New Book Documents Hopes, Conflicts Motivating Would-Be Nations, States


Editor's Note: The following guest column was written by Wayne Madsen, left, drawn from his new book, A Parade of New Sovereignties: A wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small Post-Hegemonic World," an encyclopedia-style, 379-page description of nearly 350 locales where some residents cite history to argue their locale should be either an independent nation or, more commonly, be granted special political and cultural rights by a larger nation that controls the land and government. The book, intended as a reference guide with one entity per page, is especially timely given the conflicts in many regions, including the Sikh region of India (known by Sikhs as Khalistan), Darfur and Artsakh, the largely Armenian enclave in Azerbejan, where conflicts almost arose to a war this month (September 2023). The book also describes more than 30 locales within Russia that the author reports as identifying strongly with religious, ethnic or other cultural identities outside the Russian Federation's mainstream -- and thus a factor looming in the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine, particularly since many of those locales face heavy recruitment for troops. Book information relevant to headlines is shown further by President Biden's White House meeting on Sept. 25 with leaders of Pacific Island entities, some like Cook Islands and Niue governed by New Zealand, as reported by Semafor in China looms over Biden’s meeting with Pacific leaders.

Madsen, editor of the near-daily Wayne Madsen Report, is the author of 24 books and a longtime syndicated columnist who has published wayne madesen report logoopeds appearing hundreds of times United States newspapers. Also, he has appeared as a security and political commentator on nearly all major U.S. television and cable networks, as well as on many foreign and alternative outlets. He is a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst whose outlets formerly included RT. This editor is a subscriber to the Wayne Madsen Report, co-hosts with him the video podcast "District Insiders" -- and highly recommends the book below.

-- Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project editor


By Wayne Madsen

It’s rare when an official book launch coincides with a major news event. That is what has occurred with the editor’s official release of A Parade of New Sovereignties: A Post-Hegemonic World now available from Amazon and other online booksellers. As one sign of the times, the book comes with a travel warning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada during a frosty meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India during the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi earlier in September 2023 (Canadian Press photo by Sean Kilpatrick via Associated Press).

On September 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, above left, just back from the G20 Summit in New Delhi, announced the discovery by Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies that the government of Indian Hindu nationalist Prime wayne madsen parade coverMinister Narendra Modi (shown above right with Trudeau) was behind the assassination of a Canadian citizen and leader of the Sikh community in British Columbia in June of this year.

The victim in what the Canadian government alleges was a hit ordered by New Delhi was Hardeep Singh Nijjar. On June 18, Nijjar, right, was shot to death while standing outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, outside of Vancouver. Borrowing a page from the Israeli government, which normally refuses to comment on or derides reports of hardeep singh nijjarassassinations carried out by the Mossad, New Delhi called Trudeau’s allegations “absurd.”

But Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence has left a trail of assassination victims abroad, including Khalistan Commando Force leader Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who was shot to death last year by two suspected Indian agents riding on a motorcycle as Panjwar was walking down a street in Lahore, Pakistan. RAW agents have also assassinated Muslim Kashmiri separatists abroad, mostly in Pakistan. Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have signed a series of secret protocols designed to increase cooperation between RAW and Mossad.

On June 16, Avtar Singh Khanda, the leader of the Khalistan Liberation Force, died in Birmingham, England after allegedly being poisoned by RAW agents. Sometimes RAW uses social media to falsely claim it has assassinated Sikh leaders abroad. That was the case with Gurpatwant Singh Pann, the leader of the California-based Sikhs for Justice. A car in which Pann was riding was allegedly hit by a truck on a California highway and Pann was said to have been killed. The video of the vehicular accident was uploaded by RAW to several social media sites except it was a fake. Pann later surfaced to deny that he had been killed in the accident. However, vehicular accidents have been a favorite method of several intelligence agencies to “get rid” of people they consider to be “problems.”

canadian flagSo, too, are plane crashes. News that Trudeau and his government delegation had been stuck in New Delhi after his Canadian government Airbus 310-300 suddenly developed mechanical problems while sitting on an apron at an Indian Air Force base in Palam. The aircraft's security was overseen by the very same Indian security apparatus held responsible by Trudeau for the assassinatiojn of Nijjar in British Columbia. A replacement aircraft, a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris, a modified Airbus, was dispatched to India to bring Trudeau and his party home.

