For the Night of 13 September 2010
New Zealand-China: For the record. A Chinese naval training ship and a frigate arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on 11 September for a four-day visit, New Zealand and Chinese press reported. Chinese Rear Admiral Leng said the visit was part of efforts to construct a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean. He added that it was also conducive to improving the level of military cooperation between the two countries.
New Zealand is the fourth stop on the Chinese Navy ships' itinerary, which has included calls at Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga, and will take them to Australia next.
Japan-China: Update. A Chinese government law enforcement ship on 11 September asked a Japanese coast guard survey ship operating in Japan's exclusive economic zone to stop its activities, according to coast guard officials.
The encounter occurred about 280 kilometers (173 miles) north-northwest off Okinawa Island. The Japanese ship continued surveying operations for nearly two more hours. Japan later delivered an official complaint to China. The Japanese will not back down from the Chinese, with our without US encouragement.
South Korea-North Korea: Update. South Korea announced today , 13 September, that is will provide aid to North Korea, but repeated that the government in Pyongyang was responsible for the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March.
Over the weekend, the North offered to resume reunions of families divided by the Korean War's outcome. None have occurred in over a year.
It also accepted the South Korean Red Cross' offer of $8.3 million in aid, which includes 5,000 tones of rice, 10,000 tons of cement and 3 million packs of instant noodles. Red Cross chief Yoo Chong-ha said the South Korean government is the main financier of the aid.
According to Red Cross figures, about 80,000 elderly South Koreans seek a brief meeting with family left in the North after the war.
Comment: The apparent peace offensive is almost certainly camouflage to obscure the North's failure to convene the 3rd Party Conference. The overtures have no significance except to prolong a benign strategic environment, while the North's leaders sort out their next step.
North Korea: The South Korean television channel YTN reported the 3rd Party Conference has been delayed because of the health of leader Kim Chong-il (Kim Jong-il). Unidentified South Korean intelligence officials supposedly told the station that Kim's health worsened after his five-day trip to northeast China late last month.
The station's report said the Conference would likely be held soon since the 68-year-old's health was not bad enough to warrant a cancellation.
Comment: The NightWatch assessment is that Kim's health has been so poor that he is non compos mentis most of the time, except after dialysis, which well-informed observers say occurs thrice weekly. NightWatch also judges he has so many body doubles that it is sometime difficult to distinguish them. Presumably the Chinese experts on Korea could identify the real Kim from a double.
The Conference does not seem to have taken place yet, which North and South Korean media blame on the exertions of Kim's trip to China. The subtext is the Chinese are to blame for the Dear Leader's present infirmity. There is no way to know who went to China or what was accomplished. The North has raised its shroud of obscurity and might declare the Conference a success tomorrow!
India: India's Strategic Forces Command plans to create a fighter force with nuclear capabilities, according to a report by the Press Trust of India on 12 September, which cited an official in the Indian Defence Ministry. The Strategic Forces Command has sent a proposal to the Defence Ministry about forming a force of two squadrons of 40 fighter aircraft, which would be capable of carrying missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
Comment: India is well on the way to developing a "traditional" nuclear triad of nuclear threats from bombers, ground-launched missiles and surface and submarine systems. India possesses several types of nuclear-capable attack fighters, but they are not subordinate to the Strategic Forces Command.
The statement suggests India wants a more agile nuclear "quartet' that enlarges options for decision makers and establishes its own path for Indian strategic planners. Indian planners perceive a set of conditions in which India might need tactical nuclear attack options for use against close neighbors.
Kashmir: At least 14 people, including a policeman, have been killed in Indian Kashmir during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters who were protesting the announcement by a US Christian pastor's threat to burn copies of the Koran. Protesters defied curfews and set fire to a Christian school.
Comment: While the threat of Quran burning supposedly incited the crowds, civil disorders have been occurring since the end of Ramadan last week. They have no relationship to events in the US, but the US melodrama has been used to justify acts of civil disobedience.
Tens of thousands of Muslims marched in Srinagar on 11 September, setting fire to government and police buildings in the latest of the largest protests against Indian rule in two years.
Police fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air to disperse crowds, led by senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Police said Farooq incited the situation by taking advantage of an Eid celebration occurring in Srinagar.
On 12 September, Indian security forces and separatist protesters clashed again. Police used live ammunition and tear gas against protesters, who had held a protest against Indian rule on the 11th.
In none of the protests was theology or the burning of the Quran the central issue, but Kashmir politics.
Iran: During the weekend, Iran announced it will release one of three jailed U.S. hikers detained since 31 July 2009 on charges of spying. A senior Iranian prosecutor said the US woman will be released on $500,000 bail because she is experiencing heath problems. The other two hikers who were captured near the Iran-Iraq border remain in custody.
Comment: The obvious confusion and lack of coordination in the Iranian government on this issue suggest powerful interests oppose President Ahmadi-Nejad so that he could not control his own government. He lost an internal battle. There is no overture to the West, but only the cheap huckster's invitation for a bribe. The current Iranian leaders dishonor a great culture.
Turkey: Update. Prime Minister Erdogan declared victory on Sunday, 12 September, as voters approved a constitutional reform package in a highly debated referendum that will restructure the judiciary and curb military powers.
The referendum was regarded as a vote of confidence in Erdogan's government. Prime Minister Erdogan dismissed concerns about his government moving towards an establishment of Islam, saying he is committed to the country's 87-year-old secular state. Following the referendum victory, Erdogan committed himself to further reform, including a completely new constitution.
Comment: The referendum exposed how Turkey has become tri-furcated under the AK Party. The Party has little room for the educated sophisticated urbanites who live along the northwest coast. It has no place for the Kurds. Both groups only prosper in a tolerant, secular environment. That era is close to ending.
The election result showed that most Turks who live in the heartland of Anatolia are conservative, devout Muslims and opposed to Turkey remaining a secular state in the tradition of Ataturk.
European Union observers approved the outcome interpreting it as a sign of openness and modernity because it would restrain the Turkish armed forces from taking power and using the secular constitution as a justification. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The men with the most guns will try to take power whenever they think they need to and can succeed. They will rewrite the laws and the narrative later.
The Europeans are the most blinkered about this result, interpreting it as a move towards modernization and reform. The huge rural vote was not in favor of the European Union, much less adoption of modern values. It was in favor of making Turkey more pious under Sharia.
The bureaucrats of the European Union have misread the political situation in Turkey from the beginning. Their requirement to restrain the Turkish armed forces from acting as parens patriae to preserve a secular Turkey has worked to make Turkey a more Islamist state, the antithesis of European Union values.
Erdogan has promised to draft a new constitution and submit it for popular approval. The sign of his Islamist intentions will be how the new constitution treats Sharia, Islamic law. If Turkey enshrines it as the touchstone for all legislation, as it is in Afghanistan, then Turkey will no longer be a secular state, to which Erdogan professes to remain committed.
NATO leaders are watching on the sidelines as Turkey moves more towards becoming an Islamist state with NATO-compatible arms and training.
NightWatch Special Announcement:
Kforce Government Solutions (KGS) is pleased to announce that it will sponsor the first ever short course entitled "NightWatch Concepts of Analysis" on the afternoon of 29 September at the AFCEA auditorium. The Instructor/Facilitator will be Mr. John F. McCreary, founder of NightWatch.
Please follow the link below to register for the course and to obtain further information about the course, the instructor, the location and the fee schedule.
End of NightWatch for 13 September.
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