CATALONIA PLANS 2014 REFERENDUM WITH NEW COALITION DEAL;
SEPARATISTS LIKELY TO HOLD BALANCE OF POWER IN BASQUE COUNTRY TOO
Catalan Separatist Parties Form Coalition, Plan Referendum for 2014. Reports emerged this week of a meeting between Artur Mas i Gavarró’s independence-minded ruling party in the Catalonia, Convergència i Unió (CiU, or Convergence and Union), and the autonomous region’s second-place party from last month’s regional election (reported on at the time in this blog), Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (E.R.C., or Republican Left of Catalonia) about forming a government. Part of the agreement is that a referendum on independence from Spain will probably be held in 2014, the same year Scotland decides whether to remain in the United Kingdom. Mas had only promised to hold a vote by 2017, but the E.R.C. pushed for an earlier date.
Gradualist Named Basque Premier, Will Need Radical Separatists to Rule in Coalition. In Spain’s Basque Country, Iñigo Urkullu was appointed the autonomous region’s prime minister on December 13th after an election in October in which his Basque Nationalist Party (E.A.J.) came out with a plurality of 21 out of 75 seats (as reported at the time in this blog), but, although the E.A.J. are gradualists on the question of independence, they will need to govern with the help of the more stridently separatist Euskal Herria Bildu (E.H.B.) coalition.
Mali’s Civilian Prime Minister Nabbed, Forced to Resign by Sanogo Coup Plotters. The interim prime minister of the Republic of Mali, Cheick Modibo Diarra, who took office in a negotiated handover after a military coup d’état in March, was arrested by members of the military as he was trying to flee the country on December 11th and hours later announced his resignation on state television. The soldiers who apprehended him were loyalists of Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, who led the original coup and who never really let go of the reins of power. The new prime minister is Diango Cissoko, who had been minister of justice in the 1980s. The rough transition calls into question the legitimacy of the civilian government, as well as prospects for an international intervention to root Islamists out of the self-declared Independent State of Azawad that prevails over the northern two-thirds of Mali.
|Diango Cissoko, Mali’s new prime minister;|
the implications for the retaking of Azawad are as yet unclear.
3 Killed, 7 Injured in Somaliland over Election Results. Violence accompanied the announcement of results from last month’s violence-plagued elections (reported on at the time in this blog) in the independent but unrecognized Republic of Somaliland. In Hargeisa, the capital, three people were killed and seven injured during protests on December 6th by supporters of the Haqsoor political coalition. The protests and unrest continued into the next day. Later, on December 8th in Erigavo, scene of some of last week’s worst unrest and capital of the disputed Sanaag region, the offices of the electoral commission were raked with machine-gun fire. No one was injured. ...
|Post-election unrest in Hargeisa this week|
Puntland Commandos Raid al-Shabaab Camp in Mountains, Inflict Heavy Casualties. In the de facto independent Puntland State of Somalia, government commandos raided an Islamist militant camp in the remote Golis Mountains, inflicting heavy casualties, including deaths, though no exact figures were available. The camp was operated by al-Shabaab, a jihadist army affiliated with al-Qaeda which has recently expanded into Puntland.
4 Homes Hit by Mortars in Somali City Divided between Puntland, Galmudug States. Civilian homes were hit by mortar shells on December 7th in Galkayo, a city whose northern half is administered by the de facto independent Puntland State of Somalia but whose southern half is capital of the similarly self-governing Galmudug State—both of them nominally parts of the dysfunctional, barely existent Federal Republic of Somalia. The mortars came from the direction of Galmudug territory and landed on the Puntland side of the border. Four homes were damaged.
Kenyan Police Kill 3 Mombasa Separatist Militants, Disrupting Attack Plot. In Kenya on December 9th, police shot and killed three suspected members of the Mombasa Republic Council (M.R.C.) who authorities the next day claimed had been plotting an attack on a police station. There were also arrested of four other members of the M.R.C., an organization which seeks to form an independent state out of Kenya’s predominantly-Muslim south-coastal region.
Nigerian Military, Police Clash with Boko Haram in Potiskum; 14 Dead. Suspected members of northern Nigeria’s Islamist militia Boko Haram attacked police in the streets of Potiskum, in Yobe State in the northeast, on December 11th. The military was called in to repel the attack, and after a shootout one police officer and 13 of the jihadists were dead. There was also looting and arson in the city blamed on Boko Haram.
Ethiopian Court Hands Long Prison Terms to 9 Oromo Separatist Activists. A federal court in Ethiopia handed down prison sentences of eight and 13 years to two members of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement on charges of inciting a separatist rebellion, supposedly as members of the banned Oromo Liberation Front (O.L.F.), which seeks independence for the vast, sprawling southern region of Oromia. Seven other Oromo activists were given long sentences for receiving paramilitary training in Kenya and for skirmishes with Ethiopian troops.
Police Round Up 15 Biafran Separatists in Enugu State. Police in Nigeria’s Enugu State reported this week that 15 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were arrested when authorities busted up a planning meeting in Ogwofia Owa. Charges have yet to be brought.
