May 2011 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of May 2011.
Osama bin Laden Is Killed in Pakistan (May 1): U.S. troops and CIA operatives shoot and kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 500,000 people that houses a military base and a military academy. Following a firefight, the troops descend upon the compound and shoot Osama bin Laden after he reportedly refuses to surrender. News of bin Laden's death brings cheers and a sense of relief worldwide. (May 13): Two suicide bombers attack recruits leaving a paramilitary training center in Shabqadar, Pakistan. Eighty people are killed and 120 are wounded in the first retaliation for the killing of bin Laden. The Taliban immediately claims responsibility and blames the Pakistani military for failing to stop the U.S. raid.
Palestinian Factions Sign Historic Reconciliation Accord (May 4): Fatah and Hamas, rival Palestinian parties, sign a reconciliation accord. The two factions cite common causes behind the accord: opposition to the Israeli occupation and disillusionment with the American peace efforts. The deal remakes the Palestine Liberation Organization, which until now excluded Hamas. Hamas will now be part of the political leadership, starting with a committee to study necessary changes. Hamas's new, larger role in the Palestinian government could have diplomatic consequences. The U.S., which recognizes Hamas as a terrorist group, currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Palestine.
Syria Forces Go Door-to-Door to Make Arrests (May 5): Syrian security forces raid a Damascus suburb, going house-to-house and arresting men in an effort to intensify their crackdown of the uprising against four decades of authoritarian rule. Human rights organizations say that at least 286 men, most between the ages of 18 and 50, have been arrested.
IMF Head Arrested for Sexual Assault (May 14): Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a leading political figure in France, is arrested for sexually assaulting a maid at a Manhattan hotel. Strauss-Kahn is removed from an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport and taken into custody. Reaction in France to the arrest is a mixture of anger, disbelief, and embarrassment, with polls showing that most people think he was set up. (May 18): Strauss-Kahn, considered by many as a favorite to oust President Nicolas Sarkozy in the next election, resigns as managing director of the IMF. (May 19): A grand jury indicts Strauss-Kahn on multiple charges, including committing a criminal sex act, attempted rape, and sexual abuse.
After Being at Large for 15 Years, Ex-General Is Captured (May 26): Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general responsible for the massacre of over 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995, is found and arrested in Lazarevo, a farming town north of Belgrade. Serbian President Boris Tadic offers few details about the arrest, but promises that Mladic will face a war crimes trial.
Egypt Stops Enforcing Israel's Blockade of Gaza (May 29): Egypt lifts the Rafah border blockade, allowing Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip to pass through. This marks the first break in the enformcement of the four-year Israeli blockade. Israel issues no statements in response to the border opening—a border that in the past has served as a symbol of both their partnership and complicated relationship with Egypt.