For the night of 10 July 2013
South Korea-North Korea: Update. Representatives from the two states met for 25 minutes at Kaesong. The South's negotiators gave a presentation on preventing future unilateral closures of the Kaesong complex.
The North talked about the need to get Kaesong operational again as soon as possible. North Korean radio said the North presented a practical plan for resuming work, which the South rejected in favor of blaming the North for the past closure.
Meanwhile, about 100 South Korean businessmen and support personnel inspected facilities at Kaesong today. Inspections are scheduled to continue on Thursday, 11 July. A third round of talks has been set for 15 July.
Comment: The two sides did not reach agreement on restarting production at the 123 Kaesong plants. However, the immediate goals of inspecting their condition and taking inventory of materials were achieved. In the end, the needs and wants of the business community will induce the Seoul government to reach a deal.
The urgency with which the North Koreans have pressed to restart the Kaesong plants suggests the lost income might have affected leadership accounts, meaning the Kim family and inner circle. If that is the case, the North will tolerate South Korean accusations in the interest of restarting the cash flow.
Turkey: For the record. Turkey's parliament banned a union from approving construction projects. Opposition parties said the group of architects and city planners was being punished by the government for challenging redevelopment plans for Taksim Square in Istanbul that ignited nationwide protests last month. The surprise measure was passed late Tuesday with the votes of Prime Minister Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development party, which holds a majority in parliament.
Lebanon: An obscure Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack on Tuesday in Hizballah's stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut, wounding 53 people. The same group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Hizballah convoy in eastern Lebanon on 28 June.
In a statement it said it warned repeatedly that Hizballah must withdraw from Syria or it would experience attacks in Lebanon.
However, the mainstream rebel Free Syrian Army condemned the 9 July attack, calling it a "terrorist" act.
Comment: The hubris of a small extremist group is remarkable, but the spill over from the Syrian fighting actually has declined since the Syrian government and Hizballah forces captured Qusayr and began their offensive into central Homs.
Egypt: Late Wednesday night several hundred supporters of ousted President Mursi marched from Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square sit-in in north Cairo to Ittihadiya presidential palace in Heliopolis and returned to its point of origin in the early hours of Thursday.
Protesters said they wanted to deliver a message condemning the killing of more than 50 Mursi supporters during clashes with the military on Monday. No violence was reported.
The government prosecutor has ordered the arrest or 206 more Muslim Brotherhood leaders and activists. The new round of arrests began on 10 July for inciting violence in the clash on Monday. The prosecutor ordered the detainees held for a further 15 days on accusations of involvement in the killings. He released 464 others on bail of about $300 each.
Comment: Ramadan began on Wednesday evening in Egypt. The protest march described above was the key event of the day. No clashes were reported.
The Muslim Brotherhood has threatened large demonstrations after prayers on Friday, the 12th. The government is decapitating the Brotherhood by arresting its leaders.
The new prime Minister, Beblawi, said he will finish forming his cabinet in three days.
Sinai. Gunmen fired on the car of the commander of the Second Field Army in Sinai today. This is the third attack in four days in Sinai.
Comment: Security conditions in Sinai require watching because any threat to disrupt traffic in the Suez Canal most likely would emerge from the eastern, Sinai, bank of the Canal. The new administration cannot afford to show any sign of hesitation to control the Sinai militants. Army operations were supposed to have already begun, but no news outlet has confirmed them.
Kuwait-Egypt: The Kuwait government granted Egypt $4 billion in aid today. That brings the total amount to $12 billion from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Concerning the Egyptian economy, one reporter noted that gasoline lines have ended and the electricity supply has normalized, within a week of Mursi's ouster. Some economic and business leaders apparently deliberately victimized consumers to build hostility against Mursi, according to this report.
End of NightWatch for 10 July.
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