The Crisis of Europe
Eurozone crisis (19 March 2011)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
In 2008 a major financial crisis had broken out in the US and rapidly spread to Europe. Its impact was greatest on Greece, Ireland and Portugal, small countries who had joined the single currency eurozone in the previous decade and were now heavily in debt in a currency over which they had no control.
2009 expansion of NATO
On 1 April 2009, Vilnius Group members Albania and Croatia joined NATO, as well as France, whose relations with the United States had improved.
US withdrawal from Iraq
Following international and domestic pressure, the United States and its remaining Coalition partners planned in 2007 to withdraw from Iraq. In accordance with a Status of Forces agreement, US withdrawal began on 30 June 2009 and completed on 18 December 2011, officially ending the Iraq War.
European Debt Crisis
As part of the 1993 Treaty of Maastricht, EU member states had agreed to limit deficit spending, but this was largely ignored, and became impracticable during the Great Recession. As a result, many poorer Eurozone members had their credit downgraded and responded by imposing aggressive austerity measures, further stagnating their economies and fomenting political unrest.
Starting in Tunisia, revolutionary protests swept the Arab world. The Tunisian government was overthrown in January 2011; President Hosni Mubarak resigned in Egypt in February; Libya collapsed into a civil war, leading to the capture and execution of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October. Protests also occurred in Oman, Yemen, Syria, and Morocco. However by early 2012, the tide had subsided and the regimes had begun to reassert themselves.
2011 Military Intervention in Libya
After just two weeks of fighting, the Libyan Civil War had ground to a bloody stalemate, with Gaddafi's troops controlling Tripolitania and Fezzan and the newly-formed National Transitional Council controlling Cyrenaica. When UN sanctions proved unable to keep Gaddafi from pushing back, NATO intervened on behalf of the NTC.