about high rates of debt in France, Italy and Spain.[168]

France[edit]

The 2017 French presidential election caused a radical shift in French politics, as the prevailing parties of The Republicans and Socialists failed to make it to the second round of voting, with far-right Marine Le Pen and political newcomer Emmanuel Macron instead facing each other.[169] Macron ended up winning both the presidency, as well as a legislative majority with his newfound party La République En Marche! In 2018-19, his leadership was challenged by the populist Yellow vests movement, which also rejected traditional parties.[170]

Russia[edit]

Russia re-elected Vladimir Putin as the president in 2012 Russian presidential election. The election was marred by claims of fraud, contributing to the 2011–2013 Russian protests.[171] Under Putin, Russia engaged in a more aggressive foreign policy, with the 2014 Annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the 2015 intervention in the Syrian Civil War, and interference in the 2016 United States elections.

United Kingdom[edit]

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to bring Brexit negotiations to successful resolution, causing new elections to be called for the United Kingdom for December 2019. On 3 September 2019, Johnson threatened to call a general election after opposition and rebel Conservative MPs successfully voted against the government to take control of the order of business with a view to preventing a no-deal exit.[172]

Despite government opposition, the bill to block a no-deal exit passed the Commons on 4 September 2019, causing Johnson to call for a general election on 15 October.[173] However, this motion was unsuccessful as it failed to command the support of two-thirds of the House as required by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA).[174] A later vote approved a general election to take place in December 2019.

North America[edit]

Mexico[edit]

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa became the 56th president of Mexico (and the second from the conservative National Action Party) after a controversial election in 2006. He quickly declared a War on Drugs that ended up costing about 200,000 lives over the next ten years.[175] Calderon was also president during the 2007–2009 Great Recession. Mexico was not hit nearly as hard as the United States, and immigration to the United States greatly declined during the last few years of Calderon’s presidency.[176][177] In addition to the drug war, Calderon emphasized infrastructure development, foreign investment, and health care. Mexico became the country with the eleventh-largest GDP in the world, the seventh-largest automobile manufacturer, the eighth-largest oil exporter, and a major manufacturer of electronics. Mexico signed trade agreements with 46 different countries.[178] Calderon’s drug war, which cost 47,000 lives during the last two years of his presidency (the balance), became the most important issue during the 2012 Mexican general election. The election was won by the former Governor of the State of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the political party that had dominated Mexican politics during most of the 20th century.

Peña Nieto continued the drug war with no better success than Calderon had had. Low points were the September 26, 2014 Ayotzinapa (Iguala) mass kidnapping of 43 students enrolled in a teachers’ college in the southern state of Guerrero,[179][180] and the 2015 prison escape of notorious drug-dealer Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Peña Nieto was also personally wrapped up in a corruption scandal involving a USD $7 million (MXN $100 million) house known as La Casa Blanca (“The White House”) purchased by his showcase wife, actress Angélica Rivera. This was just one of many scandals that rocked his administration.[181] Enrique Peña Nieto and Angélica Rivera were divorced months after he left office.[182] Peña Nieto encouraged foreign investment, particularly in the automotive industry, and for the first time since President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the oil industry in 1938, in the energy industry. He also tried to reform the country’s educational system.[183] and began construction of a new airport for Mexico City.[184] President Peña was elected with by a slim plurality in 2012 with just under 39% of the vote, but by the time he left office in 2018 he had an 18% approval and a 77% disapproval rating, making him one of the least popular presidents in Mexican history.[185]

