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 Century 21 Decades 1-6 AD
Century 21 -2001-2006 AD
 
George W. Bush
The presidency of George W. Bush begins. He has promised to make
no attempts at nation building abroad, to give tax breaks for everyone,
and to help the challenged through compassionate conservatism.

Jan 11  President-elect Bush has a top-secret session with the US military Joint Chiefs of Staff, reviewing spots around world where he might have to send US forces. The focus is on Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Bush has been critical of the Clinton administration for allowing the international coalition against Iraq to erode and the sanctions against Iraq to loosen.

Jan 17  President Clinton's National Security Advisor meets with Bush's appointed National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. An attack by terrorists within the United States is Berger's over-riding concern, and he tells Rice: "I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject."

Jan 20  President Clinton pardons 111 people, including Susan McDougal, Patricia Hearst Shaw, and his half-brother Roger Clinton. George W. Bush is sworn in as President of the United States.

Jan 25  Richard Clarke, member of the National Security Council, who had served three previous presidents, sends a memo to Rice suggesting a major presidential policy review to address the "challenge" to the US posed by the al Qaeda network. 

Jan 28  A defector from Saddam Hussein's Iraq tells the British newspaper, The Telegraph, that Hussein has two fully operational nuclear bombs and is working on others.

Jan 30  The Bush administration holds its first National Security Council meeting. Iraq gets attention and al Qaeda does not, or hardly any. At the meeting, CIA director George Tenet states that a factory in Iraq might be producing either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture. He admits that there is no confirming intelligence.

Feb 12  The Human Genome Project international consortium announces the publication of an analysis of the human genome: a blueprint of the sequence of the three billion chemical letters embodied in genetic heredity.

Feb 15  Former senators Hart and Rudman issue their final report on national security. It warns that the US is unprepared for a "catastrophic'' domestic terrorist attack.

Feb 15  President Bush tells the West Virginia National Guard that "over-deployments" strain troops, their families and the civilian employers of National Guardsmen.

Feb 16  Responding to Iraqi targeting of allied warplanes flying in the UN created "no fly zones," twenty-four US and British aircraft attack Iraqi radar stations and air command centers, including targets around Baghdad.

Feb 17  President Bush says that "Saddam Hussein has got to understand that we expect him to conform to the agreement that he signed after Desert Storm [1991].''

Feb 18  FBI agent Robert Hannsen is arrested and charged with having spied for Russia for the past fifteen years.

Mar 1 Mohamed Atta and a friend, Marwan al-Shehhi, are in Florida practicing flying with a small Piper Warrior aircraft.  Atta is 33, an Egyptian and former student of architecture in Hamburg, Germany. He is passionately opposed to Israel and US support for Israel. He believes that Jews centered in New York City control the finances and media of the world and that "Saddam Hussein is an American stooge set up to give Washington an excuse to intervene in the Middle East."

Mar 4  At an international conference in Trieste, Christine Todd Whitman, representing President Bush, declares that the US is committed to combating global warming and to pursuing mandatory emission controls.

Mar 29  President Bush has changed his mind about the mandatory emission controls that he spoke for during his campaign for the presidency. He announces that he will not give in to international pressure regarding his decision to shun the Kyoto Treaty on global warming. He says he "will not accept a plan that will harm our economy and hurt our workers."

Apr 1  A new law in the Netherlands legalizes same-sex marriages for the first time since the reign of Nero.

Apr 2  A US spy aircraft has collided with a Chinese fighter jet and is forced to land in Hainan, China. The US crew is detained and the plane is confiscated. China blames the United States and the US blames China. President Bush insists on the return of the airplane's crew and the airplane, "without further damaging or tampering." 

Apr 11  Regarding China, President Bush has toned down the belligerent rhetoric and allowed quiet go-it-alone diplomacy. China returns the crew of the plane that landed in Hainan. The spy plane is to be cut into pieces and flown out of China in a Russian cargo plane.

Apr 11  A few Islamic young men join Atta in Florida.

Apr 27  D. Mark Wilson and William Beach of the The Heritage Foundation predict that the tax cuts planned by the Bush administration will result in the complete elimination of the US national debt by the fiscal year 2010.

May 1  President Bush describes the possible possession of missiles by rogue states as today's most urgent threat. Also today, the Bush White House is told by the CIA that "a group presently in the United States" is planning a terrorist attack.

Jun 1  In Nepal, Crown Prince Dipendra, not quite 30, has been denied his choice for a wife by his mother.  With an assault rifle he kills his mother, his father the king, other members of the royal family and he shoots himself.

Jun 4  Crown Prince Dipendra dies. His uncle, Gyanendra, 53, the closest relative to the former king, ascends the throne.

Jun 6  German intelligence warns the US CIA and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists are planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture."

Jun 7  President George W. Bush signs the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. The Clinton administration has left a budget surplus, and President Busha says, "The surplus is the people's money. And we ought to trust them with their own money."

Jun 11 The United States executes Timothy McVeigh for bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City.

Jun 16  Speaking of President Putin of Russia, President Bush says, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... I was able to get a sense of his soul."

Jun 20  In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, declares himself President.

Jun 22  The Bush White House is told an Al Qaeda attack could be "imminent."

Jul 2  The first self-contained artificial heart is implanted in Robert Tools. He is to live 151 days.

Jul 10  FBI agent Kenneth Williams sends a memo from Arizona warning that men suspected of ties to terrorist groups are training in Arizona flight schools. He mentions Osama bin Laden by name and speculates that bin Laden's organization might be attempting to infiltrate the US aviation industry with pilots, security guards and maintenance workers.

Jul 16 China and Russia sign a Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

Jul 21 The Darfur Liberation Front is born as persons of the Fur and Zaghawa ethnicities meet and swear oaths on the Koran to combat the Sudanese government in Khartoum.

Aug 6  President Bush receives an intelligence memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US"  The memo says that bin Laden may attempt to hijack airplanes. The report mentions the al Qaeda operative, Ahmed Ressam, who intended to bomb Los Angeles International Airport at the beginning of the year but was caught at the US-Canadian border.

Aug 9  The "Damascus Spring" comes to an end with the arrest of Mamun al Homsi, a legislator representing Damascus, after he launches a hunger strike in opposition to corruption. The so called Spring began after Bashar al-Assad came to power in July 2000 and promised reforms. Bashar's brother, Maher, will be described as having persuaded his brother to crack down. (Wikipedia on the Damascus Spring .)

Aug 10  British and US war planes attack air-defense sites in southern Iraq. The Pentagon says three Iraq air defense system targets are destroyed.

Sep 9  In Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Massoud, military commander of the Northern Alliance, an enemy of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, is  assassinated by a suicide bomber posing as a journalist.
 
September 11
September 11

Sep 11  In the US nothing has been done to increase airport security.  Hijackers have no trouble boarding commercial airlines. They hijack four airliners. Two of the aircraft are flown into New York's Twin Towers. Still without adequate radios, more than 200 firefighters in the north tower do not receive an evacuation call. Almost 3,000 are killed in New York City. A hijacked airliner slams into the Pentagon, killing 125 people inside the Pentagon and the 54 people other than the five hijackers on board the aircraft. By phone, President Bush tells Vice President Dick Cheney, "We are at war, Dick."

Sep 11  Around noon New York time, the Taliban government in Afghanistan denounces the attacks. Around 6 PM, Iraq announces that the attacks are the fruit of "US crimes against humanity."  In the evening President Bush tells the American people that they have seen evil and that he will make no distinction between those responsible for the attacks and those who harbor them.

Sep 12  Regarding the attack on September 11, Bush tells Richard Clarke: "Go back over everything. Everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in anyway."

Sep 12  Crowds of Iranians hold candlelight marchs in sympathy with the victims of the attacks of September 11.

Sep 16  President Bush tells his Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice: " We won't do Iraq now, but it's a question we're gonna have to return to."

Sep 18  Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, says that Islam condemns the massacre of defenseless people. There is hope among Iranians that the US will acquire a more favorable attitude toward the government of Iran.

Sep 18  Talk for the past few days of terrorists using biological agents is followed on this day by five letters containing anthrax sent from Trenton, New Jersey, to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the New York Post and the National Enquirer. By the year 2008 the FBI will conclude that the anthrax attacks are by someone at the heart of work with anthrax: Bruce Ivins, a mentally unstable civilian microbiologist hired by the US Army.

Sep 21  President Bush has demanded that the Taliban deliver to the US Osama bin Laden. The Taliban  replies that it would turn over bin Laden only if presented with evidence of his guilt and that he should be tried by Muslim clerics.

Sep 24  The Taliban calls for a jihad against America if US forces enter Afghanistan.

Sep 25  Saudi Arabia breaks relations with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, citing the Taliban with having made "its land a center to attract and train a number of misguided people of all nations... in order to carry out criminal acts that are against every tenet of Shariah."

Sep 28  Zayd Hassan Safarini, who led the murders aboard Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986, has been released from prison by the Pakistanis. US FBI agents grab him in Bangkok (Thailand) and will take him to the United States, where he is to be convicted of murdering US citizens and sentenced to 160 years in prison.

Oct 5  The first death occurs that is believed from the anthrax sent in letters postmarked September 18.

Oct 7  Operation Enduring Freedom begins - so named by the Bush administration. It is the beginning of what people in the US would call "the War in Afghanistan." The purpose is to oust the Taliban-led government in order to prevent future attacks by al Qaeda. The United States and Britain begin bombing targets in Afghanistan. Australia is a member of the new coalition. Osama bin Laden calls on all Muslims to wage a holy war against the United States. Pro-Taliban and anti-US demonstrations erupt in Pakistan.

Oct 9  Letters containing anthrax are sent again from Trenton, New Jersey, and are addressed to two Democratic senators: Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. These two are Roman Catholics. Bruce Ivins is also a Roman Catholic and will be described as opposed to abortion and perhaps hostile to the liberal positions on abortion by the two senators.

