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NightWatch 20100915


For the Night of 15 September 2010

Japan-China: Japanese Prime Minister Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao likely will not meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in late September, Japanese government sources said on 15 September.

Comment: This is a modestly significant development because such meetings are almost standard practice. It means that the fishing boat dispute continues to fester and to escalate. It also reinforces the NightWatch assessment that the fishing boat incident is almost a strategic confrontation.

North Korea: Foreign press sources with indirect access reported that the reason for the delay in the Party Conference is damage from floods. The North Korean sources provided no new date, but suggested it likely would be held before 10 October.

Comment: Today's explanation for the delayed Conference is the second that North Korean officials have provided. The first is that Kim was recovering from his trip to China. The flooding explanation falls short because no news services reported Pyongyang is so flooded that delegates cannot convene.

North Korea - U.S: United Nations Command (UNC) will hold colonel-level talks on 16 September, the UNC stated. The two sides will meet in Panmunjom to discuss the sinking of a South Korean patrol ship last March.

Comment: The significance of the announcement lies in the North's agreement to meet. In the past week the North has accepted South Korean flood relief, offered to resume meetings by separated family members and agreed to another round of talks about the sinking of the corvette Cheonan.

These conciliatory initiatives coming in close success suggest some kind of leadership crisis in Pyongyang.

China-The World: For the record. China's armed forces are ready to expand communication and cooperation with their counterparts worldwide to promote global peace, a senior officer with the Chinese Defense Ministry said. International military exchanges enhance mutual understanding and peace awareness among all troops across the globe and advance world peace, the officer said.

Comment: The statements and the tone echo the American strategic vision of the post-war era, but with a more modern Chinese update of the US strategic path.

Pakistan: Al Qaida's No. 2 official, Ayman al-Zawahiri, used an audio recording to accuse the Pakistani government of responding too slowly to severe flooding in the country and urged Pakistanis and Turkish Muslims to revolt for their countries' involvement in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

Comment: The audio recording was apparently intended to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. What Zawahiri advocates for Pakistanis suggests borderline dementia.

Afghanistan: Major General Afzal Imam, the Afghan army's operations chief, said the following areas are under militant control:

Kamdesh district, Nuristan Province;

Nika district, Paktika Province;

Nawa district, Ghazni Province;

Khak-e-Afghan district, Zabol Province;

Ghorak and Mianshin districts, Kandahar Province; and,

Baghran, Washer and Desho districts, Helmand Province.

The election commission does not plan to hold elections in these areas, which have no security force presence, Imam added.

Comment: General Imam conceded that nine of 400 districts are so lost to the government that it will not attempt to operate election stations in them. There are several ways to interpret this admission. On a positive, note the General's statement suggests the extent of real Taliban control is quite modest.

On the other hand, the General admits that a US backed client government does not control areas that it professes to rule.

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 15 September.

NightWatch is brought to you by Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (KGS), a leader in government problem-solving, Data Confidence® and intelligence. Views and opinions expressed in NightWatch are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of KGS, its management, or affiliates.

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