The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has denied arming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces fighting Sudan's army, despite a leaked UN document alleging "credible" evidence. The UN report said arms and ammunition shipments are unloaded each week from cargo planes at an airport in Chad, and handed to the RSF at the Sudanese border. The UAE has also been accused of funnelling weapons through Uganda and the Central African Republic, part of a regional supply network that has allowed the RSF to "punch above its weight" in the nine-month conflict. But the Gulf State—with business and political interests across Africa—said it has taken no side in the war.
France looks set to begin a "limited" military withdrawal from Niger, after ongoing popular protests have made it clear its troops are no longer welcome. Niger's new military leaders had given France a month to pull its 1,500 soldiers—plus ambassador—out of the country. But Paris, which does not recognize the legitimacy of the junta, had refused. Now, with the expiry of the Sept. 3 deadline, talks are underway with Nigerien army commanders (not the putsch leaders, French officials stress) for an undisclosed number of French troops to be transferred to Chad. But France's military presence is resented across the Sahel. On Sept. 5, there were demonstrations outside the French base in Faya-Largeau, northern Chad, after a French legionnaire killed a Chadian soldier.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan announced July 13 that the court has opened an investigation into human rights offenses committed by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and rival Rapid Security Forces (RSF), 90 days after the current conflict began in Sudan. Khan appeared before the UN Security Council to make the announcement.
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.
Coverage of Sudan's new internal conflict, now entering its second month, has focused on the battle for Khartoum, the nation's capital. But some of the worst fighting has taken place in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. On top of combat between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), clashes have broken out in the town between local RSF-aligned Arab militias and members of the Masalit ethnic group. By the count of local medical groups, the total death toll in El Geneina now exceeds 2,000, while more than 150,000 people from the town and surrounding areas have been displaced. Many have fled across the border to neighboring Chad.
The Washington Post reports April 24 that among the classified documents leaked to Discord chat platform by Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira are February findings from an unnamed US intelligence agency that Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group is seeking to recruit rebels to destabilize the government of Chad. One document states that Wagner is working to establish a training camp for hundreds of fighters across the border in the Central African Republic as part of an "evolving plot to topple the Chadian government."
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 147 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the recent statement from the UN Environment Program that "only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster." Studies from similarly prestigious global bodies have raised the prospect of imminent human extinction. An International Energy Agency report released last year warned that new fossil fuel exploration needed to halt by 2022 in order to keep warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Adoption of new technologies and emissions standards does mean that CO2 emissions from energy generation (at least) are likely to peak by 2025. But the IEA finds that this would still lead to global temperatures rising by 2.5 C above pre-industrial levels by century's end—exceeding the Paris Agreement limits, with catastrophic climate impacts. And the catastrophic impacts, already felt in places like (just for example) Chad and Cameroon, win but scarce media coverage. Climate-related conflict has already escalated to genocide in Darfur, and possibly in Syria. The oil companies, meanwhile, are constitutionally incapable of writing off the "stranded assets" of vast hydrocarbon investments. Climate protests in Europe—at oil terminals and car shows (as well as, less appropriately, museums)—do win some attention. But the ongoing resistance to still-expanding oil mega-projects in places like Uganda and Tanzania are comparatively invisible to the outside world. The dire warnings from the UN and IEA raise the imperative for a globalized resistance with an explicitly anti-capitalist politics. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.