Cover Story

WORLD: A year in review

"We are pursuing them across the country, from north to south and east to west and intend to continue following them wherever they go." -Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Issue: "Year in Review 2001," Dec. 29, 2001

Escalating conflict with China challenged the weeks-old presidency of George W. Bush. Chinese officials detained a string of Chinese-American scholars, then held the crew of a U.S. spy plane after a collision with a Chinese fighter forced its emergency landing. News crews camped on Hainan Island, and relegated to the back pages news unfolding in a Manhattan courtroom, where four suspected terrorists were on trial. More significant than the fate of the accused-they faced the death penalty-was the testimony of two former Osama bin Laden insiders: a Sudanese bookkeeper and an Egyptian intelligence officer trained at Fort Bragg. These star witnesses detailed a global network of terror. Where would this network strike next? The answer came on Sept. 11. The wars of the year-Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, the Middle East-faded against a new kind of war in Afghanistan, where overwhelming U.S. air power wedded to stealthy ground patrols opposed cave dwellers trained in suicide missions and the destruction of America. Caves and carpet bombs
Americans overseas felt the chill wind of terrorism months before survivors in lower Manhattan outran its torrid concrete fallout. Terrorist threats closed embassies and hampered U.S. military operations around the world in April and again in June. After Sept. 11, high-alert status became the norm. President Bush's promise of war on Afghanistan came true with aerial bombardments beginning Oct. 7 after the ruling Taliban refused an ultimatum to hand over Osama bin Laden. Opposition forces in Afghanistan predicted they would capture Kabul by Ramadan. With a little help from America, they took the capital a week ahead of schedule. The country's long-feuding factions, minus the Taliban, came together in Bonn, Germany, and chose Hamid Karzai to lead an interim government. The new war combined speedy Gulf War precision with a few gizmos reserved for the 21st century. Predator drones became unmanned eyes and arms in the sky. They enabled U.S. forces to occupy territory without risking soldiers. Small elite ground units, usually at a safe distance, laser-painted hideouts for air attack. Hundreds of Taliban fighters died without ever laying eyes on the American enemy. By mid-December, more journalists had been killed in battle than U.S. soldiers. Al-Qaeda soldiers, once believed to number 3,000 in Afghanistan, were whittled to 1,000. Casualties include key bin Laden strategist Mohamed Atef, killed in an airstrike, and top lieutenant Ayman al Zawahiri, wounded and reportedly recovering in a cave near Jalalabad. War is not confined to the battlefield. Orders from 138 countries to block terrorist-linked assets produced more than $70 million in seizures. From Somalia to Singapore, brassplate banks and storefront charities laundering funds for al-Qaeda ceased activities overnight. Their receipts could cover the $25 million bounty on Mr. bin Laden. Emmanuel, the place
The ambush of a crowded bus near the town of Emmanuel capped a year of escalating violence in Israel. Palestinian militants, led by the outlawed Hamas, demonstrated increased willingness to launch suicide missions across Israel, from seaside tourist traps to fast-food restaurants in downtown Jerusalem. Israel, particularly after Sept. 11, responded to each attack with overwhelming force. At one point its forces seized Bethlehem with tanks and killed a Christian altar boy. After December suicide attacks killed 35 Israelis and wounded hundreds, Israel declared Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "irrelevant" and ordered forces to recapture territory ceded to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Mr. Arafat called the moves "an official declaration of war." Change of address
Slobodan Milosevic held power in Yugoslavia through a war-torn decade but could not hold out against a 36-hour stand-off outside his home. Police took the former dictator into custody in April and eventually shipped him to The Hague where he will stand trial for war crimes. The tribunal read a 29-count indictment against the ousted head of state Dec. 12, including the high crime of genocide in Bosnia. But justice won't be swift. UN judges are expected to take a year hearing charges on Kosovo, followed by separate trials on the charges relating to Bosnia and Croatia. War on Christians
Christian believers in Pakistan have not lost their faith "but they have definitely lost their confidence," said one church leader. Five weeks after Islamic extremists gunned down 15 Pakistani Christians during Sunday morning worship, congregations took threats of "a Christmas bloodbath" seriously and stepped up church security amid persistent threats from Islamic militants. The war on terrorism sharpened Muslim-Christian conflicts worldwide. Jihad forces in Indonesia closed in on Christians in the coastal area of Poso, burning 21 mostly Christian villages and killing seven. Christians and Muslims in Nigeria fought over the imposition of Muslim Shariah law. In the city of Jos, 11 days of rioting in mid-September left 2,000 dead. In the state of Kano, 600 Christians are missing and 350 known dead after local leaders began imposing Shariah with violent anti-American demonstrations. Saudi officials rounded up more than a dozen foreign Christians for worshipping in private homes and vowed to hold them indefinitely. The Islamic kingdom denied diplomatic access to the prisoners, who come from India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Philippines. War on the unborn
Russia's abortion rate in 2001 topped 2 million, making it perhaps the world's leading abortion nation. The rate exceeds the country's rate for live births, which is 1.7 million. State-sponsored abortion in China continues. An investigative team documented before Congress the reality of forced abortions in one region of China where the clinics operate in tandem with the UN Population Fund. Mothers and their relatives said health authorities arrested them, destroyed their homes, and fined them a year's wages for failing to kill their unborn children. Capture and release
China arrested six American residents, all on charges of stealing state secrets during trips to the mainland. The most prominent, American University prof Gao Zhan, was held six months after being detained in Beijing with her husband and 5-year-old son. The government feared leaks of long-held secrets after the publication in January of The Tiananmen Papers, a collection of highly classified internal documents by three eminent American scholars and an anonymous high-level Chinese government official. Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer spent 104 days in an Afghan prison for teaching Christianity, along with six other foreign aid workers and 16 Afghans. The Americans won release after the surrender of Taliban forces in Kabul. Release of another kind was confirmed for three New Tribes missionaries kidnapped in Colombia in 1993. The men were confirmed dead after a captured guerrilla detailed their 1996 murders. But New Tribes has another hostage case pending in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, outlawed by the United States for ties to Osama bin Laden, still hold missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham. Sky clashes
China took custody of a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane after it collided on April 1 with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot and plane disappeared into the sea after flying under the U.S. craft in a maneuver that was meant to harass. China's communist gerontocracy held the 24 U.S. crewmembers 11 days, then returned them intact but shipped the plane to the States in pieces. From May to December they haggled with the Pentagon over reparations after demanding $1 million. Final U.S. offer: $36,000. U.S. patrols over Iraq came under increased fire from improved Iraqi air defenses in the 10th year of post-Gulf War surveillance. The downing of an unmanned reconnaissance plane was the first shootdown in over 200,000 missions (at least a dozen piloted planes had crashed). The Aug. 28 incident over southern Iraq was followed by another Sept. 11, hours before terrorist attacks on the United States began. A member of the Peruvian air force fired on a plane carrying U.S. missionaries mistaken for drug smugglers. Roni Bowers, 35, and her 7-month-old daughter Charity were killed when the Peruvian jet opened fire on the single-engine Cessna owned by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. The group's private floatplane was carrying the Bowers family to a nearby consulate to obtain a visa for the newly adopted baby. Husband Jim Bowers, who survived the shootdown along with his 6-year-old son Cory, would say of the single bullet that killed both his wife and daughter: "That was a sovereign bullet."

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