2013 World News

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Major World News Stories of 2013

By Beth Rowen

Edward Snowden

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The bloody, intractable conflict in Syria dominated the headlines in 2013, especially after the government unleashed chemical weapons on civilians in several suburbs of Damascus. The NSA surveillance program leaked to the media by Edward Snowden caused diplomatic turmoil for the U.S. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates stepped up their attacks in a number of nations, including Mali, Kenya, and Iraq. However, 2013 wasn't all doom and gloom on the diplomatic front, and there were some positive steps toward peace in 2013. The Israelis and Palestinians opened talks for the first time in nearly five years, and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, stunned the world with conciliatory overtures to the West. Here's an overview and analysis of some of the biggest international stories of 2013.

The NSA, Edward Snowden, and Surveillance

An overview of the NSA surveillance program leaked to the media by Edward Snowden

Diplomacy Trumps Force Over Chemical Weapons

President Assad agrees to comply with a UN resolution to turn over or destroy weapons

Nelson Mandela Dies

The revered liberation leader died on Dec. 5 at age 95.

Violent Protests Lead to Ouster of Morsi and Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood

Series of events indicate that Egypt is headed back to becoming an authoritarian regime

New President of China Makes His Mark

Signals change to social policy and creates tension with new air defense zone

Negotiations Between Israelis and Palestinians Resume After Five-Years

Continued settlement building by Israel poses threat to peace

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Elected to Another Term

New coalition signals move to the right

President Karzai Refuses to Sign Security Agreement

Rejection of pact complicates U.S. plans for future role in Afghanistan

Anti-government Protests in Thailand Prompt Prime Minister to Dissolve Parliament

Yingluck Shinawatra accused of being a puppet of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra

Central African Republic Falls into a Civil War after Coup

UN and African Union deploy troops to prevent a genocide

Presidential Election Largely Peaceful in Kenya

Later in the year, militants terrorize an upscale mall in Nairobi

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Installed as Pope Francis I

New pontiff has undeniable charisma and is shaking things up in the church

Nuclear Weapons Testing by North Korea Rachets Up Tension with U.S., South Korea

Kim Jong-un threatens war over another round of sanctions

Islamic Militants to Expand Their Control Over Mali

Cease-fire clears the way for presidential elections

Russia Passes Anti-Gay Bill

Law sparked protests worldwide and caused concern about how gays will be treated at the 2014 Winter Olympics

Pakistan Elects a Prime Minister and President

Smooth transitions signal a move toward democracy

Ukrainian President's Rejection of Trade Deal with European Union Sparks Massive Protests

Backed out of deal with EU under pressure from Russia

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