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NightWatch 20111212


For the night of 12 December 2011

South Korea-China: A South Korean Coast Guard member was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman on Monday during a crackdown on illegal fishing near South Korea, the Coast Guard said. Nine Chinese crewmen violently resisted South Korean coast guardsmen trying to impound their 66-ton boat, a Coast Guard statement said.

Comment: Encounters with Chinese fishing boats are common, depending on the fishing season. Most do not involve aggressive resistance by the fishermen. The Chinese appeared to act as if the fishing grounds were Chinese.

Pakistan: Any unmanned aerial vehicles, including US UAVs, entering Pakistani air space will be treated as hostile and shot down per a new defense policy, a senior Pakistani official said on 10 December.

Comment: Pakistani forces lack the capabilities to execute the directive as announced, but the loss of one or two drones would be enough to curtail the program because of the expense from multiple aircraft losses. The program is not sustainable in contested airspace. This declaration has been coming for a very long time.

Syria: Syria is holding local elections despite continuing violence between security and opposition forces. Authorities said the vote would be freer than in previous years, but the opposition has called for a boycott and launched a general strike. Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT), with 42,889 candidates vying for 17,588 seats.

Comment: Media depiction of Syria suggests a country that is much more violent than it appears to be. Despite Western media and government portrayals, the opposition is not strong enough to prevent local elections. That should be enough evidence to make Readers suspect strong bias in Western media accounts of conditions in Syria.

Egypt: For the record. Share prices on the Egypt Exchange declined on Monday, 12 December, a day after Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzuri said the country's economic problems were worse than previously thought. The main EGX-30 index shed 2.06 percent to 3,882.17 points at the close of trading, with analyst Walid al-Abidin linking the drop 'to the remarks made by Ganzuri.

Comment: The price of the Arab uprising in Egypt has been the future of the Egyptian economy. One analyst estimated earlier this year that Gross Domestic Product (GDP0 has declined at least 20%.

Freedom is not free. The Egyptians have paid and continue to pay an enormous price for the overthrow of Mubarak and still do not have freedom. Democracy is dangerous.

Algeria-US-France: For the record. US and French unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will not be allowed to fly over Algeria's southern airspace to counter weapons smuggling from Libya, according to El Khabar newspaper. Algeria will increase its reconnaissance of UAV air surveillance operations.

Comment: The Iranians will be quick to disseminate any insights they developed in downing a US reconnaissance drone. Algeria might not yet have Iran's insights but it is showing that it is open to Iranian help.

End of NightWatch for 12 December.

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