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly called “AMLO”) was a candidate for president for the third time in the 2018 Mexican general election, representing the Juntos Haremos Historia (“Together we will make history”), coalition. He won in a landslide victory, taking 53% of the vote. His platform called for: democratic rule of law (no more electoral fraud or vote-buying), self-determination in foreign policy, an end to corruption, decentralization of the government, agricultural revitalization, reversal of privatization of the energy sector, economic development (including increased aid for victims of the 2017 Puebla earthquake), increased pensions for the elderly, a reversal of Peña Nieto’s educational reforms, and increased public safety by ending the drug war, granting amnesty to minor drug offenders, and reorganizing the police.[186] Even before his inauguration in December 2018, Lopez Obrador held a referendum on canceling construction of the USD $13 billion airport in Texcoco, State of Mexico and instead building one at the Santa Lucia Air Force base in Zumpango, State of Mexico. Nearly 70% of the voters who participated voted in favor of the Santa Lucia site, although it represented only 1% of eligible voters.[187] Construction of the new airport at the Santa Lucia site began in October 2019 and is scheduled to open in March 2022. Controversy over the airport has shaken investor confidence, and the economy has stagnated or entered a slight recession.[188] On December 27, 2018, AMLO initiated a crackdown on fuel theft by huachicoleros. This set off gasoline shortages in several states, and the Tlahuelilpan pipeline explosion of January 18, 2019, killed 137 in the state of Hidalgo.[189] AMLO ended the drug war and established a National Guard, but violence continues to plague the nation: the government was forced to call off the arrest and extradition of Ovidio Guzmán López, son of notorious drug lord “El Chapo” Guzman, after the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa, was laid siege to by members of the Sinaloa Cartel;[190] and three women and six children, all Mexican-American citizens and members of the LeBarón family were killed by presumed drug dealers in Sonora near the Mexico-United States border on November 4, 2019.[191] It was reported that 2019 was the most violent year in Mexican history, with 29,574 homicides and femicides registered during the first ten months of the year.[188] AMLO has run an austere government, cracking down on corruption, reducing government salaries (including his own), and selling off properties seized during drug raids as well as government vehicles, including the presidential plane.[188] In foreign policy, Mexican-American relations have been strained by the immigration, tariffs, and the failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. President Donald Trump briefly threatened to label Mexican drug cartels terrorist organizations and even to send the U.S. military to fight them.[192] In another foreign policy move, Mexico granted former Bolivian president Evo Morales political asylum after the coup d’etat in that country.[193] AMLO’s approval rating dropped by 10% to 58.7% during the first ten months of 2019.[188]

United States of America[edit]

Obama Presidency[edit]

The most important action of Obama's first 100 days was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to address the Great Recession. After much debate, ARRA was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009. Originally intended to be a bipartisan bill, Congressional passage of the bill relied largely on Democratic votes, though three Republican Senators did vote for it.[194] The lack of Republican support for the bill, and the inability of Democrats to win that support, foreshadowed the gridlock and partisanship that continued throughout Obama's presidency.[194][195][196] The $787 billion bill combined tax breaks with spending on infrastructure projects, extension of welfare benefits, and education.[197][198]

Wall Street reform[edit]

Risky practices among the major financial institutions on Wall Street were widely seen as contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis, the financial crisis of 2007–08, and the subsequent Great Recession, so Obama made Wall Street reform a priority in his first term.[199] On July 21, 2010, Obama signed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the largest financial regulatory overhaul since the New Deal.[200] The act increased regulation and reporting requirements on derivatives (particularly credit default swaps), and took steps to limit systemic risks to the US economy with policies such as higher capital requirements, the creation of the Orderly Liquidation Authority to help wind down large, failing financial institutions, and the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to monitor systemic risks.[201] Dodd-Frank also established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was charged with protecting consumers against abusive financial practices.[202] On signing the bill, Obama stated that the bill would "empower consumers and investors," "bring the shadowy deals that caused the crisis to the light of day," and "put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all."[203]

Some liberals were disappointed that the law did not break up the country's largest banks or reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, while many conservatives criticized the bill as a government overreach that could make the country less competitive.[203] Under the bill, the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies were required to propose and implement several new regulatory rules, and battles over these rules continued throughout Obama's presidency.[204] Obama called for further Wall Street reform after the passage of Dodd-Frank, saying that banks should have a smaller role in the economy and less incentive to make risky trades.[205] Obama also signed the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which created new rules for credit card companies.[206]

Technology[edit]

The introduction of new 5G wireless technology caused major public discussion about possible security risks and safety risks. Many experts said 5G would require new methods to insure security of data.[207] The US Congress passed legislation regarding security concerns about 5G networks.[208] The federal government prohibited the utilization of Huawei equipment for 5G networks due security concerns, and encouraged its allies to also do so as well. The US government imposed strict controls on US companies as to their ability to do business with Huawei, thus disrupting sales of Huawei phones overseas.[209] Chinese vendors and the Chinese government have denied these claims.

The development of the technology has elicited various responses and concerns that 5G radiation could have adverse health effects.[210] An editorial in the scientific magazine Scientific American emphasized that complete scientific research regarding its effects have not been conducted and that there could be health risks.[211] Wired characterized fears that the technology could cause cancer, infertility, autism, Alzheimer's, and mysterious bird deaths as "conspiracy theory".[212] The US FCC and nearly all other regulators claim 5G radiation will have no significant health effects.

