The Crisis of Europe
Eurozone crisis (18 March 2014)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
The Eurozone crisis had only partially subsided by 2014, when a pro-European revolution toppled the pro-Russian government of Ukraine. Russia responded by massing troops on the Ukrainian border and supporting the accession of the Ukrainian republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation. The US and its allies moved to support Ukraine by imposing sanctions on Russia.
Syrian Civil War
The 2003-11 Iraq War had caused 1.5 million refugees to enter Syria. This, in addition to a severe drought in the Syrian countryside, dramatically increased public disapproval of President Bashar al-Assad. Protests against Assad inspired by the Arab Spring were violently suppressed until several military officers defected to form the Free Syrian Army, officially igniting civil war.
Battle of Sirte
The National Liberation Army attacked the last remnants of the Libyan Army still loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown and designated capital of Sirte. After a month of fighting, the NLA finally broke through and captured the city. Gaddafi, already wounded, was captured and killed as he attempted to flee, bringing the Libyan Civil War to an end.
2013 enlargement of EU
In 2003 Croatia applied to join the European Union and in late 2004 the EU set 17 March 2005 as the beginning of membership negotiations. Progress was complicated by the Croatia-Slovenia border disagreement, but eventually Croatia signed the Treaty of Accession on 9 December 2011. After 66% of voter approval in a referendum on accession the following year, Croatia acceded to the European Union as its 28th member state on 1 July 2013.
The Iraqi government's arrest of Sunni MP Ahmed al-Alwani, part of its crackdown on tribal militias, led to conflict with his relatives from the Dulaim tribe in Anbar province. When the Iraqi Army withdrew to cool the situation on 31 December, tribal militants took over in Fallujah, Karma, and much of Ramadi. They were soon joined by militants from Daesh (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIL), who allied with some of the Dulaimi tribal militias.
In February 2010 pro-Russian Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych was elected to power in Ukraine and imprisoned pro-Western former Prime Minster Yulia Tymoshenko. When Yanukovych announced he would sign an association agreement with the European Union - which would have provided Ukraine with funds in return for liberalizing reforms - but then backed down at the last moment in favor of a Russian loan, he sparked a wave of protests called the Euromaidan movement in November 2013. Ukrainian security forces cracked down on the protesters, but this only exacerbated the situation. In February the protests turned to revolution and Yanukovych was forced to flee to Russia.
Just days after pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was forced from office by the Euromaidan revolution, unmarked Russian troops ("Little Green Men") began seizing control of posts across the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine. Crimea, which had formerly been a Russian territory, had a large Russian population, and was home to the important Russian-leased naval base at Sevastopol, was quickly overwhelmed.
Accession of Crimea to Russia
Following its occupation by Russia, the Crimean parliament and Sevastopol's city council voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. Following a referendum, on 17 March Crimea declared its independence as the Republic of Crimea and was annexed by the Russian Federation the following day. Sevastopol was annexed separately, but at the same time, as the Federal City of Sevastopol.