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NightWatch 20100511

NightWatch

For the Night of 11 May 2010

North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency announced on 12 May that North Korean scientists have achieved a breakthrough by creating nuclear fusion. North Korean media described it as giving great encouragement to the Armed Forces and the people.

No independent source has confirmed the North's claim, whose secondary purpose is to rivet international attention towards North Korea. A fusion -- thermo-nuclear-- weapon would be much more powerful than a fission weapon.

Feedback on the significance of this "breakthrough" is invited.

Thailand: The government's Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES) will not lift the state of emergency in a bid to ensure security, according to Thai army chief General Anupong Paojinda, Xinhua reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the law is still essential to maintain security and provide convenience for the anti-government protesters to return home. The emergency law's enforcement is also needed to deal with the "hard-core group" that is equipped with weapons and has infiltrated the protesters at the rally site, General Anupong said.

A leader of the anti-government protesters said conditions for ending the five-week occupation of Bangkok's main shopping district have not been met, Reuters reported. The protesters said they were not satisfied by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep visit to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to hear complaints filed against him by families of Thais killed in the 10 April clash between protesters and soldiers. Participants cannot just end the protest without true reconciliation, which means leaders have to take responsibility for their action, said protest leader Weng.

Comment: The protest has gotten a life out of its own, disconnected to the political objectives it claimed to be seeking. It is now self-sustaining.  Its rejection of government reconciliation offers is contrived nonsense. The government gave almost everything the Red Shirts demanded, but it was not enough.  That is the signature of over-reaching.

The more interesting question is the government's reluctance and inability to suppressthe demonstration. Two commentaries in the past two weeks indicated the government cannot rely on the police to execute orders and that even among the army senior ranks, some officers sympathize with the protestors so that its key units are unreliable. Special thanks to Feedback for this insight.

The iron rule of instability, confirmed in more than 60 similar situations tracked by the Directorate of Intelligence, J2, JCS, during a ten year period, is that the group with the most and best guns wins.

It looks as if the Thai government mistrusts its guns, but the opposition also does not have a clear advantage. The prolongation of the standoff means the government is losing because governments are expected to have the capabilities to suppress open rebellion, which the Red Shirts are doing.

Iraq: Aswat al-Iraq reported accusations by a provincial official that Arab states were involved in the two explosions in Basra today. Intelligence information confirmed that one Arab state supported and another planned for the blasts, the provincial spokesman said. He stressed that despite Arab involvement, the blasts were "carried out by Iraqi hands." Basra was targeted because it ranks ahead of other Iraqi cities in rebuilding and prosperity.

Comment: This is the first time that any official at any level has accused Arab states, meaning Sunni Arab states, in public of complicity in civil conflict in Iraq.

The nightmare scenario always has been that Sunni Arab state intelligence services would finance and otherwise support a Sunni Arab insurgency in Iraq that prevented consolidation of a Shiite regime in Baghdad. The last thing the Saudi Kingdom will accept is a Shiite regime in Baghdad. The Saudis made that clear to the Bush-cheney administration.

Today's statement is the first open source indication that the Sunni Arabs have begun the campaign to limit Shiite power. In this hypothesis, Iraq will never be stable, but will be the battle ground between Sunni Arabs and Shiites backed by the Persians. It portends the second phase of the Islamic civil war in Iraq. This threatens to become a security problem more lethal than anything since the end of the Ottoman Empire.

US forces have no relevance to this fight, would make themselves a Christian target in an Islamic civil war and need to leave before it gets worse. Any time the Muslims fight among themselves, it strengthens the security of Israel and limits Iranian meddling in Afghanistan. There is no need for American children-soldiers to die to stop an Islamic civil war. Once democracy was instituted in Iraq, this outcome was inevitable.

Iran: Swiss and US officials announced that Iran will grant visas for the mothers of three Americans arrested along the Iraqi border in July to visit them in a Tehran prison. Iran's Foreign Ministry said the decision was made on humanitarian grounds. A US State Department official said the Iranian Foreign Ministry has told the Swiss Embassy in Tehran - which represents U.S. interests - that the visas will be approved, but that it was not yet clear when the actual visit would be approved.

During their nine months in jail, an has accused Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal of illegal border crossing, spying and having links to U.S. intelligence, and has said they would be brought to trial. However, it has not brought them to trial or even made clear whether formal charges have been filed. Two of the young people are reported to be ill.

Chile-US-Pakistan: Chilean police arrested a 28-year-old Pakistani student for entering the U.S. Embassy in Santiago with traces of an explosive substance on his clothes, Reuters reported 11 May, citing police. The student was trying to reinstate his visa to travel to the US, which had been revoked.

It was not yet confirmed what substance it might have been. Police did not release details on how the substance was detected, however a local newspaper said there is an explosive-detection system at the embassy.

This served as another test of the sensitivity of detection equipment, whether deliberate or accidental. Prudence and caution commend that the State Department treats this as a deliberate test and another sign that Pakistani sleeper agents have been activated to attempt to attack the US. All embassies and air carriers should be on highest alert and have their detection equipment set to its finest sensitivity.

End of NightWatch for 11 May.

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