Nijjar was a leader of two Sikh movements, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), which advocate independence from India for a Sikh nation called Khalistan.

india flag mapA legitimate aspirant nation, Khalistan is included in the new book along with over a dozen other captive nations inside India. When Britain granted India and Pakistan independence in 1947, several legitimate states colonized by the British under the Raj were denied their rightful independence. One colonizer, the United Kingdom, was simply replaced by two others, predominantly Hindu India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

The British failed to consider the plight of regions that has majority or significant minority populations of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Jains, Parsis, and tribal religious believers. The Sikhs have been among the most aggressive when it comes to protection of their rights in a Hindu nationalist-governed India.

It was two Sikh bodyguards for Indian National Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Indian founder Jawaharlal Nehru, who assassinated Mrs. Gandhi in 1984. The assassination followed Gandhi’s forced removal of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his Khalistan secessionists from the Sikh religion’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple of Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab.

Some Sikh pilgrims said by the Sikhs to be in the thousands were killed in the Indian attack. Also killed were Bhindranwale and several of his deputies. Ever since that time, the movement for an independent Khalistan, to largely comprise the state of Punjab, where Sikhs are in a majority, has grown stronger. On April 23 of this year, Indian police arrested Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh Sandhu, who India said had organized the Sikh militia group Anandpur Khalsa Fauj (AKF). The Modi government also alleged that Sandhu had received support from the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. However, the Modi government glibly calls any opponents of its radical Hindu nationalist policies “Khalistanis,” an insinuation that all opposition leaders are secessionists.

Trudeau told the House of Commons in Ottawa that he brought up Nijjar’s assassination when he met with Modi at the G20 Summit. On September 19, India declared a Canadian diplomat at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi persona non grata, giving him five days to leave India. The Modi government accused the diplomat of being engaged in “anti-India activities.”

Sikhs are politically strong in Canada, where two Sikh Canadians currently serve in high positions. They are Harjit Singh Sajjan, the President of the King's Privy Council for Canada and former Defense Minister in the Trudeau government, and Jagmeet Singh Jimmy Dhaliwal, the nikki haley oleader of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Sikhs are also a nascent political force in the United States. Republican presidential hopeful and former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nimarata (Nikki) Haley, right, is the daughter of Sikh parents, who were born in Amritsar and immigrated to the United States via British Columbia.

A Parade of New Sovereignties includes several other nascent nations under the Hindu nationalist jackboot of Modi and his lieutenants. Many are predominantly Christian states in northeast India, where the culture and ethnicity is much closer to Southeast Asia, particularly Burma and Thailand, than the Indian sub-continent.

Among the predominantly Christian states that saw British colonialism replaced by Indian neo-colonialism are Nagaland, Mizoram, Zogam, Maraland, and Lailand. Christians in these and other states have reported forced conversions to Hinduism, much as what is occurring with forced conversions to Islam in neo-colonialist and predominantly Muslim nations like Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and Morocco.

Other aspirant nations in danger of being eradicated by neo-colonialist regimes in Russia, China, Ethiopia, Burma, Syria, and Iraq are included in A Parade of New Sovereignties. This book is also one that contains a warning not to travel with it to certain countries. The mere mention of aspirant nations like Khalistan, East Turkestan, Tibet, Satarkhan, Ingria, Karelia, Shorya, Western Armenia, Artsakh, Badakhshan, South Turkmenistan, and Tigray is enough to earn a traveler instant expulsion, prison, or worse.



Selected Wayne Madsen Report Column Excerpts


April 19


wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary:Neither Russian nor an empire: bringing to an end the world's last colonial empire, Wayne Madsen, left, April 19, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small2022. December 26, 1991 saw the lowering of the flag atop the Kremlin for the last time. That day spelled the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly called the Soviet Union.

Rising in the place of the red hammer and sickle flag was the white, blue, and red tricolor of the Russian Federation. Technically, the Russian Federation became the successor state not to the Soviet Union, but to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The RSFSR was a mini-Soviet Union in its own right, composed of sixteen autonomous republics, five autonomous territories, and ten autonomous regions, all of which were non-Russian, along with 46 other administrative divisions that were largely Russian but inclusive of significant non-Russian territories.