Casamance Rebels Release 8 Captured Senegalese Troops in Gambia. Eight Senegalese soldiers were released this week by rebels from a militia which seeks independence for the region of Casamance, in southern Senegal. The Movement for the Democratic Forces of Casamance delivered the prisoners to the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) in a handover in the nearby Republic of the Gambia.
Alexandria, Other Egyptian Towns Declare Semi-Serious “Independence” from Morsi. Separatism, if only of the tongue-in-cheek sort, has become a feature in the ongoing civil unrest and street politics in the Arab Republic of Egypt, where the new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, is facing what is increasingly resembling an Arab Spring revolution redux for his latest power grabs. Alexandria and El-Mahalla El-Kubra, in the Nile Delta, are among the several municipalities across the country where local activists are declaring independence—in the case of Mahalla, one of the birthplaces of last year’s revolution and a major port with nearly a half-million people, a Republic of Mahalla.
|Mahalla was one of the cradles of last year’s revolt against Hosni Mubarak.|
This week, residents are talking (not seriously?) about independence from Mubarak’s successor regime.
2 Border Crossings Linking Serbia to Serb-Dominated North Kosovo Formally Open. After protests and political wrangling, two border crossings operated jointly by the de facto independent Republic of Kosovo and the country that still claims it as its territory, the Republic of Serbia, opened on December 10th amid little fanfare. The two crossings, Jarinje and Medarje, join Serbia proper with the region of North Kosovo, a Serb-dominated area lying out of Kosovo’s de facto control. Four other crossings are to be in operation by the end of the year.
With Dominica on Board, Now More than Half of U.N. Member States Recognize Kosovo. Following last month’s establishments of diplomatic relations by the Republic of Fiji (as reported at the time in this blog) and, the following week, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, another Caribbean island nation, the Commonwealth of Dominica this week became the 97th independent state to recognize the Republic of Kosovo. This officially tips the balance, so that now just over one-half of the United Nations’ 193 member states now recognize Kosovo. See this week’s full article on this development.
is claiming responsibility for the destruction of 24 vacation homes by arson and explosives on December 7th on Corsica, the large Mediterranean island which was transferred from Italy (the Republic of Genoa, actually) to France in 1769 following a brief period of independence. No one was injured in the violence, which targeted vacated or partially completed homes. A few hours before the blasts, a man believed linked to the F.L.N.C. was arrested in possession of explosives. On the same day, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is also Corsica’s unofficial independence day, a nightclub owner was gunned down and killed in what is probably an organized-crime hit rather than something related to the wave of arson.
|One of 24 vacation homes in Corsica destroyed by separatists this week|
|Renzo Bossi and Nicole Minetti|
|A new trouble spot?|
A map showing the location of the Republic of Bashkortostan within the Russian Federation.
2 Militants, Including Suicide Bomber, Die in Police Siege in Ingushetia. In Nazran, capital of southwestern Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia, in the North Caucasus region, a police siege of militants barricaded in a house ended this week with the two rebels dead in a hail of gunfire. One of the dead men, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (F.S.B.), had been commander of a “suicide battalion.”
7 Dead as Russian Forces Clash with Rebels in North Caucasus. In Tyrnyauz, in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, in the predominantly-Muslim North Caucasus region, Russian Federation forces clashed for two days with militants starting December 11th, in skirmishes that left six rebels and one police officer dead. Three of the rebels were on terrorism wanted lists.
Suspect Nabbed in Killing of T.V. Anchor in Kabardino-Balkaria. Russian federal security forces this week arrested a suspect in last week’s assassination (reported last week in this blog) of Kazbek Gekkiyev, a television news anchorman in southwestern Russia’s Kabardino-Balkar Republic, in Circassia. The suspect is Zeytun Boziyev, age 30.
Plotters in Deadly Dagestani Suicide-Bombing Targeting Sufi Imam Arrested. Meanwhile, in the Republic of Dagestan to the east, Russian federal security forces arrested three suspects for playing a role in planning a mass killing on August 28th, in which a female break-dancing suicide-bomber (though she was not break-dancing at the time of the bombing) killed seven people, including an 11-year-old boy and a prominent Sufi imam (as reported at the time in this blog). The three suspects are said to be members of the Caucasus Emirate movement, which aims to create an independent state out of predominantly-Muslim areas along Russia’s southern rim.
Caucasus Emirate Claims Military Atrocities against Civilians in Dagestan, Chechnya. The often-unreliable Jihadist website Kavkaz Center, run by the separatist Caucasus Emirate movement, reported this week on a series of violent “pogroms” against against civilians in the Russian Federation’s predominantly-Muslim North Caucasus region that were not reported in other media. In one incident, on December 5th, troops from the Russian ministry of the interior, along with allied paramilitaries, removed two men from their homes in villages in the Chechen Republic on suspicion of being associated with the Mujahideen. Their fates are unknown. In the other alleged incident, on December 8th, Russian troops raided the village of Chontaul in the Republic of Dagestan, breaking into homes, smashing furniture, and getting as far as pouring kerosene over two captured young girls and a young man with the intention of immolating them, before villagers intervened. The website also reported the “abduction” by police of two female terrorism suspects in Chechnya.
