For the night of 27 July 2014
North Korea: The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong Un personally supervised the military's latest missile-firing drill on 26 July.
"Kim examined a firing plan that was mapped out in consideration of the present location of the US imperialist aggressor forces' bases..." He also reviewed the simulated battle to strike and destroy them before guiding the drill.
The launch was intended to mark the 27 July anniversary of the ceasefire agreement at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, KCNA said.
Comment: Saturday's launch was the first since the UN Security Council on 17 July officially condemned Pyongyang for its series of ballistic missile tests, in violation of UN resolutions. With international attention focused on a ceasefire in the Middle East, Kim and his men apparently decided the world needed a reminder that only a truce exists between North Korea and the Allies.
Kim Jong Un, like his father Kim Chong-il, has no military training; never served in the armed forces and never wore a military uniform or saluted an officer. Defector sources say the real soldiers resent the photo ops, just as they did when Kim Chong-il was alive.
Afghanistan: The voter fraud audit remains suspended. The head of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yusof Nurestani, said in press conference on 26 July that the vote audit was suspended after the electoral teams failed to comply with the audit procedure on invalidating votes and other criteria proposed by the UN.
Comment: The audit will remain suspended through the end of the Eid al-Fitr observances this week and until the electoral teams agree on standards for disqualifying ballots. Meanwhile, the Independent Election Commission in Kabul said it has control of 67% of the ballot boxes, representing 21 of the 34 provinces.
Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom announced that the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, begins on 28 July. In a statement today, King Abdallah denounced the outlaws and deviants who have distorted Islam and are tools of the enemies of Islam. He described the struggle in Islam as a fierce war and Saudi Arabia as a strong dam in the face of aggression, terror and blood-shedding.
Comment: The King pointed out that normally Eid is the occasion for congratulations. This year, his tone was admonitory. He did not name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but said some groups were being led astray by the enemies of Islam, who were using religion as an excuse for terror.
Arab monarchies are targets for overthrow by some of the Islamist groups they helped form and finance, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Israel: Over the weekend, several ceasefires were announced, but only that on Saturday morning was honored. Hamas declared a 24-hour ceasefire late on Sunday in honor of Eid al-Fitr, but could not enforce it. Other Palestinian militant groups continued firing rockets.
Comment: The Hamas ceasefire attempt is a reminder that Hamas does not control all the Palestinian militant groups, some of whom are more belligerent than Hamas.
Israeli press reported that since the operation began, the Palestinians have fired 2,507 rockets and mortars into Israel. Since the ground operation began on the 17th, they fired 1,004 rockets and mortars fired. More than 1,039 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed.
Libya: Fighting between militia groups forced the US to close the US Embassy in Tripoli and to evacuate its personnel to Tunisia. The groups fighting in Tripoli have been struggling for control of the airport for 13 days. The Embassy is near the airport. In Benghazi, fighting resumed between retired general Hifter's forces and the terrorists, killing 38 people.
The State Department has warned Americans to leave Libya immediately.
Comment: Like Somalia, Libya is becoming a vague term of geography, rather than a nation-state.
Cameroon: Boko Haram groups conducted two separate raids in northern Cameroon. In one raid, they kidnapped the Lamido or traditional and Muslim spiritual leader of Kolofata and all of his family. Three people died in the clash.
In the other raid, they surrounded the house of deputy prime minister Ahmadou Ali and abducted his wife, after killing three people. According to a local spokesman, the terrorists headed toward Nigeria's Borno state with Ali's wife.
Comment: Boko Haram's operations always seem to center in Borno State, especially its border region with Chad and Cameroon. The government is aware of the connection to the state's officials, but is almost totally ineffective apparently for political reasons as well as chronic military ineptitude.
Special Comment: Thanks to all who responded to the NightWatch survey thus far. We shall summarize the results after we sort and evaluate them.
End of NightWatch for 27 July.
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