Russian Flag

There was no valid reason why the RSFSR was able to stand recognized as the successor state to the USSR with all the perks that fateful decision by the international community involved, including the so-called Russian Federation retaining the Soviet Union's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Ukraine, which, along with Belarus were charter members of the UN as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, respectively, has questioned the legitimacy of the Russian Federation as a member of the Security Council. The UN Charter makes no mention of the Russian Federation in stating: "The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council.” For that matter, the UN Charter also does not name the People's Republic of China as a permanent member, but the Republic of China, which still formally exists as the government of Taiwan. In 1971, the UN General Assembly voted to expel the Republic of China from the UN, including the Security Council permanent seat, and replace it with the People's Republic of China. Using the Taiwan expulsion vote as a precedent, the General Assembly could just as well vote to expel the Russian Federation from the Security Council.

It cannot be overstated that the Russian Federation is neither Russian nor a federation. The autonomy guaranteed to its constituents was unambiguously stated by Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in his 1917 Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia. It stated that the non-Russian ethnic groups that were included in the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic had the right to secede from Russian authority and establish their own independent nation-states. Upon the collapse of the USSR in 1990, the fifteen constituent republics of that federation took full advantage of their constitutional right to secede from the Soviet Union and did so. However, that same right was not conferred on the non-Russian autonomous republics and regions of the RSFSR, which had become the Russian Federation. Many non-Russian peoples had suffered through the forced expulsions by Joseph Stalin; the suppression of cultural, religious, and language rights by post-Stalin Soviet leaders, including Leonid Brezhnev and former KGB chief Yuri Andropov; and, ultimately, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.


It is clear that after the fall of Putin, a necessity if the world is to avoid World War III, Lenin's promise of independence to the colonized peoples of the so-called Russian "Federation" -- many of whose young men are being used as "cannon fodder" by Putin in Ukraine -- must be granted. These new nations, which could number as many as 60 to 80, should be recognized by the UN, the European Union, and NATO. These and other international organizations must stand ready to accept the world's newest nations as full members.

Postscript: In 1990, this editor briefed members of the Central Intelligence Agency on the issue of aspirant nations that would rise from the cia logoremnants of the Soviet Union. This was a full year before the collapse of the USSR in December 1991. I had had the opportunity, after successfully throwing off my KGB tail, of meeting many of the young people from these suppressed and captive nations, including Chechnya and Karelia, at an illegal gathering in a smoke-filled tea room near Leningrad State University, Putin's alma mater, in September 1990.

At the briefing I gave to the CIA, as well as those working for the National Security Agency, I listed the RSFSR's captive nations and nsa logo 2stressed the need for the U.S. to recognize their independence when ultimately declared. That fell on deaf ears as President George H. W. Bush showed in dragging his feet on recognizing the independence of the Baltic states.

That same mistake should not be repeated when the Russian captive nations begin their process of freeing themselves from Kremlin control after Putin leaves the scene, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, WMR is posting another Russian captive nations video, the third in a series.

March 31


vladimir putin pool photo evgeny biyatovWayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: The non-Russians in Russia begin to count their war dead, Wayne Madsen, March 31, 2022. In the predominantly Muslim autonomous Republic of Bashkortostan, the next of kin of Russian soldiers, including conscripts, are beginning to count the losses from Russian leader Vladimir Putin's ill-planned invasion of Ukraine.

wayne madesen report logoThe pro-Putin puppet government in Bashkortostan, which lies within the Muslim belt of the Volga basin adjacent to the Ural mountain range and is the largest republic in the Russian Federation, is feeling the heat from ethnic Bashkirs who believe their sons have been used as cannon fodder in Ukraine. There are reports that as many as 1000 Bashkirs serving in the Russian armed forces have been killed in Ukraine. [right] Tensions are running so high that some Bashkirs have dumped the flag of their autonomous republic as a symbol of the puppet regime in Ufa, the republic's capital, headed by Radiy Khabirov.