Oct 9  Pakistan troops fight the Taliban on the Pakistani-Afghan border.

Oct 10  In the US, attempts have been made to tighten airport security. President Bush lets the public know that his administration now has a list of 22 terrorists that are most wanted. Government officials tell the public that bin Laden has a network that extends to the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Nov 1  The US and British effort in Afghanistan has been mainly air strikes. The Pentagon announces that it is increasing the number of advisors working with anti-Taliban groups in Afghanistan. 

Nov 10  China is admitted to the World Trade Organization.

Nov 10  In Afghanistan, at the Jalalabad Islamic Studies Center, Osama bin Laden speaks to a crowd of about 1,000 and says: "The Americans had a plan to invade, but if we are united and believe in Allah, we will teach them a lesson, the same one we taught the Russians." His audience shouts, "God is great! Down with America! Down with Israel!" Bin Laden says, "God is with us, and we will win the war. Your Arab brothers will lead
the way. We have the weapons and the technology."

Nov 14  In Afghanistan, the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, allied with the US, has sent a force into Kabul.

Nov 14  Germany sends to prison four who participated in the April 5, 1986, Berlin discotheque bombing. Three are convicted of aiding in murder. These are a Libyan diplomat and two Palestinians. The former wife of one of the Palestinians, a German, is convicted of murder. 

Dec 1  US Marines from three amphibious assault ships have established a base in southern Iraq after encountering no resistance.

Dec 2  Enron Corporation files for bankruptcy, the largest in US history.

Dec 9  US Vice President Cheney tells Meet the Press "It's been pretty well confirmed that he [Muhamed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service."

Dec 11  The Taliban has withdrawn from the city of Kandahar. The US Defense Department claims that the Taliban has been defeated but cautions that their military campaign is far from over.

Dec 17  Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Tora Bora mountains are overrun. The CIA operative, Gary Bernsten, in charge of the operation, has asked Washington for troops to block the one route of withdrawal for bin Laden, al Qaeda and Taliban forces, but these troops have been denied him.

Dec 17  Bin Laden, it is estimated, is on his way southward from Tora Bora on horseback, accompanied by bodyguards and aides, crossing through mountain passes and over smugglers' trails, with villages lighting  campfires along the way to guide the horsemen through the snow towards Pakistan's Pashtun area in Waziristan.

Dec 20  The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1386, authorizing a NATO-led security mission in Afganistan to assist the Afghan Interim Administration in the maintenance of security in Kabul and surrounding areas.

Dec 22  Hamid Karzai is sworn-in as head of the Afghan Interim Adminstration. He would be viewed by some in Afghanistan as an agent of foreign forces.

Dec 27  China is granted permanent normal trade status with the United States.

2002
a_compass1

Jan 1  The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, created in 1992, goes into effect. Thirty-four nations have signed the treaty, including Russia and the United States. Cuba and China have not.

Jan 4  The US Supreme Court affirms patents on seeds. Farmers will no longer be able to save and share seeds as they have done for millennia. By law they will have to purchase seeds from the patent holder every new planting season. The primary beneficiary of the ruling is Monsanto Corporation.

Jan 9  The US Department of Justice announces that it will investigate the Enron Corporation.

Jan 29  In his State of the Union address, President Bush makes his axis of evil declaration, disparaging the governments of North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Jan 31  In Pakistan, Daniel Pearl, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is murdered by his kidnappers.

Feb 10  In Algeria, government forces have been successfully hunting down members of the Islamic Army Group, said to be responsible for the slaughter of more than 100,000 civilians. Today, government forces gun down the group's leader, Antar Zuarbri. The Islamic Army Group is now described as having practically disappeared. But at least a few remain who are not giving up on terrorist tactics, and they are trying to link up with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda.

Feb 12  The United Nations war crimes trial of Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosević begins at the Hague in Belgium.

Feb 22  In Angola, Jonas Savimbi is killed in a military ambush.

Feb 22  In Nepal, Maoist guerrillas, opposed to the monarchy, kill 32 policemen.

Feb 27  A train carrying Hindus on their way to rebuilding a temple at Ayodhya stops in the town of Godha, which is 40 percent Muslim.  Muslims believe the Ayodhya site is theirs. As the train leaves the station, Muslims set the train on fire, killing 59 including more than a dozen children.

Feb 28  In Ahmedabad, India, Hindu mobs kill more than 60 Muslims in their homes and shops.

Mar 7  In the Antarctic over the past 35 days, Larson B Ice Shelf, over 3,250 square kilometers, has broken apart - to be blamed on global warming.

Mar 11  Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's deputy prime minister, announces that the amount of money given to the families of suicide bombers is increasing from $10,000 to $25,000.

Mar 27  In Netanya, Israel, a suicide bomber kills 28 and wounds 140 at a Passover dinner for the elderly. Hamas claims responsibility.  For the month of March, 135 Israeli citizens have died from suicide bombings.

Apr 2  Intending to arrest terrorists and those who finance them, Israel responds to suicide bombings with Operation Defensive Shield, the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 War.

Apr 11  In front of the ancient Ghriba Synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, a suicide bomber kills 14 German tourists, 6 Tunisians, a Frenchman and wounds 30 others.

Apr 30  Pakistani voters approve a referendum that grants a five-year presidency for Pervez Musharraf.

May 1 In Iran some have continued to press for improving relations with the United States, but the country's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei (not to be confused with the late Ayatollah Khomeini) has had a change in attitude since President Bush included Iran in an "Axis of Evil." In a Labor Day speech, Khamenei dismisses negotiating with the US and says "The Islamic Republic of Iran will never succumb to America's bullying."

May 5  Jacques Chirac is reelected President of France.

May 20  The people of East Timor celebrate becoming formally independent from Indonesia.

May 20  In Algeria, elections for seats in parliament give legal Islamic parties 20 percent of the vote compared to the 50 percent received by the Islamic Salvation Front in 1991. The government denies the Salvation Front denying their election victory, and this will launch a civil war.

Jun 2  In a speech to the military academy at West Point, President Bush talks about defense that is proactive rather than reactive. He says that in some instances the US must strike first against another state to prevent a potential threat from growing into an actual one.

Jul 1  The UN's new International Criminal Court, located in the Hague, in the Netherlands, becomes a legal force. Not to be confused with the "World Court," it has been founded to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those states having signed the agreement are 146 in number, well above the sixty required. The United States is among the 45 members of the UN who have not ratified the agreement

Jul 8  At his press conference, President Bush is asked whether it is his "firm intention to get rid of Saddam Hussein." He answers that it is "a stated policy of [his] government to have a regime change. And it hasn't changed. And we'll use all tools at our disposal to do so."

 
Jonathan S. Landay Journalist
Jonathan S. Landay Journalist


Jul 14  During Bastille Day celebrations an attempt is made to assassinate President Chirac.

Aug 1  Saddam Hussein's administration announces that the UN's chief weapons inspector, Sweden's Hans Blix, is welcome in Baghdad for "technical talks."

Aug 3  President Bush signs into law a bill that authorizes the use of military force to liberate any US citizen or citizen of a US ally being held by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and it "provides for the withdrawal of US military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty."
 
Abu Nidal in 1976
Abu Nidal in 1976. A photo
released by Israeli intelligence.


Aug 16  In an exclusive neighborhood in Baghdad, Abu Nidal  is assassinated by Iraqi intelligence.

Aug 20  President Bush says to Bob Woodward: "I'm not a textbook player, I'm a gut player."

Aug 26  In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, US Vice President Dick Cheney says, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. The CIA director, George Tene,t enjoys an insider relationship with the Bush administration and does not want to contradict such claims. (PBS Frontline, "The Dark Side," June 20, 2006)

Sep 5  In Afghanistan a car bomb kills at least 30 in an apparent attempt to assassinate President Hamid Karzai.

Sep 6  Johathan S. Landay, writing for Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that "Senior US officials with access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American security and Middle East stability."

Sep 8  Vice President Cheney tells Meet the Press that Muhamed Atta, in early 2001 "did apparently travel to Prague" to meet with an Iraqi government official. CIA and FBI attempts to confirm Cheney's allegation place Atta in Florida at the time that the meeting in Prague was supposed to have taken place.

Sep 12  At the United Nations, President Bush speaks of Saddam Hussein's violations of promises made at the close of the Iraq war in 1991 of violating Security Council Resolution 1373 by continuing "to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel and Western governments," and of Iraq attempting to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait, a former US President (his father)  and targeting Iraqi dissidents abroad. And he speaks of Iraq having "likely" stockpiles of "weapons of mass destruction."

Sep 14  Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector and former US. Marine Corps major, tells Time magazine that "no one has backed up any allegations that Iraq has reconstituted WMD capability with anything that remotely resembles substantive fact."

Sep 19 In Cote d'Ivoire, troops scheduled for demobilization rebel and take control of the northern half of the country.

Sep 22  In Cote d'Ivoire the government receives the assistance of French troops, the French describing the presence as protecting their nationals and other foreigners. French troops block a rebel advance southward against the capital.

Sep 26  A Canadian telecommunications engineer, Maher Arar, returns from his vacation with his wife and family in Tunis to his job in Canada. He is intercepted at a stopover at Kennedy Airport in New York. He is not allowed to continue on his flight to Canada and in secret will be sent as a prisoner to his country of birth, Syria, where he will be tortured.

Sep 27 East Timor becomes the 191st member of the United Nations.

Oct 2  The US Congress passes a joint resolution authorizing the president to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate against Iraq, provided that the action will not hinder efforts to pursue the al Qaeda terrorist network and that the president declares to Congress that "diplomatic efforts to enforce the U.N. resolutions have failed."

Oct 7  President Bush tells the public that "Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases." This is information provided by a captured al-Qaeda operative, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who knew it was false and saw benefit in provoking a war between the US and Iraq.

