1. Most Important Events Of 20122012 will, in all probability, be remembered not exactly because of what happened during theyear, but because of the subtle transforming events that sowed the seeds for some of themore significant transformations of our times. The most important events of the year were notthose that will find place in record books, but those which have the potential to lead to suchsignificant events in future. Whether it was excalating sectarian violence in Syria or US exitfrom Afghanistan, it put the world on crucial crossroads from where unforeseen directionscan open up. The year saw the resurgence of a former superpower, while also reopeningtensions between old foes. The most important developments were in the most developedworld, as economic vows seem to have no end, and politics repeatedly threatened to takeover.Here are the ten most signficant events of 2012, a somewhat laid back year of our history. Yet,these events can lead to some of the most signicant transformations of our times.After half a century of relentless struggle, the Muslim Brotherhood finally came to fore in the MiddleEast, when Mohamed Morsi won nearly 52% of votes in Egypt’s first competitive PresidentialElections in June. As the year progressed, Morsi was tied in a triangulat struggle for dominance withthe Military and the liberals democrats, who opposed his Constitutional amendments but failed to stophim in the year end referendum. However, in Libya, Mahmoud Jibril’s National Force Allianceprevented the rise of Islamists to power by putting Ali Zeiden, a liberal independent as the PrimeMinister.Muslim Brotherhoods coming to power puts the world history at the most crucial crossroads it hasfaced since the second world war. It has the potential to restrain Wahaabi fanaticism and strengthenglobal peace, or... It can support it and bring global disasters.... Beginning from the Middle East, ofcourse !European economic crisis continued throughout the year, escalating off and on, affecting individualcountries and even threatening the bonds of its economic union. Greece was hit badly as over 80,000people protested in February, at times violently, against the new austerity measures imposed toregain Greek creditworthiness. Catalonia, in Spain demanded liberation from Spain seeking areferendum in 2014 for self determination. In between, the EU Budget was passed amidst tensemoments and fear of a veto by the UK, which strongly opposed the expanding bail-outs. Anotherinteresting development was the progress towards Financial Transaction Tax, whose fate does notlook very bright, but which may bring temporary destraction for the politicians.At the end of 2012, Europes fate still hangs in balance. From here, it can either turn to strengtheningfiscal union, which would practically convert it into a Federal Unit, or... It can end up in chaos andbreak out of the monetary union as well, practically breaking European Economic Union !A shabbily made amateurish you tube movie titled “Innocence of Islam” that criticized Islam andinsulted the prophet lead to widespread protests around the world in September, with Muslim peopleventing their ire against the Western powers. In Benghazi, armed gunmen stormed the US Consulate
2. and shot and killed US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens and three other embassy officials.There were simultaneous protests against many other Embassies of the United States as well asseveral other Western countries in various countries. There were violent protests in Cairo in Egyptand Sanaa in Yemen, as well as in Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Kuwait, Pakistan and Indonesia.This unfortunate event marked the fragile nature of peace in digitally networked 21st century. If acasual act of a few stupid men could create such ruckus, imagine the havoc that organized sabotagecan bring. It calls for a whole new approach to the security paradigm. Arms may not be enoughanymore... We desperately need trust !Three decades ago, China might have decided to focus on regaining economic might before itexpresses its military superiority. As the emergent superpower of 21st century showed signs offlexing its muscles on the issue of disputed islands in the South and East China Seas, the propheciesof doom seemed closer than what one might have thought earlier. While its tension with oil richSpratley and Paracel islands with Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei can evolve intodiplomatic crisis, the real threats arise towards the East, where a restive Japan began to have a fullscale introspection as dispute over Senkaku islands worsened, and a Chinese surveillance aircraftbreached Japanese airspace in December.China and Japan share the strongest love hate relationship on this planet. An escalation of tensionwith China has the potetnial to result in passionate nationalism, and can force Japan to drasticallychange its approach. Even without a war....that can revolutionise the political landscape of the FarEast.If there was one news that kept repeating itself from January to December, it was of violence and lossof lives in Syria, with over 50,000 killed, and many more displaced. The relentless battle ragedthroughout the year with forces of President Bashar-al-Assad, joined by Shabiha, a notoriousparamilitary force of Alawite Shia Muslim minority on one side and and the mostly Sunni rebels, leadby Free Syrian Army on the other. Alongside, there was the usual drama of international politicking,with China and Russia twice blocking UN sanctions. The attempted Ceasefires did not last very long.Turkey sided with rebels and offered them safezone in its territory, while Western countries offeredthem non-combat support. Russia and Iran were seen as supporting the Government.The biggest threat in Syria arises from the possibility of sectarian attacks on Sayyida Zeinab, a Shiashrine and mosque in Damascus, reminding a Shiite prophecy that an army headed by a devil-likefigure will conquer Shiites and bring an end to the world ! An attack on the shrine can escalateserious sectarian violence in the region.On May 17, 2012 Facebook became a public company, in the process raising $14 billion, the thirdlargest public offering in the history of United States, after General Motors and Visa. The companywas valued at $ 104 billion, even though the equity shares did not rise as expected. Facebook issueand valuations herald the onset of a new era, where commercialization and profits are going todominate all future virtual societies. In 2011, the virtual networks marked their presence as powerfulpolitical platforms in organizing public protests. Just a year later, they seem to have become the mostpotent profit making business.