Although Putin, shown  above in a file photo, has imposed strict censorship on the Russian media, his government has found it impossible to hide the number of war dead from Russian and non-Russian people alike throughout the federation. The number of actual war dead from the predominantly Buddhist Republic of Buryatia, on the Russian border with Mongolia, is known to be much higher than official Russian government figures. Moscow claims 45 dead in Ukraine, but local residents believe the number to be much higher. Anti-war murmurings were recently heard at a funeral service for four Buryats of the11th Guards Air Assault Brigade, which was held in the Buryat capital of Ulan-Ude, a hotbed for anti-war and anti-Putin protests.

Similarly, the number of war dead from Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic on the Caspian Sea, is said to be over 130, while those from Tuva, a predominantly Buddhist republic in Siberia, is reported to be at least 96. Putin's Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, is a former Tuvan government official. Any suggestion that Shoigu sent his fellow Tuvans into battle in Ukraine as cannon fodder will assuredly be met in Tuva, a formerly independent nation, by charges of treason against his own people. The brutality of Russia's war in Ukraine and the combat deaths of soldiers from Siberian republics like Buryatia and Sakha have prompted local shamans to attempt to exorcise the "demon," Putin, from the Kremlin. One such shaman, Aleksandr Gabyshev, was arrested by Russian authorities and, in a move hearkening back to the oppressive years of the Soviet dictatorship, was committed to a "neuro-psychological" hospital in Yakutsk and diagnosed as "insane."

Ukrainian forces have been bolstered by Chechen volunteers under the command of the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion. The paramilitary unit, which also includes ethnic Circassians, Georgians, Azeris, and Ingush, is named in honor of the first president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, who was killed by a Russian air-to-ground missile while discussing a peace agreement with a Russian State Duma interlocutor. WMR previously reported that Dudayev's phone signature and coordinates were passed to the Russians by the U.S. National Security Agency after President Bill Clinton's meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow. Members of the Dudayev Battalion not only want to fight the Russians but also want to deal a blood vendetta against Kadyrov's forces, whom they consider traitors to Chechnya.

In an appeal from Lithuania, where he is exiled, the leader of the Bashkir National Political Center, Ruslan Gabbasov, called for Bashkirs opposed to the government in Ufa to scrap their national flag in favor of that of the First Bashkir Republic, a banner that is not associated with the Putin regime. A similar sentiment has taken hold throughout the Russian Federation, with those in the autonomous republics favoring increased control over their own affairs replacing their republics' flags because they have become props for Putin's policies and government-led pro-war demonstrations.

March 1

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Unrecognized state propped up by Moscow refuses to participate in invasion of Ukraine, Wayne Madsen, March 1, 2022. In what can only be described as a diplomatic volte-face, the leader of an unrecognized nation that is propped wayne madesen report logoup by Russia and which hosts two battalions of the Operational Group of Russian Forces, has surprised Russia by remaining neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian war. The leader in question is Vadim Krasnoselsky,  the president of the self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, a narrow strip of territory along the Dniester River between the independent Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In January 2022, Ukrainian intelligence obtained details of a planned Russian false flag attack on the Russian battalions in Transnistria that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to use as a casus belli to launch an invasion of Ukraine. What changed Moscow's plans was Krasnoselsky's statement that Transnistria would not participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and would remain neutral. In making his decision on neutrality, Krasnoselsky pointed to Transnistria's large Ukrainian population and the fact that the Ukrainian language is taught in Transnistrian schools. Although Russians comprise 29 percent of the population of the breakaway state and Russian flags often flutter next to the red and green hammer and sickle flag of Transnistria, Ukrainians make up 23 percent of the population of the country of 350,000.

Transnistria, a throwback to the Soviet Union and which continues to fly the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic's flag as its own, was initially believed to have plans to side with Moscow and join in the invasion of Ukraine. Not only has that not happened, but Transnistrian officials, including the president, have helped to facilitate the influx of Ukrainian refugees from the fighting in their country. It has been reported that officials of the Transnistrian government in the capital of Tiraspol have coordinated the entry of Ukrainian refugees with Ukrainian border security personnel at border crossings along the Transnistrian-Ukrainian border. There are also reports of diplomatic liaison on the refugee crisis between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tiraspol and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kyiv.