Oct 8  For Knight Ridder Newspapers, Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott write that "a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his [President Bush's] own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war. These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses - including distorting his links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Oct 12  In a tourist district on the island of Bali, a suicide bomber and a planted car bomb kill 202, 89 of whom are Australian tourists.

Oct 26  Vice President Cheney says to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "Simply stated, thee is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.

Oct 26  Opposition to another war in Iraq is organized into demonstrations in Europe, Latin America, Australia, Japan and the United States. In the US a common theme is that money spent on war could be better spent on social programs. One slogan is "No blood for oil." Most signs call for peace.

Oct 27  President Bush replies that peace is the ultimate goal. "If we remain true and strong and diligent," he tells a crowd in Arizona, "we can achieve peace."

Oct 27  For Knight Ridder Newspapers, Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott continue on the subject of Iraq. They write that a "dispute pits hardliners long distrustful of the US intelligence community against professional military and intelligence officers who fear the hawks are shaping intelligence analyses to support their case for invading Iraq."

Oct 28  People including Paul Reynolds of the British Broadcasting Corporation are expressing doubts about a serious link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They point to Hussein's secularist background and his hostilities toward the religious extremism of al Qaeda - Hussein's money to families of suicide bombers being for self-promotion in the Arab world. Reynolds writes that Saddam must know that to link with al Qaeda would be fatal for him.

Nov 1  Major General Geoffrey Miller replaces another general, Rick Baccus, as commander of the Guantanamo detention center (Camp X-Ray, Camp Delta and Camp Echo). The Pentagon's expectation is that Miller will toughen interrogation techniques.

Nov 5  In the United States, elections give President Bush's party, the Republicans, gains in both the Senate and House of Representatives, where both already have majority representation.

Nov 8  In the United Nations, US and British influence contribute to the creation of Resolution 1441, urging Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences." In the fifteen member Security Council the resolution passes unanimously.

Nov 8  United Nations weapons inspectors return to Iraq.

Nov 24  After three days of rioting that results in the killing of 105 persons, the Miss World beauty pageant is moving from Nigeria to Britain. The riots began as a reaction to an article in a local newspaper describing the possibility of the Prophet Muhammad, were he alive, marrying one of the pageant contestants.

Nov 28 Suicide bombers attack Israeli tourists at the Paradise Hotel in Kenya, killing 15 and injuring 40, mostly Kenyans.

Dec 7
  Iraq submits a 12,000 page declaration denying that is has weapons banned by the United Nations.

Dec 19  Charges against the Central Park Five are dropped. The real culprit, a convicted rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, has confessed. His story describes details of the rape that were missing in the jumbled and fictitious confessions forced from the wrongly accused. DNA evidense confirms the guilt of the real culprit. Law enforcement will now be seen as negligent in their handling the case. Ken Burns will make a movie about it.

Dec 21 According to the journalist Bob Woodward, in the president's oval office CIA Director George Tenet with his deputy, John McLaughlin, show President Bush their best evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Bush responds: "Nice try, but that isn't gonna sell Joe Public. That isn't gonna convince Joe Public."

Dec 22  In Baghdad an advisor to Hussein, Amir al-Saadi, announces to journalists from around the world that Hussein's government is "ready to answer any questions raised by the United States and Britain on its arms declaration, and would allow the CIA to come and identify suspect sites for weapons inspectors."

Dec 27  In Chechnya a truck-bomb suicide destroys government headquarters, killing 72.

2003
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Jan 13 President Bush summons Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Oval Office and tells him that he has decided to go to war against Iraq.

Jan 28  In his State of the Union speech, President Bush speaks of intelligence reports and says that Saddam Hussein is not disarming, he is deceiving. He says that he is ready to attack Iraq with a United Nations mandate. "We exercise power without conquest," he says, "and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers."

Jan 28  Following Bush's address, a nationally televised debate takes place between Mark Danner and Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens, occasionally described as a leftist, has been in Iraq and is close to some there who have been fighting the Saddam regime. He argues that going to war is the right thing to do. Danner favors strengthening the "containment policy." He describes Bush's doctrine of preemption as "extremely dangerous." He argues that a prolonged occupation would be needed to stabilize Iraq and that this would be fraught with complications and could result in more terror attacks against the US He complains that Bush did not use the word "occupation" in his speech.

Feb 5  Secretary of State Powell addresses the United Nations Security Council and accuses Iraq of hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction. The evidence he says is "irrefutable and undeniable." He states that the UN "places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately." 
 
Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher
Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher/writer



Feb 6  Few journalists in the United States question Powell's presentation. One who does is Katrina vanden Heuvel. Published in USA Today, she writes that Powell's presentation contained "little new information or proof of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." She writes that nearly all of Powell's evidence is "largely circumstantial or speculative." She complains of minor violations being offered to justify a major war.

Feb 15  More than 10 million people in over 600 cities worldwide protest against

Feb 15  Polls show that in the US, President Bush's State of the Union Speech and Powell's presentation at the UN have increased support for an invasion of Iraq. Only 27 percent of those polled oppose military action against Iraq.

Feb 19  In the Kremlin, Putin meets with Russian business leaders and the most wealthy among them, Mikhail Khodorkovsky suggests that the correct mistakes they have made and leave behind the corruption that has became the way of doing business in Russia, implying that government officials have been accepting millions in bribes offered by businessmen in order to get things done. Khordokovsky speaks in favor of moving to a Western European model of doing business. Putin is annoyed and makes a vailed threat to Khodorskovsky.

Feb 22  Weapons inspectors in Iraq have found al-Samoud missiles, which have a range that is proscribed by the UN.

Feb 27  President Bush awards the National Humanities Medal to history professor Paul Kagan, the father of historians whom some would call neo-cons. Paul Kagan had suggested that war had erupted between Athens and Sparta because Athens had not been strong enough to scare Sparta into a reluctance to go to war - rather than states responding defensively to Athenian aggressions. Keeping states scared is to be primary in "neo-con" strategic thinking.

Mar 1  Iraq begins destroying its al-Samoud missiles.

Mar 1  In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks of the "majority of decent and well-meaning people " in the 1930s who wanted to live in peace with Hitler's Germany. He compares them with those who want peace now and do not want to hold Saddam Hussein to account by force if he does not live up to agreements. It is an argument that has been getting more attention in Britain and the United States, which had switched to opposition to Hitler by 1939.

Mar 5 The foreign ministers of Germany, Russia and France say they will oppose any Security Council authorization of war against Iraq.

Mar 7  Hans Blix reports that Iraq has accelerated its cooperation but that inspectors need more time to verify Iraq's compliance.

Mar 9  In Britain, a member of Tony Blair's cabinet, Clare Short, describes his position on Iraq as "deeply reckless" and threatens to resign.
 
Zoran Djindjic, philosopher-politician
Zoran Djindjic, philosopher-politician



Mar 12  Serbia's prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, is assassinated. He had a role in sending Slobodan Milosevic to his trial in the Netherlands, and he was trying to curb organized crime.

Mar 16  President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar meet in the Azores regarding Iraq. At the end of the meeting President Bush states that "We concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world."

Mar 17  The Bush administration sends an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein: either he and his sons leave Iraq or their refusal to do so "will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing." Before his death in 2006, Hussein is to say that he didn't believe that this meant the kind of invasion that followed, that he expected a military operation of the kind that he had been able to survive.

Mar 19  Hussein has not complied. The war against Iraq begins with air strikes.

Mar 20  US, British, Australian and Polish troops invade Iraq.

Mar 22  The US and Britain begin their "shock and awe" air strikes against targets in Baghdad.

Mar 28  President Bush signs into law his tax plan designed to reduce taxes and stimulate economic growth. The act reduces the long-term individual income tax rate on capital gains to 15 percent, and it significantly reduces the amount of tax paid by investors on dividends and capital gains. A statement signed by 450 economists, including 10 Nobel Prize Laureates, oppose the tax-cut bill.

Apr 9   Saddam Hussein's army has ended its resistance and US forces advance into central Baghdad.

Apr 10  Via television, Bush addresses the Iraqi people, telling them that the "government of Iraq, and the future of your country, will soon belong to you." Kurdish and US forces dominate the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. Looting has begun in Baghdad and other cities.

Apr 11 So far in the Iraq war, the US has lost 102 killed and the British 30. Looting has begun in Baghdad.

Apr 21  Retired US Army General Jay Garner has been appointed to administer a brief occupation of Iraq.  He flies into Iraq with eight subordinates.

Apr 22  Garner wants to create a new Iraqi federal government and he wants elections to be held within 90 days. The Pentagon is opposed and Garner agrees to set up an interim Iraqi advisory group of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis, many of whom are expatriates favored by the Pentagon.

Apr 23  The Bush administration decides to put Paul Bremer in charge in Iraq.

Apr 25  The Darfur Liberation Front, consisting of Muslims, associates itself with those Christians in the south of Sudan fighting against the government in Khartoum. It has changed its name to the Sudan Liberation Movement and Sudanese Liberation Army (SLM/SLA).  In Land Cruisers, they attack a sleeping garrison at al-Fashir - a city in the Darfur region. They destroy seven helicopter gunships and four Anotov bombers on the ground and kill 75 pilots, soldiers and technicians.  The Khartoum government is awakened to the fact that they face serious warfare from the Darfur region.

Apr 28  The US Army enters the city of Fallujah and imposes a curfew.  A crowd of about 200 protest and throw stones at the US forces. According to US soldiers they also hear shots, while none has been struck by a bullet. The soldiers fire into the crowd. It is reported that they kill 17 civilians and wound over 70. In Fallujah, anti-Americanism and anger against occupation spreads.

May 1  President Bush lands a fighter aircraft on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, near San Diego, California. He tells the military people aboard the carrier that "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."

