2016 is shaping up to be an incredibly important year across the globe. A new commander in chief in the United States and the continuing crises in the Middle East and Europe will dominate the headlines, though whether an end is in sight for these global events remains to be seen.
The US Presidential Election
When candidates were put forward for the 2016 US Presidential election the news was primarily concerned with the possibility of a female Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, and the return of a Bush to the GOP race. However over the year the race has developed. On the Democrat front Hillary still strongly leads the pack, but with VP Joe Biden retiring his campaign and former independent Bernie Sanders continuing to close the gap, Hillary’s position is not as certain as it once was.
In Republican territory we have seen the rise and fall of several candidates including Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, and now business tycoon and controversial figure Donald Trump has taken a clear lead with only Senator Cruz’s gradual rise in the polls threatening his position.
With the Primaries in the spring, and the elections in November, this election will be fiercely fought by all involved, and will dominate headlines throughout.
The Migrant Crisis
2015 saw the growth of what some have called the greatest migration crisis of all time. Over 1 million migrants entered Europe over the year and tragically over 3,800 lost their lives doing so. These men, women and children who are fleeing conflicts, destabilised regions and economic hardship have divided a continent. Some nations have refused to take in the numbers others say they should, whilst others have been more accepting. Chancellor Merkel has stated ‘the influx of so many people will still demand more from us’ but has stressed ‘mutually respectful coexistence’.
In amongst all the debates over the economic benefits or detriments caused by the migrants, we must remember these are all people, and the fate of their futures and possibly even their lives hangs in the balance as the debate rages hotly on.
What started as government protests over 4 years ago has turned into one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 21st century. As a result of the civil war we have seen the rise of the Islamic State militant group, the expansion of the conflict into Northern Iraq, and the intervention of both local and international powers. 250,000 people have lost their lives, 11 million their homes.
In 2016 the conflict will rage on. Russia and Iran back Assad, Western powers and Turkey the rebels. The end of 2015 did see the creation of the Combined Joint Task Force backed Syrian Democratic Forces, comprising of Kurdish and other tribal groups united against the Islamic State. They alongside the Iraqi army have made progress against IS but with the rest of the world throwing its power behind all sides involved it is unlikely this conflict has a quick or clean end in sight.