Contact Us

To learn more about our solutions and services, please contact us.

NightWatch 20111101


For the night of 1 November 2011

South Korea: In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro published Tuesday, South Korean President Lee said that an inter-Korean summit should take place -- and he is ready for one -- only when it can contribute to peace and stability between the divided states.

"There is no principle that I have to meet with Kim Chong-Il during my term. But as I stated many times before, I am ready for talks with him if it is necessary," Lee said in the interview.

"An inter-Korean summit should be able to specifically contribute to bringing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. I should also be able to move forward economic cooperation between the South and the North. I have no intention at all to meet with Kim Chong-il only for political purposes."

Comment: Lee's statements in Russia echo like the hardline tone the president used early in his administration. It is noticeably different from the more conciliatory tone Lee has used in talking with US officials.

Iraq-Iran-Turkey: Iraqi leaders declined offers from Iran and Turkey to train its military due to the situation's sensitivity, an unnamed senior Iraqi official said on 1 November. Iraq prefers not to receive training assistance from neighboring countries because Iraq is unable to accept help from one state and not from another, the official said.

Comment: Without the US acting as referee, Iraq cannot accept training assistance from its more powerful neighbors. To do so would be tantamount to declaring political, military and religious alignment. India, China and France would be competent, alternative and neutral trainers willing to accept Iraqi petro-dollars.

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi government will not compromise with Iran regarding the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the US because it is unnecessary, Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz said during a news conference on 1 November. Saudi Arabia is ready to deal with any situation by any means necessary, he said.

Comment: The issue of the alleged assassination plot is the first public relations test of the new Crown Prince who has a reputation for sternness and devotion to Sunni Islamic observance. Today's press conference tended to confirm his reputation.

Israel: Security. The government has authorized the armed forces to take all necessary measures to stop rocket fire from Gaza, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official said on 1 November. Israel's response will be proportionate to the attack; a ground offensive is possible but only in response to a massive rocket attack, the official said.

Earlier today, 1 November, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said that the continued rocket fire from Gaza has created an unbearable situation in southern Israel. Israel is nearing a dramatic decision that will put an end to the attacks.

Shalom said Israel will act directly against the terrorist infrastructure and heads of terrorist organizations. Israel cannot accept a situation in which the lives of millions of its citizens are in danger and it must regain its power to deter terrorist attacks, which has decreased since Operation Cast Lead, the three-week joint forces, punitive operation in Gaza in December 2008 to stop rocket attacks.

Politics. Israel has agreed to delay expanding its military operations in the Gaza Strip so that Egypt can have more time to dissuade Palestinian militants from firing rockets into southern Israel, an Egyptian official said on 1 November. According to the official, Egypt had asked for a 24-hour delay to en able the Egyptians to try to bring militant Palestinian factions to a cease-fire. The official also said Israel plans operations in the area beyond its current airstrikes.

Comment: Expect more fighting in Gaza as the security situation deteriorates. The Palestinian leaders in Gaza apparently have interpreted Israeli willingness to exchange prisoners as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve. They are putting their assessment to the test in the latest round of rocket attacks. A stern Israeli military response is unavoidable.

Greece: Greek lawmakers rebelled against Prime Minister George Papandreou's surprise call for a popular referendum on the new debt deal with Greece's foreign lenders. Papandreou announced he will seek a vote of confidence from the Greek Parliament this week.

The revolt by lawmakers and a no-confidence vote planned for Thursday or Friday raise the prospect of a government collapse that would not only render the referendum plan moot but likely scuttle - or at least delay - the debt deal that European leaders agreed on after marathon negotiations in Brussels last week

Papandreou must resign, according to six members of Pasok, the country's governing party. A Pasok lawmaker defected from the party, reducing Papandreou's parliamentary majority. Another Pasok lawmaker called for "a government of national unity."

Comment: Greek politicians are only willing to take collective responsibility for the austerity required by the bailout plan. Some, like Papandreou, apparently hope to take political advantage of nation-wide hostility to the outside intervention, which would be manifest in a likely negative vote in a national referendum.

Such a vote would reject the austerity measures and result in a Greek default on sovereign debt. That would mean that European governments and banks would get repaid for none of the past short-term bailouts in addition to other non-performing Greek obligations. Greece would be forced to leave the Euro community and would experience recession, if not depression, as the economy re-valued itself.

This situation exemplifies the difference between risk and threat. A Greek default with its ripple effects across Europe is more than a risk; it is an actionable probability of real harm, which makes it a threat. The banks acted to protect against risk, but have not reacted to the indicators of threat. Damage looks unavoidable.

End of NightWatch for 1 November.

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.

KGS Logo

A Member of AFCEA International


Back to NightWatch List