Oil contracts at issue in Somaliland conflict?
Fighting continues in Somalia's northern breakaway state of Somaliland, where three eastern administrative regions—Sool, Sanaag, and Aynaba—have taken up arms in a bid to rejoin the internationally recognized Mogadishu government. Somaliland accuses the neighboring autonomous region of Puntland and the government of Ethiopia (which is officially attempting to broker a dialogue in the conflict) of intervening on the side of the re-integrationist rebels, who are headquartered in the town of Las Anod, Sool region. Somaliland has been effectively independent since 1991, and has seen a more stable and secular social order than the regions controlled by the Mogadishu government.
From Palestine to Iran: free the land
In Episode 160 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes hideous ironies in the current horrific headlines. Russia was excluded from the official commemorations of Holocaust Day at Auschwitz-Birkenau as it pursues its war of aggression and extermination in Ukraine in the perverse name of "de-nazification." But Israeli flags were of course displayed at the commemoration—even as Israel escalates toward a genocidal solution to the Palestinian question. The fundamental contradiction driving the conflict is the expropriation of the Palestinian people of their lands, and the denial of their self-determination by Israel. The emergence of an explicitly anti-Zionist bloc in the protests against the new far-right government in Israel is a sign of hope. The US, however, is undertaking its biggest joint military exercises ever with the new Israeli regime, despite Biden's supposed rejection of its extremist policies of settlement expansion and annexation—viewing the Jewish State as a strategic ally against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the oppressive regime in Iran treats minority peoples such as the Kurds, Baluch, Ahwazi and Baha'i much as Israel treats the Palestinians. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Turkey: Kurdish party challenges ban order
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on Jan. 16 asked the Turkish Constitutional Court to postpone its decision on a government request to ban the party until after the upcoming general elections, planned for June. Co-leader of the HDP, Mithat Sancar, told reporters: "The Constitutional Court should stop all proceedings on this case. The authorities want to use this case against the HDP as a tool to threaten us." President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government accuses the HDP of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey. The HDP won 12% of the vote in the 2018 general election and holds 56 of parliament's 579 seats. (Kurdistan24)
The Yezidis, 'esotericism' and the global struggle
In Episode 156 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses Peter Lamborn Wilson's last book, Peacock Angel: The Esoteric Tradition of the Yezidis. One of the persecuted minorities of Iraq, the Yezidis are related to the indigenous Gnostics of the Middle East such as the Mandeans. But Wilson interprets the "esoteric" tradition of the Yezidis as an antinomian form of Adawiyya sufism with roots in pre-Islamic "paganism." Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel, the divine being revered by the Yezidis as Lord of This World, is foremost among a pantheon that ultimately traces back to the Indo-European gods. Wilson conceives this as a conscious resistance to authoritarianism, orthodoxy and monotheism—which has won the Yezidis harsh persecution over the centuries. They were targeted for genocide along with the Armenians by Ottoman authorities in World War I—and more recently at the hands of ISIS. They are still fighting for cultural survival and facing the threat of extinction today. Weinberg elaborates on the paradox of militant mysticism and what it means for the contemporary world, with examples of "heretical" Gnostic sects from the Balkan labyrinth. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Turkey seeks Moscow 'green light' for assault on Rojava
Turkey is now openly seeking cooperation from Russia, foremost foreign backer of the Bashar Assad dictatorship, in a long-planned cross-border operation into northern Syria against the Kurdish autonomous zone in the region, known as Rojava. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, speaking to reporters Dec. 25, said: "We are in talks and discussing with Russia about all issues including opening the airspace." (Reuters)
Syria: SDF cooperation with Pentagon suspended
With Turkey preparing a new offensive against the reduced Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Syria's Rojava region, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced a halt to military cooperation with the United States. In a Dec. 2 statement, the SDF said that "all coordination and joint counterterrorism operations" with the US-led coalition battling ISIS remnants in Syria have been suspended. The move is evidently intended to place pressure on the US to do more to constrain Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who reportedly now has his sights on the remaining significant strongholds of the autonomous administration, Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Kobane. The US has some 600 troops embedded with the SDF in Syria. (MEE, PBS, PRI, Al Jazeera)
Iran: oppose death penalty for detained protesters
Sixteen UN-appointed human rights experts called on Iranian authorities Nov. 11 not to indict people on charges punishable by death for participating in peaceful demonstrations. "We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression," the experts said in a statement. (UN News) Since then at least five people have been sentenced to death on the charge of moharebeh ("enmity against God") in connection with the anti-government protests that have been raging for two months. A popular Kurdish rap artist, Saman Yasin, is among those facing execution. Days before the UN statement, 227 members of Iran's 290-member parliament approved a resolution demanding that the judiciary "deal decisively" with "rioters"—taken to mean imposing the death penalty. (BBC News, Iran International, Reuters, Arab News)
Turkey bombs Rojava, pressures Sweden
Turkish warplanes carried out air-strikes on several towns within the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Syria, known as Rojava, on Nov. 19. The strikes killed several Kurdish fighters as well as soldiers of the Syrian regime, with which they now jointly occupy the area. Among the towns hit was Kobane, from where Ankara says the order was given for the Nov. 13 suicide attack in Istanbul, that left six dead and several injured. "Kobane, the city that defeated ISIS, is subjected to bombardment by the aircraft of the Turkish occupation," tweeted Farhad Shami, a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Both the SDF and affiliated Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), named by Ankara as behind the Istanbul attack, have denied any involvement. Turkish authorities have arrested 17 in the attack, including a Syrian woman said to be the main perpetrator. (Al Jazeera, ANF, MEE, Rudaw, Rudaw, The Guardian)
3 days 7 hours ago
5 days 7 hours ago
6 days 2 hours ago
6 days 2 hours ago
6 days 6 hours ago
6 days 7 hours ago
1 week 1 hour ago
1 week 1 hour ago
1 week 7 hours ago
1 week 1 day ago