For the night of 26 March 2012
North Korea: The national news agency broadcast a statement that any criticism of North Korea's nuclear program at the nuclear security summit in Seoul would be considered a declaration of war.
Comment: The North's media mouthpiece has a limited lexicon of threats. The declaration of war statement has been used and overused. No national leadership takes it seriously because the North Korean armed forces will lose a war on the peninsula. The North Korean media have run out words.
The Korean People's Army is capable of starting a conflict, whose initial hours would be deadly because of the concentration of artillery and ammunition just north of the Demilitarized Zone. Even that judgment assumes Allied air forces did not bury the gunners in their tunnels before than could shoot. The timing depends on strategic intelligence warning.
The North Koreans have had 60-plus years to register their guns. On the other hand, the UN forces have had the same time to target the North Korean gun pits and adits. If the North's guns were buried in their protective tunnels, the North would be unable to even start a war.
Even assuming Allied air ineptitude, which is not even plausible, the North Koreans still cannot sustain an artillery barrage for more than a few hours. The North Korean army has neglected and, thus, lost the logistics capability required to support forces who must hold ground. This is because the entire army has not trained to go on the offense in at least ten years.
The North Korean army has become a defensive force whose mission is to repel a South Korean counter-attack and invasion of North Korea, after the North has exhausted all its artillery ammunition.
The North's residual offensive capability is the ballistic missile units based along the China border. They can fire one salvo to harm South Korea, Japan and perhaps Guam. After that North Korea becomes a cinder, as the result of the Allied counter-attack. The state of North Korea would disappear in the event Pyongyang's leaders order the start of a war.
North Korea's only hope is to start a limited war along the Demilitarized Zone that it knows it must lose in hopes of negotiating the terms of a peace by which the Allies will rebuild the state, as occurred after 1973 in Egypt.
Special comment: North Korean people are hard-working and well-educated in a completely forlorn cause. Communism failed in North Korea by 1988 and was replaced with a more ancient form of Asian government known as oriental despotism.
Kim Il-sung is responsible for and presided over the failure of communism and chose to revert to the government patterns of the ancient kings of Korea - hereditary despotism. Under the Kims, North Korea has traveled backwards in history, as Karl Marx described its progress. The North Korean people deserve better than the incompetent, incestuous cabal that now pretends to lead them.
Afghanistan: A member of the Afghan local police shot a NATO service member on 26 March in eastern Afghanistan he was approaching a checkpoint. The NATO soldier was an American.
Earlier on the 26th, an Afghan man, wearing an Afghan army uniform, shot and killed two UK soldiers at a NATO base in Lashkargah, Helmand Province in the heart of Pashtun country in southern Afghanistan. The gunman was killed when coalition forces returned fire.
Three foreign soldiers were among four people injured on 26 March when a suicide bomber detonated himself against a NATO convoy in Uruzgan Province's Chora District, Afghan police said.
Special comment: So much has been written about the US adventure in Afghanistan, it takes special hubris to write much more. The US Marine General has put the best face on a deteriorating situation, but he and his command have no way to detect a Taliban infiltrator. Plus Afghans are the least trustworthy judges of such things because they might be Taliban themselves.
The NATO command places great stress on the apparel of an Afghan killer. In the past 150 years, except for a few elite units, soldiering always has been a part time job for getting a steady pay check. Uniforms do not necessarily have the same cultural significance in Afghanistan as they do in the West.
Afghans grow up knowing how to fight, but not how to soldier. British, Soviet and American officers have tried since the mid-1800's to teach them how to soldier with no lasting success. And yet Afghans learn and know how to fight without outside tutors.
In the midst of an ethnic uprising by the Pashtuns, it is folly to find some comfort that a Pashtun shooter might have been a Taliban infiltrator in a uniform, rather than a Pashtun nationalist in a uniform who tired of soldiering or Western disrespect for the Quran.
NATO is no more capable of detecting an infiltrator than were the Soviets or the British before them. Neither side can trust the other. Afghans already are responsible for their own security, only the NATO command fails to grasp that fact.
Turkey: Turkish leaders seek to increase sales of gunboats, missiles, ammunition and armored vehicles to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, according to Turkish press. Officials from Turkey's Under Secretariat for Defense Industries visited top officials from the two countries last week.
Question: Who is the enemy? Evidently Iran, but Turkey also is trying to build ties to Iran as a bridge between Sunni and Shia sects.
Mali: Tuareg rebels are negotiating with Malian soldiers for a peaceful resolution opf control of the northern garrison town of Kidal, according to the government and representatives from the Tuaregs.
Comment: As noted before, the security situation in northern Mali has worsened significantly since the junta seized power.
Senegal: Senegalese state television broadcast on 25 March that President Abdoulaye Wade conceded defeat only hours after polls closed following the runoff election. Senegalese TV said Wade had called opposition candidate Macky Sall at 9:30 p.m. local time. Sall is the new president of Senegal.
Comment: The only significance of this item is that it relates a peaceful transfer of power between opponents. No coup; no gunfire between factional supporters. It is good news, for as long as it lasts. Sall is the fourth president since 1960.
End of NightWatch for 26 March.
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