3. The implications are enormous - market and social communities have never ever co-existed in humancivilization with greater proximity, as is happening now. Profit potential will lead to a surge ofinvestments in virtual space, making it only a matter of time before our physical existence issubsumed by the virtual universe. In just a few decades, we may have a world that we cannot evenimagine today...!2012 will be remembered for the resurgence of Russia into global political stage. The Cold War isover, for sure, but Russia is still there, and it made its presence felt, even before taking the chair ofthe increasingly influential G-20 group. On August 22, it also made its entry into the World TradeOrganization (WTO) after a long wait of nineteen years. Its entry into WTO is indicative of itseconomic reforms, but many would be more interested in its political aspirations under Vladimir Putin.Ever since Perestroika, Russia has never looked as assertive as it did this time.The world has undergone some radical changes since the mid-nineties. Economic might now rulesthe world, and Russian entry into WTO is an indication of its readiness to play the ball. For the rest ofthe world, there could be nothing less welcome as the emergence of another pole of balancing power.US and China may need to watch out !On March 11, an American soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, under the impact of war stress andalcohol, went on a rampage, killing 16 Afghan civilians in the villages of Balandi and Alkozai, inKandahar, Afghanistan. This random act of irrational and unexplained violence sparked widespreadanti-US protests throughout Afghanistan. It not only threatened the ongoing talks for StrategicPartnership between United States and Afghanistan, but also had a significant impact in shaping thefuture US role in Afghanistan.In May, NATO endorsed an Exit strategy that plans for handing over command of all combat missionsto Afghans, and limit its role to training and guidance, while gradually withdrawing most of its 130,000troops by 2014 end. US exit makes the next few years extremely crucial for the whole region.Aung San Suu Kyi has been the symbol of deomocratic aspirations in Myanmar, and like democracy,she has been under house arrest for the last twenty years. This year, the efforts of her supportersfinally bore fruit as by-elections were held for 45 seats of the Parliament, and Suu Kyis NationalLeague of Democracy, which was previously declared illegal, was allowed to participate. Withinternational observers keeping watch, NLD won 43 of the 45 seats on offer, marking the first realsteps towards an actual democratic rule in Myanmar.Myanmar connects South East Asia with South Asia, two historically linked regions that have beencut-off for most of the last five or six decades. Return of a vibrant democracy in Myanmar holds thekey not only for its own economic development, but also increasing integration of these two regions.Democracy wins... Myanmar develops... Asia grows !Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen year old daughter of a School principal in the Swat valley of Pakistanbecame the most forceful symbol of humanity in a region infested with terror. The couragious girl,hadbeen blogging and supporting the right to education for girls like herself, much against the wishes ofterrorists and religious clerics. On orders of a Taliban cleric, Mullah Fazlullah, Malala was shot onOctober 9, and remained critical for a while but survived. Her shooting raised widespread
4. condemnation across the Muslim world, including Pakistan, where few dare to criticise militants.People, even ladies, openly protested and condemned the terrorist act.Malalas shooting seemed to have finally awakened the human being inside. Terrorism is not a war ofTaliban with United States. It is a war of humanity with violence and fanaticism, which needs to befought in the hearts and minds. Once humanity awakens, the devil of violence will have to give way !ramadan date 2013