The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry, called Nov. 15 for the disbandment of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which he called a "counter-insurgency force" in the Philippines.
Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are ousting the army from military bases across the western Darfur region, leading to fears the country will be split in a similar way to neighboring Libya, which is ruled by rival governments. Even as the RSF has engaged in talks with the army in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, the group has launched attacks on the capitals of three of Darfur's five states, leading to mass displacement and large civilian casualties. Last month, it took full control over Nyala and Zalingei (the capitals of South Darfur and Central Darfur), while last week it seized the main army base in West Darfur's El Geneina. Over 1,000 people from the Masalit ethnic group were reportedly killed by RSF and allied militia fighters during the West Darfur takeover, which may amount to the worst civilian atrocity since Sudan's current war erupted on April 15. RSF leaders are now threatening to seize El Fasher in North Darfur, which has been a safe haven in recent months, and has attracted hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) indigenous rebel group in southern Mexico has announced the dissolution of its "autonomous municipalities" in the mountains and jungle of Chiapas state. A statement signed by Zapatista leader Subcomandante Moisés said the decision was taken "after a long and profound critical and self-critical analysis." The Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ), overseen by rotating Good Government Juntas, have been maintained since the Zapatistas' initial uprising in 1994. Moisés said that future communiques "will describe the reasons and the processes involved in taking this decision," as well as "what the new structure of Zapatista autonomy will look like." The communique did, however, mention a new pressure in the growing power of "disorganized crime cartels" in Chiapas, a reference to the narco-gangs seeking to control "the entire border strip with Guatemala." (AP, Mexico New Daily)
Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have resumed negotiations in Jeddah, four months after the US- and Saudi-mediated talks were suspended because truces were repeatedly violated. Saudi Arabia said the discussions will be based on previous agreements to facilitate humanitarian access and respect ceasefires, though the conflict parties appear to have widely divergent negotiating stances. The army said the talks don't mean it will stop fighting, and the RSF—which controls most of the capital, Khartoum—has been battling on too. This week, it took full control over Nyala, the country's second biggest city and the largest in the Darfur region. Its defeat of the army there follows months of fighting.
As Israel intensifies air-strikes in the Gaza Strip, a northern front appears to be opening in the war. Escalating cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces have led to the displacement of over 4,200 people in south Lebanon, and authorities have designated some 100 kilometers of the border with Israel a military zone. Inhabitants pf the border region have retreated deeper into Lebanese territory to avoid entanglement in the ongoing skirmishes. In the southern port city of Tyre, authorities have converted three school facilities into makeshift refuges for the displaced. (Jurist)
The Congolese government has said a regional peacekeeping mission will have to leave the country by Dec. 8 due to poor performance. The force was deployed by the East African Community (EAC) bloc last year amid an insurgency by the M23 rebel group, which is backed by Rwanda. Kinshasa wanted the force to militarily engage the M23, but that proved tricky given that Rwanda is an EAC member state. Fighting between the M23 and pro-government militias has intensified since the beginning of this month, rupturing a shaky ceasefire. More than 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes by the renewed fighting, with many seeking protection at a UN peacekeeping base.
In Episode 194 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg reviews Russia in Africa: Resurgent Great Power or Bellicose Pretender? by Samuel Ramani. Oxford scholar Ramani traces the history from Imperial Russia's Cossack adventures in Djibouti to the contemporary Wagner Group operations in Sudan, the Sahel nations, and across the African continent. Is Russia truly a Great Power that can challenge the traditional colonial and neo-colonial powers on the continent, or is it a "pretender" which is at this moment assuming a particularly bellicose posture to compensate for its lack of structural imperial power? And does it make a difference? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Ukrainian special forces were apparently behind a series of drone strikes and coordinated ground operation directed against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) near Sudan's capital Khartoum last week, a CNN investigation has found. An unnamed Ukrainian military source told CNN the operation was the work of a "non-Sudanese military." Pressed on whether Kyiv was behind the attacks, the source stated: "Ukrainian special services were likely responsible." The RSF, which took up arms against the ruling junta in an evident effort to derail Sudan's planned democratic transition in April, is believed to be backed by Russia's mercenary Wagner Group.