May 12  A suicide truck-bomb attack kills at least 60 at a government compound in northern Chechnya. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, suicide truck-bombers, said to be al Qaeda, attack the compounds where American and other Westerners are sleeping. Twenty-six are killed.

May 14  In an apparent attempt to assassinate Chechnya's chief administrator, Akhmad Kadyrov, a woman with explosives strapped to her waist kills at least 18 fellow Muslims.

May 14  Paul Bremer has his first full day in Baghdad.

May 15  Jay Garner confronts Bremer concerning Bermer's plan regarding purging Baathists from Iraqi public offices. Garner says "you're going to drive between 30,000 and 50,000 Baathists underground before nightfall. Don't do this." Bremer politely ends the discussion.

May 16  Bremer orders the disbanding of Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior, the entire Iraqi military, and all of Saddam's bodyguard and special paramilitary organizations. Garner is stunned and believes that Bremer is undoing work to bring back the Iraqi army.

May 16  In the city of Casablanca, Morocco, fourteen attackers, most between 20 and 24 years-old, strike at a variety of Jewish and Western targets. Thirty-three are killed and more than one hundred injured.

May 28  The Israeli Cabinet votes to accept a US-backed "road map to peace," paving the way for talks between Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas.

May 31  Eric Rudolf, a former member of the "Army of God," an offshoot of the "Christian Identity" movement, wanted for a bomb blast that killed one and wounded 111 at the close of the Olympic Games in Atlanta Georia in 1996 and for other bombings, is captured in North Carolina.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi


Jun 1  In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, who won an overwhelming victory in national elections in 1988 but has been denied office, has been taken into custody by the ruling military clique following a clash between their forces and her supporters.

Jun 3  In Zimbabwe, authorities arrest political opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change, and army units attack and beat peaceful protesters.

Jun 5  Shops, banks and factories in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, remain shut for a third day, defying government threats to crack down on businesses taking part in the largest strikes yet aimed at President Robert Mugabe. The Movement for Democratic Change announces that one of the protesters attacked on June 3 has died from injuries. Police have reported 250 to 300 arrests in the past few days.

June 5  In Chechnya a female suicide bomber detonates a bomb near a bus carrying soldiers and civilians to a military airfield in Mozdok, a major staging point for Russian troops. At least 16 are killed.

Jun 15  A rate of about one US soldier per day has been killed in Iraq since the end of combat was declared. The US launches Operation Desert Scorpion to defeat organized Iraqi resistance against US troops.

Jun 18  In the United States, Jay Garner tells Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld that three mistakes have been made: the extent of the de-Baathification; getting rid of the Iraqi army, which has left hundreds of thousands unemployed and armed Iraqis running around; and summarily dismissing an Iraqi leadership group. Garner says there is "still time to rectify this." Rumsfeld replies: I don't think there is anything we can do, because we are where we are.

June 28 US military commanders order a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq.

Jul 1  In Hong Kong, 500,000 march to protest a proposed security law that would restrict and punish dissent. 

Jul 2  President Bush responds to insurgents in Iraq. He says, "My answer is, bring 'em on."

Jul 2  In Russia, a Khodorkovsky business associate, Platon Lebedev, is arrested. The move against Lebedev will be perceived as politically motivated and a warning to Khodorkovsky to flee the country. Lebedev will be charged with tax evasion, embezzlement and money laundering and sent to prison.

Jul 5  In Hong Kong it is announced that the proposed security law would be modified to remove warrantless searches 

Jul 13  Iraq's interim governing council, composed of 25 Iraqis appointed by American and British officials, is inaugurated. The council has power to name ministers and will help draw up a new constitution for the country, while Paul Bremer retains ultimate authority.

Jul 17  US combat deaths in Iraq reach 147.

Jul 22  A raid by US soldiers kills Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, and a grandson.

Jul 23  In Hong Kong Tony Blair commends the peaceful nature of the recent demonstrations against the security law legislation and speaks of evidence of the stability of China overall and the "one country, two systems policy" for what is now China's Hong Kong.

Jul 27  Bob Hope dies at age 100.

Aug 1  A suicide bomber rams a truck filled with explosives into a military hospital near Chechnya, killing 50, including Russian soldiers.

Aug 11 A heat wave in Paris reaches 44 degrees Celsius (112 degrees Fahrenheit), killing more than 3,000.

Aug 19  A truck bomb kills 20 at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

Aug 22  In the US, a new method of sequencing genes can determine the entire genetic code of a virus in a single day.

Aug 26  In Mumbai (Bombay), two car bombs have killed 52 and injured close to 150. India's deputy prime minister announces indications Islamic militants were involved. Suspicion is directed against Pakistan.

Sep 5  In Hong Kong the security legislation that was protested in July is withdrawn.

Sep 5  At Disneyland in California, a roller coaster accident injures 10 and kills 1.

Sep 16  Bremer tells a group of new Iraqi ministers that it is unpleasant being occupied but that "the Coalition is still the sovereign power here."

Sep 23  Two-thirds of Baghdad residents who answer a US Gallup poll respond politely, saying that the removal of Saddam Hussein is worth the hardships they have encountered and that they expect a better life in five years.

Oct 2  North Korea claims that it is using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel rods to make atomic weapons.

Oct 2  Pakistan's army launches its largest offensive against al-Qaeda and other militants in Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing at least 12.

Oct 3  In Karachi, Pakistan, gunmen open fire on a bus carrying Shiite Muslim employees of Pakistan's space agency, killing six and wounding at least six others.

Oct 4  In Haifa, Israel, Hanadi Jaradat, a 29-year-old female Palestinian lawyer, blows herself up in a restaurant, killing 21.

Oct 5  Maher Arar is returned to Canada after Syrian authorities conclude that he has had no links with terrorists. Arar's cell was 3 by 6 feet. He was repeatedly tortured and could hear the screams of other prisoners.

Oct 7  Californians elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor.

Oct 10  Spain's new Madrid-Leida bullet train makes its first journey. The train has an average speed of 108 mph, with a peak of 124 mph.

Oct 11  The French government supports school officials who have expelled two sisters for refusing to remove traditional Islamic head scarves in class.

Oct 15  China launches its first manned space mission.

Oct 21  The Pentagon has put in charge of Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison Major General Geoffrey Miller, the Pentagon planning to apply at Abu Ghraib what Miller had applied at Guantanamo, to get more information from prisoners. The Red Cross completes a three-day visit to the prison and reports abuse.

Oct 24  The Concord makes its final commercial flight.

Oct 25  The New York Times reports today that "Russia's richest man, the baron Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, was seized at gunpoint [yesterday] by government security agents and jailed on charges of fraud and tax evasion."

Oct 27  Four coordinated suicide attacks in Baghdad kill 43 and wound more than 200. Included among the targets is the

Nov 30  For US soldiers in Iraq, November has been the worst month: seventy-five have died.

Dec 1  In Britain, the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is made illegal.

Dec 8  Zimbabwe withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Dec 9  A female suicide bomber blows herself up outside Moscow's National Hotel, across from the Kremlin and Red Square, killing 5.

Dec 13  Saddam Hussein is captured by American troops. Shia are joyous. Sunni are depressed. The divide between Shia and Sunni will begin to widen. Shia and Sunni who were friends will stop speaking to one another.

Dec 20  Libya admits to building a nuclear bomb.

Dec 25  President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan escapes the second assassination attempt in 2 weeks.

Dec 31  According to the CIA World Factbook, in Iraq for the year 2003, 5.84 in every 1,000 persons has died. Also, births numbered 33.66 for every 1,000 persons.

2004
a_compass1
 
Jan 1  More than 71 percent of South Korean households subscribe to broadband internet services, up from fewer than one percent in 1995. South Korea is the most Internet wired nation in the world.

Jan 3  An exploration rover from the United States successfully lands on Mars.

Jan 3  China's Securities Regulatory Commission seizes a brokerage firm for illegal and disorderly management.

Jan 9 Turkey abolishes the death penalty.

Jan 20  In his state of the Union Message, President Bush describes the US in Iraq as "having broken the Baathist regime." He adds, "Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day and conducting an average of 180 raids a week. We are dealing with these thugs in Iraq, just as surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein's evil regime."

Feb 2  Pakistan's leading nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, recently fired by the government, confesses to sneaking nuclear hardware out of the country and briefing nuclear scientists from Iran, North Korea and Libya. He says he believed that nuclear proliferation would distract Western attention from Pakistan and "help the Muslim cause."

Feb 2  Prime Minister Sharon of Israel announces his plan to dismantle 17 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and foresees the time when there will no Jews in Gaza.

Feb 6  In a military effort across Iraq, US military forces round up more than 100 they suspect of participating in violent attacks against their occupation.

Feb 25  The Pakistani and Indian governments are taking steps toward peace. Pakistan pressures Muslim militants in Kashmir to declare a ceasefire, and India's Prime Minister Atal Behan Vaipayee, referring to the potential for peace with Pakistan, appeals to Muslims for votes for his political party.

Feb 28  Among some with connections to the Bush administration has been hostility toward Haiti's president, Jean-Bertrad Aristide. Haiti's wealthy are also hostile toward Aristide. A rightist uprising occurs. US Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that the US government will not allow "thugs" to remove a "democratically elected government." US soldiers land in Haiti, apparently for the purpose of protecting the US embassy and Amercan lives.

Feb 29  Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the elected President of Haiti, is deposed. He and is family are removed from their country aboard an aircraft manned by US personnel, the aircraft with no tail number but with an image of a US flag on the tail.

Mar 2  Aristide and his family are in the Central African Republic. Aristide claims that he was kidnapped, to be denied by US spokepersons.

Mar 2  Suicide bombers attack Shia festival-goers in Karbala and Baghdad, killing 140 people.

Mar 11  In Madrid, tens bombs on a morning commuter trains kill 191 and wound 1,700.

Mar 17  Spanish voters oust a center-right government in favor of a socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has vowed to remove his country's troops from Iraq.