Unlike Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko, who has fully embraced Putin's war against Ukraine and has not only allowed Russian troops to invade from Belarusian territory but has committed Belarusian armed forces to assist in the invasion, Krasnoselsky has made no effort to signal to Moscow his support.

Krasnoselsky not only made arrangements to take in Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees but also warned against believing any unverified news accounts, which is surprising since most of the disinformation concerning the war has originated with Russian troll and bot farms.


Canada Accuses India of Sikh Leader's Assassination


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada during a frosty meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India during the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi earlier in September 2023 (Canadian Press photo by Sean Kilpatrick via Associated Press).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada during a frosty meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India during the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi earlier this month, in September 2023 (Canadian Press photo by Sean Kilpatrick via Associated Press).

ny times logoNew York Times, Sikh Separatism Is a Nonissue in India, Except as a Political Boogeyman, Suhasini Raj, Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar, Sept. 28, 2023. India’s feud with Canada highlights how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has amplified a separatist threat that in reality is largely a diaspora illusion.

During his first trip to India as Canada’s prime minister in 2018, Justin Trudeau made a visit to the northern state of Punjab, where he got a photo op in full Punjabi dress at the Golden Temple, the holiest site of the Sikh religion.

He also got, courtesy of the Indian government, an earful of grievances — and a list of India’s most-wanted men on Canadian soil.

The killing this summer of one man on that list, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, has turned into a diplomatic war between India and Canada. Mr. Trudeau claimed this month that Indian agents had orchestrated the assassination inside Canada. India rejected the assertion and accused Canada of ignoring its warnings that Canadian Sikh extremists like Mr. Nijjar were plotting violence in Punjab in hopes of making the state into a separate Sikh nation.

But beyond the recriminations, a more complex story is unfolding in Punjab, analysts, political leaders and residents say. While the Indian government asserts that Canada’s lax attitude toward extremism among its politically influential Sikhs poses a national security threat inside India, there is little support in Punjab for a secessionist cause that peaked in deadly violence decades ago and was snuffed out.

ny times logoNew York Times, Uncertainty ‘Is Killing Us’: Sikhs in India Are in Limbo Amid Canada Dispute, Suhasini Raj, Sept. 24, 2023. Canada is home to the largest Sikh population outside India, where many people are now caught in a diplomatic firestorm over the death of a separatist.

hardeep singh nijjarHardeep Singh Nijjar, right, a Sikh from Punjab who championed the creation of a separate state for Sikhs, was shot dead in June by hooded assailants. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government considered him a terrorist, and he was on a wanted list, but Indian officials deny accusations made last week by the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, which have caused a firestorm.

One result: The Indian government has temporarily put on hold visas to citizens of Canada, which has a large Indian diaspora. Both countries also expelled diplomats in a tit-for-tat response, and trade talks are frozen.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Provided Canada With Intelligence on Killing of Sikh Leader, Julian E. Barnes and Ian Austen, Sept. 24, 2023 (print ed.). U.S. intelligence gave assistance, but communications intercepted by Canada were more definitive in linking India to the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

canadian flagAmerican spy agencies provided information to Ottawa after the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in the Vancouver area, but Canada developed the most definitive intelligence that led it to accuse India of orchestrating the plot, according to Western allied officials.

In the aftermath of the killing, U.S. intelligence agencies offered their Canadian counterparts context that helped Canada conclude that India had been involved. Yet what appears to be the “smoking gun,” intercepted communications of Indian diplomats in Canada indicating involvement in the plot, was gathered by Canadian officials, allied officials said.

antony blinken o newWhile Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, right, has called on India to cooperate with the Canadian investigation, American officials have largely tried to avoid triggering any diplomatic blowback from India. But the disclosure of the involvement of U.S. intelligence risks ensnaring Washington in the diplomatic battle between Canada and India at a time when it is keen to develop New Delhi as a closer partner.

The United States did not learn about the plot, or evidence pointing to India’s involvement in it, until after operatives had killed the Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, allied officials said.

ny times logoNew York Times, India Suspends Visas for Canadians, Escalating Clash Over Sikh’s Killing, Suhasini Raj and Yan Zhuang, Sept. 22, 2023 (print ed.). The suspension came after Canada claimed that India was involved in the assassination of a Canadian citizen who supported a separatist cause.

india flag mapIndia has suspended visa applications by Canadian nationals, a sharp escalation in the diplomatic conflict that has followed Canada’s claim that Indian agents were behind an assassination in June on Canadian soil.

