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NightWatch 20110927

NightWatch

For the night of 26 September 2011

North Korea-US: North Korea's Korean Central News Agency criticized US plans to deploy "Global Hawk" information collection drones to the Korean theater of war. The commentary droned about how the deployment proves Allied intentions to start a war.

Special comment: The North Koreans fail to understand several aspects of modern war and have no defenses, even if they understood. Cruises missiles and aircraft carriers literally can destroy anything of value in North Korea. The North has large ground forces, but they would be destroyed in a future war by Allied stand-off weapons against which they have no defense.

The more intriguing prospect is that drones armed with missiles and controlled by US personnel well beyond the reach of any North Korean capabilities could kill almost any North Korean commander at any command level the US choose to target. North Korean leaders and senior military commanders apparently have no idea that they and their cohorts, staffs and families can be killed one by one, just as the Taliban leaders are being killed … one by one.

US Forces Korea is deficient in not making clear to its North Korean counterpart the obvious lessons of drone warfare in uncontested airspace in South Asia. Any commander can be killed at any time. Global Hawk is just an intelligence drone.

China-US: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Monday reaffirmed China's position on the United States' arms sales to Taiwan, urging the U.S. immediately to correct its error by revoking its arms sales decision.

Comment: The Chinese Minister referred to the US decision to upgrade Taiwan's F-16 fighter force rather than sell new F-165s that might maintain the balance of capabilities across the Taiwan Strait. So the US has chosen half measures, apparently in the expectation that both sides will be somewhat mollified.

US policies towards China and Taiwan are incomprehensible and contradictory.

Pakistan-US: Pakistan will not take military action against the Haqqani network militant group, according to a 25 September meeting of the Pakistan Army corps commanders chaired by Pakistan Army Chief of Army Staff General Kayani at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, The Express Tribune reported 26 September. After the corps commanders discussed the possible implications of a unilateral US operation on Pakistani territory, an unnamed military official said Islamabad told Washington that Pakistan cannot commit to anything beyond its current operations.

Comment: Pakistani civilian leaders led the official denunciations of US official accusations of supporting the Haqqanis. The Pakistan Army leaders were content to hide behind the official denunciations. They neither supported their own civilian leaders nor denounced the US accusations.

US Readers understand that the Pakistani civilian leaders have limited access to the operations of the Pakistan Army. Thus, President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani are figureheads who have no control of the Pakistan Army. Their comments do not signify. General Kayani or other senior generals have NOT denounced Admiral Mullen's accusations. Mullen wasted his time and was outsmarted in trying to make friends with Kayani.

Pakistan-Saudi Arabia: For the record. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate chief, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, met Saudi intelligence officials at ISI headquarters in Islamabad on 26 September. The Saudi officials went to Pakistan on the special directive of Saudi King Abdallah to ease tensions between Pakistan and the United States, The Nation reported. After the meeting, Pasha flew to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi intelligence and armed forces officials.

Comment: The Saudis see Afghanistan moving in a more or less favorable direction so long as the Iranians make no gains. They want Pakistan to focus on larger, strategic concerns, including Palestinian statehood, the stability of the Syrian government, Turkish claims to leadership in the Middle East, containment of Iranian influence. Pakistan remains the nuclear and conventional arsenal of the Muslim world, regardless of what happens in Afghanistan, in the Saudi view.

Pakistan-China: Chinese Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu will visit Islamabad on 26 September to discuss regional security in a meeting with Pakistani President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and other officials, The Express Tribune reported. A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman said Meng's visit is important but unrelated to other regional developments. Meng is also scheduled to meet with General Kayani and Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha with talks to focus on Chinese separatists arrested by Pakistan and extradited to Beijing.

Comment: The confluence of Chinese and Saudi meetings on the 26th is almost symbolic of the polarity in Pakistani foreign policy. The US is a bit player every decade or so, but Saudi Arabia and China are Pakistan's major benefactors. Saudi Arabia would pull Pakistan into the orbit of the Muslim states of the Middle East, manipulating Pakistan's inability to pay for the Saudi oil it has consumed for decades.

China has armed Pakistan as its proxy in a future sub-continent war against India, a decade or so in the future. The Pakistan Army has been prepared as China's second front force against India in that future war. Only the Pakistani generals seem to fail to understand their limited role in China's Asian strategy.

Meanwhile, China wants stability. The Gilani government has not provided it. China has the same gripe against the Pakistan Army as has the US. Pakistani intelligence and the Pakistan Army support terrorists, in China's case, Uighur Muslim terrorists in Xinjiang, just as they support the anti-government Pashtuns in Afghanistan. The Chinese are less delicate than the Americans in pressing their demands that the Pakistan Army stop its double dealing.

Afghanistan: A US official confirmed that an attack occurred on a building used by the US in Kabul late 25 September. Afghan authorities confirmed reports of gunfire around a building used by the CIA, near the former Ariana Hotel that is in the vicinity of the Afghan presidential palace, but Kabul authorities could not confirm any casualties or injuries.

Comment: The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, without identifying the group that attacked. Not even the CIA can defend itself in Kabul. Nobody ever knows when Allah will call a true believer to kill someone in the name of Allah. It can occur at any time with no warning.

Saudi Arabia: The King of Saudi Arabia has granted Saudi women the right to vote in town and city elections and the right to run for office.

Comment: What is interesting is that women's rights derive from the King, not from Allah or nature or universal human rights.

Syria: Comment: US news services reported that the formation of a Syrian opposition army from defectors. Such reporting is cheerleading because an army requires secure bases among thousands of other things in addition to a handful of deserters talking to western news reporters. As yet the Alawites hold the most and the best guns.

Palestinian Authority: Fatah and Hamas officials will meet in Cairo in October to discuss reconciliation, a Fatah official said.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has called for an inter-Palestinian dialogue to decide on a joint strategy to establish a Palestinian state. Haniya said Hamas wants united action regarding the Palestinian state and the activation of the May reconciliation deal signed between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas is not against a Palestinian state, but Haniya said Hamas disagrees with the bid for statehood that was made without consulting Hamas. He said Palestinian officials do not need to face US and Zionist policies alone in pursuit of the Palestinian cause. Leaders should seek liberation before statehood because states are not made through U.N decisions but through resistance, Haniya said. He added that Hamas will back a Palestinian state established on liberated land if Hamas would not have to recognize Israel.

Comment: In the enthusiasm for recognizing a Palestinian state, the nature of that state seems to get lost. Haniya supplied a reminder that it will be violent, grasping and resentful.

Libya: Members of Libya's Berber minority, whose language the Qadhafi regime suppressed, demanded that the new Libyan leaders recognize them and their language in a new constitution. This request, which is the first expression of the Berbers' political identity in Libya's history, was made during a conference in Tripoli with the goal of shaping the Berbers' political agenda.

Comment: The Berbers helped win Tripoli and the new regime owes them for helping secure the west. It is now pay back time. Treatment of the Berbers will be a benchmark for assessing the nature of the post-Qadhafi regime.

End of NightWatch for 26 September.

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