Mar 19  President Musharraf of Pakistan has sent soldiers into South Waziristan where they surround 400 combatants in various fortifications and al-Qaida men, including, they believe, al-Qaeda's number two man, al-Zawahiri. Pakistan's military suffers heavy casualties and fail to capture al-Zawahiri.

Mar 28  In Iraq, the Americans force the newspaper al-Hawaz to close. The paper has ties to the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Mar 31  The people of Fallujah are hostile to foreign occupation. There, four military contractors are dragged from their vehicles and killed. A crowd of a thousand or so beat and drag the burnt corpses behind automobiles, then they hang the dismembered remains from the girders of one of city's two bridges.

Apr 4  In Fallujah, two US Marine battalions launch an offensive. In Baghdad, two Shia Muslims are killed when they throw themselves in front of US tanks during a demonstration. Angry supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr throw rocks at US forces, who claim that they have also fired shots. 

Apr 5  Paul Bremer, head of the US dominated Coalition Provisional Authority, declares al-Sadr an outlaw. A warrant is issued for his arrest. He is accused of having ignited anti-US violence that led to the deaths of eight US soldiers.

Apr 7 US troops and tanks surround the offices of al-Sadr, intending to arrest or kill him.  Armed supporters of al-Sadr mobilize and fire upon US forces. Al-Sadr is neither killed nor captured.

Apr 8  At a news conference, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says of Iraq: "What is going on now is a huge popular uprising." He calls it a "test of will" that the US will meet.

Apr 8  Bremer, General Abazaid and others decide to end their operation in Fallujah because of appearances. The appearances that concern them are reports by the news organization al-Jazeera read avidly by those who read Arabic. Fighting in Fallujah has left 30 Americans and more than 150 Iraqis dead.

Apr 8  Regarding the conflict in Darfur, the Sudanese government signs a ceasefire with two rebel groups.

Apr 11  Two members of the Iraqi Governing Council resign in protest against the US offensive in Fallujah.

Apr 13  Shia clerics negotiate with their colleague al-Sadr.

Apr 15  The Bush administration agrees to a UN proposal to replace the Iraqi Governing Council with a caretaker government.

Apr 19  US forces in Fallujah have an agreement with local community leaders to diffuse tensions. The agreement includes joint patrolling with coalition and Iraqi security forces.

Apr 22  The US shifts its policy by allowing some of the more than 400,000 members of the Baath Party, including teachers, to return to work.

Apr 24  In South Waziristan, tribesmen gather to witness an agreement between them and the Pakistani army. The charismatic tribal leader of the region, 27-year-old Nek Mohammed, agrees to lay down arms and to register "foreign militants" living in the area. Brotherhood is proclaimed between the army and Nek Mohammed.

Apr 29  In the US, CBS Television broadcasts photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison, including men and women in military uniform posing with bound, hooded and naked Iraqi men suspected of having been guerrillas.

May 1  Ten states become members of the European Union: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia. The European Union will now be China's largest trading partner.

May 5  President Bush, speaking to Arab language television networks, says he is appalled by the conduct of US soldiers at Abu Ghraib.

May 6  In the US, commentator Rush Limbaugh says of the photographs of prisoners at Abu Ghraib: "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation."

May 12  Oklahoma's US Senator James Inhoffe says he is more outraged by the outrage over the Abu Ghraib scandal than he is by the treatment of the prisoners. He describes the prisoners as having "blood on their hands."

May 12  Enemies of the United States distribute a video of Nick Berg, a US contractor, having his head cut off.

Mar 15  Amnesty International complains about 75 dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.

May 21  President Vladimir Putin announces that his country will pursue ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, regarding protection of the environment.

May 24  US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld bans US military personnel using cameras in Iraq.

May 28  In Iraq, after seven weeks of fighting in Najaf, the US military and forces loyal to al-Sadr agree to stop fighting. The US. agrees to remove most of its forces from the city, and those loyal to al-Sadr agree to stay off the streets as armed units.

May 30  In Khobar, Saudi Arabia, four armed Islamic militants have seized dozens of foreign hostages. Saudi commandos in helicopters storm the residential complex, freeing most of the hostages. The militants kill 22 people and wound 25 others. One militant is captured and the three others use hostages as cover to escape in a stolen car.

May 30  US Senator Inhoffe of Oklahoma describes global warming as a hoax.

May 31  Aristide and his family are flown to Johannesburg, South Africa, accompanied by members of the US Congressional Black Caucus. South Africa has agreed to allow Aristide to stay following a request received from Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Jun 1  Iraq's Governing Council, which has been under the authority of the Coalition Provisional Authority, dissolves itself. Authority passes to an interim government headed by Iyad Allawi. His cabinet consists of people from Iraq's various ethnicities.

Jun 8  The United Nations Security Council unanimously endorses Iraq's new interim government and authorizes US forces to remain in Iraq until January 2006.

Jun 16   US Brigadier General Janis Karpinski says that she was "ordered from the top" to treat detainees "like dogs," as they are treated in Guantanamo Bay.

Jun 17  A poll conducted in May by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq reveals that 92 percent of those Iraqis questioned see the United States forces as "occupiers."  Only 2 percent describe them as liberators.

Jun 18  Nek Mohammed has reneged on his agreement with the Pakistani army. He is killed by a Hellfire missile fired from an unmanned US Predator airplane. The Pakistan government wants to keep secret US involvement in his death. In South Waziristan an intense hatred rises against the Pakistan Army and the United States.

Jul 9  In the US the Senate Intelligence Committee releases a report describing a "mischaracterization of intelligence" regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction ("WMDs") prior to the war in Iraq, and the report disputes assertions that Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear program prior to the war.

Jul 14  In Britain, the Butler Report criticizes British intelligence about pre-war Iraq.

Jul 22  In Australia, the Flood Report finds the pre-war evidence supporting Iraq's possession of WMDs "thin, ambiguous, and incomplete."   

Jul 28  Senator John Kerry becomes the Democratic Party's candidate to run against President Bush in elections to be held in early November.

Aug 15  President Bush's National Security Advisor, Condeleezza Rice, describes her view of the origins of what she calls the challenge of "Islamic extremism." She speaks of "replacing the hopelessness and the lack of opportunity in the Middle East that has led to that challenge."

Aug 24  A Pentagon-sponsored report, the Schlesinger report, describes treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as acts of "brutality and purposeless sadism." The report rejects the idea that the abuse was simply the work of a few aberrant soldiers. It asserts that there were "fundamental failures throughout all levels of command, from the soldiers on the ground to Central Command and to the Pentagon."

Aug 29  The Olympic games at Athens close after sixteen days. US athletes have won the most medals - 102. Mizuki Noguchi of Japan won the women's marathon. Stafano Baldini of Italy won the men's marathon, which was disrupted by a defrocked priest, Neil Horan, who had a sign on his back about the Second Coming.

Aug 31 Two suicide bombers in Beersheba, Israel, kill at least 16 and injure at least 60. Hamas claims responsibility.

Aug 31  In Moscow, near a subway station, a woman suicide bomber, believed to be associated with Chechen rebels, kills at least ten and injures at least 50.

Sep 2  In accepting his Party's nomination to run again as president, George Bush says that in Iraq "50 million people have been liberated."

Sep 2  The UN Security Council calls for the removal of all foreign (Syrian) troops from Lebanon.

Sep 8  On a speaking tour, rightwing commentator Michelle Malkin tells a U.C. Berkeley student audience that internment of US citizens of Japanese descent was correct on the grounds that they posed a security threat to the nation. Research that journalist Malkin did not consider indicates that they were not a security threat. And the question remains why West Coast Japanese were rounded up and not those in the Hawaiian Islands, a more crucial location and blessed with an abundance of Japanese? Imprisoning individuals without specific charges based on evidence of specific crimes is not supposed to happen in the United States.

Sep 9  A bomb outside Australia's embassy in Jakarta kills 11 and injures 100.

Sep 10-13  Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 storm, hits the western tip of Cuba. Between 1.5 and 1.9 million residents are evacuated to shelters at higher ground. Animals are also evacuated. 20,000 homes are destroyed and not one death is reported.

Sep 14  The UN International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction cites Cuba as a model for hurricane preparation.

Sep 15  In a BBC interview, United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan describes the war in Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority as a violation of the UN Charter. The US, Britain and Australia object.

Sep 17 Japan and Mexico sign a free trade agreement.

Oct 8  Suicide bombers kill 34, mainly Israeli tourists, at the Red Sea resort of Taba, Egypt.

Oct 17  In Belarus, a referendum passes by 79 percent, eliminating term limits for the country's president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, who otherwise would have to leave office after his term in office expires in 2006. Lukashenko's campaign included harassment of opponents and one-sided promotion on state media. There are reports of ballot stuffing, and Lukashenko is described as Europe's last dictator.

Oct 24  Brazil launches its first rocket into space.

Nov 2  In Amsterdam, film director Theo van Gogh is murdered by a 26-year-old, Mohammed Bouyeri.

Nov 2   President Bush wins re-election. The Republican Party extends its majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Nov11  Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, dies.

Nov 13  After six days of fighting, the US Marines fully occupy Fallujah. They have killed an estimated 1,600 labeled as "hostiles" and have uncovered caches of weapons. The city has been severely damaged by artillery, air and tank bombardments, and 300,000 residents have fled.

Nov 14  Burma's army begins a new series of attacks against Karen villagers. The army burns over 30 homes, destroys over 2,000 baskets of rice, loots homes and livestock and drives more than 800 people into the tropical forest.

Nov 16  China agrees to invest $20 billion dollars in Argentina.

Nov 21  In Ukraine a run-off election for president between Viktor Yushchenko and Victor Yanukovych is won by the latter. The election is considered rigged in favor of the latter, and protests begin that will be called the Orange Revolution.

