2007 World History
- Coalition forces battle insurgents on the streets of Iraq, as secretarian violence intensifies; see Iraq Timeline 2007 for details (all year long). Romania and Bulgaria are admitted to the European Union, expanding it to 27 nations and a population of about 490 million (Jan. 1). Some 3,700 people attend a state funeral in Washington, DC, for Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States (Jan. 2). California Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes the first U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives (Jan. 4). Responding to claims of corruption on the electoral commission and threats by an alliance of political parties to boycott upcoming elections, Bangladeshi president Iajuddin Ahmed declares a state of emergency, resigns as head of the interim government, and postpones elections (Jan. 11). President Bush focuses his sixth State of the Union address on domestic issues, including reducing oil consumption and increasing access to health insurance. He admits that the war in Iraq is not going as planned. “This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in,” he said. “Every one of us wishes that this war were over and won” (Jan. 23). Sinn Fein endorses a plan to support the police in Northern Ireland. Over 15 years, the composition of the force will change to reflect the population of the province. Vote clears the path to pursue a power-sharing government between Catholic and Protestant parties (Jan. 28). The Senate confirms Mike McConnell as the director of National Intelligence (Feb. 6). Harvard University's Board of Overseers votes to name Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian, as the university’s first female president in its 371-year history (Feb. 7). Leaders from Hamas and Fatah, two Palestinian factions that have been engaged in deadly violence, meet in Mecca and reach deal to end the fighting and to form a unity government (Feb. 8). At a meeting in Beijing with diplomats from the U.S., China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan, North Korea agrees to dismantle its nuclear facilities and allow international inspectors to enter the country in exchange for about $400 million in oil and aid (Feb. 13). International Court of Justice rules that the slaughter of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica in 1995 was genocide, but stops short of saying Serbia was directly responsible (Feb. 26). Gen. George Weightman is removed from his post as head of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center after reports that patients have received inadequate care, have been caught in a maze of bureaucratic red tape, and have been treated in dilapidated facilities (March 1). Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is found guilty of lying to FBI agents and to a grand jury in the investigation of who leaked to the press the name of covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson (March 6). Khalid Shaikh Mohammed reportedly assumes responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and a role in many others, including the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center (March 10). Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admits that the Justice Department made mistakes and exercised poor judgment in firing seven federal prosecutors in late 2006 (March 13). Leaders of Hamas and Fatah agree on a coalition government. The government's platform does not recognize Israel, accept earlier Israeli-Palestinian accords, or renounce violence, conditions required by Western countries before they resume aid to the Palestinian government (March 15). For the first time, the leaders of Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, and Rev. Ian Paisley, the head of the Democratic Unionist Party, meet face-to-face and hash out an agreement for a power-sharing government (March 26). Iranian troops detain 15 Britons, eight sailors and seven marines, claiming they were in Iranian territorial waters. British officials deny the allegation, saying they were in Iraqi waters (March 26). U.S. Supreme Court rules, 5–4, that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate automobile emissions of heat-trapping gases and that the agency cannot shun its responsibility to do so unless it provides a scientific reason (April 2). The 15 sailors and marines who were seized in disputed waters on by Iranian troops are freed (April 4). Iranian resident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the country has the ability to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, which is part of the process to make fuel for a nuclear bomb or reactor (April 9). Some 35 people are killed and hundreds are wounded when suicide bombers attack a government building in Algiers, Algeria, and a police station on the outskirts of the capital. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility for the attack (April 11). A suicide bomber attacks Iraq's Parliament buidling, which is located in Baghdad's fortified International Zone. Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die (April 13). Male student kills two in a Virginia Tech dorm. Two hours later, he kills 30 more in a classroom building before committing suicide. The shooting rampage is the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others are wounded (April 16). U.S. Supreme Court votes, 5–4, to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, a federal law passed in 2003. It is the first time the Court bans a specific type of abortion procedure (April 18). Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative candidate, prevails over Ségolène Royal, of the Socialist Party, taking 30.7% of the vote to Royal’s 25.2% in the first round of French presidential elections (April 22). Bush vetoes a $124 billion spending bill passed by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill called on the Bush administration to establish benchmarks for the Iraqi government that, if met, set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It was only the second time in Bush's presidency that he used the veto (May 1). In the second round of French presidential elections, Conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy defeats Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, 53.1% to 46.9% (May 6). Local government is restored to Northern Ireland as Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, and Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, are sworn in as leader and deputy leader, respectively, of the Northern Ireland executive government (May 8). Tony Blair says he will resign as prime minister of the United Kingdom on June 27 after ten years in the post (May 10). U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, the second-highest-ranking official in the Justice Department, announces he will step down. He cites financial reasons, but many observers speculate that his resignation is linked to the scandal over the dismissal of several federal prosecutors (May 14). Paul Wolfowitz resigns as president of the World Bank after being found guilty of conflict of interest for setting up a lucrative pay raise for his girlfriend (May 17). A grand jury indicts Rep. William Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on 16 corruption-related counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, and obstruction of justice (June 4). Leaders of the eight industrialized nations meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, agree to consider ways to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (June 7). After months of negotiation and compromise, an overhaul of the immigration system fails to reach a vote in the Senate as the bill falls short of the required 60 votes to end debate and put it to a vote. The failure of the bill is considered a major blow to President Bush, who has made such legislation a domestic policy priority (June 7). A U.S. federal court rules, 2–1, that President Bush cannot have the military hold a civilian detainee indefinitely who is deemed to be an enemy combatant. Instead, the court says, the detainee must be charged with a crime, used as a material witness, or deported (June 11). Sudanese officials agree to allow a joint peacekeeping force of about 19,000 troops from the African Union and the United Nations be deployed to Darfur, but require that most of the soldiers be African (June 12). Dozens die as fighting intensifies between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. Hamas takes control of much of the Gaza Strip. With Fatah holding sway over the West Bank, many fear a civil war is imminent (June 12-13). Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is elected head the Labor Party. In addition, Shimon Peres, of the Kadima Party, is elected president by Parliament (June 13). The U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees request that Harriet Miers, President Bush's former counsel, and Sara Taylor, the former deputy assistant to the president and White House director of political affairs, turn over documents relating to the firing of nine U.S. prosecutors in 2006 and testify about the dismissals. President Bush, citing executive privilege, says the White House will not comply with the subpeonas (June 13). Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas dissolves the government, fires Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas, and declares a state of emergency. Salam Fayyad, an economist, takes over as interim prime minister (June 14). President Bush vetoes a bill that would have eased restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (June 20). Robert Zoellick takes over as the president of the World Bank, succeeding Paul Wolfowitz (June 25). Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as the prime minister of Great Britain (June 27). Bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court rules, 5‒4, that programs in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., which tried to maintain diversity in schools by considering race when assigning students to schools, are unconstitutional (June 28). President Bush commutes the sentence of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former aid who was convicted of lying to FBI agents and to a grand jury in the investigation of who leaked to the press the name of a covert CIA agent (July 2). Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency verify that North Korea has shut down its weapons-making nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, one part of an agreement reached in February 2007 (July 16). President Bush gives CIA the authority to resume using a number of harsh interrogation methods when questioning terrorism suspects. The order, however, does not allow the use of waterboarding or exposing suspects to extreme heat or cold (July 20). The minimum wage in the U.S. increases to $5.85, up from $5.15. It's the first increase in 10 years. The wage will increase 70 cents each year through 2009, when it reaches $7.25 an hour (July 24). The U.S. and India agree on a deal that allows India, which has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to buy nuclear fuel from the U.S. to expand its civilian nuclear energy program and reprocess its spent fuel. India agrees to open the reprocessing facility to international inspectors (July 27). Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the Khmer Rouge leader who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia in the late 1970s, is indicted for crimes against humanity (July 31). An eight-lane interstate bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that is packed with cars breaks into sections and falls into the river, killing 13 people (Aug. 1). President Bush signs into law a bill that legalizes government eavesdropping of telephone conversations and emails of American citizens and people overseas without a warrant as long as there is a "reasonable belief" that one party is not in the United States (Aug. 5). East Timor president José Ramos-Horta names independence activist Xanana Gusmão as prime minister (Aug. 6). Karl Rove, the highly influential and controversial advisor to President Bush, announces he will leave his position as deputy chief of staff at the end of Augus 2007 (Aug. 13). A 8.0-magnitude earthquake occurs 90 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, killing at least 500 people and injuring hundreds more. The cities of Pisco, Chincha, and Ica are among those reporting the most damage (Aug. 15). In Thailand's first referendum, voters approve a new constitution that was drafted by a panel selected by the military government (Aug. 20). Report, completed in 2005 but not released until now, outlines several bureaucratic and intelligence failures that allowed the 9/11 hijackers to enter the United States and concludes that George Tenet, the former director of the CIA, should be held accountable for not formulating a plan to dismantle al-Qaeda (Aug. 21). The White House announces that Alberto Gonzales, the beleaguered attorney general, has submitted his resignation to President Bush (Aug. 27). Abdullah Gul, of Turkey's Justice and Development Party, is elected president by parliament in the third round of voting. He is the first Islamist president in modern Turkey's history (Aug. 28). North Korea says it will disable its nuclear fuel production facility and disclose to international monitors an accounting of all of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007 (Sep. 2). In highly anticipated testimony, Gen. David Petraeus tells members of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees that the U.S. military needs more time to meet its goals in Iraq. Petraeus rejects suggestions that the U.S. shift from a counterinsurgency operation to training Iraqi forces and fighting terrorists. Instead, he says the U.S. must continue all three missions (Sep 10). Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in a coup in 1999 by Pervez Musharraf, is arrested and deported after trying to re-enter Pakistan from exile in Saudi Arabia (Sep. 10). Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe abruptly announces his resignation. The move follows a string of scandals and July's stunning defeat in parliamentary elections, in which his Liberal Democratic Party lost control of the upper house to the opposition Democratic Party (Sep. 12). Seventeen Iraqi civilians, including a couple and their infant, are killed when employees of private security company Blackwater USA, which was escorting a diplomatic convoy, fire on a car that failed to stop at the request of a police officer (Sep. 16). Nuon Chea, who was second-in-command to Pol Pot during the four years of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, is charged with war crimes (Sep. 19). Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party elects Yasuo Fukuda as prime minister, replacing Shinzo Abe (Sep. 23). The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review decides that foreign detainees deemed "unlawful enemy combatants" should be tried for war crimes in military tribunals (Sep. 24). After a month of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations over sharp price increases in fuel in Myanmar, government forces shoot at crowds, raid pagodas, and arrest monks (Sep. 26). North Korea announces it will disclose details about its nuclear facilities, including how much plutonium it has produced, and dismantle all of its nuclear faculties by the end of 2007. In exchange, it will receive some 950,000 metric tons of fuel oil or financial aid and the Bush administration will start the process of removing North Korea from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism (Oct. 3). President Bush vetoes a bill that would have increased the funding of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to $60 billion from $35 billion to provide health insurance to more than 10 million children (Oct. 3). Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf is easily reelected to a third term by the country's national and provincial assemblies. The opposition boycotts the vote, however, and only representatives from the governing party participate in the election. In addition, the Supreme Court has yet to rule if he was constitutionally eligible to run for president while still head of the military (Oct. 6). Former vice president Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work educating the world about human-caused climate change and for outlining ways to reverse global warming (Oct. 12). Benazir Bhutto arrives in Pakistan after eight years in exile. She survives a suicide attack on her convoy, but as many as 135 people die (Oct. 18). Argentina's first lady, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is elected president, succeeding her husband, Néstor Kirchner. She's the first woman in Argentina to be elected president (Oct. 28). Pakistan's prime minister Pervez Musharraf declares a state of emergency, suspends the country's constitution, and fires Chief Justice Iflikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the other judges on the Supreme Court. Analysts suggest that Musharraf was trying to preempt an upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court, which is expected to declare he could not constitutionally run for president while head of military (Nov. 3). More than 50 people, including 18 children, four teachers, and six members of Afghanistan's Parliament, die in an attack in Baghlan (Nov. 7). After days of protests by opposition parties, Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili imposes a state of emergency. The opposition calls for early elections and the resignation of Saakashvili, who demonstrators accuse of abusing power and stifling the opposition (Nov. 7). Michael Mukasey is confirmed at the U.S. attorney general, replacing Alberto Gonzales (Nov. 8). Federal appeals court in San Francisco rules that the Bush administration's fuel economy standards for light trucks are not stringent enough and fail to consider how tailpipe emissions affect climate change (Nov. 15). Cyclone Sidr, with winds over 100 miles per hour, kills nearly 3,500 people in southern Bangladesh. The United Nations reports that a million people are left homeless (Nov. 15). Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who ran Cambodia's notorious Tuol Sleng prison and is the first Khmer Rouge defendant to appear in court, seeks bail on charges of crimes against humanity (Nov. 20). Two teams of scientists, one in Wisconsin the other in Japan, announce they have discovered a way to make embryonic stem cells without using embryonic stem cells (Nov. 20). A brigade of 5,000 U.S. troops starts to leave Iraq's Diyala Province, the first significant pullback of U.S. troops (Nov. 24). Australian prime minister John Howard, the leader of the Liberal Party, loses to the Labor Party's Kevin Rudd (Nov. 24). Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf steps down as military chief. He is replaced by Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. (Nov. 28). A National Intelligence Estimate compiled by the 16 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community says "with high confidence" that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The report contradicts one written in 2005 that stated Iran was determined to continue developing such weapons (Dec. 3). The New York Times reports that in 2005 the CIA destroyed videotapes of the interrogation of two al-Qaeda suspects. The tapes reportedly included agency operative using harsh interrogation techniques (Dec. 6). President Bush signs into law an energy package that requires passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. to have fuel economy standards of 35 mpg by 2020 and an increase in the production of ethanol and other biofuels to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022 (Dec. 6). Report on steroid use in professional baseball, the result of a thorough, far-reaching investigation led by former U.S. senator George Mitchell, accuses 89 current and former Major League Baseball players of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs (Dec. 13). Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf ends emergency rule and restores the Constitution, but he also issues several executive orders and constitutional amendments that preclude any legal challenges related to his actions during and after emergency rule was established (Dec. 14). With the help of the U.S. military, Turkish fighter jets bomb areas in Dohuk Province in northern Iraq, targeting the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Dec. 16). Lee Myung-bak, of South Korea's opposition Grand National Party, wins 48.7% of the vote in presidential elections (Dec. 19). Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is killed in a suicide at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. President Pervez Musharraf blames al Qaeda for the attack, which kills 23 other people. Bhutto's supporters, however, accuse Musharraf's government of orchestrating the bombing (Dec. 27). In the preliminary results of Kenya's presidential election, opposition candidate Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement, leads incumbent Mwai Kibaki, 57% to 39% (Dec. 27). Odinga's lead diminishes, and Kenya's election commission declares Kibaki the winner, 46% to 44%. Violence breaks out among members of the Luo and Kikuyu tribes. Odinga is Luo, and Kibaki is Kikuyu. International observers say the vote was rigged (Dec. 30).
This summary omits most of the events in Iraq; those can be found at Iraq Timeline 2007.