For the night of 5 December 2013
China-US: Comment: When world powers disagree on an issue they tend to spotlight minor points, such as treatment of journalists. While that is important, it does not threaten conflict in the same way as scrambling fighter jets in an air defense identification zone, which China has done.
The Chinese made no compromises to the US Vice President about their declaration of an air defense identification zone. The Vice President said he was very direct with the Chinese, but North Korea and economic issues appear to have been more prominent in the talks, based on the press coverage..
The Chinese seldom admit mistakes, almost never issue retractions and would never compromise on a national sovereignty issue for the US or any other nation. The Biden visit was mostly for show. Nothing serious appears to have been accomplished, which should surprise no one.
Yemen: A series of attacks at Yemen's defense ministry have left at least 52 dead and some 162 hurt, officials say.
A suicide car bomb blew up at the gates of the complex in Sanaa's Bab al-Yaman district, at the entrance to the old city, and a gun battle followed at a hospital inside. Seven foreign medical staff - doctors and nurses - are among the dead.
Comment: No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but foreign news commentators blame the local al Qaida franchise for the attack. The significance of this attack is the lapse of security that it exposed. The Arab Spring bypassed Yemen and skipped to the fractious fall.
Syria: The activists told the media that two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 40 miles northeast of Damascus, on a major highway towards Homs and the coast. Seven people supposedly died. The rebels accused the Syrian army of the attack
Comment: No one should take this accusation seriously. No Army fires two rounds to accomplish anything. The Syrian army and Hizballah have no weapons that fire only two chemical rounds. The rebels do. Poorly trained militias and disorganized rebel groups perpetrate attacks of this kind.
The Syrian army's chemical weapons have been accounted for by international inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, except for one site in northern Syrian. This attack supposedly occurred along the border with Lebanon, where government and Hizballah forces are advancing.
The rebels are desperate for help in the Qalamoun region and created another hoax to get outside intervention to prevent their total collapse along the Lebanon border.
Central African Republic: The UN Security Council authorized intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) to protect civilians from civilian massacres from Muslim-Christian fighting. More than 100 people have been murdered clubs or machetes in Bangui, the capital, in the past day.
French President François Hollande announced, "We already have 600 French soldiers in the country. We're going to double that amount in a few days, or even hours. France's only objective is to save human lives," he said.
More than 1,000 French troops have been waiting at the border with Cameroon ready to deploy. They will join more than 600 French soldiers based at the capital Bangui's airport as well as African Union forces. The African Union (AU) has a 2,500-strong force in CAR, but is struggling to maintain law and order.
Comment: In the past three years many of the former French colonies are proving unable to govern themselves and maintain law and order with help from the French metropole. CAR is a humanitarian disaster and barely a state.
Algeria: For the record. The Algerian army killed the No. 3 leader of al Qaida's North Africa branch and four other men who were on their way from Mali on 4 December to meet with top al Qaida leaders in northern Algeria, an Algerian official said on the 5th.
Comment: This is good security work by the Algerians, tactically, almost certinaly with French or US intelligence assistance. Howwever, it exposes the sinister network of jihadist and criminal terrorism that reaches from Mali to Libya. The statement that the terrorists were returning from Mali, after the French military operations of the past year, reinforces the NightWatch thesis that the threat in Mali is not over and actually might be spreading to other adjoining countries.
End of NightWatch for 5 December.
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