Huawei submitted a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit against the FCC's decision to prohibit rural U.S. network providers from using equipment from the China-based vendor due to national security concerns, asking that the recent FCC order be overturned.[213]

Political news[edit]

An impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump was initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on September 24, 2019, after a whistleblower alleged that President Donald Trump had abused the power of the presidency by withholding both military aid and a White House meeting as a means of pressuring newly-elected President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce investigations which would be damaging to Trump's political rival Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

In October, three full Congressional committees (Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs) deposed witnesses including Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor,[214] Laura Cooper (the top Pentagon official overseeing Ukraine-related U.S. policy),[215] former White House official Fiona Hill,and at least six additional White House officials.[216][217] Witnesses testified that Trump wanted Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and Burisma[218][219] and that Ukraine was pressured to release evidence that its government had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.[220] On October 8, in a letter from Counsel Pat Cipollone to Speaker Pelosi, the White House officially responded that it would not cooperate with the investigation due to concerns including that there had not yet been a vote of the full House and that interviews of witnesses were being conducted behind closed doors.[221][222] On October 17, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, in response to a reporter's allegation of quid pro quo: "We do that all the time with foreign policy. Get over it." He walked back his comments later in the day, asserting that there had been "absolutely no quid pro quo" and that Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine over concerns of the country's corruption.

On October 31, the House voted 232–196 to establish procedures for public hearings,[223] which started on November 13.[224][225][226] Private and public congressional testimony by twelve government witnesses in November 2019 presented a significant body of evidence indicating Trump demanded a quid pro quo of political favors in exchange for official action.[227][228][229][230] The House Judiciary Committee hosted hearings on December 4 with more scheduled for December 9. On December 5, Pelosi announced that the House Judiciary Committee would begin drafting articles of impeachment.[231] Once these are decided on, they are expected to be presented to the Senate for a trial and vote.

South America[edit]

The Conservative wave brought many right-wing politicians to power across the continent. In Argentina the Peronist president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was replaced by the conservative-liberal Mauricio Macri in 2015; in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff's impeachment resulted in the rise of her Vice President Michel Temer to power in 2016; in Chile the conservative Sebastián Piñera followed the socialist Michelle Bachelet in 2017; and in 2018 the far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro became 38th President of Brazil.[232]

Bolivia[edit]

Starting on 21 October 2019, protests and marches have been occurring in Bolivia in response to claims of electoral fraud in the 2019 general election of 20 October 2019 and, subsequently, to Jeanine Áñez declaring herself the acting president of Bolivia. The claims of fraud were made after the suspension of the preliminary vote count, in which incumbent Evo Morales was not leading by a large enough margin (10%) to avoid a runoff, and the subsequent publication of the official count, in which Morales won by over 10%. Some international observers have expressed concern over these developments. While many of the demonstrations have been peaceful, there have been numerous acts of violence. Senior members of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) and their families were victims of attacks, including house burnings.[233][234][235][236]

Morales denied the allegations and invited foreign governments to audit the electoral processes, promising to hold a runoff if any fraud was found. Subsequently, an audit team from the Organization of American States, with access provided by Bolivian authorities, worked to verify the integrity and reliability of the results. Their preliminary report questioned the integrity of the election results and recommended another "electoral process".[237]

Morales announced the government would hold another election; however, the police and army demanded Morales's resignation on 10 November, which he offered shortly thereafter.[238] Following his resignation and the resignation of other senior MAS politicians, some citing fears for the safety of their families, Jeanine Áñez declared herself interim president and formed an interim government. Protests have continued, and several human right organizations expressed concerns over the excess use of force by the new government.[239][233]

Brazil[edit]

President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office in 2016 following revelations from Operation Car Wash, a corruption investigation. Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was also imprisoned. In 2018, far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election, partly owing to the fallout from the corruption scandal.[240]

Chile[edit]

