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NightWatch 20100917


For the Night of 17 September 2010

South Korea- North Korea: Delegates from the two Koreas failed to reach an agreement on the reunions of families separated by the Korean War. They decided, however, to hold another round of Red Cross talks on 24 September to work out their differences, according to an unnamed South Korean Unification Ministry official.

The official indicated the two came close to reaching an accord on the date the reunions would take place, but could not agree on a venue. North Korea said the reunions should be held within the Kumgang area, a resort located in its eastern mountains, where South Korean facilities have been either seized or frozen amid strained relations over the past year.

Comment: The limited account of the talks suggests the North wants to turn the clock backward to restore the Mount Kumgang resort area as a thriving enterprise. It was closed in the aftermath of a shooting of a South Korean tourist who had strayed from permitted areas by a North Korean guard in 2008.

China-Japan: A Chinese national threw beer bottles at the Japanese consulate general in Guangzhou on 9 September, and there have been recent attacks on Japanese schools in Tianjin City, Hong Kong Media Ming Pao reported on 17 September, according to the Japanese government.

The consulate urged Japanese citizens to be aware of their personal safety and behavior toward Chinese nationals as the anniversary of the 18 September Mukden incident approaches. Also on 18 September, an anti-Japan rally is reportedly being planned by a Chinese organization, according to the Japanese press.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the safety of all foreign organizations will be protected.

Comment: Public protests are never spontaneous in China. If the government does not concur, openly or implicitly, demonstrations do not take place.

Readers may take as fact that any beer bottles thrown at the Japanese consulate and any anti-Japanese rallies of any sort have been approved by some entity in the Chinese government.  These harassment tactics are fairly typical of Chinese behavior during an international confrontatoin. This sudden spurt of protest is obviously related to the fishing boat incident. Precedent suggests the protests could turn violent.

Indonesia: For the record. The government plans to order six more Russian-built Sukhoi fighter planes, Indonesian air force Chief of Staff Marshal Imam Sufaat said on 17 September, ANTARA reported. Indonesian President Yudhoyono has approved the planned acquisitions.

Indonesia already has 10 of the aircraft, which are not enough to cover the country's airspace, according to the military chief. The timeline for delivery is not known.

Comment: Indonesia's acquisition of Russian weapons systems revives memories of the Sukarno era when Indonesia had the largest navy -- including a light cruiser, submarines and frigates -- and the most powerful air force in Southeast Asia, all provided by the Soviet Union.

Indonesia retains many links to the US armed forces and has much US -supplied equipment. Nevertheless, the Russians are marketing an excellent aircraft, apparently on favorable terms.

For many third world states it is more economical and strategically sound to purchase dissimilar weapons systems from different supplies than to rely on single supplier. The systems do not stay in service long enough to justify purchasing an expensive maintenance infrastructure. More importantly, having US and Russian systems ensures something will be flyable irrespective of international political considerations.

Sri Lanka: For the record. Former general Sarath Fonseka was found guilty in a court martial and sentenced to three years in prison, according to a military official. The conviction and sentence are pending presidential approval. The conviction follows his first court martial, when his general's rank was removed.

Comment: Fonseka is the architect of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers -- one of two successful campaigns to suppress insurgents this century. After the victory, Fonseka entered politics to contest the Presidency and lost.

Retaliation by President Rajapakse, who was re-elected, has been swift and relentless, culminating in Fonseka's court martial and prison sentence. There are no good guys in this drama, but Fonseka ended a bloody civil war. He deserved better from the government, despite his big mouth.

India-Jammu and Kashmir State: India deployed soldiers on the streets of Kashmir on 17 September to restore order. Troops were reported in Srinagar, in Budgam and northern Baramulla. The army was last mobilized to assist police and paramilitary forces in July. The army declined to comment on the current deployment.

Comment: The significance of the announcement is that it shows that the Indian Army remains near in order to support civil authority in Kashmir, regardless of withdrawal announcement. Every new cohort of Kashmiri protestors apparently must learn the hard way that the Indian government is charged to defend the integrity of the state. Jammu and Kashmir State is listed as an integral part of the state of India.

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 17 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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