For the night of 5 September 2013
South Korea-North Korea: The two Koreas agreed to restore the military hotline, according to a press briefing by the South Korean Unification Ministry.
Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to restore the line on Thursday in a subcommittee meeting to discuss restarting the Kaesong Industrial Zone. Restoration of the military hotline was one of Seoul's conditions for normalizing operations at Kaesong.
After the press briefing, the ministry said by phone that the military hotline was reopened as of 10:51 a.m. local time after testing the telephone lines. A Red Cross hotline at Panmunjom was restored in June.
Comment: The military hotline is important because it is the communications link used to coordinate cross-border civilian traffic to and from Kaesong. North Korea cut it during the tension in March. This is another benchmark in resuming production operations at Kaesong.
Republic of Korea: South Korean security authorities on Thursday arrested a leftist member of the National Assembly for plotting a pro-North Korean rebellion in South Korea in the event of another Korean War.
'It's a fabrication by the National Intelligence Service,' Lee Seok-ki shouted at a police station in Suwon, a city just south of Seoul, before being driven to a detention facility.
Comment: National Assembly member Lee is accused of having led a pro-North Korean subversive organization and operation in South Korea. The purpose of the group was to foment an uprising during a crisis with the North that would overthrow the South Korean government, install a revolutionary government in Seoul and invite a North Korean invasion to restore civil order in the South.
That is classic communist doctrine. For example that is the scenario in which Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979. After one government's overthrow, they were invited in by the new leadership. That scenario has always been a key element in the North Korean war plan.
South Koreans are astonished that Lee and his supporters still remain true believers to the North's propaganda line that the North Korean system is superior to that of South Korea in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They also are astonished that a North Korean sympathizer could win election to the National Assembly with no vetting of his views towards North Korea.
China-Six Party Members: An unidentified diplomatic source told a South Korean media outlet that a Chinese institute proposed in late August that envoys from each of the members of the Six Party Talks convene in Beijing on 18 September to discuss resuming the talks formally.
The China Institute of International Studies, affiliated with China's foreign ministry, proposed the establishment of a Track 1.5 initiative to meet in Beijing on the 18th.
Comment: Formal and informal channels for engaging North Korea customarily are referred to as Tracks. The label of a 1.5 Track means that the group invited to assemble would be a high-level subset of top level diplomats. The formation of multiple "tracks" is a cottage industry in diplomacy with North Korea.
It is an odd practice that operates on a presumption that person-to-person casual settings can achieve more than formal talks. That presumption ignores the advantage that the small size of North Korea's diplomatic corps affords in manipulating the tracks.
Iran-US-Iraq: The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported on Thursday that the US intercepted an order from an Iranian official to militants in Iraq to attack US interests in Iraq in the event of a US attack against Syria.
Comment: As seems to be the custom, the news outlets reported no details that would assist in evaluating the authenticity of the message. If the Iranians transmitted such a message, it looks like a shot across the bow. In other words, it is either a phony message or it was intended to be intercepted. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Egypt: On 5 September the Egyptian Social Solidarity Ministry warned that the Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in 1928 will be dissolved after the end of the third and final deadline on Thursday, 5 September, to address accusations over illegal activities.
Hani Mahanna, spokesman for the ministry, told the news service, MENA, that no representative of the group has shown up at the ministry and "so we have no other alternative but to take necessary legal action and dissolve it within days".
According to the news report, this is the third deadline to be granted to the group to answer charges of forming military militias and engaging in illegal activities. Under the Law number 84 of 2002, Non-Governmental Organizations are banned from engaging in politics or forming military militias. And since the 2012 Constitution was suspended, the social solidarity minister rather than the administrative court is authorized to take a decision on the group's dissolution.
Comment: The security forces of the government are not outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead the interim government has maneuvered so that the Brotherhood's failure to defend itself is responsible for its dissolution. This is a slick political maneuver sometimes called surrendering the initiative. It always results in blame being shifted from a government to a victim of that government, i.e., the victim brought it on himself.
A useful analogy to US law would be an order to disband a seditious organization because it had failed to fill out the proper forms to apply for tax exempt status as a humanitarian organization.
In the case of the Brotherhood, the accusations of violent sedition are at least partly accurate. The Brotherhood's failure to make an appearance to defend itself in fact does leave the ministry with no recourse but to dissolve the Brotherhood.
The process leading to the dissolution of the Brotherhood is slick, but the dissolution of the Brotherhood has not been in doubt since 3 July.
End of NightWatch for 5 September.
NightWatch is brought to you by Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (KGS), a leader in government problem-solving, Data Confidence® and intelligence. Views and opinions expressed in NightWatch are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of KGS, its management, or affiliates.
A Member of AFCEA International
Back to NightWatch List