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NightWatch 20111021

NightWatch

For the night of 21 October 2011

India-Jammu and Kashmir State: Update. Emergency laws in Indian Kashmir, specifically the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), will be withdrawn in some areas because violence has declined. Jammu and Kashmir State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said it was time to end the laws enacted when militancy first began in the state, more than a decade ago. Abdullah said the laws will be revoked in some areas within a few days.

Comment: The significance of the statement is that it means the federal Indian government is willing to take a chance that the improvement in the security situation will continue. It also is backing its man, Omar Abdullah, in the State. Last week he lobbied strongly for a relaxation of the emergency laws so the State could continue to prosper.

Libya: Update. Libyan military officials reported that they arrested Saif al-Islam, one of Qadhafi's sons on 21 October in the coastal city of Zlitan. A Zlitan fighter reportedly said Saif al-Islam had several injuries in his lower back, and officials added that Saif al-Islam was hospitalized after losing his arm, Iran's Press TV said.

Officials from Zlitan denied that Saif had been captured.

Comment: Libya's problems have just gotten worse with the death of Qadhafi, about which all factions agreed. The most immediate problem will be disarming the rag tag shooters whose attitudes and lack of military and personal discipline needlessly prolonged a fairly simple military action against Qadhafi. The bloodletting has not ended.

Libya-NATO: NATO operations in Libya are close to completion and NATO reached a preliminary decision to end Operation Unified Protector by 31 October, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a news conference after a NATO ambassadors' meeting in Brussels on the 21st. A formal decision will be made the week of 23 October.

Comment: The National Journal attempted to estimate the cost of the anti-Qadhafi operation. It seems NATO has a common fund but it does not include national expenditures. National defense budgets bore the brunt of the operations. It appears that the overthrow leading to the death of Qadhafi cost about $2 billion, of which the US paid about 80% according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US taxpayers paid for the Libyan fight, not the Europeans, and have almost nothing to show for it. That is what comes from "leading from the year," which is an old characterization of military leadership in World War I. Somebody on the White House staff should have had the courage to advise the President that "leading from the rear" has been a euphemism for "timidity" since at least the Napoleonic era. See the works of O'Brien.

Russia-Libya: Libya's new leadership must respect agreements and contracts made by Muammar Qadhafi's regime even though the former leader has since become illegitimate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on 21 October.

Comment: The Russians have liens on Libyan wealth, just as they did on Iraqi wealth. They are playing the same hand in demanding their share of a victory they declined to support. The Russians have staked their claim early, as they did in Iraq, but there is now a new regime and the Russians deserve nothing.

End of NightWatch for 21October .

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