Arindam Bagchi, the Indian foreign ministry spokesman, described the move as a technical and security issue, saying on Thursday that the country’s high commission and consulates in Canada were “temporarily unable” to process visas because of safety threats.

“This has disrupted their normal function,” Mr. Bagchi said during a regularly scheduled news briefing, adding: “We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis.”

canadian flagBut the suspension came as tensions between India and Canada have soared in the days since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Parliament that Canada’s intelligence services had information linking the Indian government to the killing of a Sikh separatist in British Columbia on June 18.

The Indian government on Tuesday forcefully rejected the claim that it had been involved in the assassination of the Sikh Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and accused Canada of harboring terrorists who are seeking to carve a Sikh homeland out of India’s territory.

India then moved to expel a high-ranking Canadian diplomat from New Delhi. Canada had expelled an Indian diplomat — described as the head of New Delhi’s intelligence agency in Canada — the day before.

On Thursday, Mr. Bagchi signaled that more Canadian diplomats could soon leave India, in what he called a step to ensure “parity” between the two countries’ diplomatic presences.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Biden Is Caught Between Allies as Canada Accuses India of Assassination, Peter Baker, Sept. 22, 2023 (print ed.). President Biden has prioritized bolstering partnerships over full-throated advocacy for democracy among American allies.

washington post logoWashington Post, Masked gunmen, an ambush, a chase: The execution of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Samantha Schmidt, Sept. 22, 2023 (print ed.). From the outset, the Sikh leader’s community in Surrey, British Columbia, believed the Indian government of Narendra Modi was behind his death.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was in a hurry to leave the temple. It was Father’s Day, and his wife and two sons were waiting for him.

On his way out of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Nijjar’s Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, he called his 21-year-old son. The family had made pizza, Balraj Singh Nijjar told his father, and had prepared the sweet pudding seviyan, his favorite dessert.

“Have dinner ready,” Nijjar told his son. “I’m coming home.”

But outside the gurdwara, three men were waiting. They had masks. They were armed.

Less than 10 minutes later, the phone at the Nijjar home rang again.

“Did you hear?” a family friend asked the son. “Something happened at the gurdwara. Your dad was shot.”

No arrests have been made in the brazen June 18 killing of Nijjar, the 45-year-old president of the temple. But from the outset, his family and friends in the local Sikh community were all but certain who was behind the brazen attack: the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nijjar was an outspoken leader of the separatist Khalistan movement, which aims to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India. The movement is outlawed in India.

On Monday, precisely three months after Nijjar’s killing, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that investigators were pursuing “credible allegations” linking Nijjar’s slaying to agents of the Indian government.

 Other Relevant Recent Headlines


More Global News

Sept. 25

Semafor, China looms over Biden’s meeting with Pacific leaders, Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann and Morgan Chalfant, Sept. 25, 2023.  President Biden will meet with more than a dozen leaders from Pacific nations at the White House today for a summit that will see him establish diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and Niue.

Climate change will be a major topic of the gathering, but as with many of the administration’s international engagements, China will be looming in the background. At least one leader is skipping the summit — Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare — causing disappointment in the White House. The leaders who are in town were scheduled to attend the Baltimore Ravens game yesterday and receive a briefing from the Coast Guard on U.S. plans to address illegal fishing and maritime issues.

China’s militarized coast guard fleet, recently detailed in the New York Times, might be a natural topic of conversation.

Sept. 24

ny times logoNew York Times, Star Uyghur Scholar Who Vanished Was Sentenced to Life in China, Tiffany May, Sept. 24, 2023. Rahile Dawut, who recorded her people’s traditions, disappeared in 2017. New information indicates that she faces decades in prison. Star Uyghur Scholar Who Vanished Was Sentenced to Life in China.

China FlagShe was a trailblazing professor and ethnographer from the Uyghur ethnic group in far-western China who documented the religious and cultural traditions of her people. She was at the height of a career that the Chinese government had once recognized with awards and research grants. But it was not enough to keep her safe.

