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NightWatch 20140428

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NightWatch

For the night of 28 April 2014

North Korea-US: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a statement from the National Defense Commission (NDC) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) about "U.S. President Obama's south Korean junket on 25 and 26 April." The excerpts in quotation marks are as they appeared in the official translation of the statement into English.

"Obama's trip was nothing but an abnormal burlesque staged at the repeated coquetry and request made by his female stooge driven into a tight corner for her "yusin" fascist rule of modern type and unpopular rule. We do not want to take issue with every disgusting behavior which took place between him and his servant but cannot but take a serious note of his wicked demeanor…."

"He called for slapping tougher international "sanctions" and boosting 'cooperation in the campaign against the north' and agreed with his south Korean counterpart on building a missile shield and deferring the transfer of the right to control wartime operations under the pretext of the DPRK's nuclear activities and rocket launches for self-defense.…"

"The nuclear issue, a source of worldwide disaster and trouble, was spawned by the U.S. The DPRK has access to the nukes due to the U.S. constant nuclear threat and blackmailing…."

"We would like to declare once again that the DPRK's nukes are not to get recognition or permission from someone. It is not a bargaining chip for economic dealings either…."

"Second, Obama should have thought about the ailing American society and wagged his tongue before talking rubbish about "provocation", "threat" and "human rights" in the DPRK….The U.S. and its allies should clearly understand that their "human rights" ballad (sic) can never bring down the DPRK just as they did in the Mid-east and Balkans."

"Third, the U.S. should remember that its attempt to put the Korean peninsula under its control is an anachronistic act of bringing it shame and destruction…He forced the south Korean puppet forces to reexamine the period and conditions for the transfer of the right to control wartime operations slated for 2015. The U.S. has tried hard to seize the right to control wartime operations at any cost in order to keep hold on south Korea, a strategic stronghold which it occupies for the past nearly seven decades.

"Obama would be well advised to properly face up to the situation, though belatedly, and coolly look back on what he has earned and what he has lost through his vicious hostile policy toward the DPRK. We would like to advise once again that he should never miss his opportunity while he remains the boss of the White House."

Comment: The North Korean propagandists who composed the above rant need to be reprimanded. The North has far better translators than the published text shows. They also got some of the issues wrong.

The statement is meant to be personally insulting to the US President. At no time is the US President called by his official title, which the North considers a withering insult. The US, of course, is to blame for the North being forced to acquire nuclear weapons, says the North, and for all of North Korea's other problems.

The first portion in bold italics is a repeat of the standard North Korean formula. It is the key point of the statement. North Korean nuclear weapons are not negotiable.

The "second" point concerns human rights. The North Koreans seem particularly stung by the UN report on their poor human rights record. The English translation in this section is confused by the mixed metaphors.

The worst part is the second bold italic sentence about the delay in the transfer of wartime command to South Korea. The writers of the statement missed the point or do not believe twenty years of press reporting on this issue.

The South Korean government and generals have wanted this transfer delayed since talks on this topic began in the 1990's. What happened is the US finally relented and agreed to postpone a decision it made in 2006 to make the transfer, first by 2009, then by 2012, then by 2015, and now at a time to be determined.

A contributing reason for the North's fit of pique is its appreciation that the defensive improvements about which the two Allied Presidents agreed, if implemented fully, would render ineffective two decades of North Korean weapons development. In addition, the Allied summit in two days made North Korea once again a poor place to invest because of the high risks.

North Korea- South Korea: The North's rant against South Korean President Park is a new low in crude propaganda. Excerpts follow.

On Sunday KCNA published a statement from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea about U.S. President Obama's tour of south Korea.

"The statement said: Due to the tragedy of sinking of a ferry the whole land of south Korea looks like a mourner's house. Had Obama have even an iota of ethics and morality, he should have postponed or shelved his trip. The American master and his servant staged the farce of insulting, threatening and blackmailing the DPRK during the former's criminal tour of south Korea utterly indifferent to the sorrow of south Koreans. This was entirely to serve the purpose of collusion and conspiracy in their campaign against the DPRK."

"What Park did before Obama this time reminds one of an indiscreet girl who earnestly begs a gangster to beat someone or a capricious whore who asks her fancy man to do harm to other person while providing sex to him...."

"She fully met the demands of her master for aggression, keeping mum about the nukes of the U.S. and desperately finding fault with fellow countrymen in the north over their nukes. She thus laid bare her despicable true colors as a wicked sycophant and traitor, a dirty comfort woman for the U.S. and despicable prostitute selling off the nation."

"The outcome of Obama's south Korean junket clearly proved that the DPRK was entirely just when it judged and determined that it should counter the U.S., the sworn enemy, by force only, not just talking, and should finally settle accounts with it through an all-out nuclear showdown….There is no remedy for Park and there is nothing to expect from her as far as the inter-Korean relations are concerned as long as she remains a boss of Chongwadae (i.e., South Korea's presidential palace)…"

"Genes remain unchanged. Needless to say, her present behavior suggests that her fate will be just the same as that of her father Park Chung Hee who met a miserable death after being forsaken by his master and public while crying out for 'unification by prevailing over communism' and 'unification by stamping out communism.'"

