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NightWatch 20150204

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NightWatch

For the night of 4 February 2015

North Korea-US: On 4 February the Korean Central News Agency published in English yet another rant against the US. The National Defense Commission wrote," US imperialists will face final doom." (Note: DPRK is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, i.e., North Korea.)

The statement says it is a clarification of an earlier rant and contains three main points.

"1. Now that the brigandish US imperialists' hostile policy toward the DPRK is getting extremely ferocious, the army and people of the DPRK will take stronger counteraction of justice to shatter it (sic)."

"2. Now that the gangster-like U.S. imperialists' military strategy towards the DPRK is inching close to the stage of igniting a war of aggression, the just counteraction of the army and people of the DPRK will be focused on inflicting the bitterest disasters upon the United States of America."

"3. It is the decision of the army and people of the DPRK to have no longer need or willingness to sit at negotiating table with the U.S. since the latter seeks to stamp out the ideology of the former and "bring down" its social system."

"The U.S. imperialists, engrossed in the hostile policy toward the DPRK century after century, should be mindful that the time of nightmare is coming nearer when they will meet the most disastrous, final doom on the U.S. mainland."

Comment: The US President's comments on 22 January that regimes like North Korea won't survive and his imposition of additional sanctions are the stimuli for this statement. This is the second time that the North Korean leadership has stressed that it does not need to talk to the US and will not. The facts suggest they really do want to talk.

A slightly new element in this statement is the threat to the US homeland. That has become a more frequent threat theme. It suggests they are working on their intercontinental missile system and want the US to know it.

Ukraine: News services briefly reported that rebel forces in eastern Ukraine captured Vuhlehirs'k, a key town near Debal'tseve. Actually they claim to have captured it on 30 January. Western reporters entered the town today and confirmed that the rebels control it.

Comment: The capture of Vuhlehirs'k is one of several objectives in the operation to eliminate the Ukrainian pocket at Debal'tseve. The news reports confirm that the rebels are making progress and have nearly surrounded a large Ukrainian force at Debal'tseve..

News sources provided no update on the status of the Ukrainian relief force that was assembling outside the pocket in Ukrainian-held territory.

Cameroon: Chadian forces are making a difference. On 3 February, a Boko Haram group that used Gamboru, Nigeria, as its base attacked Chadian outposts 500 meters away, in the Cameroonian town of Fotokol. The Chadians repelled the attack and pursued the terrorists to Gamboru, where they killed 200 Boko Haram fighters. Nine Chadian soldiers died and 21 were injured in the fighting.

"Our valiant forces responded vigorously, a chase was immediately instituted all the way to their base at Gamboru Ngala, where they were completely wiped out," spokesman Colonel. Azem Bermendoa said on national television Tuesday night.

The surviving terrorists escaped to attack Fotokol on 4 February where they killed up to 100 civilians and burned houses and a mosque Fotokol and Gamboru are a half kilometer apart. Chadian and Cameroonian soldiers drove the terrorists from Fotokol. This battle continues.

Comment: The introduction of the Chadian contingents has put Boko Haram fighting groups on the defensive along the Cameroonian border. The battle at Gamboru is the second Chadian defeat of Boko Haram forces that involved significant numbers of casualties On 28 January, they drove Boko Haram from a border town on the Niger border. The Chadians do not run away. They also have a reputation for being as indiscriminate in killing and destruction as Boko Haram.

Various news service reports indicate Chad has deployed a force of 2,000 soldiers, supported by armored vehicles and at least one operational Russian helicopter gunship. Chad has a mix of US, French, Israeli and British wheeled armored vehicles and two battalions of T-55 tanks. It is never clear how many are operational.

A second Chadian force reportedly is building up in Niger which would enable the Chadians to conduct encirclement operations against Boko Haram fighters.

France is supporting the operations by carrying out reconnaissance flights over border areas of Chad and Cameroon to provide them with intelligence, defence officials in Paris said. US military teams have been training Chadians since at least 2013. An 80-person training team arrived last May. They operate from a facility near N'Djamena.

Both the French and the US apparently are providing critical logistic and resupply support, as they did when the Chadians deployed to Mali in 2013 to defeat the Touaregs and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

End of NightWatch for 4 February.

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