The 2019 Chilean protests are ongoing civil protests throughout Chile in response to a raise in the Santiago Metro's subway fare, the increased cost of living, privatisation and inequality prevalent in the country.[241][242][243][244] The protests began in Chile's capital, Santiago, as a coordinated fare evasion campaign by secondary school students which led to spontaneous[citation needed] takeovers of the city's main train stations and open confrontations with the Carabineros de Chile (the national militarized police force). On 18 October, the situation escalated as organized bands of protesters began vandalizing city's infrastructure; seizing, vandalizing, and burning down many stations of the Santiago Metro network and disabling them with extensive infrastructure damage, and for a time causing the cessation the network in its entirety. All in all 81 stations have sustained major damage, incluidng 17 burned down.[245][246] On the same day, President of Chile Sebastián Piñera announced a state of emergency, authorizing the deployment of Chilean Army forces across the main regions to enforce order and prevent the destruction of public property, and invoked before the courts the Ley de Seguridad del Estado ("State Security Law") against dozens of detainees. A curfew was declared on 19 October in the Greater Santiago area.[247][248] Protests and riots have expanded to other cities, including Concepción, San Antonio, and Valparaíso.[249] The state of emergency was extended to the Concepción Province, all Valparaíso Region (except Easter Island and Juan Fernández Archipelago) and the cities of Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Iquique, La Serena, Rancagua, Valdivia, Osorno, and Puerto Montt. The protests have been considered the "worst civil unrest" having occurred in Chile since the end of Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship due to the scale of damage to public infrastructure, the number of protesters, and the measures taken by the government.[250] On 25 October, over a million people took to the streets throughout Chile to protest against President Piñera, demanding his resignation.[251][252] As of 26 October, 19 people have died, nearly 2,500 have been injured, and 2,840 have been arrested.[252][253] On 28 October, President Piñera changed eight ministries of his cabinet in response to the unrest, dismissing his Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick.[254][255] On November 15, most[citation needed] of the political parties represented in the National Congress signed an agreement to call a national referendum in April 2020 regarding the creation of a new constitution.

Colombia[edit]

In 2016, the world's longest running war[256] was borught to an end when the Government of Colombia and the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace deal officially ending the Colombian conflict.

Venezuela[edit]

A crisis concerning who is the legitimate President of Venezuela has been underway since 10 January 2019, with the nation and the world divided in support for Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó has been recognized as the acting President of Venezuela by 54 countries. Internationally, support has followed traditional geopolitical lines, with allies China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey supporting Maduro; and the US, Canada, and most of Western Europe supporting Guaidó as acting President.[257] As of late 2019, efforts led by Guaidó to create a transitional government have been described as unsuccessful by various analysts and media networks, with Maduro still controlling Venezuela's state functions.[258][259][260][261][262][263][264][265]

History by world issue[edit]

Climate change[edit]

In December 2019, the World Meteorological Organization released its annual climate report revealing that climate impacts are worsening.[266] They found the global sea temperatures are rising as well as land temperatures worldwide. 2019 is the last year in a decade that is the warmest on record.[267] The 2010s were the hottest decade in recorded history, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2016 was the hottest year and 2019 was the second hottest.[268]

Global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2019, even though the rate of increase slowed somewhat, according to a report from Global Carbon Project.[269]

World banking[edit]

Concerns increased about the European Debt Crisis as both Greece and Italy continued to have high levels of public debt. This caused concerned about stability of the Euro. In December 2019, the EU announced that banking ministers from EU member nations had failed to reach agreement over proposed banking reforms and systemic change.[166][167] The EU was concerned about high rates of debt in France, Italy and Spain.[168] italy objected to proposed new debt bailout rules that were proposed to be added to the European Stability Mechanism.[270]

In the first half of 2019, global debt levels reached a record high of $250 trillion, led by the US and China.[271] The IMF warned about corporate debt.[271] The European Central Bank raised concerns as well.[272]

World trade[edit]

United States-China trade dispute[edit]

A trade dispute between the USA and China caused economic concerns worldwide. In December 2019, various US officials said a trade deal was likely before a proposed round of new tariffs took effect on December 15, 2019.[273] US tariffs had a negative effect on China's economy, which slowed to growth of 6%.[273]

United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement[edit]

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement [274] is a signed but not ratified free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The Agreement is the result of a 2017–2018 renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by its member states.[275] Negotiations "focused largely on auto exports, steel and aluminum tariffs, and the dairy, egg, and poultry markets." One provision "prevents any party from passing laws that restrict the cross-border flow of data".[276] Compared to NAFTA, USMCA increases environmental and labour regulations, and incentivizes more domestic production of cars and trucks.[277] The agreement also provides updated intellectual property protections, gives the United States more access to Canada's dairy market, imposes a quota for Canadian and Mexican automotive production, and increases the duty free limit for Canadians who buy U.S. goods online from $20 to $150.[278]

See also[edit]

Overviews[edit]

Specific situations[edit]

Category[edit]

WikiProject WikiProject—Wikiproject Politics

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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