Greater Middle East
suez

ISIS militants ‘besiege’ targets near Suez Canal

Dozens of militants believed to be associated with the Islamic State’s “Sinai Province” (Wilayat Sinai) attempted to besiege targets including power transformers and railway facilities in the city of El Qantara Sharq, on the eastern bank of Egypt’s Suez Canal. The militans barred access to the sites, but dispersed as security forces advanced. Attacks by the ISIS affiliate have been mounting in the Sinai Peninsula. In May, militants attacked a water station near the Canal, killing 16 members of the military force guarding it. (Photo: Pixaby)

Africa
freetown

Econo-protests rock Sierra Leone

Authorities in Sierra Leone imposed a nationwide curfew amid anti-government protests, in which a still undetermined number of people have been killed, apparently including at least four police officers. In the capital Freetown, protesters barricaded the streets and clashed with security forces, enraged at a 40% spike in the cost of living. A key demand is the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio, who is on a month-long vacation with his family in London—a trip apparently paid for with misappropriated public funds. The government has shut down internet access in the country to prevent activists from issuing calls to protest and spreading images of the repression. President Bio has long been accused of rampant corruption and human rights abuses. (Image: Africa Facts Zone via Twitter)

Europe
Ukraine

Ukraine: debunking Russia’s war propaganda

In Episode 136 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg debunks Vladimir Putin’s “de-Nazification” propaganda for his invasion of Ukraine,  a paramount example of the ultra-cynical phenomenon of paradoxical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Putin’s stated justifications for the Ukraine war are either paranoid delusions or outright lies. His real objectives are to rebuild the Russian Empire, re-establish the Russian dictatorship, and exterminate Ukraine as a cultural and political entity. These are the open aims of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the political heir of Ivan Ilyin, the 20th century theorist of “Russian Fascism.” Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: PCL)

Europe
Crimea

Nuclear flashpoint Crimea?

A series of explosions tore through a Russian airbase on the Crimean Peninsula, leaving one dead. Saki airfield is some 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian lines, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office denied responsibility for the blasts. However, an unnamed Kyiv official anonymously told the New York Times that Ukrainian forces carried out an attack on the base. Zelensky later stated: “Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up. This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea—with its liberation.” But last month, in response to the arrival of US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedevimplied that Ukrainian strikes on targets in Crimea would meet Russia’s stated criteria for use of nuclear weapons. Saying that the refusal of Ukraine and Western powers to recognize Moscow’s control of Crimea poses a “systemic threat” to Russia, he added: “Doomsday will come very fast and hard. There will be no hiding from it.” (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Planet Watch
Nagasaki

Nagasaki mayor: ‘tangible and present crisis’ of nuclear warfare

In official comments on the anniversary of the 1945 US atomic bombing of the Japanese city, the mayor of Nagasaki sounded a note of alarm. Mayor Tomihisa Taue stated: “In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China released a joint statement affirming that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’ However, the very next month Russia invaded Ukraine. Threats of using nuclear weapons have been made, sending shivers throughout the globe. The use of nuclear weapons is not a groundless fear but a tangible and present crisis.” (Photo: Pop Japan)

Europe
SS-27

Russia suspends compliance with New START

Russia officially informed the US that it is “temporarily” suspending on-site inspections of its strategic nuclear weapons, a condition of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Moscow accused Washington of seeking “to create unilateral advantages” and deprive Russia of “the right to carry out inspections on American soil” through the closure of air space to Russian planes and visa restrictions on Russian officials. The suspension comes a week after President Joe Biden said he was ready to work on a new nuclear arms deal with Vladimir Putin. New START, set to expire in 2026, is the last remaining arms pact between the US and Russia. The 2010 agreement limits the US and Russia to 1,550 deployed long-range nuclear missiles each.  (Photo: Russian SS-27 missile, via SIPRI)

Europe
Chernobyl

UN: ‘real risk of nuclear disaster’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials blamed each other for a series of blasts within the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces shelled the plant in what he called “an act of terror.” The Russian military responded by claiming a Ukrainian artillery strike was responsible, calling the attack “nuclear terrorism.” Kyiv had been accusing Russian forces of using the plant as a “shield,” firing on the Ukrainian positions from within the complex. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said the “possible consequences of hitting an operating reactor are equivalent to the use of an atomic bomb.” UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi warned of a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

East Asia
Paiwan

Taiwan expands rights for indigenous peoples

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking at an Indigenous Rights Forum in Taipei held to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day, pledged new measures to protect and promote the languages, cultures and territorial rights of the island nation’s Aboriginal communities. Tsai noted that the new Indigenous Peoples Basic Act seeks to bring Taiwanese law and policy into conformity with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and calls for re-assigning the country’s place names to reflect Aboriginal languages. Her office has established a Transitional Justice Committee to oversee implementation of the law in collaboration with Aboriginal communities. (Photo: President Tsai on visit to harvest festival of the Paiwan and Rukai peoples, Sandimen township, Pingtung county, via Wikipedia)

North America
League of the South

Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?

In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia’s obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a “Red-Brown alliance” of the radical right and radical left against the “liberal order” of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed “progressives” are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Iran
ivel

Iran demolishes houses, farms of Baha’i community

Security forces laid siege to a village in northern Iran, demolishing houses and farms belonging to members of the persecuted Baha’i faith. Over 200 troops were deployed to Roshankouh, in Mazandaran province, blocking the road into the village and confiscating residents’ cell phones before commencing demolition of several properties. However, video footage of heavy machinery demolishing buildings was posted to social media by the Baha’i International Community. The organization reports that six homes were destroyed and over 20 hectares of land were confiscated. Troops used tear-gas and fired shots in the air to disperse residents who gathered to protest the demolitions. (Photo of Baha’i village in Mazandaran: Baha’i Communiyu of Canada)

Southern Cone
BsAs

Econo-protests sweep Argentina

Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina’s independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the “Argentinazo,” the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt. The country avoided defaulting on an IMF loan in March, postponing scheduled payments in exchange for pledges of belt-tightening measures. These include a slash in energy subsidies that have helped keep utility bills low—imposing further hardship on the poor amid the spiralling inflation. (Photo: PagĂ­na12)

Syria
SUWAYDA

Assad regime faces Druze resistance in Syria’s south

The Assad regime is facing a challenge to its authority in southern Syria, with Druze groups in Suwayda province seizing control of the headquarters of a pro-regime militia. The Druze Men of Dignity overran the local headquarters of the Dawn Forces, affiliated with regime military intelligence, in the town of Ateel. At least 21 were reported killed n the clash—17 Dawn militiamen and four Druze, including a sheikh. Druze groups accuse the Dawn Forces of kidnappings and assassinations throughout the province. Tensions escalated in the days leading up to the Ateel clash, when Dawn militiamen abducted a local man, accusing him of involvement in attempts on the life of their leader Raji Falhout. The rival militias blocked roads to each others’ strongholds, and both sides took hostages. Four regime officers, including two colonels, were reportedly seized by the Men of Dignity. (Photo: EA Worldview)