Goodbye 2015 and Hello 2016

The tumultuous 2015 is over. It was a year of disasters, wars, devastation, and terror. It was also the year where the Iranian government and the USA plus five managed to strike a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program and an end to the sanctions. It was also a year where the countries of Russia, USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and European countries started negotiating on the future for Syria so to stop the mass exodus of Syrians from their homeland.

That was the year that Europe experienced the mass migration of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and some North African countries. Some European countries such as Germany were very gracious and kind to accept the refugees, and some Eastern European countries which are the pass way to Western European countries were less cooperative and making it difficult for the refugees to cross through. The humanitarian effort of Chancellor Merkel led her to be named person of the year by Time Magazine.

The images of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees holding their babies and very young children walking on foot in hope of better lives and witnessing the drowning of many of the refugees with their bodies washed up to the shore were the common photos seen by people around the world.

Also we witnessed the anti-refugees rallies in some of the European countries which was disheartening and shameful. We should not forget that these people would not have been refugees if the western countries did not interfere with internal affairs of Syria or other countries in the region. In the name of brining democracy to Syria, the western countries started supporting the oppositions to Syrian government and causing mass destruction. The irony is that some of the so called oppositions are worse than the Syrian regime and became allies of ISIS.

We witnessed the war in Yemen where the Saudi’s air force heavily bombed cities in Yemen in the name of helping the ruling government against the insurgents who are being aided by Iran, a claim which has never been proven. The real number of casualties are unknown, but one could safely estimate to be in thousands given the cities where civilians reside were bombed.

Unfortunately the year ended with horrific tragedy Paris on November 13, 2015 where over 158 people were killed and about three hundred injured by series of well-coordinated attack on Parisians by members or followers of ISIS. People were still in shock of this tragedy, when the tragedy of the City of San Bernardino in California took place in early December where fourteen innocent people while celebrating Christmas Holiday at work were gunned down and many other injured. What pursued next could only be seen in the movies. The high speed chase in the Freeway and a prolonged gun battle with the killers and the police. Both husband of wife were killed in the shootout. The couple were ISIS sympathizers and not members of ISIS.

We also witnessed the Paris Summit regarding climate change where over 190 countries leaders/representatives attended to come to an agreement as to how to control the green gas emission and preventing from the planet earth getting warmer which is the cause of all recent climate disasters. Although the intention was admirable, but given that many provisions are not enforceable and voluntary, then one wonders how much was accomplished. They countries agreed to gather every five years to review the progress.

The of course during 2015 the presidential election in the USA started. Many of the Republican candidates captured the headlines, in particular Mr. Donald Trump with his anti-foreigners rant and racist comments raised to the top of popularity among the Republicans. The race still continues and 2016 will be the deciding year for who becomes the next president of the USA.

Throughout the world many countries celebrated start of 2016 and as usual everyone wished a better year. However, the year barely started, when Saudi Arabia in mass execution beheaded and hanged about 47 people whose only crimes were to oppose the government in a peaceful way. Among the executed people was a religious Shiite leader who was popular and well respected in Iran. Shortly after this mass execution, the Saudi embassy in Tehran was set on fire. The diplomatic relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia is severed. Saudi Arabia also persuaded other Persian Gulf countries to sever their relationship with Iran and as the result Kuwait and United Arab Emirate did the same. Bahrain refused to do so.

The breakdown of diplomatic relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia could and would have an impact on the peace negotiation on Syria. Saudi Arabia feels threatened by the recent warming up relationship between Iran and the US. For the past few decades Saudi Arabia had gained importance in the region when Iran and the West had sour relationship, but now that Iran with over 80 million in population with vast oil resources and with strong military force is having better relationship with the West, Saudi Arabia feels threaten.

The recent action by Saudi not only did not gain any friend and popularity, but instead was criticized for their action as it was brutal and unjust and basically backfired.

Let’s hope the remaining months of 2016 bring much more joyful news.

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