The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum in India's northeast state of Manipur announced June 26 that it has rejected "any offer of dialogue" with the state's Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. In a statement, the ITLF said the chief minister's stated intention of reaching out to stakeholders following a meeting with India's Home Minister Amit Shah "comes too late after the loss of so many innocent lives and properties and the untold hardships faced by the Kuki-Zo tribals; there is no point in talking about peace without a political solution." Singh, of India's ruling Hindu-nationalist BJP, is accused of inaction or outright collaboration in attacks during weeks of violence between the Hindu Meitei community and the mostly Christian and animist Kuki and Naga indigenous peoples. (The Wire)
Mali's ruling junta has requested the immediate withdrawal of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA, citing a "crisis of confidence" and a failure to deal with security challenges. The junta has held power since 2020, and has sidelined various regional and international partners while forging close ties to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. Military officials resent MINUSMA's human rights investigations, and have severely curtailed its access and mobility. The latest move comes a few weeks after the UN released a report on a massacre by Malian troops and their mercenary allies in the town of Moura.
Clashes, artillery fire and air-strikes again surged in Sudan's capital June 25, as the internal conflict between rival factions that has displaced 2.5 million people and caused a humanitarian crisis entered its 11th week. But with world media focusing on the fighting in Khartoum, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is raising the alarm about a dramatic escalation in western Darfur region, where members of the Masalit ethnic group are being targeted by Arab militias aligned with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). (Arab News)
In Episode 179 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg compares the military and settler attacks on Palestinian towns in the West Bank with the eruption of ethnic violence in Northeast India's state of Manipur—and uncovers the unlikely connection between the two. The Kuki indigenous people now targeted in Manipur includes a sub-group called the Bnei Menashe, who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, and practice an ancient form of Judaism. Israeli NGOs are raising the alarm about the violence in Manipur, but also exploiting it, luring Bnei Menashe to emigrate to Israel—with some of them settled on the West Bank, serving as demographic cannon fodder for the Zionist project. The Kuki and Palestinians, both land-rooted peoples usurped of their traditional territory, are pitted against each other—despite the convergence of their enemies in a Hindutva-Zionist alliance.
In Episode 178 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the new eruption of ethnic violence in Northeast India's state of Manipur, which was the scene of far deadlier inter-communal clashes last month. The spark was the current bid by the Meitei people to become a "scheduled tribe," granting them access to resource-rich forestlands. This is opposed by the Kuki and Naga peoples, whose tribes are already "scheduled"—but are nonetheless being targeted for eviction from Manipur's forestlands under the guise of a crackdown on opium cultivation. The Kuki and Naga leadership perceive a land-grab for their ancestral forest territory by the Meitei—the dominant group in Manipur, who already control the best agricultural land in the state's central Imphal Valley. The Kuki (including their Jewish sub-group, the Bnei Menashe) and Naga have long waged insurgencies seeking territorial autonomy, or even independence from India. And both their traditional territories extend across the border into Burma (where the Kuki are known as the Chin), pointing to potential convergence of the armed conflicts either side of the international line.
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.
In Episode 177 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the unfolding Kakhovka dam disaster in Ukraine, an evident design by Russia to forestall a Ukrainian counter-offensive into the occupied southeast of the country. Massive flooding has been unleashed downstream, imperiling some of the world's most important farmland. Upstream, coolant water to the Zaporizhzhia power plant is threatened, escalating Russia's "reckless nuclear gamble" at the facility. It is true that the disaster gravely impacts much Russian-held territory, including the Crimea Peninsula. However, despite the Kremlin's official denials of responsibility, Russia's online internal propaganda organs are bragging about it. The Wagner Group mercenary outfit calls the disaster "beautiful" and boasts that the destruction of dams on the Dnipro River is a "trump card" against Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned last October that Russia was planning to destroy the Kakhovka dam as a "false flag" attack to blame on Kyiv. The breaching of the dam also comes days after Moscow conveniently instated a four-year moratorium on investigation of industrial disasters in Russian-held territory in Ukraine. And critics note that Russia has never committed a war crime it didn't deny. In any case, the cataclysm on the Dnipro provides a grim test case as the International Criminal Court moves to adopt "ecocide" as a recognized international crime. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
The Brazilian Congress has approved two measures that undermine indigenous land rights and clash with the environmental policy of the new President Luiz Inácio da Silva. On May 30, the Lower House voted in favor of a bill that limits the demarcation of indigenous territories to lands that native peoples can prove they physically occupied when Brazil's current constitution was enacted in 1988. Advocates for indigenous peoples say this marco temporal or "time limit trick" could wipe out scores of legitimate land claims by groups who had already been evicted from their traditional territories before 1988.