The Intersectional Syria website has issued a "Statement of Free Syrians in Solidarity with the Palestinian People," opening: "We, Syrians united in the revolutionary struggle against the Assad regime and its imperialist sponsors, stand firmly and unequivocally with the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and across historic Palestine, in their fight for liberation from Israeli colonisation, occupation and apartheid." In addition to drawing parallels between bombardment and repression by Israel and the Bashar Assad dictatorship, the statement emphasizes the historical and cultural links between the Syrian and Palestinian peoples—and accuses the Assad regime of hypocritically exploiting the Palestinian cause in rhetoric while betraying it in actual deeds:
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.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met Sept. 4 with the crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, at Gudaibiya Palace in the capital Manama, to discuss boosting trade and diplomatic ties, which were first established in 2020 as part of the so-called Abraham Accords. Cohen said he hoped this would be a precedent for "normalization" of Israel's relations with other Arab states. (ToI, Al Jazeera) Tellingly, the meeting came as Israel and Bahrain are each facing hunger strikes in their prisons, with political detainees protesting harsh conditions and restrictions on their basic rights.
The Free Syria flag again flew high in villages, towns and cities across the country Aug 25, as thousands filled the streets, reviving the chants of the revolution. Protests had days earlier erupted in the regime-held south of the country, first in the Druze-majority city of Sweida (Suwayda) and Dera'a—the town that saw the initial anti-regime protests of the 2011 uprising. They were triggered by the cost-of-living crisis, especially the recent increase in fuel prices as the regime has yet again cut subsidies. But protests sparked by economic demands soon escalated to renewed calls for the downfall of the Bashar Assad dictatorship.
An attorney representing imprisoned Egyptian political activist Ahmed Douma took to social media Aug. 20 to announce the activist's release, thanks to a presidential pardon. Douma had endured a decade of incarceration within Egyptian penitentiaries, and had five more years of his sentence to serve. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi apparently responded to repeated calls for his release by human rights organizations.
The Netherlands and Canada jointly submitted a case against Syria to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) June 8, accusing the Damascus regime of committing numerous violations of international law, including torture, since the beginning of the country's civil conflict in 2011. The primary objective of the application is ICJ action compelling Syria to desist from any future use of torture. If the ICJ finds that it possesses authority to rule on the matter, it will mark the first instance of an international court adjudicating Syrian torture allegations.
Amid deadly Israeli air-raids on Gaza, a terror attack targets the ancient Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia. The attack came as Jews from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered at Ghriba in the annual pilgrimage for the Lag B'Omer festival. In Episode 173 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg recalls how the Jews of Djerba have been repeatedly targeted over the past generation, with this latest attack coming in the context of a reconsolidating dictatorship in Tunisia and a harsh crackdown on the opposition. Yet the Tunisian Jews continue to resist Zionist pressure to emigrate to Israel, instead embracing their North African indigeneity. This embrace is overwhelmingly returned by the country's Arab and Muslim majority, in repudiation of extremists who would target Tunisian Jews to avenge Israeli crimes. Prominent Tunisians were among the Muslims who sheltered Jews during the World War II Axis occupation of North Africa. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
At a closed meeting in Cairo, Arab League foreign ministers on May 7 approved a measure to readmit Syria after more than a decade of suspension—a critical victory for the normalization of Bashar Assad's genocidal regime. In token acknowledgment of the outstanding state of crisis in Syria, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the Arab League's secretary-general are to form a ministerial contact group to liaise with Damascus and seek "step-by-step" solutions. (MEE)