The Middle East in 2016

The year 2015 proved to Europe that the world really is getting smaller.

The World Today Published 1 December 2015 Updated 7 December 2018 1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

The Syrian civil war which had seemed far away came dramatically close to home, in the form of thousands of refugees and the horrific terror attacks in Paris.

In our cover story, Jean-Marie Guéhenno considers the options for Europe to address these challenges at a time of internal weakness: if Friday November 13 was France’s 9/11, then Europe must at least learn the lessons from America’s mistakes in its ill-defined war on terror.

It is not just Islamic State which is expanding beyond the borders of Iraq/Syria. As Sanam Vakil explains the world must prepare for a resurgent Iran after the lifting of sanctions.

Iran’s undimmed aspirations to be a regional power will make any attempt to align Europe’s aims in Syria with those of the Arabs extremely complex. Jane Kinninmont sets out the ways that Islamic State profits from the region’s wider political conflicts.

We look at ways to protect the biodiversity in the oceans, at a time of rampant over-fishing and inexorably rising temperatures. Huge marine protected areas, such as the one announced by Chile around Easter Island, are welcomed, but much more effort is needed.

It was not all bad in 2015. The peace agreement between Colombia and the FARC guerrillas seems likely to bring to an end the longest armed insurrection in the Americas. And there was some good news elsewhere: the eurozone did not break up, Greece was not forced out, and surprisingly successful elections were held in Myanmar and Nigeria.

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