Armenia

Podcast: New Caledonia in the Great Game

Azerbaijan, now facing accusations of genocide against Armenians, suddenly rallies to the defense of the Kanak indigenous people in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, and accuses France of a legacy of "crimes against humanity" in its colonial holdings. This appears to be blatant retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. The repression of the Kanak uprising in their colonized homeland and the cleansing of the Armenians from their usurped ancestral lands both demand our protest—but the propaganda game makes everything more complicated. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg discusses in Episode 227 of the CounterVortex podcast.

France accuses Azerbaijan of interfering in New Caledonia

France accused Azerbaijan on May 17 of interfering in the conflict in New Caledonia, and spreading anti-French propaganda on social media to enflame the unrest in the French overseas territory. The charge was based on a report published by the French state investigative agency Viginum, alleging that Azerbaijan has disseminated "manifestly inaccurate or misleading content—photo or video montages—blaming France for its handling of the situation in New Caledonia in the context of the riots." The report came one day after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin accused Azerbaijan of making an agreement with the New Caledonia independence leadership, implying that this was retaliation for French support of Armenia in the conflict between the two Caucasus nations. Darmanin further added that France will not cede to the violence, and that it maintains sovereignty over New Caledonia.

ICC petitioned to investigate new Armenian genocide

The California-based Center for Truth & Justice (CFTJ) published a report April 18 purporting that acts of genocide have been committed in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region and Armenian border provinces, and calling upon the International Court of Justice to open an investigation. The CFTJ claims that Azerbaijani security forces have evicted ethnic Armenians from their native lands in these areas since the war of 2020, documenting instances of torture, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings. 

Refugee exodus mounts from Nagorno-Karabakh

The separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh, which controlled the disputed territory for more than three decades, announced on Sept. 28 that it will disband by the end of the year. Azerbaijan took full control of Nagorno-Karabakh following a swift military offensive last week. The region, an enclave within the borders of Azerbaijan, is home to around 120,000 ethnic Armenians who have considered it a de facto independent state, the Republic of Artsakh, since 1991. Most of that population—almost 90,000 people—has fled to Armenia in the past week due to fears of persecution and ethnic cleansing by the Azerbaijani forces that are now in control. At least 170 people died in a massive fuel depot explosion amid the scramble to leave. Authorities in Armenia are struggling to register and provide for the needs of the tens of thousands of people arriving from the enclave, and concerns are growing about a nascent humanitarian crisis.

Podcast: the fall of Artsakh & the fate of the Armenians

With a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians underway from the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh following its fall to Azerbaijani forces, the threat of "ethnic cleansing" looms. The enclave had maintained a de facto independence as the Republic of Artsakh since 1991, but the war in Ukraine has pushed the stand-off out of the headlines, and ironically given Azerbaijan a free hand to finally re-take the territory. In Episode 193 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the historical roots of the conflict, and demonstrates how the Armenians of Artsakh have been betrayed by all the Great Powers—including both Russia and the United States. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Republic of Artsakh falls to Azerbaijan

Through the mediation of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent stationed in the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan and leaders of the self-declared Republic of Artsakh reached an agreement on a cessation of hostilities Sept. 20. The ceasefire went into effect 24 hours after Azerbaijan launched an assault on Artsakh, taking the territory that had been held by ethnic Armenian separatists since 1991. The agreement calls for the disbanding of the Artsakh Defense Army, and the removal of Armenian military forces from the peacekeeping zone that has linked the enclave to Armenia. The military operation claimed some 30 lives, including at least seven ethnic Armenian civilians. (Armenian Weekly)

Armenia detains anti-Russia protesters

At least 65 protesters were arrested in Armenia's second city of Gyumri on Jan. 8 as authorities dispersed a rally outside a Russian military base. Activists were demanding that Yerevan cut ties with Moscow amid a deepening stand-off with Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. A livestream of the rally showed demonstrators struggling with police officers, including troops from the notorious Red Berets anti-riot squad, while crowds chanted slogans calling for Armenia's withdrawal from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Armenia, unlike rival Azerbaijan, is a CSTO member. But the military alliance has drawn popular ire as Russian "peacekeepers" have failed to re-open the Lachin Corridor, the only access in or out of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been closed by Azerbaijan for almost a month—leaving 100,000 ethnic Armenians trapped, with supplies of food and medicine running low. (Eurasianet)

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.

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