Nov 27  Across Turkey people protest the US military offensive in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Anti-Americanism is reported rising in what has been a close ally of the United States.

Nov 28  The center-left President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, promises economic compensation to 28,000 victims of torture during the 1973 to 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Dec 2  In Burma, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's detention has been extended. The United States calls on the military rulers of Burma to release her from house arrest.

Dec 6  An attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, kills several people.

Dec 26  The Ukraine Supreme Court annuls the elections of November 21. Another election is ordered. 

Dec 26  An earthquake of 9.3 magnitude generates a tsunami that crashes into coastal areas of Thailand, India, Sri-Lanka, the Malives, Malasion, Burma, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The deaths are to be tolled at 186,983 and 40,000 are to remain missing. An old story among the seafaring Moken people warned them to run to high ground when the tide went out far and fast. They did and survived.

Dec 31  The tallest building in the world, at 509 meters (1,670 feet) opens in the city of Taipei.


2005

a_compass1


Jan 9  Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, wins a landslide election to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority President.

Jan 11  In the US the demand for homes and the price of homes are surging. The housing market is swollen with opportunists buying homes and selling them for a quick profit. David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, announces that "home sales will stay well above what was considered to be a healthy level in the late 1990s. The population has grown, household formation is strong and demographics tell us this trend will continue."

Jan 12  The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is officially over.

Jan13  Armed militants enter Israel from Gaza, kiling six and wounding five others. Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claim joint responsibility for the attack.

Jan 21  Hundreds of Palestinian Authority police deploy across the Gaza Strip. Israel hopes that Dr. Abbas will put an end to the kind of violence that he has renounced and that happened on January 13.

Jan 25  In India, a stampede at Mandher Devi Temple kills at least 215, mostly women and small children.
 
Colin L. Powell
Colin L. Powell


Jan 26  Colin Powell has been asked by President Bush to step down from his position as Secretary of State. Powell's resignation becomes effective. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld are not unhappy about his departure. Condoleezza Rice becomes Secretary of State.

Jan 30  About 58 percent of Iraqis eligible to vote choose representatives to a 275-seat National Assembly, whose job it will be to create the country's constitution.

Jan 31  In Russia, the public no longer elects regional governors. Central authority in Moscow has grown in power. President Putin nominates the first Russian regional governor under a new law.

Feb 8  In Denmark a center-right coalition government wins a second term as voters support a plan to keep immigration in check and taxes from rising.

Feb10  Saudi Arabia holds its first municipal elections. Only males are allowed to vote.

Feb 14  A suicide bomber assassinates Lebanon's former Prime Minister Hariari. Syria denies any involvement.

Feb 16  The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, without the support of the United States and Australia.

Feb 25  Terrorists kill five and wound fifty in Tel Aviv. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the attack.

Feb 28  Abbas says that the Palestinian Authority is making a "100 percent effort" to prevent attacks such as occurred on the 25th.

Mar 5  In Iraq, US soldiers shoot at a car carrying an Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, wounding her and killing one of the Italian security agents who is freeing her from captivity.

Mar 8  The US military announces that US soldiers are operating road check points using strict rules of engagement but that these rules are not readily available to the public.

Mar 24  In Krgyzstan people are inspired by peaceful revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and they are upset over poverty and accusations of fraud in recent parliamentary elections. They overthrow President Askar Alayev, who has ruled Kyrgyzstan since the breakup of the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan's independence in 1990.  Under President Alayev, critics were harassed and imprisoned and opposition newspapers closed. A spirit of liberty sweeps Kyrgyzstan. It is called the Tulip Revolution.

Apr 1  Popular Science publishes an article that describes the Army Corps of Engineers as considering a new levee system for New Orleans capable of holding back a surge from a Category 5 hurricane but that "it may be decades before the new barriers are completed.

Apr 2  Pope John Paul II dies.

Apr 9  Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many of them supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, march through Baghdad denouncing US occupation of Iraq.

Apr 26  The BBC reports that in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, parks replace roads to the city center, blocking access to government buildings.

Apr 26  Syria withdraws the last of its military garrison from Lebanon, ending 29 years of military occupation.

May 4  In Iraq, at least 60 people are killed and dozens wounded in a suicide bombing at a Kurdish police recruitment center in Irbil, northern Iraq.

May 13  In the city of Andijin, in Uzbekistan, the military shoots at protesters. More than 500 die. 

May 14  In Korazuv, a town In Uzbekistan that borders Kyrgyzstan, people rebel and drive out police and town officials.

May 18  Uzbek troops take over the town of Korazuv.

May 25  In Cairo, police let young thugs through their lines to attack demonstrators protesting undemocratic elections. The thugs attack only women, groping, beating, ripping off clothing and driving the women half-naked down streets. An middle-class housewife, not ordinarily interested in politics, Gahda Shahbender, is outraged and begins what will become the "Black Wednesday" movement. Its purpose is to observe government behavior regarding elections. It will involve use of the internet.

Jun 10  Fourteen countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Togo, Pakistan and Senegal, sign an agreement to eliminate child labor in mining and quarrying.

Jun 12   In Romania, police move against an Orthodox priest whom they hold responsible for the death of a 23-year-old nun who is said to have had psychic problems that the priest interpreted as possession by the devil. The nun died, it is alleged, as a result of the priest's exorcism ritual.

Jun 17  The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development begins to distribute evacuation maps to the residents of New Orleans. 

Jun 30  Spain joins Belgium and the Netherlands in permitting same-sex marriage.

Jul 7  In London during the morning commute, three suicide bombers attack the subway and one suicide bomber strikes on a double-decker bus. Thirty-eight people are reported killed and hundreds injured. The bombers were four young men and British citizens, three of Pakistani descent and one of Jamaican descent. Two of them were married and fathers. The four were Muslim, one leaving behind a note saying that support for atrocities "against my people the world over" have made the public "directly responsible" and therefore fair targets.

Jul 10  In Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev wins a landslide victory and is to become president. He is a leader of the "tulip revolution" which ousted the former president back in March.

Jul 12  Feuding over water and pasture in a semi-arid region of eastern Africa results in an armed raid across the Ethiopian border against the village of Turbi in Kenya. As many as 100 are killed, mainly women and children.

Jul 22  In London, police follow a young electrician from Brazil, Jean Charles de Menezes, to the subway and shoot him dead. It was mistaken identity.

Jul 28  The Provisional Irish Republican Army announces an end to the armed campaign that it has pursued since 1969.

Aug 15  Israel sets the deadline for its citizens to leave the Gaza Strip.

Aug 23  Israel's eviction of 8,500 or so settlers from Gaza and the West Bank ends.

Aug 26  People in Gaza are joyous over the withdrawal of Israelis. Some are looking forward to peace with Israel. A leader of the military wing of Hamas, Mohammed Deif, is not. He releases a video describing the Israelis as leaving Gaza humiliated, and he credits his suicide bombers with having contributed to the withdrawal. Israel's policy makers have no regrets. In withdrawing from Gaza they are not letting the opinions of their enemies,
or their potential enemies, deter them from acting in their own interest.

Aug 26  The US Coast Guard begins pre-positioning resources and it activates more than 400 reservists in preparation for Hurricane Katrina.

Aug 27 Regarding Hurricane Katrina, President Bush declares a national emergency.

Aug 28  The National Weather Service's New Orleans/Baton Rouge office issues a bulletin predicting that Hurricane Katrina will make the area "uninhabitable for weeks." Voluntary and mandatory evacuations are ordered.

Aug 29  Hurricane Katrina strikes the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts.

Aug 30  Eighty percent of New Orleans is flooded. Many cars remain in the city, now unusable. People are trapped in their homes. Along the coast, the Coast Guard is rescuing people by the hundreds. Of the 60,000 or so people stranded in New Orleans the Coast Guard begins its rescue of over 33,500. The Superdome shelters 26,000 people and provides them with food and water. The death toll in various states as a result of Katrina is to be 1,836, for Louisiana, 1,577.

Sep 4  The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that, in the West Bank town of Taybeh, relatives of a 23-year-old Muslim woman murder her because they suspect she was romantically involved with a Christian man. Her body is exhumed for an autopsy, and young Muslim men go to Taybeh, where Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians live, to avenge what they consider dishonor to the woman. They throw Molotov cocktails, set homes on fire, vandalize parked cars, beat residents who come into the street and set a gas station on fire. Palestinian Authority policemen arrive and save the village's beer factory. The Palestinian governor of the area arrives, and he and Christian clerics try to sooth tempers.

Sep 7  Election day in Egypt. The Black Wednesday has recruited many poll watchers, and the movement records numerous election violations. President Hosni Mubarak wins 88 percent of the vote. There have been restrictions on who could run, and many who are cynical have not bothered to vote.

Sep 19  North Korea agrees to stop building nuclear weapons in exchange for aid.

 May Chidiac
May Chidiac
Chidiac with Gebran Tueni in 2004 
Chidiac with Gebran Tueni in 2004

Sep 25  In Lebanon a car bomb injures television news anchor May Chidiac, said to be a critic of Syria. The blast blew off her leg below the knee and set her hair and clothes on fire. She will lose her left arm.

Sep 27  A US military panel has found Lynndie England guilty of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. She is to serve three years at a military prison at Miramar, near San Diego, and given a dishonorable discharge.

Oct 1  In Bali, a Saturday night bomb blasts kill 26 and injures more than 100, near where a bombing killed 202 in October 2002.

Oct 2  US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "our political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold, and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions."

Oct 8  An earthquake in Kashmir kills about 80,000 people.

Oct 19  In Iraq the trial of Saddam Hussein begins.

Oct 19  US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, touts a strategy for Iraq that she describes as "clear, hold and build" - a strategy that will "assure victory." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is offended. He wants to continue a "light footprint" strategy. He thinks it is for the Iraqi government to clear, hold and build, that coalition forces should merely back up the Iraqis. Rumsfeld is not looking for a military victory. He wants US forces out of Iraq as quickly as possible.

