In Episode 171 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the Russian fingerprints on the attempted coup d'etat in Sudan that has plunged the country into crisis—and derailed a transition to civilian rule that was to have taken place in April under terms of a deal between the ruling junta and pro-democracy opposition. The coup attempt was led by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was to have been absorbed into the official armed forces under terms of the transition deal. The RSF has been closely collaborating with Russian mercenary outfit the Wagner Group—especially in semi-legal gold-mining operations in Darfur and Kordofan regions. The Wagner Group appears to be operating a death squad to eliminate rival and independent gold prospectors in these regions. The arrangement points to a Kremlin-backed design to make the RSF economically independent of the Sudanese state in preparation for an eventual seizure of power. Russian plans for Moscow's first military base in Africa, at Port Sudan, could have been jeopardized by the transition to democratic rule. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
A court in the French overseas department of Mayotte on April 25 ordered the government to stop its expulsion of migrants in the island territory. In Operation Wuambushu, which means "Take Back" in the local Maore language, the government sought to dismantle a "slum" known as Talus 2 in the town of Koungou, removing a population of undocumented migrants and demolishing shelters. Talus 2 has seen repeated angry protests over the clearance plan. Mayotte is a transit point for migrants traveling from Comoros, a nearby archipelago off Southeast Africa. (Jurist, Le Journal de Mayotte)
Since fighting erupted between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan a week ago, up to 20,000 have fled across the border from Darfur region into neighboring Chad. Darfur is the central stronghold of the RSF and has seen particularly heavy fighting, including renewed attacks on civilians. According to the UN Refugee Agency, the majority of the new arrivals in Chad are women and children, who are currently sheltering out in the open. Eastern Chad already hosts over 400,000 refugees from Sudan and the new arrivals are placing additional strain on the country's overstretched public services and resources. Fighting in Sudan has continued despite calls for an Eid ceasefire. (UNHCR, OCHA)
In Episode 170 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg predicts that Russian propaganda weaponization of World War II history, now being employed against Ukraine, will next be used to target Finland. Now that Finland has been "de-Finlandized," abandoning its Cold War neutrality to join NATO, its de facto wartime alliance with Nazi Germany is likely to be exploited by the Kremlin media machine—exactly as Israel exploits the wartime pact between Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem. In a pre-emptive strike against such propaganda, Weinberg breaks down the history of Russian conquest and colonization of Finland, the heroic resistance of the Finns in the Winter War of 1939-40, and how their betrayal manipulated them into the Nazi camp in the Continuation War of 1941-44.
The Oaxaca state congress voted April 12 to modify the border with neighboring Chiapas state, complying with a March 2022 order from Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN). A 162,000-hectare territory of montane forest known as the Chimalapas is ostensibly to be returned to Zoque indigenous communities of Oaxaca, who have protested to demand that the state comply with the SCJN ruling. The decision came as the result of a decades-long campaign by the Zoque communities of San Miguel and Santa María Chimalapa. These municipalities filed a case with the SCJN in 2012, arguing that their rightful lands had been invaded by ranchers and loggers from Chiapas with approval of that state's government. However, the border change also impacts several campesino communities that have since settled in the area from the Chiapas side. These were incorporated as the municipality of Belisario Domínguez by the Chiapas government in 2011. Mexico's National Electoral Institute (INE) has stopped issuing credentials to the 20,000 residents of Belisario Domínguez until it is determined whether they are legally citizens of Oaxaca or Chiapas.
The government of Kazakhstan has brought a legal action for violation of environmental protection laws against the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), the consortium leading development of the country's massive Kashagan oil field, seeking $5.14 billion in fines. In the complaint filed late last month, the Ministry of Ecology & Natural Resources cites storage of sulfur on site in excess of permitted limits, burning of crude gas on flares without a permit, improper discharge of wastewater, and other violations.
Fierce clashes broke out April 15 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with at least 56 civilians and dozens of fighters reported dead across Sudan. The fighting began in the capital Khartoum, as the RSF attempted to seize control of the presidential palace and international airport. The RSF was driven back from the airport with air-strikes. Fighting quickly spread to other cities, as the two forces attacked each other's installations and positions. The SAF claims to have taken the main Khartoum RSF base at Karari, as well as the paramilitary force's bases in the cities of Port Sudan, Kassala, Gedaref, Damazin, Kosti and Kadugli. (Al Jazeera, Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, Jurist, PBS)
In Episode 169 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the move by the Kyiv City Council to name a street after Nazi collaborator Volodymyr Kubiyovych, who was instrumental in forming the SS Galizien Division. The plan was quashed by Kyiv's mayor following protests from the Israeli ambassador—but not before internet tankies exploited the affair to portray Ukraine as a "Nazi state." Ironically, this came the same week that President Volodymyr Zelensky honored victims of the Holocaust at the Babi Yar memorial in Kyiv. The unseemly nostalgia for Nazi collaborators who fought the Soviets in World War II is opposed by the leadership of Ukraine's Jewish community—who also vigorously repudiate efforts by Kremlin propagandists to launder Putin's war of aggression and Nazi-like war crimes as "denazification." Russia's fascist pseudo-anti-fascism is likewise repudiated by Ukraine's own bona fide left-wing anti-fascists, in groups such as the Solidarity Collectives, who now support the Ukrainian war effort against the Russian aggression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.