Rahile Dawut, who nurtured a generation of academics and scholars, disappeared in 2017, along with other prominent intellectuals and academics targeted by the Chinese government in its campaign to crush the Uyghur cultural identity. Details about her case were shrouded in secrecy for years, leaving her family and friends to wonder about her fate.

On Thursday, the Dui Hua Foundation, a group that campaigns on behalf of political prisoners held in China, said that it had seen a document written by a senior Chinese official stating that Dr. Rahile Dawut had been sentenced to life in prison on charges of endangering national security.

“For the Chinese government to strike her is really to strike at the heart of Uyghur culture,” John Kamm, the group’s founder and chairman, said in a phone interview. “It’s appalling.”

Mr. Kamm added that the official also wrote that Dr. Rahile Dawut had attempted to appeal her sentence after she was first tried in 2018, but that her appeal was rejected. The Chinese government has applied a sweeping definition of “endangering national security” to detain and often imprison Uyghurs deemed to oppose or even question official policies.

Her daughter, Akeda Pulati, who lives in Seattle, said that the prospect of never again seeing her mother was deeply painful. “I felt very angry and devastated,” at learning of the sentence, she said in a phone interview, “even though I was already devastated for several years.” She added, “I couldn’t accept the news when I heard it.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Refugees Flee to Armenia as Breakaway Enclave Comes Under Azerbaijan’s Control, Ivan Nechepurenko, Sept. 24, 2023. More than 1,000 ethnic Armenians fleeing the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh crossed the border into Armenia on Sunday, days after a military offensive brought the enclave firmly back under Azerbaijan’s control.

More refugees are expected to follow in the coming days, according to the refugees and their relatives waiting for them near the border. They took with them little but the most basic necessities, leaving behind their homes and possessions with little prospects of return.

“The past two days were the most horrific in my life,” said Meline Hakobyan, 23, a law student who left Yeghtsahogh, a village in Nagorno-Karabakh. “My wish is that the feeling we have now, nobody goes through it.”

Azerbaijan was emboldened to take military action last week because of the region’s shifting geopolitics as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia, Armenia’s traditional security guarantor, appeared less inclined to intervene this time, given its increasing reliance on trade with Turkey, Azerbaijan’s principal ally.

Over 1,000 people crossed the border from Nagorno-Karabakh, days after a military offensive returned the ethnic Armenian enclave to Azerbaijan’s control.

ny times logoNew York Times, Cash, Mules and Paid Protests: How a Fraudster Seized an Ethnic Enclave, Andrew Higgins, Sept. 24, 2023. The war in Ukraine has intensifed frictions in Moldova’s Gagauzia region. A man convicted of plundering his country’s central bank saw an opportunity.

Less than a decade after Moldova’s financial system almost collapsed following the theft of nearly $1 billion from major banks, the architect of that catastrophe, the Israeli-born Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor, had somehow seized an entire region.

Worse still, lamented Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu, Mr. Shor, who was convicted in 2017 for his role in ransacking Moldova’s banking system, was working in the interests of Russia, meaning that Gagauzia had “fallen into the hands of pro-Russian criminal groups.”

Bundles of cash arriving on flights from Russia via Armenia provided an early sign of mischief in a tiny Eastern European enclave. Then came a wave of noisy street demonstrations featuring destitute pensioners paid to chant for the removal of their country’s pro-Western president.

But events in that enclave, Gagauzia, in the Republic of Moldova, took their most bizarre turn this summer when — at an outdoor meeting of officials and journalists next to a statue of Lenin — a fugitive convicted criminal announced the members of a new regional government.

They were, the fugitive fraudster declared while speaking by video link from Israel, a “dream team.”

However, for the central government of Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest and most fragile nations, the drama unfolding in Gagauzia was more of a nightmare.

Sept. 21

ny times logoNew York Times, Darfur’s New Generation, Once Full of Promise, Now Suffers ‘Fire of War,’ Abdi Latif Dahir, Sept. 21, 2023. In a Sudanese region with a history of genocide, weeks of intense fighting between rival military factions have left hundreds dead and sent thousands fleeing.

