A year in review: The biggest stories from the Middle East in 2013

Egypt and Syria dominated headlines. The ousting of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi in July and the army’s bloody crackdown on Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood placed the north African country in the spotlight globally throughout the year.  Chemical attacks, proposed peace negotiations, 33-months of bloodshed and counting, and the growing regional Syrian refugee crisis marked 2013 out as one of the darkest years for a region hosting yet another bloody and potentially protracted civil war. 

In Tunisia and Yemen, national dialogue talks were launched to end political turmoil that has enveloped the countries since the ousting of their former leaders during Arab Spring uprisings. Bahrain also initiated a dialogue to solve tension between its Shi’ite majority and Sunni leadership, but the talks in all three countries have largely ended in deadlock or failure, except for Tunisia which has signalled some hope in recent weeks with the announcement of a new interim Prime Minister to lead the country’s transition.

The culmination of such movements and events in 2013 expose how growing regional tensions and divisions are linked to shifting regional--and global--dynamics and alliances. Beyond the ‘Arab Spring’ discourse, the attempts made towards peace and change both domestically by Middle Eastern countries and the international community are bound to have a lasting legacy on the region and global order in the years to come.

In a year of huge upheaval, revolutions and civil war, what were the biggest events that took place in 2013? Here’s Al Bawaba’s comprehensive guide to the most significant events that occurred in the Middle East this year.


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