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NightWatch 20100606


For the Night of 6 June 2010

North Korea: The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland issued a statement that the Korean Central Broadcasting Station broadcast. The Committee denounced South Korea for committing a grave provocation that increased tension. It conveyed no new threats, but did asset,"If the puppets have nothing to hide regarding the incident of the sinking of the warship, there should be absolutely no reason whatsoever that they cannot receive our inspection group of the National Defense Commission."

The assertion actually makes a great deal of sense for public relations. South Korean President Lee should accept a visit by a North Korean inspection group, as a matter of good politics.

India: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins a visit to Srinagar, Kashmir, on Monday. However, his administration has fallen short in keeping development promises, according to a report by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Six years ago, during an earlier visit, Singh announced Rs 240 billion in reconstruction aid to jump start Kashmir's development. The Prime Minister's Office report states that less than half of the 67 projects have been completed. Some have not even been started.

The report on gross delays on part of the state government in implementing projects under the PM's plan has been prepared by the Delivery Monitoring Unit (DMU). The unit was set up in the PMO under the PM's Principal Secretary TKA Nair to keep track of the United Progressive Alliance government's flagship programs.

Comment: According to Indian official data, Jammu and Kashmir State, especially the mostly Muslim portion around Srinagar, remains among the least developed states of India. Literacy, access to education and health care and public services are nearly the worst in India. Even half completion of Singh's program is a better record of performance than his Hindu predecessors.

Kashmir is Muslim and that makes it last in the national priorities, unless the Prime Minister's support for development programs is firm and sustained. It is worth noting that the Prime Minister assigned responsibility for monitoring the performance of his government to the various branches of his own office. That means his promises were not just words, but genuine programs. The Report from his own office should empower him to improve the record of performance by his parliamentary coalition.

Iran: An aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (URGC) said today that the IRGC is ready to provide military escorts to aid ships that try to run Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, according to Mehr news agency and Agence France-Presse

The aide, Ali Shirazi, said "The Revolutionary Guards' naval forces are fully prepared to escort freedom and peace flotillas carrying humanitarian aid from all over the world to the oppressed people of Gaza….If the respected leader of the revolution (Khamenei) gives an order in this regard to the Revolutionary Guards' naval forces, it will take a practical step using its capability and equipment to escort flotillas to Gaza," he said. He also said it is Iran's duty to defend the people of Gaza.

Comment: The Iranians are pressing their advantage as the only Muslim state that physically supports Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza. IRGC soldiers could be inserted among the crew of future ships, simply by making prior port calls in northern Lebanon. IRGC shipboard ambushes that killed IDF soldiers would be humiliating for Israel and cheap to do for Iran.

This is no idle threat. Iranians also have commandos, have IRGC in Lebanon, have Hezbollah's support and need not use Iranian patrol ships. Iran's statements are far more embarrassing to the Arab states than to Turkey.

Israel:  For the record. The Rachel Corrie, a cargo ship intercepted by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as it was en route to the Gaza Strip, has now entered the Israeli port of Ashdod, Ynet reported 5 June. Police officials said the 20 activists on the Rachel Corrie offered no resistance and did not commit any offenses so will be treated leniently. The activists are expected to be interrogated and taken to an Immigration Authority facility in Holon, near Tel Aviv. Israeli authorities will inspect the Rachel Corrie before transshipping its goods to Gaza.

Palestinian Authority: A senior official with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party said June 6 in an interview with Voice of Palestine radio that Hamas is not interested in national unity because it rejected a visit by a delegation of Fatah officials to the Gaza Strip. Jamal Muhissen, a member of Fatah's central committee, said Abbas planned to send a delegation to Gaza to bridge differences between the groups on national elections, the reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization and other issues, but that Hamas had rejected the plan.

Comment: The only significance of this item is its timing and its content which reconfirms everything Readers already know about HAMAS in Gaza. HAMAS is recalcitrant and uncooperative even with other Palestinians. Its mix of religion with politics condemns Palestinians in Gaza to endless penury and dependency, until Palestinian voters grow weary of relying on Israel for survival. Fatah apparently wants the rest of the world to know more about HAMAS and to ensure that Fatah bears no blame for conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Harrison and Huntington have compiled multiple essays in two books that discuss the effects of cultural factors in preventing development. The Argentine scholar Grondana developed a list of 25 factors in a culture whose effects he described when they support human progress and when they retard it. In all 25 factors, HAMAS ensures that the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will never progress to a decent standard of living.

The voting record in the past elections in Gaza indicates the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip think that dependency is just fine with them. This population is not self-empowered and is content to remain a victim. Even Fatah is acutely aware of the indolence.

The implications of the cultural analysis are devastating because they indicate that if HAMAS got everything it demanded, including an Israeli capitulation, it would engineer no improvement in the living standard of the people it governs. Rather it would drag all Palestinians down to the level of poverty of the Gazans.

HAMAS leaders know how to destroy, but not how to build anything, according to this analysis. What's worse, they do not even look to the implications of their decisions, as their stewardship of Gaza has shown in the past four years. Still, the elections show that Gazan Palestinians have the power to change these conditions, but do not choose to do so.

Iraq: The Iraqi military withdrew the right to carry weapons from 10,000 ex-Sunni insurgents 5 June, which threatened to cause a rift between security forces and Sunni fighters credited with helping stem violence in Iraq, Reuters reported.

Leaders of the "Sons of Iraq" responded with a warning that they would stop cooperating with security forces in Diyala Province if their weapons permits were taken from them. The Sons of Iraq program began when tribal leaders in 2006 joined U.S. and Iraqi forces in fighting al Qaeda and other militants.

There were at least 100,000 armed members of this Sunni militia; at least that is the number that were on the US payroll at one time.

Politics. Two candidates in Iraq's 7 March parliamentary elections affiliated with former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's al-Iraqiya List were assassinated in separate attacks 5 June. Gunmen killed a third candidate from the Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats in Iraq's March parliamentary election, The Associated Press reported 5 June.

Two other members of parliament from Allawi's collation have been assassinated, bringing to five the number of seats that will be empty once parliament convenes. The obvious culprits are the Shiites loyal to Prime Minister al Maliki. He does not want and almost refuses to surrender power and his party has the resources to produce a majority of physically present members on the opening of parliament, with the help of assassins.

The assassinations would require by-elections to fill the now vacant seats. Maliki could claim the right to form a government long before new elections were scheduled.

End of NightWatch for 6 June.

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