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NightWatch 20100803

NightWatch

For the Night of 3 August 2010

North Korea: North Korea is ready to resume the six-party talks that took place in 2005, North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun said in a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on 2 August in Jakarta, Kompas reported on the 3rd . Natalegawa said China's role will be an important factor in resuming negotiations between the six parties.

Comment: There is less substance here than the news account implies. North Korean media repeatedly have carried statements of the North's readiness to resume six party talks but with conditions, mainly acceptance as a nuclear armed state.

However, there might be some significance in the venue. Jakarta has no equity in the six party talks and has good relations with all the parties. Sometimes a state will chose a perceptibly neutral venue from which to make an important statement to send a clearer diplomatic message. It is not clear that is the North's intention yet, but Indonesia has served as a special channel to the North in the past.

India-Jammu and Kashmir State: After five days of widespread civil disorder in which 33 people are known dead, the Indian government decided to re-deploy more paramilitary police to Jammu and Kashmir State, Geo TV reported 3 August.

About 2,000 central paramilitary force personnel will be deployed in the state, as requested by state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Sources stated that 19 companies, comprised of 1,900 personnel, of central paramilitary forces are expected to reach Kashmir over several days. Another 32 companies, with 3,200 personnel currently posted in different parts of the state, will be redeployed in 10 districts in the valley.


Comment: The accidental death of a student on 11 June, after he was hit in the head by a police-fired tear gas canister, sparked a wave of protests against Indian rule in which15 died and 270 security police injured by rock throwers. By mid-July that wave spent itself, but another began last Friday, again after another police action that killed a local youth.

Until the June disorders, Kashmir was enjoying a relatively peaceful spell in which violence was down and tourism was increasing. The government was slowly reducing the number of security forces in the state and commercial activity was reviving. These appear to be mainly self-inflicted troubles, caused by sloppy police procedures. Disregard for and mistreatment of civilians has been a common failing of Indian security forces in Kashmir.

Another factor is demographic. The protestors are primarily youths who have not experienced the war weariness of their elders, after a generation of non-stop violent protests and insurgent attacks. Each youth cohort has to learn the hard way that stone throwing and economic disruption will make life harder in Kashmir. Hindu nationalists today criticized the government in New Delhi for withdrawing security forces prematurely.

Pakistan: For the record. In Karachi at least 53 people have been killed in rioting, sparked by the assassination of a prominent politician/Member of Parliament and his bodyguard while they were performing religious observances in a Karachi mosque on 2 August.

Mourners rioted against a rival political party, suspected of ordering the MP's assassination. Schools were shut and most businesses closed on Tuesday in the city of more than 16 million people. The BBC reported more than 300 people have died in political killings in Karachi this year.

Afghanistan: A Taliban suicide squad armed with bombs and rockets attacked the largest U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan on 3 August, sparking an hour-long gun battle, Agence France-Presse reported. One soldier and two civilians were wounded in the initial rocket attack on Kandahar airfield.

Two bombers detonated themselves outside the base perimeter to clear the entrance for the rest of the group, a Kandahar provincial spokesman said. Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack and told the Afghan Islamic Press that the attack was carried out by seven Taliban.

Since April, Taliban's "Victory" offensive has featured at least one sensational attack, such as this each week. They genuinely do not want a Coalition offensive in Kandahar, which has experienced a rapid increase in attacks this spring.

Taliban. The May 2010 revision of the Afghan Taliban code of conduct restates the 2009 version's order to fighters to avoid killing civilians and forbids them from seizing weapons and money, The Associated Press (AP) reported on 3 August. The code allows fighters to consider people who work for international forces or the Afghan government as "supporters of the infidels" and says they can be killed.

Distribution of the 69-page document began about 10 days ago. AP obtained the booklet on from a member of the Taliban in Spin Boldak, on the Afghan0Pakistan border.

Comment: the only new item apparently is the approval to kill so-called "collaborators." IN that respect the revised code makes a virtue out of a practice that has been commonplace. Publishing it in a code of conduct that is readily obtainable is a psychological terror practice.

Lebanon-Israel: At least three Lebanese soldiers, a senior Israeli officer and a journalist have been killed today, 3 August, in an exchange of fire along the two countries' border, according to the BBC. The Lebanese say they opened fire after Israeli troops entered Lebanon. The Israelis deny crossing the border and released aerial surveillance imagery of the clash that shows the Israeli were in Israeli territory, according to The Jerusalem Post. A U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) representative reportedly confirmed the information

Analysts from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) believe the incident was an ambush planned by a local commanding officer in the Lebanese army, Haaretz reported. The IDF claims to have gathered evidence that suggests sniper fire was ordered by an officer, but they believe the decision was his alone because there is no indication that he had received an order to open fire. Lebanon denied this Israeli claim.

Israel's foreign ministry warned Lebanon of "consequences" if violence continued. "Israel views the Lebanese government as responsible for this serious incident," a ministry statement said. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak warned Lebanon that Israel would respond with force to any further incidents.

Comment: It was the first serious clash in south Lebanon since the 2006 second Lebanon War between Israeli forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militants. Tension has been increasing for weeks. Last week Lebanon announced it is sending another Lebanese Army brigade to the south to deter the Israelis!!

Some entities in Lebanon want a distraction from the investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri, according to BBC analysis, which now threatens to name Hezbollah members in the plot. An alternative view holds that the Lebanese government needed to capitalize on the strong showing of Arab support over the weekend to build support for the central government, but the incident got out of hand.

The incident evoked statements of Arab support for Lebanon that has not been the case most of the past decade. Iran made no statement yet, as of this Watch.

Reaction.

Syria: Syrian President Asad spoke with his Lebanese counterpart, President Suleiman, via telephone 3 August to convey Syria's support for Lebanon, SANA reported. Israel has always sought insecurity and destabilization for Lebanon and the region, Asad said.

Egypt: Egyptian Foreign Minister Gheit said his country is behind Lebanon "against Israeli violations," Nile News TV reported at 1250 GMT on Aug. 3

Algeria-France: A high-ranking French military delegation traveled to Algiers on 1 August to meet Algerian officials to discuss combining efforts to fight al Qaida in the Sahel region, Tout sur l'Algerie website reported 3 August.

This trip appears to further France's declaration of war against al Qaida in the Sahara.

End of NightWatch for 3 August.

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