BITS OF ASIA THAT LIKE TO PRETEND THEY’RE PART OF EUROPE
Russian Chopper Carrying Border Guards Crashes in Abkhazia; 7 Hurt. A helicopter operated by the Russian Federation’s Federal Security Bureau (F.S.B.), successor to the dreaded K.G.B., crashed in the de facto independent but only partially recognized Republic of Abkhazia on December 10th. Seven passengers were injured. The craft was bringing border guards to the line between Abkhazia and the country that still regards it as its territory, Georgia.
Southern Movement Motorcyclists Kill 2 Yemeni Soldiers in Drive-By Shooting. Two soldiers were killed in a motorcycle drive-by shooting on December 11th in southern Yemen’s Ad-Dali’ province. The perpetrators are suspected of being members of the Southern Movement, which would like to restore the independence of South Yemen.
Mizoram Chief Minister Backs Creation of Kuki State in Northeast India. In India’s far northeast, the Kuki State Demand Committee (K.S.D.C.) claimed this week that high-ranking officials in the region, including the chief minister of Mizoram state, support the creation of a State of Kukiland for the Kuki ethnic minority. Speaking of the Mizoram chief minister, Lalthanhawla (who has only one name), a K.S.D.C. spokesman said, “He had told us that he was not just the Chief Minister of Mizoram but of all the Chin/Kuki/Mizo/Zomi brethren in India and the adjoining Myanmar” (i.e. Burma). Meanwhile, the K.S.D.C. were carrying out more blockades this week to get their message across.
|One proposal for the boundaries of Kukiland|
Dozens of Burmese Troops Dead amid Upsurge in Fighting with Kachin Rebels. Rebels from eastern Burma’s Kachin ethnic group reported this week that dozens of Burmese soldiers were killed—out of at least 60 casualties—in a recent upsurge in fighting on December 9th and 10th. “Fighting seems like nothing new now; it occurs everyday,” said a spokesman for the Kachin Independence Organization (K.I.O.). Skirmishes were reported the morning of December 14th in the Lajayang region of Kachin State.
3 Uyghurs Given Death Sentences in Fishy “Foiled Hijacking” of Chinese Airliner. A court in the People’s Republic of China—a one-party dictatorship with no independent judiciary—on December 11th sentenced three Uyghur men to death and one to life in prison for supposedly attempting to hijack a domestic airplane flight in late June (as reported in this blog), although it seems just as likely (as also discussed in this blog) that it was a scuffle between passengers over seating arrangements that the authorities are linking to Uyghur separatist terrorism for political purposes. The court, in western China’s vast Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, said the men were guilty of a hijacking plot that included a plan to blow up the plane.
|A cellphone-camera image of the scuffle aboard a Chinese passenger plane in June|
which Beijing called an attempted Uyghur terrorist hijacking
|Pema Dorjee, age 23, immolating himself to protest Chinese rule in Tibet|
Confederate War College Sets Southern “Secession Clock” Forward 1 Hour. On analogy with the “Doomsday Clock,” maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to represent how close we as a global community are to nuclear annihilation, there is also, it turns out, a “Secession Clock,” maintained by the Confederate War College (C.W.C.) website, based in Gilmer, Texas, to indicate how close we are to the reestablishment of the Confederate States of America. This week, the C.W.C. moved it ahead one hour to 7 p.m., citing the wave of online secession petitions after President Barack Obama’s reelection last month (discussed recently in articles on this blog here and here), a Huffington Post poll showing 22% of Americans favoring their respective home states leaving the Union, and other separatist chatter. Officially, however, the C.W.C. “does not have a position concerning secession at this time, though it does defend the Constitutional right of the sovereign states which formed the United States to divorce as was originally intended when the Constitution was approved by the respective states.”
|Garry Trudeau chimed in recently on red-state America’s secession fever.|
CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN
Puerto Rico Governor Calls Special Session on Statehood before Giving Reins to Opponent. The recently defeated, outgoing governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño, who helped usher the territory to a referendum win for his pro-statehood initiative last month, said on December 8th that he was calling for a special legislative session on how to advance the cause of becoming the 51st state of the United States. The new governor, Alejandro García Padilla, of the Popular Democratic Party (P.D.P.), favors an enhanced, more autonomous version of the current commonwealth status, rather than statehood.
|Alejandro García Padilla, Puerto Rico’s governor elect, is not a fan of statehood,|
but it’s on the legislative agenda anyway.
Falkland Islands to Hold Referendum on Status in March 2013. The government of the Falkland Islands has chosen March 10th and 11th, 2013, as the dates for a referendum on the future status of the archipelago, which is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom threatened as of late by the saber-rattling of an expansionist Argentine Republic. The question is to read, “Do you wish to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory?”
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it in spring 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]