November 2013 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of November 2013.
Taliban Leader Killed in Pakistan (Nov. 1): The U.S. achieves an important victory over the Taliban with the assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan. He dies in a CIA drone strike in Danday Darpa Khel, a militant stronghold in North Waziristan. While the government expresses outrage that the U.S. overstepped its boundaries, many citizens indicate they are relieved about the death of a man whose group has destabilized and terrorized the country. The Pakistani Taliban is responsible for the death of thousands of Pakistanis mostly through suicide bombings and has been battling the country's army in the tribal belt. The drone program has come under fire in Pakistan and in the U.S., as opponents say the attacks have claimed far too many civilians. However, a report by Pakistan's defense ministry released days before Mehsud's death found that since 2008, the drone strikes have killed 2,160 militants and 67 civilians-far fewer civilians than expected. The government also says Mehsud's death may thwart plans to hold peace talks with the Taliban.
Mohammed Morsi Trial Begins (Nov. 1): Mohammed Morsi's trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters opens briefly, but is adjourned until January 2014. He denounces the court as illegitimate and proclaims himself the leader of Egypt. Fourteen other defendants also appear in court, and they as well as Morsi are held in a caged area of the courtroom.
New Report Supports Theory That Arafat Was Poisoned (Nov. 6): A new forensics report is released by a team of Swiss scientists that supports the theory that Yasir Arafat was poisoned. The 108-page report says that radioactive polonium-210 was found within Arafat's remains. The report, which also included the work of teams from Russia and France, takes into account limitations such as the amount of time that had passed since Arafat died in November 2004. However, even with limitations, the examination findings "moderately support the proposition" that Arafat died from polonium poisoning. Therefore, the report supports the suspicions that Arafat's supporters have had since his death, that he was killed by rivals of Palestine or Israeli agents. Israel has repeatedly denied any involvement with Arafat's death.
After Three Months, Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks on Verge of Collapse (Nov. 11): Peace talks appear to be on the verge of collapse when a Palestinian negotiator says that no deal would be better than one that allowed Israel to keep building settlements. In a statement, Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh says, "In the absence of political will from the Israeli side to take the negotiations seriously, we believe that it is better not to reach a deal than to reach a bad deal." Shtayyeh went on to say, "By insisting on building settlements in Palestine, the government of Israel is showing that it is not interest in reaching a peace agreement." Shtayyeh's statement comes soon after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region in an attempt to help push the peace talks along. During his latest visit, Kerry warns Israel that international isolation and more regional violence could occur if it did not make progress in the peace talks with Palestine. In a joint interview with Israeli and Palestinian television channels, Kerry says, "If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel. There will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel. The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos."
Iran Agrees to Scale Back Nuclear Program (Nov. 24): Iran reaches a six-month deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Iran agrees to halt production of uranium beyond 5%, which means it could only produce uranium for peaceful purposes; dilute or convert to oxide its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%; not install new centrifuges; give UN inspectors daily access to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo. In return, the crippling sanctions against Iran will be eased, pumping between $6 billion and $7 billion back into Iran's economy.
U.S. Tests China's New Air Defense Zone (Nov. 25): China announces a new air defense zone in an area over disputed islands in the East China Sea. However, their new air defense zone overlaps with an air zone declared by Japan decades ago. China's announcement includes a warning that it would take "relevant measures according to different air threats" against any aircraft flying through the zone without first notifying the country. The United States challenges the new military action threat by sending two unarmed B-52 bombers into the new air defense zone. China responds that their military closely monitored the planes from the United States. (Nov. 28): Japan and South Korea announce that they have also flown military planes into the newly declared air defense zone and that the flights were not uninterrupted by China. China responds by sending fighter jets into the airspace. After sending the fighter jets, China attempts to clarify the meaning of the new air defense zone. The People's Liberation Army releases a statement that the air zone was "not a territorial airspace." Meanwhile the U.S. State Department says, "We have urged the Chinese to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region." The islands below China's newly claimed air defense zone have been the source of a dispute between Japan and China for years. Both countries claim the islands.