Five months after a devastating war began in Sudan between rival military forces, the western region of Darfur has quickly become one of the hardest hit in the nation. People in Darfur have already suffered genocidal violence over the past two decades that has left as many as 300,000 people dead.

Now Darfur, which had been edging toward relative stability, is being torn apart by a nationwide war between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. The Rapid Support Forces and its allies, predominantly Arab militias, have assumed control of large parts of Darfur, while the regular army mostly operates from garrisons in major cities, residents and observers said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Delegations from Armenia and Azerbaijan met to discuss the fate of the breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh, Ivan Nechepurenko, Sept. 21, 2023. Officials of the breakaway region met with representatives of Azerbaijan to talk about the future of its residents, many of whom strongly resist the idea of coming under Azerbaijani rule.

One day after Azerbaijan used force to assert its authority over a mountainous breakaway region in the South Caucasus, its officials met with representatives of the pro-Armenian enclave on Thursday to discuss the future of the residents there under new rule.

Escorted by Russian peacekeepers, a delegation of the government of Nagorno-Karabakh arrived in the town of Yevlakh in Azerbaijan to meet with representatives of the Azerbaijani government.

Azerbaijan’s brisk military recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh — a strategic slice of land slightly bigger than Rhode Island that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan — could further alter power dynamics in the combustible region where interests of Russia, Turkey and Western states collide.

Azerbaijan’s victory also posed a humanitarian challenge for tens of thousands of Armenians living there. Citing multiple historic grievances, many Armenians have been adamantly opposed to coming under Azerbaijani rule.

Sept. 20

washington post logoWashington Post, Fighting flares between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, Mary Ilyushina, Sept. 20, 2023 (print ed.).  Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday declared an “anti-terrorist” campaign in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region under Armenian control, as Armenian media reported air raid sirens and mortar fire in the regional capital of Stepanakert.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have repeatedly clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but largely populated by ethnic Armenians and largely governed by the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh.

The two nations fought two wars over the region: one in the early 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and another in 2020 when Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, regained territories bordering Karabakh from Armenia, which had held them since 1994. The six-week-long hostilities ended after a truce brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin was signed in November 2020, but a full peace agreement remained elusive.

Sept. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, In Wagner’s largest African outpost, Russia looks to tighten its grip, Rachel Chason and Barbara Debout, Sept. 19, 2023 (print ed.). Since the mercenaries of Russia’s notorious Wagner Group first arrived here [in the Central African Republic] five years ago, they have embedded themselves in the security operations and economy of this impoverished but resource-rich country. While operating largely independently of Moscow, the group helped project Russian influence deep into Africa.

wagner group logoNow, after the death of Wagner boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin last month in a suspicious plane crash, officials in the Central African Republic say the Russian government is moving to take direct control over the more than 1,000 mercenaries here.

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra said in an interview at the presidential palace that Russian fighters would remain in his country under his agreement with Moscow and continue to provide security at a “difficult moment,” as the Central African Republic continues to struggle with rebel groups that have been attacking soldiers and civilians in the countryside.

“It has always been the Russian government with which we contracted,” said Touadéra, whose security detail included Wagner fighters in khakis standing guard outside his office.

This month, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov and Maj. Gen. Andrei Averyanov of the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, visited Bangui and informed Touadéra and other top CAR officials that the Russian presence would continue but under the command of the Russian Defense Ministry, according to Central African and Western officials. The president confirmed the meeting, saying, “We have state-to-state relations with Russia, so it is normal that the vice minister visited us in the context of our security relationship.”

Fidele Gouandjika, an adviser to Touadéra, said that if the fighters don’t want to obey Russia’s Defense Ministry, they will have no choice but to depart. “It is Russia that sent them and armed them,” Gouandjika said, “and Russia that will decide when Wagner leaves.”

The Central African Republic has historically represented Wagner’s largest outpost on the continent, though the group has been active in at least four African countries and set its sights on multiple others, provoking growing concern in Western capitals.

The Africa tour by Yevkurov and Averyanov also included stops in Mali, where Wagner has a substantial presence, and Burkina Faso, where Wagner leaders had previously offered their services. A Western official said the trip was intended to send a clear message: Prigozhin’s sprawling empire is now under government control.