Oct 25  Iraq's constitution is voted upon. An electoral commission reports that 79 percent of those voting support the constitution, meeting the two-thirds requirement. But in Sunni-dominated provinces less than two-thirds vote for the constitution.

Oct 26  Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attends a "World Without Zionism" conference. He calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and condemns the "peace process."

Oct 27  The European Union and Russia join in condemning President Ahmadinejad's comments.

Nov 2  Iraq's Defense Ministry begins recruiting former junior officers from Saddam Hussein's army, hoping to bolster army's forces and to siphon fighters away from the insurgency.

Nov 8  Italy's state television network broadcasts a documentary film "Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre," describing US forces in 2004 as having used white phosphorus and napalm and indiscriminately killing civilians.

Nov 9  In Amman Jordan three hotels are bombed, killing 60 and wounding 115. Two of the bombers were an Iraqi couple who saw a wedding party in progress before the bomb blasts. The wife's bomb failed to explode.

Nov 15  Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, announces an inquiry into the torture of Sunni prisoners by Shia police officers.

Nov 18  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has announced that the bombings in Amman were not means to hit a Muslim wedding. At least 100,000 people march in Amman denouncing Zarqawi, who is from Jordan. His family places half-page advertisements in three newspapers denouncing him and his actions.
 
Chancellor Merkel
Chancellor Merkel


Nov 22  Angela Merkel, 51, becomes Germany's first female chancellor, and its youngest. She has a doctorate in physics, her thesis having been on quantum chemistry. She is fluent in Russian and English. She is leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union.

Nov 24  USA Today writes of "sizzling" housing sales encouraged by real estate agents making big money without consideration of a growing bubble. Inflating the bubble, speculators are buying houses, adding to the demand, with the idea of selling them fast for the sake of profit. States and the federal government are ignoring any need to curb unhealthy real estate or speculation practices.
 
May Chidiac
May Chidiac



Nov 25  In Lebanon, May Chidiac appears on television. Smiling, she promises that she will return to her job.

Nov 30  Speaking at the US Naval Academy, President Bush describes his "plan for victory." He speaks of US troops and commanders in Iraq seeing "the gains that the Iraqis are making." He adds that setting an artificial
deadline to withdraw would send "a message across the world that America is weak and an unreliable ally.

Dec 6  Edward Leamer, director of the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast, reports that the US housing market will see a sustained decline next year and that the "cooling" is likely to spread over several years.

Dec 12  A leading Lebanese journalist, Gebran Tueni, is assassinated. At a Hezbollah rally in March one of the signs read "We are going to sweep Gebran Tueni from Lebanon." Other signs supported Syria. A statement of responsibility for the assassination speaks of "shutting up" a traitor and warns that the same fate awaits other opponents of "Arabism" in Lebanon.

Dec 12  President Bush speaks of "the progress of freedom and democracy in Iraq."

Dec 15  Iraq holds parliamentary elections. As many as 11 million Iraqis turn out to select their first permanent Parliament since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. More than 7,000 Parliamentary candidates from 300 parties are seeking to fill the 275 seats in Parliament.

Dec 18  Susanne Kristina Osthoff, a German archaeologist kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq on November 25, is released apparently in exchange for Mohammed Ali Hammadi. Hammadi, from Lebanon, was in prison in Germany for participation in the murder of US Seaman Robert Stethem during an airline hijacking in 1985.

Dec 31  This year (2005) according to Matt Ridley, the average person on earth earned nearly three times as much money (corrected for inflation) and ate one-third more calories of food than did the average person in 1955. (Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist, p. 14)


2006

 a_compass1


President Morales
President Morales


Jan 22  Evo Morales becomes Bolivia's first indigenous head of state since the Spanish Conquest. He was a leader among fellow campesinos and opposed to US efforts to eradicate coca growing.

Jan 25  Hamas becomes a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Jan 25  Ayaan Hirsi Ali says that "so-called Western values" of freedom and justice are universal; that Europe has done far better than most areas of the world at providing justice, because it has guaranteed the freedom of thought and debate that are required for critical self-examination; and that communities cannot reform themselves unless "scrupulous investigation of every former and current doctrine is possible."

Feb 16  In Haiti, after almost two years of international peacekeeping, elections have been held. The results have been contested. A Provisional Electoral Council decides that René Préval has won 51.15 percent of the votes and a runoff election will not be necessary.

Feb 22  In Irag, a bomb does heavy damage at one of the holiest sites for the Shia, the al-Askari Mosque. Fear rises that anger will further destabilize Iraq.

Feb 26  World population is calculated at 6.5 billion.

Mar 11  Michelle Bachelet is sworn in as Chile's first female president. She speaks of bringing the country together.

Mar 20  President Bush describes a policy of "clear, hold and build" in Iraq regarding the northern town of Tal Afar.

Mar 26  In Scotland smoking is banned in public bars and restaurants.

Apr 11  President Ahmadinejad confirms that Iran has produced a few grams of 3.5 percent low-enriched uranium.

Apr 17  A suicide bombing in Tel Aviv kills nine and injures dozens.

Apr 22  In Afghanistan, four Canadian soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb.

May 1  President Morales nationalizes Bolivia's gas fields.

May 8   Fighting between Fatah and Hamas leaves one Fatah gunman dead and two Hamas gunmen dead. 

May 14  In Haiti, after a couple of months in which approximately 4,000 demonstrators have been killed, René Préval is inaugurated president. His relations with the US are good and the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, is in attendance. So too is one of Haiti's former brutal dictators, General Prosper Avril.

May 31 In Iraq, insurgent attacks have been rising: an average of 72 per day in January, 87 in February, 95 in March, 110 in April, 113 in May. (Bob Woodward)

Jun 3  Montenegro, formerly a part of Yugoslavia, becomes independent.

Jun 8  A US air strike kills Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. President Bush speaks of "justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq." Iraqis, he says, "can be justly proud of their new government and its early steps to improve their security."

Jun 8 The Christian Science Monitor reports that "150 tribal elders have been killed in Waziristan in the past three years." The article, by David Montero, adds that "Without the authority of the elders, there is little to stop the growing power of radical mullahs and the Taliban they support in a land where top Al Qaeda figures have been thought to hide."

Jun 13  In the US, President Bush meets with Prime Minister Maliki and says that Maliki "intends to develop a plan to ensure that no entities outside the Iraqi government wield force in Iraq."

Jun 28  Montenegro becomes the 192nd member of the United Nations.

Jun 28  In response to the abduction of a corporal and the death of two of its soldiers, Israel sends tanks into the Gaza Strip.

Jun 29  The US Supreme Court rules that President Bush has overstepped his authority by ordering military war-crime trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Jul 1  A railway now connects China proper with Tibet.

Jul 3  Rockets fired from Gaza have hit the Israeli city of Ashkelom. Israel sends troops into northern Gaza.

Jul 6  In Mexico, Felipe Calderon is confirmed the winner of the presidential election held four days before.

Jul 12  Hezbollah seizes two Israeli soldiers, kills three Israeli soldiers and demands a prisoner exchange. Israel's Prime Minister, Olmert, calls Hezbollah's actions an act of war.

Jul 13  Rockets fired by Hezbollah strike Haifa.

Jul 14  Israeli airpower destroys Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut. To cut off help to Hezbollah, Israeli warships lob shells onto the runway of Beirut's airport.  Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz of Israel announces that "If the [Israeli] soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years."

Jul 16  Possible US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tells Meet the Press, "We're in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War."

Jul 23  Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declares that Israel has "pushed the button of its own destruction" by launching its military campaign against Hezbollah.

Jul 24  In Mumbai (Bombay) India the bombing of a commuter train has killed 197 passengers and crew. Eight hundred others are injured. Among those accused of the bombing is the fugitive leader of an Islamic student group, SIMI, said to be dreaming of returning the entire sub-continent to Islamic rule. According to Newsweek magazine, "Indian police think SIMI may have 500 hard-core members and as many as 20,000 sympathizers who can be relied on for assistance and shelter."

Jul 30  Israel has warned Lebanon's civilians to vacate Hezbollah areas and has been using its airpower against Hezbollah rocket launching. The Israeli bombing is killing Lebanese civilians. Israel claims it is aiming only at targets of military significance. Some are accusing Israel of a "disproportional" response.

Aug 1  In Iraq the deaths of civilians and policemen surged in July to 3,190, up from around 1,000 or less estimated for each of the months from January to June. (Iraqi Health Ministry, reported by the Washington Post, January 08, 2007).
 
Murat Kurnaz
Murat Kurnaz, presumably before he became a prisoner
at Guantanamo, where he had no shave or haircut.


Aug 9  Prime Minister Olmert claims that Israel is fighting a Syria-Iran axis: the powers behind Hezbollah.

Aug 10  British authorities claim to have broken up a plan to blow up a number of passenger airliners flying to the United States. Twenty-four young men are arrested.

Aug 15  After 34 days of fighting, a truce between Israel and Hezbollah goes into effect. There have been  around 1,000 Lebanese deaths, mostly civilians, and 159 Israeli deaths, mostly soldiers.

Aug 23  Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes and breaking international law by deliberately destroying Lebanon's civilian infrastructure.

Aug 23  After almost five years as a falsely accused prisoner of the US military, Murat Kurnaz, an ethnic Turk, returns to his home in Germany from Guatanamo Bay. Persons in Pakistan made money from a program that involved picking up suspicious persons and delivering them to the US military. From Pakistan, Kurnaz was taken to Afghanistan and thrown together with captured Islamic militants. His story is to be described by 60 Minutes and Wikipedia. He owes his freedom to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who asked President Bush, face to face, for his release.

Aug 27  Today the BBC reports that the head of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, says that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers had he known that it would lead to the kind of war that developed.

