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NightWatch 20110525


For the Night of 25 May 2011

Pakistan: PNS Mehran Base Commander Commodore Raja Tahir has been removed from his post after being suspended. Commodore Khalid Parvez has been appointed new base commander. According to the defence sources, Commodore Raja Tahir would remain suspended until the completion of the inquiry into the terrorist attack. .Four navy personnel currently in Adiala prison were also questioned during preliminary investigations. They all were court-martialed. None of them had ever been posted to PNS Mehran Base.

Comment: The Pakistan Navy has begun removing naval aircraft from Mehran to Jinna air base, a more secure facility nearby.

Pakistan-US: For the record. The U.S. military has begun pulling military personnel from Pakistan at the request of the Islamabad government. A spokesman for the US Department of Defense said the United States was notified in writing that Pakistan wanted a reduction of US personnel. More than 200 U.S. military personnel currently are stationed in the country.

Comment: This action was taken mostly to satisfy the crowds, because the numbers of US military personnel are trivial. The withdrawal of personnel also is for their safety. Pakistan has become hostile to American military personnel.

Yemen: The Yemeni aviation authorities announced, "International Sanaa Airport suspended all arriving and departing flights on Wednesday as incoming planes of Sanaa were diverted to airports in southern the country, such as Aden airport and others." The reason for the suspension was the proximity of clashes near the airport.

Comment: Today's action is another indicator that the regime is weakening, but it still is trying to use the Republican Guard to control access to Sanaa.

Egypt: The Egyptian official Middle East News Agency said the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip would be opened permanently starting Saturday for 12 hours a day, every day except Fridays and holidays. This action will give Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

Israel's crossings are more significant, since they handle most cargo. A year ago Israel significantly eased its restrictions on cargo entering Gaza, but it still severely limits entry and exit of Gazans through its northern crossing into Israel.

MENA said the decision to open the Rafah crossing was part of efforts "to end the status of the Palestinian division and achieve national reconciliation."

Comment: The government continues to bow to internal pressures to distance itself more from Israel and the US. This is a study in democracy.

End of NightWatch for 25 May.

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