The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the already complex situation in the Middle East. But the region has also seen a few glimpses of hope; here is a list of what the area went through in 2020.
From Turkey’s decision to provide military support to war-torn Libya and the killing of Soleimani to the devastating Beirut explosion and Abraham Accords between Israel and a spate of Arab states, the Middle East will find it hard to forget 2020. Here’s a recap of the most dramatic events that shaped the outgoing year:
- 2 January – Turkish parliament approves an official intervention in Libya in a bid to help the forces of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord and its fight against the troops of General Khalifa Haftar, backed by Egypt, Russia and several Gulf states. Soon after the chamber’s approval, Ankara places boots on the ground of the war-torn country and provides the Arab nation with ammunition.
- 2 January – Israel, Greece and Cyprus sign a historic gas pipeline deal, agreeing to establish a 1,900 km long route to carry the energy from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. This comes amid strong opposition from Turkey that simultaneously works on pact with Libya aimed at dividing its resources with Ankara.
- 3 January – Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran’s top generals, was assassinated in Iraq by a US drone strike, which was followed by Tehran launching a retaliatory missile strike on two American bases in Iraq. Soleimani’s death triggered mass demonstrations…