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NightWatch 20101215

NightWatch

For the Night of 15 December 2010

The Korea Confrontation

South Korea-Japan-US: South Korea, the United States and Japan have agreed to ask North Korea to fulfill five conditions before six-party nuclear talks can resume, according to Asahi Shimbun.

The conditions include the suspension of the North's uranium enrichment program, inspection of the North's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and implementation of the 19 September 2005, Joint Statement. China has reportedly been informed of the conditions, and the three countries are seeking Russia's backing.

Comment: The three Allies apparently are treating China's relay of North Korean requirement for unconditional talks as an opening offer and an invitation for a counter offer. That Allied reply looks unresponsive and perhaps wishful thinking.

North Korea negotiates precisely as described in Nathan Leites' work, The Operational Code of the Politburo. A Stalinist state seeks victory or conquest in negotiations, not compromise. The North will reject the counter-offer and probably will raise the ante, i.e., the cost the Allies must pay if they are serious about talks.

North Korea: For the record. North Korea excavated a 500 meter-deep tunnel at the nuclear test site in Punggye Ri, in North Hamgyong Province in northeastern North Korea, according to South Korean intelligence sources. These sources also said the North has accelerated construction and excavation work at its main nuclear site in Yongbyon, Chosun Ilbo reported on 15 December.

If progress continues the North should have a 1 kilometer-deep tunnel by March-May 2011 suitable for a nuclear test, the intelligence source said. "North Korea seems to be busy digging even in winter when the ground is frozen."

Comment: Another North Korean nuclear test should surprise no one. As yet the North has not conducted a clearly successful nuclear weapons test, such as both India and Pakistan conducted in 1998. On the basis of the science alone, the North needs one successful nuclear test.

Defector sources reported that the young Kim Jung-eun is being touted as the source of the threat of nuclear war against South Korea. In paraphrase, the child supposedly said, "Let's see how the US likes having a nuclear weapon hit its territory."

Some North Korean missiles, provided they do not explode on launch and actually fly true, might hit parts of Alaska, coastal California or Guam. The child and his advisors evidently did not take into account the retaliatory power that the Allies would use to destroy Pyongyang, about the only city worth destroying in North Korea. Pyongyang has no past before 1950 because it was destroyed by the UN forces during the Korean War. There is no old town Pyongyang, according to Vice Premier Kang Sok-ju.

In that connection, a prophecy from the father of Kim Il-sung, Kim Kyong-sik, apparently is now in general circulation. Kim's father expected prosperity for two successive generations, but said nothing about the next generation, that of his great grandson Jung-eun.

The prophecy of prosperity for two generations has proven false, so North Koreans expect utter disaster under the next generation, according to the scuttlebutt the defectors learn.

Afghanistan: Heavy fighting, with a 15-20 percent increase in attacks, is predicted in Afghanistan as more Taliban insurgents are expected to remain in country rather than crossing the border into Pakistan, according to U.S. Major General Campbell.

According to the Washington Post,  the White House report on Afghanistan is expected to show increased reliance on counterterrorism operations as part of the overall war strategy, and will identify insurgent safe havens in Pakistan as a persistent problem Pakistan has done little to address.

Comment: NightWatch is evaluating the data from the fighting in November 2010, in preparation for another special report. The data show the Taliban and other anti-government forces surged their attacks significantly and tried to expand into previously quiet districts. They sustained a high level of daily attacks in traditional stronghold districts.

Attacks tapered off somewhat at the end of November, which is usual. The claim that fewer Taliban moved to winter quarters in Pakistan is not a good indicator of winter fighting. Most anti-government fighters in Pashtun provinces in the south, fight where they live.

The NATO command's statement implies that the fighting is waged mostly by anti-government groups that are based in Pakistan. That is simply not true, is grossly misleading to the American public and whoever came up with that nonsense should be dismissed. The anti-government forces in Afghanistan are not foreign ers, but are supported from Pakstan. Thus even without support from Pakistan there would still be a fight against outsiders in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is the origin of and channel for all supplies that support the anti-government forces. Afghanistan has no arms or explosives industries. Everything that explodes comes from the US or Pakistan. Thus, if IED events reached a new high in November 2010 -- as they did -- that means the US and Coalition forces utterly failed to stop the supply of fertilizer, explosives and detonators from Pakistan or stolen from or sold by US and Coalition forces.

The most powerful country in the history of the world cannot seem to seal a border, In Mexico or Pakistan. This is curious because it indicates that this 2010 generation of hi-tech US soldiers and generals have been enormously less able to disrupt the supply line from Pakistan than an earlier generation of American war fighters did to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.

Israel: Israel will insist on security guarantees before any agreement on the borders of a Palestinian state or the halting of Jewish settlements can be made, according to Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.

"The deeper our sense of security, the more flexibility we can show," said Oren. Israel wouldn't follow the borders of the pre-1967 situation because they are not defensible and a continued Israeli Army presence would be needed on any future Palestinian-Jordanian border, Oren stated. He added the return of Palestinians to Israel claiming refugee status would turn Israel in to a de-facto Palestinian state.

Comment: Experts know Israel's concerns about establishing a Palestinian state. Few readers appreciate that one of the Palestinian conditions is a grant of citizenship with a right of voting and return to Palestine to more than 3 million Palestinians living abroad.

The return of the Palestinian diaspora could make the Jews a minority in their own state, if Palestinian terms were accepted.

NightWatch takes no stand on this issue, but only points out that Israeli security concerns are not contrived or trivial.

Germany: The government agreed to end military conscription on 1 July 2011 and to reduce the size of the army from 240,000 to 185,000 troops. This would be the biggest contraction in the German Bundeswehr in 53 years, DPA reported 15 December.

Comment: Since the collapse of communist East Germany, the Germans have sought to reduce defense expenditures. Intelligence services have been consolidated and other military functions have been merged. The process has been in progress for more than 20 years. In short, the absence of a clear, conventional military threat to Germany undermines the defense establishment. The German involvement in Afghanistan is overwhelmingly unpopular; the Germans will not stay beyond 2011.

The Germans, French and most European Union states treat Islamic terrorist attacks as law and order problems. The significance is that the Europeans and most Asian states judge that police forces are more effective in dealing with terrorist threats than military forces.

End of NightWatch for 15 December.

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