For the night of 6 January 2014
South Korea-North Korea: South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday proposed a new round of reunions for families divided since the Korean War. Ms. Park called her offer a humanitarian first step to build trust.
North Korea didn't immediately respond to Park's statement, which came during a nationally televised news conference.
Comment: The South's gestures to build confidence with the North stem mostly from South Korean internal politics. No South Korean politician can be seen as opposed to North-South confidence-building or reconciliation.
In the North, no confidence building initiative or reconciliation gesture can be seen to originate in South Korea. Thus the cycle repeats. Offer meets rejection followed by counter offer or bellicose bluster, depending on the stability of the leadership in the North.
Thus this offer is best understood as a probe for evaluating the confidence of the Kim Jong Un regime. The NightWatch understanding of the Kim Jong Un regime suggests that it will reject the South's offer.
Whatever the North decides will provide valuable insights about the leadership in Pyongyang. At this point, the North does not behave as if it is ready to accept and act on new initiatives with the South, initiated by the South.
North Korea: Kim Jong Un's aunt, the wife of Chang Sung-taek who was purged and executed last month, has either died of a heart attack or committed suicide, according to an unconfirmed press report.
Kim Kyong-hui, previously a leading figure in the regime, is believed to have been ill for several years and was reportedly treated for cancer and travelled to Russia last month for a heart complaint.
He has extensive family responsibilities as head of the Kim clan in the North. However, he can pursue his pet projects without reminders or reprimands from his family elders, all of whom are dead, if this report is accurate.
Iraq: Prime Minister al-Maliki urged residents and tribes of Fallujah to 'expel' al-Qaida militants from the Sunni-dominated city to avoid an all-out battle. Multiple news outlets have reported that the government is planning a major ground and air attack against Fallujah if the residents and tribes fail to oust the al Qaida militants.
Comment: Maliki's announcement indicates that his government blames the Sunni residents and tribes for al-Qaida's resurgence in Fallujah and other locations in Anbar Province. Thus, Maliki's call to rise up constitutes a test of the loyalty of the local tribes and residents. Should they fail, then Maliki's government will consider itself justified in destroying the city with air and artillery attacks.
The Iraqi muslims - Sunnis and Shia -- are destroying themselves, now that the Americans and other Crusaders are out of the way and out of the holy places of Islam in Iraq. This matches the religious fratricide in Syria, except in Syria, Sunni Arabs are fighting Sunni Arabs more than Shiites.
If the fighting continues, as seems likely, peace might be restored eventually by negotiating another autonomous region for Sunni Arabs in Anbar Province, patterned after the Kurdish autonomous region. Iraq would advance as a federal state, instead of the unitary state system that the US tried to establish.
Alternatively, there will be no peace because the Gulf State financiers of the Sunni uprising in Anbar Province want no peace in Iraq.
End of NightWatch for 6 January.
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