Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: junta pursues ‘total war’

Burkina Faso’s emergency aid and security challenges are deepening as the junta-led regime¬†pursues an aggressive military campaign against jihadist insurgents, who have now extended their control to some 40% of the national territory. The country has faced armed insurgency since 2015, but fatalities and relief needs have hit record highs since army Captain Ibrahim Traor√© seized power from a different junta last year, and launched a “total war” against the jihadists. Over two million people have been displaced, and 4.7 million require assistance, an increase of more than 1 million over last year.¬†(Map: Perry-Casta√Īeda Library)


UN experts call for Gaza war crimes investigation

UN experts called for prompt, transparent and independent investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, since Israel’s new military offensive began last month. “Independent investigators must be given the necessary resources, support and access required to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into crimes allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict,” the experts said, calling on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza to cooperate fully with investigations. (Photo: Maan News Agency)

South Asia

Nepal: monarchist protest rocks Kathmandu

A clash between thousands of monarchist protestors and police took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. Police used tear-gas and water cannons to disperse protestors who chanted slogans in support of the former king, Gyanendra Shah, and attempted to storm barricades protecting government offices. Monarchist leader and prominent businessman Durga Prasai has allegedly been under house arrest since the protest, and his followers have filed a habeas corpus petition with the Supreme Court for his release. The monarchy was abolished in 2008 pursuant to the decision of a Constituent Assembly formed under an agreement that put an end to months of pro-democracy protests in 2006. But a right-wing coalition prominently including the Hindu nationalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party has launched a campaign for its restoration. (Map: PCL)


Syria: bombardment disrupts olive harvest

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary & Opposition Forces, which maintains an Istanbul-based government-in-exile, issued a press release¬†with details of the latest aerial attack in rebel-held Iblid province by forces of the Bashar Assad regime. At the village of Qaqfin, regime warplanes “specifically targeted a family engaged in the olive harvest, resulting in the tragic loss of nine innocent lives, including women and children,” according to the statement. “This appalling crime underscores the urgent need for a resolute international response to strengthen accountability for the ongoing war crimes perpetrated by the Assad regime against the Syrian people.”¬†(Map: PCL)

East Asia

China expands mosque closure campaign

The Chinese government has increased mosque closures in northern Ningxia region and Gansu province, home to significant populations of Hui Muslims, according to a report¬†by Human Rights Watch. The campaign of closures marks an expansion of the policy beyond the Uyghur people of Xinjiang region. Officially termed “consolidation,” the campaign calls for shutting down mosques or modifying their architectural features to align with more typically Chinese aesthetics. The Hui, a distinctive ethno-religious group in China numbering over 10 million, are now at the forefront of concerns regarding the government’s broader campaign to “consolidate” mosques. (Photo:¬†Zhuxian mosque, Henan province, by Sarkis Pogossian)

Watching the Shadows

Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism: parsing the difference

Amid Israel’s massive aerial bombardment of Gaza, accusations of anti-Semitism at demonstrations for Palestine are mounting. But some instances were later revealed to have been distorted or exaggerated. The increasingly accepted official “working definition of anti-Semitism” dangerously muddies the water by explicitly conflating anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred. Media questioning of the claims of the Israeli military has even been compared to Holocaust denial. Yet actual, unambiguous Jew-hatred is meanwhile much in evidence, in America and Europe alike. This raises the imperative on activists to genuinely grapple with the distinction, rather than merely dismissing anti-Semitism as Zionist propaganda‚ÄĒwhich is, ironically, itself an anti-Semitic response. In Episode 201 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinbergexplores the dilemma. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image:


Why politicians shouldn’t play weathermen

Last month, Kenya’s President William Ruto announced that¬†El Ni√Īo climate phenomenon, which has historically brought devastating flooding to the country, would not occur this year, contradicting weeks of warnings from meteorologists. Today, across the country, at least 60 people have died, over 50,000 more have been displaced, entire towns have been submerged,¬†and hundreds of¬†acres of farmland are under water¬†as heavy rains associated with El Ni√Īo lash the region.¬†And it could be even worse in neighboring Somalia, where nearly 1.2 million people have been affected, prompting the country to declare an emergency. The World Meteorological Organization predicts that this El Ni√Īo will last until at least April 2024, with impacts on food security worldwide. (Photo via Twitter)

Planet Watch
forest fire

US report urges action amid extreme weather events

A comprehensive US government report has¬†confirmed that extreme weather linked to climate change is worsening despite drops in US greenhouse gas emissions. The report urges further action to mitigate potentially catastrophic consequences.¬†The Fifth National Climate Assessment follows a rash of extreme weather events across the US this year, from deadly wildfires in Maui to intense flooding in the Northeast. The assessment was mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, requiring the US Global Change Research Program to deliver a report every four years. The report describes¬†the increase in extreme weather as “unprecedented over thousands of years” and warns¬†of “large scale changes” in temperature, sea levels, ocean acidification and rainfall patterns, “with a cascade of effects in every part of the country.” (Photo: US Forest Service via Wikimedia Commons)

apartheid wall

Free Syria solidarity statement with Palestine

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‚ÄĒand accuses the Assad regime of hypocritically exploiting the Palestinian cause in rhetoric while betraying it in actual deeds.¬†(Photo of man painting Palestinian and Syrian flags on the West Bank¬†separation wall, via Intersectional Syria)


World Court censures Syria for torture

The International Court of Justice at The Hague issued an interim order¬†directing the Syrian government to “take all measures within its powers” to prevent torture. This development stems from a case brought by the Netherlands and Canada, accusing Syria of engaging in a prolonged campaign of torture of its own citizens. The court’s order seeks to safeguard potential victims as the case proceeds. Syria is accused of breaching the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (Photo: ICJ)


ICC receives Palestine referral from Rome Statute parties

The International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement saying it received a referral from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, Djibouti and South Africa regarding the Situation in the State of Palestine. ICC prosecutor Karim AA Khan KC affirmed that an investigation is currently ongoing with its own dedicated team. The five countries made the ICC referral in accordance with their powers under the Rome Statute. All five of the referring countries are party to the Rome Statute, as is the State of Palestine; Israel is not. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)


Suit charges Biden administration with genocide complicity

Palestinian human rights organizations and others have sued President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for complicity in genocide and violating the duty to prevent genocide in relation to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the case in US District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Defense for Children International-Palestine, Al-Haq and individual plaintiffs affected by the conflict, asserting violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention and the Genocide Convention Implementation Act. (Photo: The White House/Wikimedia Commons)