"The DPRK will never pardon anyone who dares challenge its dignity, social system and its line of simultaneously developing the two fronts, the statement warned."

Comment: The Committee is an agency of the North Korean government which means that the statement carries official approval. It is crude even by North Korea's low standards. It is deliberately intended to ensure a prolonged freeze in North-South relations. Either side might retaliate by interfering with production at the Kaesong joint industrial complex.

A possible explanation for this monstrosity is that last week the North conveyed to the South Koreans its condolences for the ferry accident. That appeared to be the start of a propaganda campaign to reach out to the South Korean people directly. That has been thwarted by the visit of the US President.

Together, the two statements make it highly unlikely that Six Party Talks will resume this year.

Iraq: Iraqi general elections for the 328 seats in the Council of Representatives will be held on 30 April. The Council will elect the prime minister and the president.

No single bloc is expected to win a majority of the seats, but Prime Minister al Maliki's State of Law coalition is expected to control parliament and the government for a third term. His campaign essentially is to continue the course, which means Shia domination of the Baghdad government and a continuation of Iraq's pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian policies.

Comment: Sectarian violence is surging in the run-up to the elections. Sunni fighters and jihadists dominate, if not actually control, Anbar Province. The militants have urged Iraqi Sunnis to boycott the elections. Expect violence to peak on the 30th.

Egypt: A court in Minya, in Upper Egypt, passed death sentences on 683 supporters of former president Mohamed Mursi, including leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie is among the defendants found guilty of attacking the Adawa police station and killing a police officer on 14 August 2013, following the dispersal of pro-Mursi sit-ins at Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo.

They also were found guilty of committing violence, rioting, destroying public and private property, attacking police officers, and inciting violence.

The court is required to submit death sentence verdicts to the grand mufti for approval, which usually is pro forma. The court set 21 June for delivering the final verdicts, which are expected to be appealed.

In March, the same judge sentenced 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death for their participation in the storming of the Matay police station, also on 14 August 2013, and in the murder of a police officer.

On Monday, the judge confirmed 37 of the death sentences, but commuted 492 others to life imprisonment upon the instructions of the grand mufti.

Comment: These sentences ensure the decapitation of the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership for a generation. Their severity will have a chilling effect on future demonstrations by any party.

Russia-US: Communications between the US Defense Secretary and the Russian Defense Minister have resumed. Defense Minister Shoygu assured Defense Secretary Hagel that Russian units have returned to their permanent garrisons.

The Russian Defense Ministry's press service issued a statement on Monday. "As soon as the Ukrainian authorities said they have no intention of using regular military units against the unarmed population, Russian subunits were returned to their permanent stations."

"As Shoygu noted in his conversation with Hagel, the prospect of severe force being used against Ukraine's civilian population forced the Russian side to announce the start of large-scale military exercises on its own territory in regions adjacent to the border with Ukraine. This decision was made public."

"The head of the Russian Defense Ministry stated that, before the start of the Russian exercises, the Kyiv authorities, using the pretext of "fighting terrorism", concentrated around 80 tanks, more than 130 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers and at least 60 pieces of artillery and mortar-launchers in southeastern Ukraine. Military aviation and helicopters were also engaged. According to him, the head count of the group of Ukrainian forces totaled 15,000."

Comment: Without confirmation from drones or satellite imagery, it is not possible to verify the claims made by the Russians about returning troops to garrison. Last month they claimed to have de-escalated the situation when they withdrew a single battalion. The US has issued no information that backs up the Russian statement.

The Russians have disclosed three sets of order of battle information about the size and composition of the Ukrainian force buildup. Every party continues to dissemble and deceive. No party has suggested the confrontation has de-escalated.

Ukraine: The Jerusalem Post ran a detailed article on the mayor of Kharkiv who was shot in the back today and nearly died. During this Watch, news services reported the mayor has survived. The Kyiv regime's Interior Ministry announced that local police are investigating.

The motive for the shooting is unclear. No group has claimed responsibility. The Post reported that the Mayor, Gennady Kernes, is Jewish and had been a strong supporter of former President Viktor Yanukovych. His opponent in the 2010 mayoral election was Arsen Avakov, who is now the Interior Minister in the Kyiv regime. Kernes initially opposed the Kyiv regime, but recanted after a trip to Russia.

Comment: Ukrainian analysts suggested that Kernes has many enemies, especially because of his contradictory positions on the new regime in Kyiv. The Jerusalem Post has followed events in Ukraine closely because of the manifestations of anti-Semitism among the ultra-nationalists in the Kyiv regime.

Security. On Monday, heavily armed pro-Russia gunmen seized another town hall in east Ukraine. Kostyantynivka (also, Konstantynovka) is an industrial town located about midway between Donetsk and Slovyansk. It brings to 11 the number of town halls known to be held by pro-Russia activists and helps link the cities under activist control.

Algeria: For the record. On 28 April President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika took the oath of office for a fourth term. He tasked former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal with forming a new government.

End of NightWatch for 28 April.

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