Sep 14  Amnesty International accuses Hezbollah of war crimes in deliberately targeting civilians in Israel.

Sep 20  Chávez of Venezuela delivers a speech to the UN General Assembly and refers to President Bush as "the devil."

Sep 25  In Nation magazine, Chavez's speech is described as having been received "with wild applause." The magazine adds that "When Bush spoke the day before, the General Assembly's hall sounded like a morgue."

Sep 31  In Iraq in September, the number of insurgent attacks each day have averaged 105 (Brookings Institute). US troops wounded in September: 776 (Washington Post). Iraqi civilian deaths: 3,345 (UN).

Oct 3  In France, well known intellectuals publish their support for Robert Redeker, a French philosophy teacher who is in hiding and under police protection after writing an article critical of the Prophet Muhammad. The group speaks of the teacher's fundamental rights of self-expression and decries the tendency in Europe to avoid "provocations" that anger Muslims.

Oct 5  Sweden's right of center government begins, after twelve years of rule by the Social Democrats.
 
The late Anna Politkovskaya
The late Anna Politkovskaya


Oct 7  In Moscow, the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a well known critic of President Putin and the war in Chechnya, is found murdered. She is the thirteenth journalist killed contract-style since Putin took office, in the year 2000.

Oct 9  China declares "resolute opposition" to North Korea's "brazen" nuclear test.

Oct 13  Britain's foreign minister, Margaret Beckett, says that detention at Guantanomo "without fair trial of prisoners is unacceptable in terms of human rights, but it is also ineffective in terms of counter-terrorism."

Oct 14  In India thousands of people have been attending mass ceremonies at which hundreds of low-caste Hindus (Dalits) are converting to Buddhism and Christianity.

Oct 17  The population of the United States reaches 300 million.

Oct 23  Two of the three people accused of plotting to steal trade secrets from Coca-Cola plead guilty.

Oct 25  The supreme US commander in Iraq, General George Casey, says it will take 12 to 18 months before Iraqi security forces are ready to take over in the country.

Oct 26  President Bush signs into law the Secure Fence Act, which calls for the building of 700 miles of fence along the US Mexican border. The bill passed by a large majority in the House and Senate. 

Oct 27  In Chile a  judge orders the arrest of Augusto Pinochet, for torture, murder and kidnapping during the early years of his regime, three decades ago.

Oct 29  In Oaxaca, Mexico, striking teachers, students and leftist activists have been demanding that the state's governor, Ulises Ruiz, be sacked for abuse of power. Federal police seize the city center, which the protesters have been occupying for five-months.

Oct 30  US Vice-President Dick Cheney claims that insurgents in Iraq have increased their attacks in order to influence the upcoming US mid-term elections.

Oct 31  US troops killed in Iraq in October: 110 (GlobalSecurity.org). Iraqi civilian deaths: 3,709 (UN)

Nov 1  Turkish archaeologist Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, 92, who specializes in the study of the Sumerians, is acquitted of inciting religious hatred, a charge made after she published a book stating that Muslim head scarves originated with Sumerian priestesses who initiated young men into sex. Her trial lasted one hour.

Nov 1  On the internet, reports have surfaced that hordes of young men harassed women at the end of Ramadan, that veiled and unveiled women were targeted. Shopkeepers rescued women and one is reported as saying, "There were hundreds of young men outside trying to break down the door." It is said that Egyptian newspapers did not report the incidents, and it is said that many young men in Egypt cannot afford to get married and that premarital sex is strictly forbidden.

Nov 3  Police in Oaxaca, supported by helicopters and armored vehicles, invade the local university campus, to which protesters withdrew after being evicted from the city center.

Nov 3  In Darfur, militias kill 63, many of them children.

Nov 7  In the US the Democratic Party wins a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the new Congress to begin in January. 

Nov 8  A bomb blast outside an army training center in northwest Pakistan kills at least 42.

Nov 9  In Kyrgyzstan, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev gives in to more of the "tulip revolution" that he once led. He signs a new constitution that weakens his branch of government in favor of the legislative branch.

Nov 9  The UN releases a report that declares Norway, Iceland, Australia, Ireland and Sweden as the best five countries to live in. The United States is ranked eighth place, after Canada and Japan.

Nov 10  Scientists at Rice University discover a way with chemistry to reduce arsenic contamination of groundwater.

Nov 12  Israel says "as a last resort" it will launch air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran's foreign ministry states that it would "retaliate with a crushing blow."

Nov 13  At a meeting in the White House, President Bush gives an hour long optimistic assessment of what is happening in Iraq. He is followed by his CIA director, Michael Hayden, who, speaking about Iraq's government, says that "the inability of the government to govern seems irreversible." Director Hayden adds that he cannot "point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around." (Source: Bob Woodward, Washington Post, 13 July 2007.)

Nov 14  In Baghdad, gunmen wearing Iraqi police uniforms kidnap as many as 100 from a Higher Education Ministry building.

Nov 14  Indonesia and Australia sign an anti-terrorist security treaty.

Nov 14 South Africa's parliament passes a law that legalizes same-sex marriage.

Nov 15  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, son of the assassinated former president, wins 58 percent of the vote and is elected president - the first democratic elections since independence in 1955.

Nov 18  In China the government blocks access to Wikipedia, less than one week after access had been allowed.

Nov 19  In Tonga, a leader of the pro-democracy movement criticizes Australia and New Zealand for intervening in response to riots against authoritarian rule.

Nov 19 In a London television interview, Henry Kissinger says that a military victory in Iraq is no longer possible, "if you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country..."
 
Pierre Amine Gemayel, assassinated
Pierre Amine Gemayel, assassinated


Nov 21  Lebanon's Minister of Industry, Pierre Amine Gemayel, a popular Maronite Christian, is assassinated while driving in daylight in a Christian area of Beirut. He was driving a rented car to reduce the ability of assassins to spot him.

Nov 21 An Israeli advocacy group claims that 39 percent of the land used by Jewish settlements in the West Bank is private Palestinian property. The group contends that construction of the settlements violated international and Israeli law guaranteeing the protection of property rights in the occupied territories.

Nov 21 Iraq and Syria renew diplomatic relations, broken in 1982 - a move by Iraq's government away from the United States and toward a political solution to the conflict in Iraq.

Nov 23  In what is reported as the deadliest attack since the beginning of the Iraq war, three suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds hit against Shia in Sadr City, killing at least 145 people and wounding 238 according to a first-day report. The attackers are believed to be Sunni.

Nov 24  The BBC reports that manipulating a single gene can create a new variety of wheat with enhanced protein, iron and zinc. The gene is said to be natural in wheat but was turned off during the domestication of wheat plants.  

Nov 26  As the sectarian violence continues in Iraq, there are isolated instances of Sunni and Shia neighbors trying to protect each other, and they fear being considered traitors - described in today's Washington Post.

Nov 26  Also in the Washington Post, an article by Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska and another boots-on-the-ground combat veteran who opposes President Bush's policies in Iraq. Hagel writes that "Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government." He calls President Bush's attempt to control Iraq "an arrogant self-delusion." He writes that there will be no military solution for Iraq.
 
welcome for Pope Benedict
A welcome for Pope Benedict


Nov 26 Thousands of Muslims in Istanbul protest the visit of Pope Benedict, complaining that he insulted the Prophet Muhammad, still confusing the Pope's views with the views of the 14th century Byzantine emperor he was commenting on.

Nov 28  Possible US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks of Europeans "accepting elegant decay."

Nov 30  US troops killed in Iraq in November: 76 (GlobalSecurity.org).

Dec 1 The London-based Economist magazine declares Sweden as leading the world in democracy, followed by Iceland and the Netherlands.

Dec 5  France and Germany tell Syria to stop interfering in the affairs of Lebanon and they invite Syria to develop normal relations with the international community, particularly with the European Union.
 
Shame in China
Shame in China



Dec 6  In the city of Futian, in southwestern China, the police department parading prostitutes to shame them has brought a storm of protest and shame on itself for violating rights of privacy.

Dec 6  Saudi Arabia beheads a Pakistani man and his daughter for heroin smuggling. 

Dec 7 The massive sit-in in Beirut has been going on for a week. Its leader, the Shia cleric Hassan Nasrallah, vows to continue his campaign to oust Lebanon's Western-backed government, but he says his Hezbollah militia will not be dragged into a civil war.

Dec 12  President Ahmadinejad has told a conference in Teheran that "just as the USSR disappeared, soon the Zionist regime [Israel] will disappear."

Dec 18  Donald Rumsfeld resignation as US Secretary of Defense takes effect - a triumph for the strategy that has been urged by the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

Dec 22  The New York Times reports that in Baghdad "at least 10 neighborhoods that a year ago were mixed Sunni and Shiite are now almost entirely Shiite." Shia families have been taking over homes that had been Sunni, and Shia are feeling more secure because of the Shia army - the Mahdi. Some in the Shia -dominated government are saying that the Americans should let the fighting run its course, that getting involved will prolong the fighting.

Dec 27  In the Shia holy city of Najaf, a raid by US and Iraqi troops have killed a "top deputy" of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Sahib al-Amiri. Thousands of angry al-Sadr loyalists march through the streets of Najaf and shout "stooges" at Iraqi soldiers and local authorities.

Dec 28  A military force from Ethiopia drives Islamists out of the Somalian city of Mogadishu. Somalia's prime minister, Ali Mohammed Ghedi, an enemy of the Islamists, arrives in Mogadishu and is cheered by people who line the streets. Some others in Mogadishu are hostile to Ghedi and the Ethiopians. Ethiopia is ruled by Christians who recently responded to Islamist incursions into Muslim dominated border areas within Ethiopia.
 
Saddam Hussein, hanged
Saddam Hussein, hanged


Dec 30 Saddam Hussein goes to his death stoically. He curses "traitors," the United States and Iran, and is hanged.






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